Sunday, November 12, 2023

New Story Alert!

Like many Star Trek: Voyager fans, I liked the character Seven of Nine. I knew when the show ended in 2001 -- about a year after I started writing Trek fan fiction -- that I wanted to feature her in my writing somehow. 

It would be 18 years before I got around to creating a place for her, because in the early days of my fan fiction journey, I didn't want to be "one of those" writers who heavily borrowed canon characters instead of creating my own. Over the years, of course, I came to realize how much I actually wanted connections to canon to be a part of my writing, because without all the original Trek series' inspiration, I wouldn't be writing Trek stories. I created several connections, from ship names to character names, to each series from Enterprise to Voyager over the years, some very obvious and some subtle. I tried my hardest to write stories that would fit within the canon, and I believe that I did that very well.

I finally introduced Seven of Nine into my writing in April of 2019, well before she was announced as a member of the Star Trek: Picard cast -- or at least before I had heard she was going to be a part of the show. The direction they took her in vastly differed from mine, essentially destroying my ability to claim my stories took place in the Prime universe. It also led me to basically put my use of her on hold as I tried to figure out ways to reconcile her official story with what I had been planning for her (for instance, I wrote her as joining Starfleet almost immediately, while Picard established -- with a very weak excuse, in my opinion -- that Starfleet had refused to admit her).

I used to say my writing was in a parallel universe that was almost identical to canon, but I secretly always wanted it to be a part of it. I believe every fanfic author wants that (whether they admit it or not). After the Picard series finale, I had a bit of an internal crisis wondering how I could align my work with canon, and for a time considered removing Seven from my work entirely, as she was only in 2 or 3 stories. As far as I knew, her presence was the only thing keeping the Legendary Universe from being a part of the Prime universe (I would admittedly need to re-read every single story on the site to confirm). 

I finally gave that idea up. There was just too much I had wanted to do with Seven, too many ideas I had for her, for me to give them all up. So, I was forced to accept, once and for all, that Legendary and Prime are two separate but nearly identical universes. Problem solved, right? Sort of. Despite my not agreeing with some of the things they did with Seven in Picard, there were others that they did that I liked. That I wanted to work into my own story arc for her. One of the issues was her name. 

In "New Life, New Civilizations - Part Two", where Seven first appears, I established that it was Starfleet Command that forced her to use her birth name of Annika Hansen, that they made it a condition of granting her a commission. In Picard season 3, it was Captain Shaw, her first commanding officer after Starfleet finally realized the error of their ways and granted her a commission, that made her use it because of his PTSD-induced douchebaggery. The difference between the scenarios was something of a major issue I needed to resolve, for my own peace of mind if nothing else, so I put the question to my fellow writers in the Star Trek Writers' Sandbox Facebook group a few weeks back, asking for their opinions on whether I should stick with the brief history I had already established, retcon my previous stories and have her always called Seven of Nine, or combined the two and give her the name "Annika Seven" like Greg Cox did in his 2014 novel No Time Like the Past. The latter two options would allow me to tie-in LU Seven with Prime Seven if I have Shaw still insist she go by Hansen.

So, over the last three weeks the idea has mulled around in my mind, and I finally decided to take a break from my professional writing and get it out of my head. Thus, I give you the character vignette "Who I Am".