I had discussions with the authors of the 40th-anniversary anthology. They were urged to push the envelope while still striving for a classic feel. It was a tall order and a fine line to walk, but all the authors rose to the occasion admirably. Constellations is intended to be accessible, as if the stories are part of an unearthed fourth season of Star Trek: The Original Series. The anthology's title relates to Star Trek's elevation in the last four decades to a kind of living pop-culture mythology. Constellations, after all, represent classic tales in the night sky — mythic stories strewn across the galaxy. What more appropriate name for a new collection of original Trek fiction?
— Constellations editor Marco Palmieri, quoted in Star Trek Magazine, Sept/Oct 2006.
A Quick Introduction
Annotations for Star Trek novels? Been done before. Annotations for Star Trek short stories? Can't think of a precedent. Then why write annotations for short stories that, in the words of anthology editor Marco Palmieri, are "intended to be accessible"? Why not?
Naturally, these annotations contain spoilers — in some cases massive spoilers — for the stories in Constellations. Reading these annotations should not be a substitute for reading the anthology. But for readers curious about the writing process, curious about taking a peak behind the curtain, there are treasures here to be found.
In general, citations to other works will be as follows:
Television episodes are listed in quotation marks, followed by an abbreviation of the TV show in question:
TOS=the live-action Star Trek (1966-1969)
TAS=the animated Star Trek (1973-1975)
TNG=Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
DS9=Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999)
VOY=Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)
ENT=Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005)
Movie titles are listed in bold.
Novel and eBook titles are listed in italics, followed by the author of the novel or eBook, with abbreviations indicating series:
ST=Star Trek (general)
TOS=Star Trek (the original series)
TNG=The Next Generation
DS9=Deep Space Nine
SCE=S.C.E. (Starfleet Corps of Engineers)
Any comments, questions, or mistakes, please let Allyn Gibson know. And now, without further ado, on to the annotations!
First, Do No Harm
Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
The numerical designation for this planet is taken from Dayton Ward's birth month and year. Says Dayton, "Boring, I know, but it was the first thing that came to mind. Sue me."
This medication designed to treat humanoids for radiation exposure was first referenced in the original series episode "The Deadly Years." It would later be referenced in various episodes of the 24th century-era Star Trek series.
The shuttlecraft Columbus
First referenced in the original series episode "The Galileo Seven."
"A7 computer specialist's rating"
Spock tells Dr. Richard Daystrom that he holds an "A7 computer expert classification" in the original series episode "The Ultimate Computer." Fat lot of good it did him in that episode, and it's not much use either to him or Ensign Chekov in this story, either. Whoops.
That dour flag officer who seems to take great joy in sending Kirk to places he doesn't want to go, is first referenced in the original series episode "This Side of Paradise," and is later seen in "Amok Time." Oddly, the actor who portrayed Komack in that episode, Byron Morrow, would later be seen as a different admiral in "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky."
The Starfleet Medical Journal
Though it makes perfect sense that such a publication would exist, the Starfleet Medical Journal doesn't seem to actually be referenced by name until the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Body and Soul."
Transporters and "biomatter transport"
The latter term was first heard in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Broken Bow," when we learn that transporters had only recently been approved for use on living beings.
"Sir, a fragment of burning ash has landed on your clothing. Let me help you."
Spock's line of dialogue before disabling the Grennai worker with a nerve pinch is a tip of the hat to "A Taste of Armageddon" (TOS), when Spock uses a similar distraction tactic to incapacitate an Eminian guard.
After the nerve pinch, Spock and Kirk's dialogue about Kirk ever learning the technique echoes similar exchanges from the original series, most notably "The Omega Glory" (TOS).
The Landing Party
James T. Kirk
First introduced in "Where no Man has Gone Before" (TOS).
First introduced in "The Corbomite Maneuver" (TOS).
First introduced in "Where no Man has Gone Before" (TOS), Sulu received his first name in Vonda McIntyre's Star Trek novel, The Entropy Effect.
First introduced in "Where no Man has Gone Before" (TOS).
