A History of the Star Trek Mirror Universe
The Thought Experiment
The Mirror Universe, for many writers and fans, is a big, campy laugh. I see it as totalitarianism. During Empress Hoshi’s time (from 2155 in canon, to 2245, in my fan fiction) in particular, it’s tarted-up totalitarianism, a kind of Brave New World in garters. And the Empress Hoshi Sato is the biggest tart of them all. Essentially, everyone is their own evil twin. The story lines are far bolder, and more aggressive. The uniforms are sexier. Life is a lot cheaper, too. What is a (somewhat) plausible explanation for why the mirror is the way it is? The Mirror Universe has the following characteristics:
- Increased aggression
- Increased recklessness
- More men on the ships than women
- More wars
- All literature is different, at least slightly, except for Shakespeare
- There are references to ancient Rome
- The government is an Empire, at least for a long period of time
- Technology, at least when it comes to space travel, is apparently mainly stolen, rather than developed
An easy explanation for as many of these observations as possible was my first thought: everyone’s on steroids. My second idea was that there was some sort of reason for so many men, and such a tipping into aggression and other more “male” traits. The third piece of it was ancient Rome. How could that tie in?
The Y Chromosome Skew
To explain as much as possible about the mirror without having to continually launch into a lot of long, drawn-out explanations, the easiest explanation is a fast-moving genetic mutation, one that runs through the genome like a forest fire.
Marcus was a real historical figure. In ancient Rome, he was a tribune in 450 BC. Now for my spin.
In the mirror, Marcus had a genetic mutation (the Y Chromosome Skew). As a result, he produced sperm that were about 75% XY (e. g. with the potential for creating sons) and 25% XX (with the potential for fathering daughters). The true ratio is a lot closer to 50-50. Marcus was drenched in testosterone and, as a result, was bigger and stronger than most men, too. He was also (and this is where fantasy truly takes its leave from reality) better-endowed than most men, and was a better lover. Hence Marcus had the following things going on with him:
- He was constantly on the make for women, even though he was married. He had countless mistresses and dalliances with women in all levels of Roman society. He was just as likely to have sex with respectable matrons as with slave girls.
- He was a good lover, so women sought to keep him. And, if they told their friends, those women also tried to make it with Marcus.
- His sperm were stronger and more resilient than that of a normal man, so he was more likely to father a child if there was any chance of it at all. E. g. a woman could be two or three weeks away from ovulating, and there would still be a pretty decent chance of him impregnating her.
- He was stronger, and could fight, so he could fend off rivals. And he was rarely too tired for sex, and could be described as “endlessly insatiable”.
- He was also a good provider, working hard to support any known children, legitimate or not.
- He was a good father, working to ensure the success of his offspring, and them reaching the age of maturity.
- He passed the mutation on to all of his sons, without exception.
Immediate Effects of the Y Chromosome Skew
The two things that a genetic mutation needs to get a foothold are:
- The creation of offspring with the mutation and
- Those offspring being more likely to survive long enough to pass on the mutation.
The Y Chromosome Skew takes that to extremes. Marcus fathers dozens of children, by all sorts of women. He creates a boatload of genetic diversity, all by himself. He also works to assure the survival of his offspring. His children all inherit these tendencies from him.
Long-Term Effects of the Y Chromosome Skew
By fathering a few dozen offspring with the skew, these sons fanned out across the Roman Republic and, later, the Empire. Just like Marcus, they were endlessly insatiable, but were also good providers and good fathers. As time went on, skewed males began to crowd out non-skewed males. They could fight for their women, and the women were much more likely to select them, anyway.
While it is still possible in the 2150s to be a non-skewed male, the percentage is small, and the chances of those men passing along their genes are greatly diminished. José Torres does not have the skew, so if he is Arashi Sato‘s father, then Arashi does not have it, either. However, all of the Empress’s other sons have it, even Jun.
Societal Effects of the Skew
Society tips more in favor of hunting and warfare, and away from agriculture and peace.
Artists become rather rare, and become valued. However, even though women become rarer, they are far less valued, and tend to be treated like dirt most of the time, even when Empress Hoshi is in charge of things. As a result, women’s roles are mostly subordinate. There are women on star ships more because the men will all tear each other apart if there aren’t, as opposed to any other real reason. In Temper, in an alternate timeline, the Empress has forbidden all relationships except for her own, and every man is theoretically supposed to be available to her. Some women, such as Science Officer Lucy Stone, and Shelby Pike, the pilot, have some status, but the vast majority of women are oppressed like Karin Bernstein, Blair Claymore, and Pamela Hudson, who exist as little more than playthings for José Torres.
