ljc (taraljc) wrote,

Answers (thus far) to the dvd commentary meme:

possibly_thrice asked about this chunk of One Thousand Words for Snow:

The closest is t'hy'la (friendship-closer-than-kinship), but even that, while roughly equivalent to "an intimate" in Standard, does not expressly mean someone with whom you enjoy the physical act of love-making. It is used in Vulcan-English dictionaries of the type sold in commercial spaceports for "paramour", but the Sato-Heydt linguo-code translation matrix simply renders the word untranslatable, and substitutes ashal-veh (cherished one).

Even in the writings which survived from before The Time of Awakening, when Vulcan was tearing itself apart with petty wars and it was said the dry riverbeds of the Forge ran emerald with blood, love poetry was still primarily composed in the honour of one's bondmate. The most famous surviving poem, ni'var ke Shan-ha'lok ("Two Forms/Aspects of the Engulfment/Drowning"), while undeniably erotic, still used ashay-am (object of affection [possessive]) as the primary form of address. And that felt too... gentle. Too restrained. Too simple to contain within its narrow scope the breadth and depth of her relationship with Spock.

Listening to Spock's breathing as he sleeps, one arm draped across her waist so his fingers brush her hip, she thinks there must be a word for this—for the feather-light brush of his mind as his hands find the contact points on her cheek and brow and desire burns along every nerve ending. A single word that contains the touch of his mouth to her collarbone, her nails digging into his shoulders as his teeth nip lightly at her pulsepoint—never leaving marks where they can be seen, but still marking her as his in a way that makes her shudder.

She struggles with the idea that there has never been a sound or sequence of sounds paired with the concept of his hands cupping her small breasts as he presses a kiss to the nape of her neck as they move together in near-silence broken only by his breathing and her soft cries.

Welcome to "The Famous Footnote" which was what prompted me to write the story in the first place when I first read it this summer for the first time.

The idea that the closest word in Vulcan for the human concept of "friend" could also be translated in English as "brother" and "lover" interested me. Because in context (Spock in the novelisation only uses the word twice, and both times not in the context of "lover", tho it's come to have that meaning almost exclusively in fandom since the novel was published) that to me would mean t'hy'la does not have a sexual connotation in Vulcan (i.e. lover in the sense of "someone with whom you have sex") but rather an implied emotional intimacy (which would make sense given the "brother" definition--unless Gene and ADF were trying to say some wacky things about Vulcans and incest).

I mean... Sure, I know it's Gene Roddenberry and Alan Dean Foster simultaneously acknowledging the slash as well as tweaking fandom's collective noses about it. But taking authorial intent completely out of the equation, I became interested in what the idea said about the Vulcan language, and also about the Vulcan attitudes toward sex and love and relationships. Particularly the act of lovemaking, and the status of love making between partners who were not bonded. In English, the word "love" can be applied to any relationship, including between friends, between lovers, between siblings, between parents. But there's a really big difference between agape and eros. Which was why I went with "friendship-closer-than-kinship" based on the actual wording of the Footnote, and the context of t'hy'la in the novelisation (which got me a lot of email from folks "correcting" me on the translation because it's like a game of fannish telephone 30 years later with a number of them never actually having read the novelisation, but only knowing the word from fandom and fanfic.).

I went INSANE trying to find some kind of Vulcan dictionary that actually parsed the entries by source (or even listed the source) because nearly all of them I was able to find online mixed in canon with fanon, tie-ins with fanzines, etc. And only a few actually gave any kind of clue as to where a word had originated. Because the problem with fannish dictionaries tends to be the lack of context. I always, whenever possible, try and find the context the word was first mentioned. Because what people use for definitions almost always carries shades of meaning reflecting what the author of the dictionary wants it to mean, or thinks it might mean. And I wanted to find the source and judge for myself. Mostly because I am a scary anal retentive freak who lives to research. But also, especially when you're dealing with a fandom older than you are, a lot of times what people think they know isn't at all the same as what is actually in the source. And there can be multiple interpretations of canon, even when they conflict with the most commonly held and/or oldest interpretations. Because I'm coming to canon with fresh eyes, I don't always see it the same way my foremothers did. And it's not a slam against them at all. Just an observation of being fannish in a vacuum. I didn't even realise I'd taken on a sacred cow until the email and reviews came in after I published the story.