Nurse Christine Chapel
First introduced in "The Naked Time" (TOS).
First introduced in "The Cage" (TOS).
The disastrous mission to the edge of the galaxy was of course chronicled in "Where no Man has Gone Before" (TOS). The ship's helmsman was Lee Kelso, the senior navigator was Gary Mitchell and the ship's psychiatrist was Elizabeth Dehner.
The communications officer first introduced in "Where no Man has Gone Before" (TOS).
First introduced in "Where no Man has Gone Before" (TOS).
The conversation between Kirk and Sulu was chronicled in Michael Jan Friedman's Star Trek trilogy, My Brothers Keeper Book Two: Constitution.
Sulu's interest in botany was seen in the episode "The Man Trap" (TOS).
Captain Christopher Pike was first introduced in "The Cage" (TOS).
First introduced in "Return of the Archons" (TOS). His first name was inspired by the actor to portray him, Christopher Held.
Refers to the senior geologist first introduced in "That Which Survives" (TOS).
Refers to Phaser Control Officer Angela Martine, first introduced in "Balance of Terror" (TOS).
Tefers to phaser officer Robert Tomlinson, first introduced in "Balance of Terror" (TOS).
Commander Giotto was first introduced in the episode "Devil in the Dark" (TOS).
As Others See Us
Christopher L. Bennett
From Robert Burns' poem "To a Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church."
Jeyam Tybris-Kir = James Tiberius Kirk
Seyar Mandas-Pok = Sarek, Amanda, Spock
Leyan Ardem-Koi = Leonard McCoy
Teyar Risar-Gan = Theresa Errgang
"...always kept his headscarf pulled down over his ears"
Since "Seyar"/Spock has pointed ear tips that he has to cover, as he did with hats in many TOS episodes.
This is a planet with higher gravity than Earth, so not only are the people larger and stronger, but the air is denser. Since buoyancy is proportional to weight, it cancels out gravity, so the ability of a body to float or fly is proportional only to air density. This means, paradoxically, that flying or gliding would typically be easier on higher-gravity worlds. Thus, Yemai lookouts use kites instead of crow's nests in the masts.
Sigma Niobe II
Presumably in the same constellation as Beta Niobe, which went supernova in "All Our Yesterdays" (TOS). There is no real constellation Niobe; presumably it was conceived and named by human settlers on some distant planet where the star patterns are different. Niobe was a tragic figure from Greek mythology.
Archaeology and Anthropology
A department of the Enterprise science staff, established in "Who Mourns for Adonais" (TOS).
A species seen in "The Way to Eden" (TOS) and "The Ship" (DS9), bald with large, scalloped ears. Presumably Chaane's ears are subtly more elaborately shaped than the human norm.
Chaane's multispecies diversity is inspired by that of the Temporal Agent discovered in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Future Tense."
The Nahuatl (Aztec) word for a type of spear-thrower used by many cultures from the Paleolithic into modern times. The woomera is an aboriginal Australian variant with the attributes described in the story.
"...he swam down a meter or so, which should be a sufficient depth for the water to slow the bullets harmlessly."
This was demonstrated in Mythbusters episode 34, "Bulletproof Water." Low-velocity bullets need to travel approximately 8 feet (2.4 meters) through water to be slowed to non-lethal speeds (whereas more powerful, supersonic rounds disintegrate from the force of impact with the water and are thus far less effective). However, since such bullets would generally be fired at a shallow angle, one would generally be safe at a depth of a meter or so. Another factor to consider is that the light would be refracted by the surface of the water, throwing off the shooters' aim.
"...a late K-type star"
Meaning a star toward the lower, cooler end of the K-type (orange) range, about K6-K9. The origin of the "early/late" terminology is unclear. Such a star would be smaller and cooler than the Sun.
From "I, Mudd" (TOS). All the androids there were controlled by a single central computer.
Closest Ilaiyen approximation of "Glysinek."
Alternate term for nanobots coined in "Evolution" (TNG).
Captain of the Exeter from "The Omega Glory" (TOS).