The Five Signs of Weakness
As befits life in an evil universe, every child learns a tarnished set of rules, meant to be a perversion of the ten commandments. These are meant to supplement the Y Chromosome Skew with a messed-up set of values. They are:
- I will never show physical weakness. – In practice, this means that Mirror soldiers don’t admit to hunger, thirst or fatigue.
- I will never show weakness in trade. – In practice, everyone in the Mirror is out to get more than they put into any dealings.
- I will not show mental weakness. – In practice, Mirror personnel try to learn things quickly.
- I will not show weakness in my dealings with others. – In practice, Mirror people don’t admit to fear, or to love.
- I will never show weakness when it comes to justice. – In practice, Mirror soldiers will not break under torture.
In canon, everything in our universe vibrates on a 21 centimeter radiation band (see the Next Generation episode, “Galaxy’s Child”), and there are numerous alternates, but you can distinguish them by matching their quantum signatures (see the Next Generation episode, “Parallels”). The 21 centimeter notion dovetails with the very real hydrogen line.
I have taken these ideas and run with them. Therefore, in my fanfiction, the Prime Universe vibrates on a 21 centimeter radiation band, and the Mirror Universe vibrates at 20 centimeters. The band can be passed on to descendants, but hybridization exists, so the child of a 21 mother and a 20 father will have a radiation band of 20.5 centimeters.
The thing that is always most unbelievable, when Trekkies look too closely at the Mirror
Universe, is how there are so many perfect counterparts. At the absolute minimum, how could the dice roll the same way so many times? The answer is, to be sure, that this is fiction. But I also got to thinking about how this could be explained within my own ideas, and I came up with some ways it could happen, and other ways that it could not.
It is a lot easier for counterparts to not occur, and so there are plenty of instances within my fiction where a character exists, say, here, but not in the mirror. Richard Daniels does not exist in the mirror, and neither do the Beckett children. There are also characters who only exist in the mirror, such as the Sato children, and Lili’s counterpart’s younger brother, Declan O’Day. I also added variant counterparts, who are not perfect. These are actually canon – in our universe, Archer’s boss is Maxwell Forrest; in the Mirror Universe, he’s Maximillian Forrest. In the mirror, Archer has black hair, not brown, and Porthos is a beagle in our universe, but is a rottweiler in the mirror.
In my fiction, Jay and Doug are not perfect counterparts, as Doug is born two days before Jay (that was actually to correct an error I had made about the birth date of the actor). Other variants have to do with character names (which also makes it easier for the reader to follow who is who), as Beth and Liz are counterparts, and Lili and Charlotte are, and as Malcolm and Ian are. Still other variations happen when a descendant character is born but the parentage does not match. Ken Masterson, for example, is the child of Chip Masterson and Deborah Haddon in our universe. In the mirror, because Deb has died, Ken is the child of Chip and Lucy Stone, and so he is a bit darker.
One way that to handle the similarity issue is to have counterparts drawn to the same people, so long as those people are available. Ian explains this, by stating that, counterpart to counterpart, people fall in love with the same people. Ian does not fall in love during his life, because Charlotte dies young. When preferred mates are not available, counterparts seek others, and it can be a bit of a kick to show the differences. In our universe, Lucy Stone ends up with Andrew Miller. And in our universe, it’s Jennifer Crossman and Frank Ramirez who marry, whereas in the mirror, they date but do not get that serious, and she ends up with a Calafan husband. Because of being drawn together emotionally, a lot of differences can resolve themselves over the course of a generation or two, thereby bringing the mirror back to being close to the prime universe (and thereby justifying why there are so many counterparts). Keep in mind, also, that talented people in either universe will serve on starships, and that also brings similar people together, whereas less talented folk will end up elsewhere and, presumably, will marry dissimilar persons and there will be fewer counterparts.
These are analogous characters who are not counterparts. The Beckett children in our universe, and the Sato offspring in the mirror, are intended as analogues. More specifically, they work out as follows:
- Joss Beckett is an analogue to Jun Sato, as they are both first-born children, older than the others and with a heightened sense of duty.
