Some time ago, I posted here about a "new ship, new crew" fanfic, and wound up putting together a regular "cast." But I'm once again having problems. I'll list what I currently have, why I want to change it, and what ideas I'm toying with, then ask for suggestions. The Starship: U.S.S. Oberon, Nebula Class. While "Oberon" is a literary figure on Earth, the word has meanings amongst other members of the Federation as well. On Andoria, the home of the Oberon's captain, the "ober'aun" happens to be a mythological creature she is a fan of (a genderless Andorian with four antennae and magical powers). For short, the crew often calls their ship "Obie." The Oberon's mission is to find and chart as many wormholes in the galaxy as possible, leading to them revisiting a number of places we've seen before, and discovering new ones as well. Name change needed: Because "Oberon" sounds too much like "Orville"-- which this fan-series will already have much in common with, in terms of humor and tone. I need a name that could sound mythical, but could also be shortened to a cute nickname for the crew to call the ship by. The Current But-Not-Permanent Cast: Captain Iopaz: A relatively young Andorian woman (well, zhen), from the infertile gender. Once a wild thrill-seeker, Io lost her sense of adventure when a time-travel incident made her painfully aware of her own mortality and left her with a massive identity crisis. This was immediately followed by the Dominion War. Now on her first captaincy, Io has to work with the woman who apparently was her "best friend" in an alternate timeline, and regain her sense of adventure. Changing: Not a damn thing. I love this character how she is and I'm excited to write her. Commander Samaya "Sam" Zaffar: (Human, female) Sam originates from an alternate timeline, where the Dominion War lasted over a decade. Her ship fell through a time rift, and her first officer and best friend, Io, was killed. The timeline she came from was somehow erased, along with her two young children. After years of therapy, Sam is ready to restart her Starfleet career, now with the roles flipped, with Sam serving as Io's first officer, giving Io all the advice that Io doesn't remember giving Sam. Despite her loyalty to Starfleet, Io, and common sense, Sam is secretly desperate to somehow get her children back, without unraveling spacetime. Changes needed: Maybe none, I'm not sure. I just find myself struggling to come up with things to do with this character aside from her time-travel experience. Because I do not feel like writing a depressing downer story, Sam WILL get her children back, midway through the series; after that, I don't know what I'll do with the character. Ideas: Sam's body contains trillions of tachyons, so maybe she has some sort of mild "superpowers" (for lack of a better term) that will help the ship in some crises. Sam grew up on a Venus colony, contrasting Io's freezing Andor, so Sam may also know more than the average Human about surviving in a terrain not meant for Humans. Like Chakotay, Sam has a spiritual side, though a more mixed one (she had one Hindu parent and one Baha'i parent, and her time-travel experience raises countless questions for both belief systems). The problem with this, obviously, is I don't want to rehash Kira and Chakotay too much. Sam's personality is sharp and no-nonsense, with an amount of sass. Again, I fear rehashing characters like McCoy, Pullanski, the EMH, etc. Lt. Jose "Ze" Tiago: Brazilian-born Human, turned drifter, turned pirate, turned Maquis, turned Starfleet. Ze was one of the Maquis who survived the Dominion onslaught, and helped the Federation in the Dominion War. Though he takes his job as security chief seriously, he otherwise has a surprisingly chillax and somewhat trollish personality. (Odd as this may sound, one of the inspirations for this character was Judge Mentok from "Harvey Birdman.") Many raise eyebrows at this diverse ship's security chief being a mere Human (as opposed to a Klingon, a shape-shifter, or a Vulcan, with all the abilities that help them in security), but Ze is a man of resources, and has experience as a former crook himself, and handles his job well. Changes: I desperately wanted a Maquis, but I just don't know what I can do with Ze that Voyager and DS9 didn't do a dozen and four times over. I'm thinking of shrinking the Maquis aspect to being just one detail of a larger defining trait-- like, maybe he's a drifter who's hopped from one cause to the next, or something like that. I don't know; maybe Ze is fine as is, after all, every ship has at least one average-Joe human. Maybe that's Ze's role. I just see him becoming a rehash of Chakotay or Tom Paris, if his most defining trait is a criminal background. Basically, I want to keep this character Human, and I want to keep him a former outlaw, but..... he needs something else. I just don't know what. Lt. Nuvaro Auz: An illegally joined Trill, who I have all planned out and don't want to change a thing about. At this point I just have to worry about keeping him from hogging the spotlight. A wormhole expert, he's the navigator. Like Tiago, Nuvaro is a former criminal, but of a far less impressive swash-buckling variety; Nuvo was a drug dealer before being joined. Changes: None. Lt. Etannis: An Ocampa from Suspira's Array. Also a character with a lot to her, that I already have figured out and don't want to change. For now, I'll just say she's the ship's