An original creation of the author. It is not related to the so-called "coalescent organism" from "Aquiel" (TNG).
A nonlethal disease first mentioned in "The Dauphin" (TNG) and again in "Cold Station 12" (ENT). Memory loss is not a symptom established in those episodes, but it can be a consequence of severe encephalitis in real life — along with personality changes, which would also make an effective cover for the Coalescence.
Further notes and discussion on "As Others See Us"
First appeared appeared in "The Slaver Weapon" (TAS).
McCoy is often seen wearing a ring on his little finger in the original series.
The classification for Earth/Mars conditions of a planet, perhaps taken from Minshara Class, a Vulcan term we learned of on Star Trek: Enterprise.
Klingonese, a language devoloped by Marc Okrand for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Translated literally: "Terran animal!" While Klingonese isn't heard in the 79 episode run of TOS, it is called Klingonese by a Klingon in "The Trouble with Tribbles" (TOS).
First seen in "Amok Time" (TOS) but also seen in "The Tholian Web" (TOS) and in "Rise" (VOY), Triox is an intravenous medicine that helps people to breathe after or during low oxygen exposure.
Earth normal atmosphere
Probably "1 atm," this is what was often referred to when the atmosphere of a planet was nitrogen/oxygen and "normal" relative to Earth's atmospheric pressure.
A type of Klingon animal (supposedly with brown lips) as found at the Klingon Language Institute.
yIntaH qIrq 'e' vIneH. DaSwIj bIngDaq latlhpu' vItap.
Klingonese translation provided by Marc Okrand from my English: "Kirk I want alive. The rest I will grind beneath my boot." Marc told me that literally the line is: "I want that Kirk keeps living. I will mash the others under my boot."
Beta Aurigae colony
Beta Aurigae is a real star system in the Auriga constellation. In "Turnabout Intruder" (TOS), the Enterprise was scheduled to rendezvous with the USS Potemkin to conduct gravitational studies of what is refered to as a binary system. In reality, the system is trinary. (All this according to Memory Alpha, anyway. Enterprise never makes it to Beta Aurigae in the show, as it is diverted to Camus II due to a distress call. A former lover of Kirk then swaps bodies with him and hilarity ensues.)
An engine imbalance caused the Enterprise to create a wormhole in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The events of "Errand of Mercy" (TOS) and the Organians and their forced peace treaty between the Klingons and the Federation is an underlying reason for D'kar to feel he somehow robbed Commander Kor (also first seen in "Errand of Mercy") of his honor.
It's not the first time Kirk has teased McCoy about putting out his shingle on some colony. In "This Side of Paradise" (TOS) they had a similar conversation.
Boosting the communicator
They always seemed to be finding componants which could boost their communicators in Star Trek, but here Kirk isn't as skilled in this regard as Spock or Scotty might be, and his attempts are fruitless.
In "Errand of Mercy" (TOS) Spock's cover story was that he was a Vulcan trader, a dealer in Kevas, and Trillium. Kor uses a mind scanner (or "mind ripper" as he calls it) to verify this, despite its not being true. Here he asks snidely how the Kevas trade is, and Spock — because he's Spock — knows exactly how it is.
qab yon Da'agh. qablIj yon yI'aghHa' 'aghHa'pa' 'etlhwIj.
Marc Okrand again translated my English line into Klingon. I gave him "Scrape that smug look from your face before my blade does it for you" and he gave me back this, saying literally it was: "You display a satisfied face. Dis-display your satisfied face before my blade dis-displays it."
chobelHa'moH, DI'qar. SajlIj 'oHbe' quvwIj'e'.
More Marc Okrand goodness. My line was "You disappoint me, D'Kar. My honor is not your play-thing," and Marc handed back this Klingonese. (Literally: "You displease me, D'Kar. My honor is not your pet.") It was fantastic for Marc to take his time to translate these lines for me, and I owe him big.
