So We Meet Again – Just after the NX-01 is decommissioned in 2162, Travis heads to Philadelphia to mourn Tripp Tucker and think about his next career move.
In canon, there is virtually nothing shown about anyone’s recovery from Tucker’s untimely demise.
It is as if it never mattered in the first place.
In response to a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about entertainment, I made the decision to go dark and most decidedly not fluffy.
The story begins with Travis feeling a little lost. Very briefly, I mention that the final movie night has been held on the NX-01 prior to its decommissioning, and that the film Chip chose was the first James Bond movie, Dr. No.
He has little to do or think about, and his family is on the freighter, anyway. With no one to visit and just a little bit doubtful as to whether Captain Archer wants him back for the DC-1500 USS Zefram Cochrane, Travis goes to a nearby station and visits a ticket agent. He gives her an undisclosed amount of cash and just asks, “Where can this take me?” She gives him a few options and he chooses Philadelphia.
I did not choose Philly for any particular reason. I just like the city (I lived outside it for a few years as a child) and it is a readily recognizable place which would still exist during that time period.
However, Travis has no ties to it whatsoever. For him, it’s just a means of getting away from it all.
I enjoy this actor’s performances and respect the casting decision 100% for my Star Trek fanfiction.
Abrasive and capricious, Zef is grounded by Lily. In a ruined post-World War III landscape, she helps him focus on what will become not only the greatest achievement of his life, it will likely be one of the greatest achievements in all of human history – the invention of Warp Drive.
This relationship is hinted at in canon, but never fully realized. In my fan fiction, I have decided that they marry. He is eventually widowed, in A Single Step. With her dying breath’s encouragement, she tells him to make his life out in the stars.
A Mirror Universe version of Zef is canon, and he shoots the first Vulcan he sees, on First Contact Day.
I haven’t written him yet (and the actor in the image isn’t even Cromwell), but I bet he’d be a kick to write. He would probably descend more or less completely into alcoholism after killing the Vulcans and stealing their ship and its technology.
“Don’t be getting no weapons! I will defend what’s mine!”
I am hoping for a chance to write him again, possibly in a Mirror Universe scenario.
Memory. For a monthly prompt about memory, I decided to go with the story of the death of a crewman who nobody really remembered that clearly.
It’s the post-Fortune time period, on acting Captain Malcolm Reed‘s ship, the Zefram Cochrane. Chip comes over to Deb and tells her that Kelsey killed himself. Shocked, Deb and Chip realize that she knew Kelsey better than anyone, even the man’s new boss, Aidan. As Malcolm confers with Dr. Morgan about Haber’s death (he swallowed a tricoulamine capsule, same as the future Melissa Madden), Deb recalls an incident with Kelsey, where he ended up revealing something rather private to her.
I have no reason to believe that suicide will go away in the future; people will just find different ways to do the deed. Further, I’ve always been troubled by Star Trek not giving below decks characters their due. While I understand the constraints of a one-hour-long television format, it still feels wrong for seven or so characters to be the only people who anyone really knows. This was touched upon a bit in the Star Trek: Enterprise canon episode, The Forgotten. I just wanted to be sure that Kelsey wouldn’t be forgotten, either.
This smart and interesting actress always seems to be working on fascinating projects.
Wise and feisty, Lily has lived through the worst of the Third World War and come out of it alive. She remains optimistic enough to feel that the Earth has a future, but realistic enough to know that building a Warp One rocket is the best way to fully realize that future.
Semi-canon, semi-non, Lily and Zef marry. It’s later in life for them.
They don’t (I think) have children. Theirs is an affection born of a mature understanding.
In A Single Step, it’s the end of Lily’s life, and Zef is there, calling her Princess and begging her not to die. But lung cancer is going to get her, and there is nothing he can do to stop it. On her deathbed, she tells him to see the stars, and she’ll be hiding out in some nebula.
This was Templar Sora’s great blog prompt. He asked two questions.
What kind of crossing over do we do as writers?
What kind of crossing over do we want to see?
My Own Crossovers
I’ve done the crossover dance many times. A lot of it is in the context of interphases.
A Single Step
For A Single Step, a story about first contact with the Caitians, I pulled together elements from TAS, the Star Trek: First Contact film and even a smidgen of ENT, as an elderly Zefram Cochrane and his wife entertain the first Caitian that any humans ever meet.