"Sato-Heydt linguo-code" is a nod both to Sato Hoshi from Enterprise and Dorothy Jones Heydt who wrote one of the first fan-made Vulcan dictionaries in 'zine fandom. The term "Ni'Var" from her dictionary made its way into canon thanks to Mike Sussman learning it from Claire Gabriel's story of the same name in The New Voyages.

ni'var ke Shan-ha'lok refers to Heydt's "Ni'var" and Tuvok's lines to Harry Kim in "Alter Ego" about the Vulcan concept of "Shan-ha'lok":

TUVOK: There are many different kinds of love, Ensign. You must learn to differentiate. For example, you told me that you met this individual only days ago. Yet, you feel overwhelmed.
KIM: I can't get her out of my mind, not for a second.
TUVOK: Have you been able to sleep?
KIM: No.
TUVOK: Have you eaten?
KIM: No.
TUVOK: Does your daily routine seem somehow empty, perhaps even ludicrous?
KIM: Yes!
TUVOK: You are experiencing shon-ha'lock, the engulfment. It is the most intense and psychologically perilous form of eros. I believe humans call it love at first sight.

As I got halfway through the story, I realised that as much as it's a story about language, it's also a story about both the physical act of love and how to convey meaning through actions, when there is no language to suffice. Like Spock, Standard is not Uhura's first language. They are both using the lingua franca, while kiSwahili and Vulcan are their actual mother-tongues. And I was really interested in how any relationship Spock might have with a non-Vulcan outside of marriage would be met with the same challenges. It's also a story about the destruction of Vulcan, and the loss of Vulcan culture with the near decimation of the Vulcan people. Because inside my head, while Spock has always been a rebel like his father before him, I can see the surviving Vulcans clinging to their culture and becoming protective of it in a way that makes them even more isolated and insular.

I hadn't actually intended the story to be quite so erotic, when I first started it. Also, the story is 1000 words long because I'm insane like that.

boosette asked about this chunk of By Any Other Name:

They had intended to take things slowly. After seven years of friendship—four of them serving together under his command—it had seemed the best course of action. The plan had been dinner and then something Chris called "Retro DC-Style Swing" dancing at the Presidio Ballroom.

The plan went out the window approximately 9.7 seconds after she opened the door of her Starfleet-assigned guest quarters and he saw her in the perfect replica of the dress Cait Barry had loaned her for Francis Drake Reed's wedding seven years earlier, paired with absolutely impractical shoes that brought her eyes level with his. They came up with the revised plan on the fly, somewhere between her pushing him up against the wall in a hungry open-mouthed kiss, and him dropping the roses on the kitchen counter just before he lifted her up onto it.

The revised plan was dinner from the food slots and dancing in her living room, her four-inch heels kicked off so one of them disappeared half under the sofa, and his tuxedo jacket thrown over the chair while 22nd century jazz played over the comm system. She had no idea where he'd dropped the pins he'd pulled from her hair, and he supposed his tie would turn up eventually, and they'd both ignored the comm when the restaurant had called back to confirm they had given their reserved table away.

"I'm either named after a fish, or a sharp implement. It's a lot less complicated," he'd said against her ear as they swayed in time to the music. "Are you sure I can't just call you 'Maureen'?"

She'd sighed, party out of exasperation, partly because it was hard to do much else as his lips roamed the pale column of her neck. "You're hopeless."

She could feel his laugh against her chest. His hands almost trembled as he traced the curve of her spine over and over again with his thumbs. But her fingers on the buttons of his crisp white shirt were sure and steady.

Later, when the dress lay a puddle of blue silk on the floor in a square of cold moonlight spilling through the window, he whispered her name into her hair.