Kirk, Spock and McCoy
I wanted the story to end as so many classic Trek episodes did (and I also wanted to use Spock a bit) so we have the Spock/McCoy philosophical tussle, the veiled insult from Spock, and a final "Ahead, warp factor one," from Kirk has he settles into the comfort of the familiar. "Walking computer bank" was an insult used at least once before by McCoy, and Spock has many times explained that he's quite pleased that he is not human. Isn't pleased an emotion? Ah, Spock — always the mystery.
A made-up name. No hidden meanings. Sorry.
"... more than a year after his transfer to helmsman..."
Sulu's transfer to the bridge occurred sometime between "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (TOS) and "The Corbomite Maneuver" (TOS). That would place "Ambition" early in the second season.
In the original proposal for this story, I had adhered to the gender-prefix naming pattern established for Andorians in the DS9 "Relaunch" series. The editor, however, asked that my Andorian names be more in keeping with those used in TOS. I did, however, try to maintain the suggestion that these names could be "retconned" to fit the more modern convention (in this instance, "th'Raz").
"But a starship bridge has its own command structure."
Such structure was rarely evident on the Enterprise, as Kirk quite often put Scotty in command ahead of Sulu. Keith R.A. DeCandido's take on this peculiarity, in his TNG novel A Time for War, A Time for Peace, was responsible for planting the seed for this story in my mind. So, a big shout-out to KRAD!
"You do want your own command someday, da?"
Sulu would eventually become captain of the Excelsior, sometime prior to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
... nine other ships...
This is based on Scotty's line in "Relics" (TNG) that he had served on eleven ships, and assumes the Enterprise and Enterprise-A were numbers ten and eleven. Other fans have done the math differently, and I have no quarrel with any of them.
"... negotiating some kind of alliance..."
An alliance between the Romulans and Klingons would be confirmed in the third season episode "The Enterprise Incident" (TOS). That whispers about the impending alliance could have reached Sulu months before can be attributed to the fact that rumors travel at Warp 10.
Ensign David Frank
Another made-up name. Move along, nothing to see here...
"He resolved to do what he had to to make the transition..."
I was unaware as I was writing my story that Robert Greenberger would be writing one about Sulu's transition, and I am very pleased that this unintended reference to what was covered in "The Landing Party" actually works pretty well.
"... sixty-six years ago..."
A reference to TOS's debut in '66. Happy Birthday!
"... like a leaf in the wind."
Watch how it soars...
Though this has been generally accepted by fandom (and Ms. Nichols) as Uhura's first name, it was never established on screen.
"I'm an engineer, dammit, not a..."
Yes, I did enjoy having this particular phrase thrown into McCoy's face in this instance.
"... and if I live another hundred years, an engineer is still what I'll be."
More than a hundred years later, Scotty would be head of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, as established in the ebook series of the same name.
"... this is a life-form?"
The original proposal for this story had an actual ship and actual attack on Thraz. The editor liked the Sulu-Scotty story, but requested I give the story more of a "sense of wonder". The "turtle eggs" twist was inspired by Carl Hiaasen's recent young adult book, Flush.
"Why are we part of this Federation with you Earthers..."
This animosity is meant to reflect the impression from "Journey to Babel" (TOS) that the Federation is not quite a perfectly harmonious union yet, and some species-ism does still exist.
Again, an Andorian name that could easily be retconned, to "sh'Revan" (which would make the Director a shen, and "Ms." a more appropriate honorific).
Kirk did face one of these aliens in "Arena" (TOS). Unfortunately for him, building a crude cannon and shooting Pentamian politicians was not an option.
"... they only purge their bodily waste one day out of four, too."
A curious complaint, given that the Enterprise crew never seemed to need to purge their bodily waste, either...
Devices and Desires
The title has two meanings. First, this story is about just that: objects and what people want. But the phrase is also part of a prayer of confession found in The Book of Common Prayer: "We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts." As we will see, this story's antagonist is far too concerned with her own wishes and interests.
— Kevin Lauderdale
Named for Hayao Miyazaki, Japan's greatest animator, and creator of (among other films) My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away.
My nod to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and L. Sprague de Camp worked during World War II. Everyone just called it "the Navy Yard," and I've always liked the sound of that.