Another Piece of the Action
For this collaboration with thebluesman, we crossed together a bit of ENT (the Daniels character) with TOS, as Kirk and company meet the Iotians again, in Another Piece of the Action.
This enormous Round Robin story, Multiverse II, is a crossover by definition, as canon and original characters mix genres and eras.
These Are the Destinations
This work in progress will cross between ENT and a very specific TOS episode, and a little bit with the JJ Abrams universe as well.
Crossovers I’d Like to See
I’m not sure. I think one kind of crossover that I don’t want to see is anything relying too heavily on deus ex machina. That generally means anything with supernatural elements like vampires, or comic books. I don’t mind characters making contact with spiritual-type elements (Lili does a lot of this, particularly in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, but it’s in the context of conversations and nothing really out there happens, like characters rising from the dead, for example), but flat-out characters being bitten by radioactive spiders and suddenly getting superpowers? I just don’t want to see it. I don’t want to have to cross stories that are pretty close to being realistic with those that are so far away from realism as all that. Maybe I’m just not adventurous enough.
Because I enjoy history very much, I think what I would really like to see is more of a stylistic crossover than an actual character and scene mashup. Has anyone ever written Star Trek in the style of Ernest Hemingway, or Miguel de Cervantes?
Now, as a sequel to Where Did it All Begin?, I’d like to give a little information on where I am now, and where Star Trek is, from my own perspective.
This image was taken in 2017 and it’s more or less an accurate representation of the real-life jes.
I turn fifty-five in September of 2017.
My Own Personal Fandom
Given my age, you’d think I’d be a big TOS fan. And, while I am a fan (and I recall seeing at least some of it in what was likely first run), my heart really belongs more to ENT. I love it for its closeness to us, its passion, its flawed characters who change and grow, and the fact that the tech is far from perfect.
Plus I know the many, many flaws in ENT. I have had them pointed out to me numerous times (so many people seem to love doing that). Still and all, I enjoy it immensely.
TOS and TAS (I really put them together) are second for me. I like the drama and the writing, much of which was really terrific. The effects and animation are abysmal, and the costumes and makeup aren’t too good, either, so a lot of the tension comes about from the acting and the writing. I also enjoy the social commentary in a lot of the stories. And, much like in ENT, there are real senses of danger there. You do sometimes wonder if/how they’re going to make it.
I suppose TNG comes in at third for me, and more because of the trio of Wesley, Geordi and Data. I also like Beverly, and I like Miles and Keiko. Picard is … okay. I am not a rabid, screaming fan girl about Patrick Stewart although I certainly appreciate his talent. But I do feel that the ship was too huge and luxurious, and a lot of hazards were bred out of the experience. As Q says (and I like him, too), space is dangerous. And they (and we) should not forget that. As for Riker, the less said, the better.
If I had to select a fourth, it would probably be, really, VOY. I like the generalized idea of it. Travel stories have been around since the Odyssey andThe Canterbury Tales, and probably before then, too. But I tend to like only isolated bits, and they are usually the parts that other people don’t care for at all.
Then, it’s a tie between the films and DS9. The films are okay and I have not seen all of them – I haven’t even seen more than bits of The Wrath of Khan. Some moments in various films stand out – the trial on Kronos and imprisonment on Rura Penthe, T’Saavik emotionlessly reporting David Marcus’s death, saving the whales, Zefram Cochrane doing his thing, and even Kirk’s death (I love how it was small and non-heroic, because the end of life is far more likely to be like that). But then there’s tons that’s just meh to me, from the overly-loving closeups of the Enterprise in the first film, to the Sybok wackiness of the fifth film.
I don’t hate the 2009 film and I do believe it’s Trek (and I find it weird sour grapes for people to declare that it isn’t Star Trek because they don’t like it. Tough, it’s Trek, get over it now). But it’s not a fave. It’s … okay. I am not a fan of pure action flicks and it was pretty close to that. Also, I have not yet seen Into Darkness. I loved Star Trek Beyond.
As for Deep Space Nine, I’ve always had trouble getting into it. I like Louise Fletcher as Kai Winn, and I like Dr. Bashir. Plus I like the idea of the Trill. After that, I get a meh vibe. Sorry to those who love it.