I originally wrote the first five sections as parts of a challenge of prompts from where_no_woman, though I came up with two different versions of one of the earlier sections (originally there was a scene between Robert April and Commodore Nogura discussing her posting to the Yorktown. I ditched it because I didn't like the idea of two doods deciding her future--I wanted her to be an active participant in her own life, not just someone whose major changes were the result of the men in her life.). The final piece however was unique to the final story I crafted from all the drabbles, because I knew I wanted to end it with her being called by her name.

I had actually intended the scene of the two of them in bed originally to be Number One patiently teaching Pike how to pronounce her name. The idea of it being unpronounceable (as opposed to 'Eure Robbins' from The Early Voyages, or just 'Number One' according to Vulcan's Glory) comes from Peter David's The Rift and while not the best explanation was a lot easier to work with. I actively reject 'Timothea Rogers' mainly due to the MASSIVE FAIL of the original draft of A Flag Full of Stars. I don't much like the New Frontier novels and also figure that 'Morgan Primus' isn't meant to actually be Number One. Just another character played by Majel Barrett. Fanon for years had her related to Christine Chapel (as everything from an amnesiac Number One, to a big sister, to Chapel being her and Pike's lovechild) but there are loads of different actors over the decades who have appeared as different characters in Trek. Starting with Mark Lenard, and most recently with Morgan Shepperd appearing as a Vulcan in AOS. So I figure I'm allowed to ignore the fact that Chapel bears more than a passing resemblance to Number One. After all, no-one seems to notice David Warner playing a human, a Klingon, and a Cardassian, all one after the other...

The name I came up with originally is "Naeemah'rrhyen-eha-vedda t'Chei Korheizts'u". In my head it's Ilyrian which translates to "First of Her Year of the Bloodline of the [blank-ity]" only still haven't found a way to work it in. Also, that's her given name, not her surname. I have yet to come up with a surname. Yes, I am that insane. "Maureen" comes from "Naeemah'rrhyen", and also "M'hari" which Cait and Pike call her in two of the TOS stories I've written thus far. But I try and use it sparingly so she gets to keep some of her mystery. Eventually, she'll relent and let Pike call her M'Hari, despite her dislike of diminutives. I just haven't got there quite yet. Also, every time there's been a moment where I think I'm going to work in her full name, it ends up being awkward. So I've yet to find a place where it can be revealed naturally, without feeling awkward and shoehorned. If I ever finish the Sneakers pastiche, though, Spock Prime will address her by her full name just once.

I hadn't intended to write that final section quite the way I did. It's more like being told what's happened, instead of actually reading it as it's happening, if that makes sense. But it's very much a sequel Mission Accomplished (complete with reference to Reed from Final Frontier. Inside my head, he's played by Siddig El Fadil, and he married Lt Jennifer Watley from "Trials and Tribble-ations"). There's distance built in, like you're watching it through the window. Or being told a memory. Somehow, that just seemed to work for this particular story for me. I hope it works for the reader as well, instead of being too distancing.

I did love the idea that it takes them a few tries to actually go out dancing, because they simply can't keep their hands off each other long enough to actually go out in public. If I opened my door to find Bruce Greenwood in a tux, I'm pretty sure I'd throw him up against the wall too, you know? And I did end up writing the porn-y bit for someone at the kinkmeme.

ETA: also, I have this mental image of The Blue Dress, but I've never actually found a photo of a real dress. I might have to end up drawing it. *sigh*

girl_wonder asked about this chunk of Temporal Mechanics:

"Your knowledge of temporal mechanics hinges on linear time and the concept of causality. By that logic, in the future, you will do what you have to do only because you have already done it. Completing a causality loop. You exist; therefore Kyle Reese impregnated your mother in 1984. You exist, therefore Skynet exists, in order for the technology to exist which allowed Kyle Reese to travel to 1984. You exist, therefore Skynet exists."

John nodded. Cameron could tell he was having difficulty swallowing. She could go and get a bottle of water from the kitchen. It was an acceptable action to take, to alleviate his immediate physical discomfort.