All of the alien objects in Bishop's office were made up by me. Note the small potted palm. This room is based on Mr. Lurry's office in "The Trouble With Tribbles" (TOS). Lurry had a potted palm.
A term I invented. Think of "silent running" for submarines.
B6 Blue is a Nasat name. The Nasat first appeared in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Jihad," though they were not named until their reappearance in the first Starfleet Corps of Engineers ebook, The Belly of the Beast.
"It was she who was responsible..."
This event, and the subsequent rift between Spock and Sarek, was explored in "Journey to Babel" (TOS), but the exact reason was never mentioned.
She was originally to be D1 Blue, nicknamed "Deacon" (solely for the purpose of allowing me to pull of a rather dubious Steely Dan joke). When that was axed because Deacon sounds too much like D-Con, the bug spray (not a connotation you want with an insectoid species), I found that I had already started to pepper the story with religious terms, so I decided to find a similarly religious nickname. Besides, a Bishop is a much higher "rank" than a deacon.
Narnel's World is made up. In later series, planets have more scientific names, but I always liked the pioneer flavor of TOS which used names like Sherman's Planet.
Voice print recognition
By the movie era they would have moved on to retina scans, but voice is the sort of thing we saw in a 1960s episodes.
Surface area and volume
If I did my math correctly these numbers should be right (Approximately. Planets don't have absolute dimensions.)
The cloaking device
The Romulan cloaking device was the object retrieved by Kirk and Spock in "The Enterprise Incident" (TOS). "Devices and Desires" occurs shortly after "The Tholian Web" (TOS), and so a few weeks after "The Enterprise Incident."
First seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Scotty takes Kirk to the refitted Enterprise in one.
The Doomsday Machine
The Doomsday Machine first appeared in the TOS episode of that name.
This story was originally packed with in-jokes, which my editor wisely made me cut. I'm glad he let one stand, though, and I'm glad this is that one. A reference, of course, to Peter Allen David, (more commonly called just Peter David, but if you say PAD on a Star Trek or comics bulletin board everyone knows who you mean) author of the TNG novel Vendetta, which postulates that the planet killers were built (by the Preservers?) to fight the Borg.
"Sarek was still an academic then..."
Things are never really explained in "Journey to Babel." Sarek says that he wanted Spock to attend the Vulcan Science Academy like he did. Why would a diplomat have attended a science school? The only logical answer is that he had a career as a scientist before becoming a diplomat. Astrophysics seemed like a good 1960s discipline. I was delighted to subsequently learn (if the Memory Alpha wiki is to be trusted) that in the script for "Journey" there was line establishing that "Sarek was previously an astrophysicist before becoming a diplomat." I've always thought it was very cool that, in the TNG era, Spock has become Ambassador Spock, following in the father's footsteps after all.
"Human warp field engineers..."
According to the Star Trek: Enterprise there were a lot of them there.
At least one human..."
Spock's human mother is Amanda Grayson.
I made up the frost fields, but Efrosians are those fellows with the long white hair and droopy mustaches. The Federation president in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is one.
Andorians were first seen in "Journey," and then later much more frequently in Star Trek: Enterprise. Yeah, they're cool.
"The Golden Age..."
A proverb whose origin is lost in the mists of time.
The Guardian of Forever
The Guardian of Forever first appeared in "The City on the Edge of Forever" (TOS.
The items mentioned here are all made up by me.
Epsilon Sagittarii is real. No one knows (yet) if it has four planets.
An incomplete epic poem by John Keats about the Titans and their defeat by the Olympians.
Occita's Theorem was made up by me.
F3 Red and T'cal
Products of my imagination.
Made up by editor Marco Palmieri.
"...didn't the Vulcans initially hold back..."
This has also been documented on Star Trek: Enterprise.
Captain Christopher Pike commanded the Enterprise before Kirk. See TOS's "The Menagerie."
Sulu is the Enterprise's helmsman. As we learn in Star Trek VI he would later go on to captain the Excelsior.