I got into writing Star Trek fanfiction in 2005 and then promptly gave it up for five years. During that time period, my attitude changed considerably, and then suddenly it was October of 2010 and I was spinning Reversal out of whole cloth. And it became a monster that launched two big series and tons of stories, and, no lie, hundreds of thousands of words.
Including, of course, this blog and its accompanying website.
I am writing, or I am thinking about writing nearly every single day.
Others’ Fan Fiction
I generally enjoy reading others’ works although time doesn’t always permit that I really look super-closely. I try to give a story a chance, at least for a while. For a 60+ chapter story, that might be five to eight chapters. And for a 20,000 word story, it might be only one or two chapters. For a less than 10,000 word story, it will probably be the entire thing.
I make an effort to go out of my comfort zone and read stories that take place in eras or on ships that I do not know. That often means Deep Space Nine although it can also mean various expanded universes. There are so many missing pieces in canon that it is very possible to set an entire universe within the missing bits, and that’s even how In Between Days was originally going to be.
I also make an effort to constructively critique so, yeah, that can sometimes mean that my reviews are less than perfectly positive. If I feel isn’t an accurately portrayal of a canon character, I try to alert the writer. I have had that pointed out to me before, and I usually use it as a means of reverse-engineering some sort of an explanation. After all, there are times when people behave out of character, and it’s not always mold spores or radiation or the like. Sometimes it’s grief, or loneliness, or drugs or just a desire to shake things up.
For More, More, More! one critique was that Malcolm likely would not be helping to arrange the party. But I decided, no, he would be, as he would prefer an organized means of fraternizing with his shipmates and the NX-02, as opposed to the chance element inherent in more casual contact. I reverse-engineered in the explanation in the sequel story, On the Radio. This not only fixed what wasn’t necessarily that big a problem, it also added a little more depth to the subsequent tale.
As for original characters, a lot of people, when they are inexperienced, tend to either stick just with a kind of canon alternative (which is what Doug Beckett was originally) or they are golden children of canon (more or less a type of canon alternate – Jia Sulu was a little like that) or they are out and out Mary Sues (Lili can be borderline at times, but her overall arc isn’t, and I work hard to keep her out of that zone). A few thoughts on that, if I may.
Mary Sue, How Do You Do?
Consider the following characteristics – beauty, intelligence, social ease, heroism and physical prowess of any sort.How many of these characteristics does your character have? Lili, for example, has intelligence and social ease. Pamela has beauty and intelligence. Doug has intelligence and physical prowess, and eventually has heroism. Malcolm and Jay both have intelligence and physical prowess, usually mixed with heroism. Blair has beauty, intelligence and social ease. But nobody’s got all of these characteristics.
And that’s the idea. Characters, like people, should not be perfect in every way. This goes for villains as well as heroes (so substitute the term villainy for heroism, above). For those five main traits, one or two are fine, and three are okay but may be pushing it. Four is really starting to push it. All five strains credulity to the breaking point. I see far too many original characters who can do no wrong and are in the five zone.
I also try to get a sense from an author (and if I can ask him or her, all the better) about an elevator pitch-style story. I pay attention not only to what they suggest, but also to elements like the story’s length. After all, if you feel that I won’t understand your universe without reading 100,000 words, you aren’t necessarily showing a lot of respect for my time and interest level.
I have time to read fan fiction, yes. I concede the point. And it doesn’t have to be a drabble and we’re done. I do have a longer attention span than that. But my time is not infinite. I wish it was but, alas, it is not. If I read your 100,000 words, sight unseen, that will take up a pretty significant chunk of my time. You are telling me that we cannot date, and the only way I will know you is to get married. For a decade.
Hence I now try to keep the idea of an elevator pitch in mind, and can easily single out three stories of mine that fit that bill – The Light, The Cure is Worse than the Disease, and Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions. All three are fairly short and are completely self-contained. The reader does not need to know the remainder of my mythos in order to understand them but, if the reader does go back and read that, he or she will get another dimension on each of these stories. I don’t present this idea as a perfect one, but I do hope that other authors will at least consider something like that. It’s just easier for the reader.
Fandom has allowed me to step into a number of fascinating and beautiful worlds. I can only hope that what I have created is one-tenth as entertaining for my own readers. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations – now those are words to live by.
