T’Pau, a canon character, is a part of the Star Trek: Enterprise Vulcan arc.
As in canon, a young T’Pau is played by actress Kara Zediker.
I liked this portrayal a lot more than the one in the Original Series. This T’Pau has passion and fire, even as an allegedly emotion-free Vulcan.
Ruthless and efficient, T’Pau, in canon, is ready to force Captain Archer to submit to a mindmeld if he won’t go willingly. I see no reason for her to be any different in fanfiction.
Thrown together several times, T’Pau and Kefris bond at least a little bit over their shared fates.
In the Mirror, because Vulcans are an oppressed species, I write T’Pau as a slave.
This is the main place where I write T’Pau. In Temper and in He Stays a Stranger, she is referenced as being someone who performs calculations and looks things up for the Empress. Without being named, she is one of the two Vulcans referenced (Kefris is the other) in Escape, as surviving the shuttle crash that kills the Mirror Melissa Madden and leaves Andy Miller bereft.
As of the writing of this blog post, I don’t have a quote from her!
Mentioned peripherally but barely seen, I should do more with this character.
A focus (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.
Of course, all of fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can be used in fan fiction.
Vulcans – Background
Because the series that speaks to me the most is Enterprise, I have had to deal with Vulcans all along. The truth is that I always found T’Pol to be wooden. As for Spock in the Original Series, I have read far too much of him in fan fiction. I never got into Voyager, so my experience with writing Vulcans was limited and difficult. That is, until Eriecho and the Alternate Original Series. Thank you, JJ Abrams.
Lili is admitted to the Mars Culinary Institute based upon the strength of a meal prepared for Admissions Director Aviri.
Charles Tucker IV
In the E2 timeline, during the first kick back in time, Tripp and T’Pol have twins. Charlie becomes captain after Jonathan Archer’s death.
My favorite Vulcan, Eriecho never learned true emotional suppression while at Canamar Prison, and only tries it in a mistaken effort to please Sollastek.
This character is named but rarely seen, and is often paired with T’Pau when I write Mirror Universe Vulcans. In the prime universe, he is T’Pol’s eventual husband.
Canon character Lorian is seen during the second E2 kick back in time.
Eriecho’s foster/adoptive father cares for her as if she were his own.
Spock’s father is overwhelmed by the changes wrought by Nero in the JJ Abrams timeline, but he rises to the occasion and accepts his new child.
Eriecho’s mate is a lot younger than she is and was not a good student. Leaving class early saved his life during Nero’s attack on Vulcan. He witnessed the death of Amanda Grayson.
When Soval is a lot older, he experiences difficulty in maintaining emotional control, as I show him in Biases.
Iconic and sometimes hard to pin down, I do better with this classic character in the JJ Abrams universe than in the prime timeline.
Spock’s canon half-brother is redeemed in the Eriecho universe.
In the E2 timeline, during the first kick back in time, Tripp and T’Pol have twins. T’Les is Charlie’s twin.
Often paired with Kefris in the Mirror Universe, T’Pau is brought aboard Empress Hoshi‘s ship when she proves she is a genius in mathematics and physics.
This canon character is easiest for me to write when I remove her emotional control.
Saddik’s love interest also catches Sybok’s eye. In the JJ Abrams timeline, Valeris acts as a Pon Farr comforter, a kind of Vulcan sex worker.
Jolene Tucker Hodgkins
All of these characters are on the older version of the NX-01.
Stellak – Rayna Montgomery’s love interest.
T’Bek – one of Rayna’s teachers (I’ve used this name in a few other places).
T’Mia – one of Rayna’s classmates.
Eriecho universe (JJ Abrams timeline)
T’Moona – in canon, Spock is the child of Sarek and a Vulcan princess. Her name is the Hebrew word for picture.
For a species that I often have difficulty writing, I’ve sure got a lot of instances. Maybe I’ll get this species right someday, without having to strip them of their emotional control.
The actor is well-cast and it’s hard to think of anyone else in the role. Much like Leonard Nimoy and Vulcans, Billingsley essential defines what it means to be a Denobulan.
Personable, cheerful, and kind, Phlox is also, at times, a bit baffled by humans. For starters, at the beginning of the series, he can’t quite figure out the idea behind pets.
This canon relationship is with Phlox’s second wife, of three. The other two are never named in canon. I’ve never written her except in the context of Phlox missing her after the Enterprise is kicked back in time, during E2.
At the end of the pair of canon ENT Mirror Universe episodes, his fate is unknown. But I figure it’s got to be that his days are numbered. Hence, in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, I have Empress Hoshi order his death. When Beth Cutler is given two syringes, one with the proven fast nerve toxin, tricoulamine, and the other with replicated orange juice, the Science technician knows that both shots will kill whoever receives them. She hesitates until Hoshi tells her that she’ll be next if she takes any longer. The choice is to inject either Phlox, or Ian Reed, Malcolm‘s counterpart. With a small sympathy to her fellow Terran, Beth gives Ian the proven fast killing agent. Phlox, unfortunately, suffers at the end.