Hadley was a character played by William Blackburn. Blackburn appeared in various episodes over the years as a security officer, a helmsman, and a science officer. Sometimes he was a lieutenant, sometimes an ensign. Since the only time he is referred to by name — "A Piece of the Action" (TOS) — he was at the science station, I've made him a scientist.
"one of the androids from Harry Mudd's planet..."
See "I, Mudd" (TOS).
"Landru's lawgiver staffs"
See "The Return of the Archons" (TOS).
Romulan War Birds
The main battle ships of the Romulan Star Empire.
Moffett Field is still standing in 2006. Next time you're in Silicon Valley, drive by Moffett and see the huge dirigible hangars built in the 1930s. As lovely as any cathedral.
A real place.
Medusa is the Gorgon from Greek mythology who could turn you to stone with a glance. She had hair of writhing snakes.
Deltans first appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture Ilia, the Enterprise's navigator, was one.
The preferred name of the Klingon home world.
Thanks to Marc Okrand's The Klingon Dictionary for the translation.
"a dealer in kevas and trillium..."
See "Errand of Mercy" (TOS).
The mineral critical to warp drive systems.
Duotronic computer systems
Designed by Dr. Richard Daystrom, duotronic computer systems are an integral part of Starfleet's ships. See "The Ultimate Computer" (TOS).
Unless you've read "Make-Believe" don't read the annotations. I cannot stress this enough. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you read these in advance of reading the story itself.
— Allyn Gibson
"He may have grown up in Georgia..."
Though the original series never specifies Leonard McCoy's birthplace, John M. Ford's novel The Final Reflection suggests that the McCoy family hails from Georgia. David R. George III's TOS novel Crucible: McCoy: Provenance of Shadows places McCoy's birthplace in Atlanta.
Van Allen radiation
Named for its discoverer, James van Allen, the Van Allen Radiation belts are areas of high-intensity radiation trapped within a planet's magnetic field. McCoy's attachment of "magnetic fields" to "Van Allen radiation" in his dialogue, besides being unnecessary as magnetic fields are a component of the Van Allen belts, is indicative of McCoy's typical obliviousness to the physical universe.
Also known as Mirfak and Alpha Persei, Algenib is a star in the constellation Perseus, between 575 and 600 light-years distant from Earth. Translated from the Arabic, Algenib means "side." In the sense of the constellation Perseus, side refers to Perseus's side. In the sense of the story, I meant an alternate meaning of side: edge. I felt that having a location for Kirk's journey with an Arabic name would serve to tie the story's two plot strands together — just as the United States, with its Iraq adventure, has gone into an Arab land, so to is Kirk with his mission across the surface of Algenib II.
McCoy's grandfather appeared in The Final Reflection. According to that novel Thomas J. McCoy — T.J. for short — was the Chief of Medicine at the Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta.
The largest canyon in the solar system, the Valles Marineris stretches 4,500 kilometers long, and measures 200 kilometers wide and 11 kilometers deep.
Named for the actor Richard Kiley who guest-starred as the Martian Shazzerd in "Requiem for a Martian" (TOS) and as the stellar engineer Gideon Seyetik in "Second Sight" (DS9).
Short for Gabrielle, the French feminine form of the Hebrew name Gabriel, which means "strong man of God." Why? Gabby has to be strong, given the circumstances of the story, yet we find her at a very weak point in her life. The story, then, is about Gabby coming to find the strength to go forward.
On a different note, Gabby was inspired by two women I have known in my life. Let me stress that Gabby shares none of their histories, but I modeled Gabby's appearance on one and her behaviors upon the other. The advice Billy Crystal gives in Throw Momma From the Train — "Write what you know" — was in full usage here.
The Irish Gaelic form of Brendan, which means either "prince" or "sorrow." Both meanings fit the character's role in the story. He would be of an age where parents were picking ethnic names because they could to be different and/or trendy.
"That the school counselor could mistake her son's name..."
A clue to the indifference Gabby feels she and her son are being shown.
"'An incident,' she repeated."