engineer, and likes to play around with her telekenesis and telepathy. Changes: None. Ensign Ku Mopek: A Cardassian war orphan raised Bajoran. While having no love for Cardassia, he and his family are not huge fans of the current Bajoran government either, which tends to treat Cardassian-born citizens like Mo, and anyone who doesn't follow the mainstream Bajoran religion, like crap. Because of this, Mo fell in love with Starfleet's all-accepting ideals. He's the ship's dweeb, but also it's pilot. He's obsessed with the era of James T. Kirk, and collects pets from various planets the ship visits. When he eventually learns who his birth parents are, things get complicated. Changes: None. Counselor T'Rell: A Vulcan/Romulan hybrid, former spy for the Romulan Empire, who switched sides decades ago. Now a no-nonsense old woman, she is the ship's counselor, but has some of her old espionage tricks up her sleeve as well. Changes: None, except maybe the size of her role. She's interesting enough to be a "Regular," but I don't want the cast to be too large, and am considering demoting her to "Recurring Character." Ensign Charleston: A non-humanoid, from a gas giant ruled by the Klingon Empire. Her species does not have genders or names, but "she" took female pronouns and the name Charleston, after the U.S.S. Charleston, a ship that once saved her life. She loves Starfleet, and is excited that they finally have a ship that can meet her needs. She is the communications officer. Changes: So, so much..... First off, I'm saving most of my really original alien ideas for original sci-fi stories. If I'm going to use ideas for a "Star Trek" fanfic, I want them to be relevant to "Star Trek." So.... basically I need a type of non-humanoid that would in some way contrast to what we usually see in "Star Trek." Since a running theme of this story is identity, and since "Star Trek" in general has so many themes about individuality, I'm thinking of making Charleston come from a species with a collective-like mind. I don't know what Charlie looks like either. (I have a vague image of some kind of quasi-giant-cuttlefish or something). But I know that she has chameleon-like abilities that allow her to give her body the pattern of the "uniform" she wears, with the only real item of clothing being her combadge. I guess for a non-humanoid, I want her to have some kind of body that would offer a lot of writing opportunities for a "Star Trek" setting. Someone who can enter the warp-core maybe, or enter sections of the ship Humanoids couldn't fit into or something like that. I just... can't think of what else, besides those two examples. I'm also thinking of changing her role to that of the ship's doctor, though that would lead to Dr. Zoidberg comparisons. And it would also raise the question of why someone so desperate to go out exploring with Starfleet would choose to be the doctor, staying behind and just patching the bold explorer's up. Dr. Kastur: An El Aurian and liberated medical repair drone, now working as a doctor. In Zaffar's timeline, he was evil, and she doesn't trust him now, even though this version of Kastur has done nothing wrong yet. Changes: I.... want to scrap this character altogether. Liberated drones have been done. El Aurian mind-powers would be redundant with an Ocampan AND a Vulcan in the cast. I also cannot for the damn life of me come up with a personality for him that isn't a repeat of one of the other characters listed above, or a pre-existing doctor character in "Star Trek." Ideas for the ship's doctor: I'm thinking of handing the role of doctor to one of the other mentioned characters, to keep the cast smaller. One, mentioned above, is Charleston. A non-humanoid doctor for a ship of humanoids would be odd choice though, for both the Humanoids and the non-humanoid. Unless Charlie just loves Humanoids the way some Humanoids love cats. But the alien who is oh-so-enamored with Humans is a cliche I'm not all that into. Plus, the doctor who ironically doesn't understand his Human patients' needs has been done with the EMH, and the "quirky alien doctor" was done with Phlox. Another is T'Rell; I might change her role from the Counselor to the Doctor. But I fear Dr. Pulanski comparisons (and I hate Pulanski), as well as McCoy and the EMH. And finally, I considered changing Zaffar's role from command to medicine. A doctor trying to retrieve her children from spacetime without violating the Hippocratic Oath (regarding all the lives that could be affected by more time-travel) could be interesting. Being a doctor might also fit better with her age (mid to late 30s). But of course, if Zaffar is the doctor, then not only does that lose the whole "YOU used to be MY first officer" aspect with Io, but it also leaves the question of who the first officer would be. Ideas for the shipmate who was "evil" in Zaffar's timeline: Charleston, being a non-Humanoid, might regard Humanoids like animals, and go evil from there. Etannis, being Ocampan, could be at risk for turning to the Dark Side, like Kes. Auz could have ended up with a different, evil host in Zaffar's timeline. The one problem with this is that Auz will already be getting so much of the spotlight from the story. And finally, maybe Zaffar doesn't know who the "evil" teammate is. Maybe she somehow recognizes some clues of a villain from her own timeline, and suspects someone in the crew of being that person, but doesn't know right away who it is. ... Ideas?