“Your mating rituals do fascinate me. Always a complicated minuet of sorts. Mind if I observe?”
I don’t write Phlox that much, except in the context of E2 stories and Intolerance. Part of that is to pave the way for other physician characters, such as Blair Claymore, Pamela Hudson, and Cyril Morgan. It’s also because, until Reflections Down a Corridor, I wasn’t really all that comfortable writing him. He’s absent from a lot of my main timeline, and nearly all of my Mirror Universe timeline. Will he return? Yes, although many storylines shut him out completely.
Witannen were a fun creation. Back when I was writing a non-Star Trek time travel series, I had an idea for an alien who would be helping the group.
She would be a member of the first species ever to make contact with humans, and her name would be Otra (she didn’t get a last name until later), and she would be the girlfriend of the leader of the group, the rather non-charismatic Levi Cavendish. She was supposed to be a bit out of proportion to humans, in that she’d have longer legs than we normally do. Otra would also be a light lavender color.
Things have changed
About the only thing she really had which transferred over to what became the Witannen (Wit-ah-nin) is that her hair would be replaced with green vines that would move independently of her. She would be unable to control the vines, and they would be in some sort of a symbiotic relationship with her. The species did not have a name, but their first contact had been preceded by an odd form of prepping the Earth for their arrival – they had sent broadcasts for a good year beforehand, including a popular soap opera. Hence when the aliens arrived in that older series, they were more or less known to humans, and were famous.
Then the species was added to my Star Trek fan fiction, and it got even more interesting.
What Happened to the Witannen
When I began writing Together, I wanted a villain who would be more of a business person than an actual evil being. Ferengi had already been seen in canon Enterprise, so I felt that would be a bit much, to have a second encounter with the Ferengi, without that name being known in the Starfleet database.
Hence they were out. I remembered my strange alien, so I performed some modifications on her.
First, the character in Together would not be Otra at all, who I reserved for a time travel series, Times of the HG Wells. But I really liked the idea of having the character be female, so I created Quellata (Kell-uh-tuh) instead. Quellata would be full-blooded, whereas Otra would be half-human, and so she would get a surname.
To differentiate between the full and half, I decided that full-blooded Witannen would have little vestigial wings. It isn’t until Multiverse II that it becomes clear that Otra just has long lines on her back, where her wings would have been.
The wings would be vestigial, far too small to propel anyone. Hence Quellata would be grounded, and the wings would be more decorative than anything else. This also made it possible for her to wear more or less recognizable clothing.
The proportions were also corrected for human sizes, so that a human actor could conceivably ‘play’ a Witannen. I also dropped the idea of a light lavender complexion, preferring to make them a little less alien in exchange for making them an easier species to picture an actor or actress playing.
A bit brittle, with a superiority complex, Witannen are from the Delta Quadrant. They have good reason to feel good about themselves, as they’ve had Warp Drive for centuries. This makes it easier to look down at Johnny-come-lately species like humans. Quellata refers to her human captives as slime molds, but then again, she’s nasty to everyone.
Their language divides into formal and conversational, both written and oral. Witannen writing is unknown, but their speech is a click language, much like Khoisan and Xhosa on Earth. Their species name does not have a plural, e. g. one Witannen, two Witannen. I’m not sure if I’ll give them any plurals.
Like humans and Vulcans, they are monogamous. And like Vulcans, their pregnancies last longer than ours do.
A lot of them have heads for business. Apart from Quellata, Otra’s own mother, Chefra, also works in the commercial realm, as a dealer in star ship parts. Otra herself is more of a philosopher and missions specialist. An opera singer, a male named Paj Terris, is briefly mentioned in the HG Wells stories. The only other Witannen I have written so far is Adeel, a female athlete in the upcoming Barnstorming series.
The other main characteristic of Witannen is their symbiotic chavecoi (chah-vuh-COY), which evolved from being vines to being more like flowers. They can change color with mood, a fact that makes them rather inconvenient. A Witannen would make a lousy spy. The chavecoi also drink some water on occasion. Hence a character like Otra will sip tea while her chavecoi will dip into a nearby glass of water. The chavecoi are alarmed by caffeine if they accidentally taste tea or coffee, and they can become drunk if they intake alcohol. Their purpose is survival; in the event of a drought, they can photosynthesize in order to keep their host alive. Further, according to Multiverse II, they can be adversely affected by radiation, but they can be cured (as can their host) by stem cell growth accelerator.
I loved creating them, but the best-realized character is Otra, by far. How well-realized will the others ever become? I don’t know, or maybe another character will be created, perhaps another male.
The species will return, particularly as I continue to explore the Otra-Levi dynamic, but I’m not so sure about going beyond that, as of the writing of this blog post.