Sulu's reaction, using the same words, to Brigadier Kerla's assertion that Praxis's explosion in the opening scenes of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was nothing more than "an incident" provides a good contrast. In Sulu's case, his exasperation stems from Kerla's downplaying of the destruction of Praxis. In Gabby's case, her exasperation stems from an instant feeling that the school has over-reacted in taking away her son's toy. Both characters in the situation feel the situation has been exaggerated.
"Star Trek, Star Wars — I can't tell these things apart."
A conversation many Star Trek fans have had with non-fans. Many times. ;)
"...you took away his toy. That's your indifference."
Again, a clue that Gabby feels that the school counselor isn't receptive to her son's problems. Also, Gabby's anger could be directed at school zero-tolerance policies.
"Don't you feel that this is something you and his father should address with Breandán?”
Because this is something several people have asked me about, usually by saying "But wait, shouldn't the school counselor know that Breandán's father died in Iraq?" and "That's no fair — you're going for the shock value!", let me offer the answer here.
Yes, Mrs. Davis already knows, and her lack of recognition of the fact plays into Gabby's argument that the school is being indifferent to Breandán.
As we learn at the bottom of page 369 Kevin Howard died in Iraq when his Apache helicopter went down over the desert. The Iraq War has, in many ways, been a phantom war. It's happening, American soldiers are fighting, and dying, every day in the Iraqi desert, and yet it doesn't touch the lives of most Americans. The President has attended no funerals for fallen American servicemen. The Secretary of Defense didn't even sign the condolence letters himself for close to a year, content to let an autographing machine sign the letters. No photographs of flag-draped coffins have been officially released, and the unofficially released photos were suppressed. In short, for the vast majority of Americans, unless you know someone who has gone to Iraq, unless you know someone who died in Iraq, the Iraq War hasn't affected you directly. The Iraq War is something that most Americans would say affects other people, and when something affects others but not yourself most people can block it from their minds. That's what Gabby is experiencing from Mrs. Davis, the school counselor. The Iraq War hasn't touched her, and while she knows intellectually that the Howards have suffered a loss due to the war she doesn't have to think about it.
That's the long answer.
And yes, I was going for the shock value of the last line of the scene. To borrow a phrase from Dayton Ward, "Sue me." :p
An English name that means "kind" or "gentle."
Surname of Kevin, Gabrielle, and Breandán, Howard means "brave heart."
A doctor aboard the Enterprise, Jabilo M'Benga first appeared in "A Private Little War."
A star in the constellation Perseus, Algol is an eclisping binary system. Algol is the second brightest star in Perseus, hence its designation as Beta Persei. Algol is much closer to Earth than Algenib (Alpha Persei) — 93 light-years distant as compared to Algenib's nearly 600 light-year distance. As is common in the original Star Trek Kirk's mission to Algol Prime should not take the Enterprise anywhere near Algenib, and yet it does. Translated from the Arabic, Algol means "demon star."
Algol Prime sounded like a Classic Trek sort of name for a planet, much like Kevin Lauderdale's Narnal's World from "Devices and Desires" in the anthology.
"ancient Earth astronomy"
I always liked the way Spock said "ancient Earth mythology" in Star Trek VI when describing the painting of Adam and Eve in his quarters to Valeris. That statement and Alexander Rozhenko's "ancient West" in "A Fistful of Datas" (TNG) reinforce the idea that to characters living in the 23rd- and 24th-centuries what we consider the "modern era" and our own recent past are as remote to them as the Renaissance and Reformation are to us.
A sister ship to Jonathan Archer's Enterprise, first seen in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "The Expanse." Named for the space shuttle Columbia, which was itself named for Columbia, an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century feminine symbol for the United States, best known now as the icon of Columbia Pictures. Taken on a symbolic level, the Columbia's mission in 2159 to Algenib is meant to parallel the United States' involvement in Iraq in the 1991 invasion — Columbia, the United States, went in and got out, and now a later captain of ship, of state, goes in with devastating consequences.
The French feminine form of Nicholas, a name that means "victory." Nicole's conversation with Gabby sends her on the path toward solving the story's problem, hence "victory."