- Marie Patrice Beckett and Takara Sato are analogues, not only because they are the only females, but also because they are (sometimes) more sympathetic.
- Tommy Digiorno-Madden is analogous to Izo Sato, for they are both impulsive warrior types.
- Neil Digiorno-Madden is an analogue to Arashi Sato, as they are the ones with heads for business.
- Declan Reed and Kira Sato are analogues, because they both represent outsiders.
- Kevin Madden-Beckett is analogous to Takeo Sato, as they both represent unknown potential.
Story-telling in the Mirror
For In Between Days, it’s the act of Doug changing from a mirror man to a prime universe man that drives a lot of the overall story arc. In HG Wells, the mirror represents a great deal of forbidden activity, and that activity has come with rather unpleasant consequences that drive a lot of Rick‘s actions. Only the stories with scenes from the mirror are listed below. Eventually, all stories will be placed into Hall of Mirrors context. All stories are Rated K unless otherwise stated.
In Between Days Series
In the Mirror, one casual slip of the tongue spells disaster for Lili‘s counterpart and her family. Takes place in June of 2118. Rated T.
A power vacuum is always filled in the Mirror Universe. Rated T.
In 2155, Doug Hayes remembers his childhood. This story won the January 2012 Monthly Challenge at Ad Astra.
When Temporal Agent Richard Daniels returns from a 2156 mission to the NX-01, he learns that a careless decision by omission has ripped through the timeline and unforeseen consequences change the history of the Mirror Universe. Rated K+.
Meet Lili O’Day, NX-01 sous-chef, middle-aged single gal and all-around drudge. All she’s really got to look forward to is hearing from Chef whatever he wants her to help him make. She is, in fact, a talented chef herself, but she lacks confidence and so stays on the sidelines. Until one day, when she starts having interesting dreams. Rated T.
Just after the events depicted in Reversal, the Empress Hoshi Sato is bested by a wilier female.
On April 9, 2160, Charles, Beth and Charlie become citizens of the Mirror Lafa System.
New Year’s Day of 2161 brings a fresh threat to the Empress and her family.
It was the last place he wanted to go. But it was his family at stake, so he went back. Rated T/M.
Can you give the gift of forgiveness in order to move forward? What happens in the end? Is there something beyond? What endures? Rated M.
On January first of 2176, Susan Cheshire makes a decision in both universes.
Independence begins and ends in early 2192, for Leah Benson and her counterpart as they face challenges in both universes. Rated T.
In 2192, Andrew Miller remembers the events of 2166 as he makes his escape from the Empress Hoshi Sato.
Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?
On May the 12th of 2245, there is a death, and it has a few complications.
- Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown? on Fanfiction.net
- Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown? on Fictionpad
The Times of the HG Wells Series
Pat the Bunny
Richard Daniels and Aramjul Sika find out just why the Borg never really got any traction in the Mirror Universe.
In January of 3109, Eleanor Daniels lectures young students on the ways of the Mirror Universe.
On February 3, 1959, three musicians died in a plane crash at Clear Lake, Iowa. Don McLean called it “The Day the Music Died”. What happens if, instead, the music lives? Rated T.
Tin Soldiers and Nixon’s Comin’, to Kent State, on May 4th, 1970. What happens when a bullet hits the wrong girl? Rated T.
Vacation time, to 1960 Rome! But they weren’t alone. Rated T.
The Point is Probably Moot
How could it be wrong for her to be alive again? Rated T.
Shake Your Body
Florida, 1986, where there’s going to be a disaster. Or is there? Rated T.
He Stays a Stranger
How, exactly, could he put back time if he’d been erased from history? And once it was back, did he have even an outside shot at happiness? Rated T.
In 3111, Otra has a vision of a temporal, somatic and spatial switcheroo that overwhelms her. Rated K+.
The Original Series
On the ISS NCC-1701 Enterprise, the captain’s dalliance has a surprise in store for him. Takes place in 2267 and is an adjunct to the first canon Mirror Universe story, Mirror, Mirror. Rated T.
On the ISS NCC-1701 Enterprise, a body is found, and an investigation is begun. Takes place in 2267 and is an adjunct to the first canon Mirror Universe story, Mirror, Mirror.
Dominion War Aftermath
Smash Your Dominion
This a Mirror Universe version of Hold Your Dominion as imagined if a network executive demanded that an MU episode be written. Takes place in 2380. Rated T.