In response to Blog Prompt #8, my main participation in other fandoms is in reading or in viewing. I know of fan fiction works in any number of other fandoms (they’re all over fanfiction.net), but I don’t find myself participating in them. Rather, I step back and mostly leave it to the professionals.
But not completely, as I’ve recently done some informal beta reading of some Bilbo/Thorin slash in the Hobbit universe.
In all honesty, I’m not so sure how I feel about it. I like my friend’s work, and I think it’s respectful and true to the characters. The voices seem authentic, even if the actions seem less so. Slash doesn’t make me squeamish, but I think this may bug me a tad as these are characters I read about when I was very young (as in, if memory serves, eight years old). Also knowing enough of Tolkein’s motivations – he had wanted to write a boy’s adventure story and he’s not much for female characters. Hence there are a lot of guys.
It makes me wonder if the times had been different, if we wouldn’t see slash arising from classic war pictures. E. g. Stalag 17 or The Great Escape or The Longest Day. Some of this may be why I’m so drawn to developing and realizing historical crossovers, e. g. Concord and Day of the Dead.
Does it inspire me? I’ve been checking out Game of Thrones a bit recently, and that, coupled with listening to Jane Austen’s Emma on podcast, is starting to creep into the language and speech patterns I use for some characters, particularly for Vulcans. I often have major issues with writing Vulcans unless I logically impair them somehow. But giving them Regency speech patterns seems to be assisting with that. I don’t know if that’s inspiration for me. Perhaps a more descriptive term would be a paradigm shift. So maybe I’ll finally get better at writing standard-form Vulcans, and will give them more dialogue than just saying that something is logical or fascinating.
Why Haven’t I Leaped?
The only other fandom where I was actually inspired to write anything (but never finished it, alas), is Quantum Leap.
Beyond enjoying the show, I did start to write a story, about a stockbroker at the time of the 1987 crash. I recall the guy was African-American and his name was Jordan something or other (like Gordon Gekko, huh) and was called Jordo. He was going to find his happy ending by quitting and taking up with the woman who worked at the local coffee shop, if I am remembering it all correctly.
I was never inspired to finish it, although I did create the HG Wells stories as a kind of anti-Quantum Leap. The idea is to be where people (almost like Sam and Al) try to improve the future by ‘fixing’ the past.
I decided that the idea is, ultimately, an arrogant one. What if the fixing screwed everything else up, making it even worse?
But as for the actual fandom story, no, it died a long, long time ago and was never revived. I’m not even so sure why I selected the main A story for it, but I know I was keeping with their canon, which puts Beckett’s leaps into about 1953 to 2010 or so. But truly, the 1987 crash was not that compelling a news flash, at least not for this sort of drama.
I’m a fan of any number of works. I’ll watch James Bond films on a rainy day, or the Planet of the Apes movies, or Star Wars. I don’t run to turn off Doctor Who or Red Dwarf. I still love everything I’ve seen of Peter Jackson’s take on the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, even though I’ve watched much of it multiple times.
But none of them move me to write, or at least to finish. And none of them have inspired me to such creativity as Trek does.
I guess this is just the universe that speaks to me the most, and the best, and the clearest. This is the one that tells me to write.
I can’t recall the precise circumstances, but I was a fairly new member of Ad Astra and we were talking about mixed-species couples in Star Trek fanfiction.
My point was, as we get deeper and deeper into the future, we’d start to see a lot of – to us – bizarre combinations.
Why wouldn’t a Gorn recite love poetry to a lovely, blushing Cardassian maiden?
And so someone threw the gauntlet down and told me, write this.
For teenaged boys Bron and Skrol, the upcoming Sadie Hawkins dance is an occasion for nerves. Skrol is trying to make time with his girl, Tr’Dorna. Skrol encourages Bron to ask out Tr’Dorna’s roommate, Etrina. But Bron will have none of that – he likes Sophra.
Oh, and did I mention that the boys are Gorn, Etrina and Tr’Dorna are Xindi Reptilian, and Sophra (and her roommate, Ylinka) is a Cardassian?
Perhaps that detail shouldn’t have been left out.
But, truly, teens are teens, wherever you go, and whatever age adolescence happens for a particular species (for Vulcans, it apparently happens somewhat later). And so there is a bit of a push and pull. Who will end up together? Will she accept or repel Bron’s advances? Bron’s got a secret weapon, but you’ll have to read the story in order to find out just what it is.
Finally, orn are nearly universally hissing, sneering bad guys, and I wanted there to be a way to redeem them. After all, they’re not too terribly different from Xindi Reptilians, and that species saw redemption by the end of ENT. Plus, I would hope that, eventually, the entire galaxy will be at peace. That means breaking bread with Gorn. And if they are at all like Bron, and even Skrol, it’ll be easy.