"combat operations in Iraq have ended"
On May 1, 2003 President George W. Bush, standing on the deck of the US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln before a banner that read "Mission Accomplished," stated that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." American casualties in the war stood at 137.
As of this writing American soliders continue to be involved in combat operations in the Iraq theatre. American soldiers continue to be sent to the Middle-East. Reservists, even those on the inactive rosters, continue to be called up. American casualties stand at 2639 — fully 2500 since Bush stood before a banner that said "Mission Accomplished."
As of this writing there is no end in sight to the American involvement in Iraq. Combat operations have not ended, and every speech President Bush gives about "staying the course" in Iraq only proves that his speech of May 1, 2003 was a lie.
For up-to-date casualty figures on the Iraq War, I recommend the Casualties in Iraq website.
"...yet a month later..."
This would date Kevin's death (and the funeral home scene earlier in the story) to late May or early June 2003.
"...pointing nearly straight into the air as a lamppost might."
The specific inspiration here was the live-action version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I went to see one evening during the drafting of the story. In some respects another Narnia story, Neil Gaiman's "The Problem of Susan," influenced "Make-Believe" and its blurring of the lines between the world in which fiction exists as fiction and the world in which fiction exists as fact, so evoking the image of a lamppost was meant to signal a point at which the two worlds converge.
This scene, in its flashback, takes place before the story's beginning, and also takes place, in its initial framing paragraphs, after the story's final lines. Which gives me the opportunity to discuss "Make-Believe"'s sense of time. :)
In a strict chronological order the story's scenes would read, from first to last, in the following order:
7, 3, 2, 5, 9, 10, 7, 4, 1, 6, 8, 10
Yes, scenes 7 — Gabby's flashback dream — and 10 — the final lines of the story — take place at two different points in the story's internal chronology. Here in scene 7, Gabby dreams, after the story's conclusion, of events that took place some eight months earlier. Later, in scene 10, the two parallel narratives — Earth 2003, and sometime in the 23rd century — converge and tie the story together. Hence, the dual placement of the two scenes on a chart of the story's chronological order.
The narrative's non-linearity was carefully planned right from the story's first outline. The scene transitions, even the story's shifts in perspective and verb tense, were planned in advance. If anything, the non-linearity in the finished story is less than what was plotted.
In other words, that whiplash you feel from reading "Make-Believe" — that wasn't random.
A United States Army base located in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Unit call-ups and deployments to Iraq from Fort Bragg have dominated local news since the initial run-up to the American invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Kevin, being a fan, probably has the Director's Edition DVD, released in August 2001.
"You cried when Boromir died."
My sister said to me, when we walked out of the theatre after seeing Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on Christmas Day, 2001, "Were you weaping? When that guy died?" She was talking about Boromir's death defending Merry and Pippen from the Uruk-hai. There were a lot of sniffles in that movie theatre when Boromir fell. A lot.
"Night on Algenib II..."
This scene wasn't in the original or revised outlines for the story. In the outline the Enterprise storyline ended on page 379 with the line, "Of his missing crew, there was no sign." I realized, during the drafting of the story, that I needed one more scene with Kirk, one where we finally heard from Kirk and gained an understanding of why he pushed himself and his men across this alien landscape.
"He huddled by the campfire..."
It occurs to me that I have no idea what Kirk made a campfire from at the bottom of Algenib's canyon. It's probable that they're burning things from inside the downed shuttle, or perhaps Kirk had the Enterprise beam down something to build a fire from during one of the transport windows.
This seemed like a reasonable mistake a young child would make for Leonard McCoy's nickname.
"Daddy told me that Captain Kirk was sending him away. His shuttle crashed."
As with the scene on page 379, this was decided upon in the drafting stage. I had originally planned for Kevin Howard to have been killed during a roadside ambush, but I realized that I needed something that linked the world of Breandán with the world of Kirk in a much more meaningful way. Kirk's Enterprise didn't carry ground troops, but it did carry shuttle pilots, so I made Kevin a helicopter pilot to continue the parallel between the two storylines. I think the story works better because of the change.