Day of the Dead. More than just a holiday, it also references the horrors of a particularly infamous period is history. On Ad Astra, there was a prompt about the burdens of command.
I had been kicking around an idea about Tripp Tucker being caught in a temporal interphase (which is canon in Star Trek) and liberating the Dachau concentration camp. Hence I decided to put that together with the prompt.
The idea about Dachau was to tie into Milena Chelenska, who is Richard Daniels‘s love interest. For her, there would be a bit of a back story, as Tripp would deal with the problems that come along with witnessing just so much horror.
Furthermore, there would be a tie into Wesley Crusher, as I liked the little family and backstory I had created for him in Crackerjack and wanted to revisit some of that as well.
The backdrop to it would be Halloween, and then the Day of the Dead.
As Halloween rolls around – and this is the last Halloween of Tucker’s life, although of course he doesn’t know that – Tripp arranges with Chip Masterson to have a number of classic horror films shown. On the actual day, they show John Carpenter’s Halloween.
But before that, the NX-01 goes about some of its regular business. And the reader should be seeing that life is going on, and they are all moving forward with their lives.
For Movie Night, he can’t ask either T’Pol or Hoshi to join him, as they are both exes of his. These are references to the Star Trek: Enterprise canon relationship with T’Pol and the fanfiction relationship in Together. But he sees MACO Corporal Amanda Cole, and begins to flirt with her rather openly. Phlox is also present, and they talk about the picture.
Meanwhile – well, meanwhile in the story, but not in history – Wesley Crusher is considering the aftermath of a static warp bubble experiment where his mother, Beverly, could have lost her life. But he’s lost the warp bubble, and doesn’t know where it went.
Nope, it’s just another temporal-spatial-somatic interphase, much as happened in Concord.
So, where does Tucker end up? Why, he’s in the Forty-Second Infantry Division, and it’s April 29th of 1945. They are about to liberate the Dachau concentration camp.
The remainder of the story deals with Tucker’s displacement, getting him back, and how both the NX-01 and the Enterprise-D work to solve their own, respective, problems.
As the plot unfolds, classic spooky music shows up, and each chapter begins and ends with lyrics as follows –
I added a number of questions about command and promotions, as characters flirt with garnering more responsibility, and how they will deal with such things. In addition, the changes made during the story have the potential to affect the principals for years to come. The burdens of memory and the horrors of war intersect, as Tucker discards his love of horror, and Wesley thinks outside of his own personal bubble, and they both think and act outside themselves.
In 2012, Trek BBS held a monthly fan fiction challenge called “Meet the Neighbors”. The idea was to show a first contact.
I decided to pull in a few elements and bring them together, from canon and fanfiction, films and television.
In the Star Trek First Contact TNG film, it’s established that the Borg almost assimilated us before we ever got the first Warp One ship in the air (the Phoenix). Furthermore, it shows, at the end, Zefram Cochrane and Lily Sloane joining hands. In the Original Series, Zefram Cochrane is later found on Gamma Canaris. He’s single, and he is older, but is being kept young by a mysterious companion. In the Animated Series, there is a species called Caitians, but their First Contact is not in canon. Furthermore, I have a non-sentient original species called the Derellian bat. This bat has been in all sorts of places – in Reversal, Temper, Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses and Intolerance, just to name a few.
The story begins with Lily and Zefram, an aged couple living their final years on the Alpha Centauri Colony. But all is not right, as Lily coughs a lot, and is tired. She’s dying of lung cancer.
There is a light in the sky, and a crash. They go to investigate, and it turns out that an alien ship has arrived. The hatch is opened by a most curious creature. M’Roan looks like a cat, but he’s wearing clothing and he’s about the same size as Lily and Zef. He’s also bipedal. He’s got a small cut, and the Derellian bat shows off a little minor empathic healing qualities and closes up the wound.
M’Roan sees too deeply into Zef’s life, but that is the basis of a friendship. And, in the end, he and Zef take the bat and take off, for “the second nebula on the right and parts unknown“.
I enjoyed putting this one together, and I liked the portrayal of an older couple very much. This is also, currently, one of the few death scenes I’ve written where the dying character does not see a transition, or at least does not describe it.
I also think the wrapping together of the film, the three series, one film and fanfiction all works together. Jonathan Archer is also shouted out to, making this story, in reality, a quintuple crossover. I’m very pleased with it.