"That timeline no longer exists," she said instead.

"How can you say that? I just told you—"

"That timeline no longer exists," she repeated. "You have neglected to take into account the many-worlds quantum interpretation."

"I didn't neglect it—I just don't see how it's possible. Nothing changes anything. Miles Dyson, Andy Goode. Barbara. They all die, and nothing changes."

Cameron performed a calculation, and accepted the most likely outcome predicted by the algorithm in question.

"In the original timeline, Sarah Connor died in 2005."

John stared at her. A muscle in his jaw twitched, and be blinked three times in rapid succession. Cameron continued.

"We moved forward to 2007. That timeline no longer exists. It is a parallel future that we are now wholly separate from. Judgement Day happened there, but it may not happen here. Because this future is not set. Your mother is right to hope. You should, too."

First off, the title is a pun. Because I love playing with the idea of "mechanics" as both how time travel works, and the idea that it can be manipulated by individuals changing/fixing/altering events. Because that's the paradox at the heart of the Terminator franchise. I started playing around with this conversation and this idea a long time before I actually had a home for it. Then after "Vick's Chip" I decided to host Drabble Tag in my LJ, and the first draft of this happened over the course of about an hour.

I decided to write it from Cameron's POV partly because I wanted to see if I could. And partly because I was interested in seeing John Connor through her eyes, because unlike Sarah who only knows stories of Future!John, Cameron actually knows him. Loves him, in her own robot girl way. And wants to both protect this John and help him become the man she knows in the future. Even if physics dictate he will never be that man because the experiences that shaped him change from the moment he meets Cameron. If that is in fact the case. Future!John is a cipher. We never know--truly know--what he knows, because he never shares it with the soldiers we meet. he manipulates Kyle and Derek, and even Cameron. The audience will always be left wondering if there was ever a John Connor who grew up not knowing his future. Because the only artefact of that future that exists is the photo Connor gives Kyle Reese. That's the only tangible proof we have that the John Connor who is conceived in Terminator is the same John Connor who sends his father to his death--while at the same time ensuring his own birth.

I can't imagine SCC's John Connor not growing up obsessed with the idea that somehow it's all futile. That is birth was a predestination paradox. And what that would be like for a kid to have to handle. To have to wrap his mind around from the moment Uncle bob showed up and he realised it was all true. And I love the idea that Cameron would try to give him hope by telling him of his mother's death in the other timeline. And that in the end, he can't believe her that there is hope, because she has already admitted to him that sometimes she lies.

rubynye asked about this chunk of Cognitive Dissonance:

Her shoulders dropped a fraction, but she schooled her expression carefully to betray no hint of her emotional state. My own personal Vulcan, Commodore Nogura had always called her, and it had almost biased her against an entire people. She took a swallow of wine to rid herself of the sour taste of memory.

Welcome to my massive issues with the original draft of A Flag Full of Stars. I utterly despised the way the characters referred to Number One as "Nogura's Vulcan". The way, in the original draft, Nogura's defence of her came across as patronising and damning instead of an actual celebration of her strengths as a character. It's fine for a male character to be stoic, logical, and even cold. But for a woman, they're portrayed as negative traits. Being controlled and logical is somehow considered less. And so, when I sat down to write the Mirror Universe story, I purposely twisted it into the worst possible interpretation. Because the way I saw it, what attracts Pike to her is her control. What's implied is that Nogura had tried to break that control and force the "unemotional" human to exhibit emotion, through force, degradation, rape and abuse.

But I'm not sure that Mirror!Pike's really that much better than Mirror!Nogura. He doesn't want to break her; he wants her to willing give up control. But it's still a matter of coercion. And in a way it's that much more insidious, because sheis attracted to him and she does want him. But giving up control--even during consensual sex--means losing a part of herself. So she fights both her own desires and his. And when she does lose even a measure of control, it's that much more devastating because it's voluntary. It robs her of the one thing that's truly hers: her will.
Tags: fanfic, meme, meta
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened