Reworking a cast and renaming a ship

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by WarpTenLizard, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    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?

     
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  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    First off, you've laid down a strong foundation for what could be an excellent series. As I was reading through this to be honest I was thinking you just need to get out of your own damn way. You're overthinking and second guessing yourself too much IMO. So what if someone sees a comparison to this or that, to some extent that familiarity might also be a draw. I mean why read fan fiction at all if you don't want to immerse yourself in some familiar worlds again?

    I have little to suggest regarding your questions because I think that this is so well-thought out that you don't really need to change much of anything at all. I was thinking as I was reading that you should even do an original story idea and chuck the Star Trek fan fiction angle, until I saw you are holding some original ideas back, and I can only imagine they are even better than what you've presented here. Heck, I'm not going to lie, I wish I had come up with that alternate timeline crew member idea for my own fan fiction series.

    I say keep the name Oberon. I like it. It doesn't sound like Orville to me, and I like that you even gave the word a different meaning in other alien cultures.

    For Charleston, some potential species to look into are the Chameloid, Kelvan, Jarada, Sheliak, Tholian, Vendorian, Devidian, Rasiinian, Species 8472. Not all of these are nonhumanoids, but still, they are different and we haven't seen any canon Starfleet crewmembers from these groups. Since you appear to be tying this to Trek Lit., you might wish to consider their take on the Tzenkethi, Ascendants, or Kinshaya as well. Scouring Memory Alpha for Delta Quadrant species might also be a way to go as well. Or if there's one from comics or novels you liked and maybe could revisit and expand on.

    I think you should just write your stories, not worry about similarities. Some of that will change as you're writing and getting to know the characters. Sometimes you might even want to lean into comparisons and perhaps emulate them or do some kind of twist or subversion to something familiar.

    I will caution though that I wouldn't make everyone in your main cast so special. I mean if Zaffar has special powers, how does that impact Etannis (who I'm assuming has some abilities due to Suspiria's intervention), and some of the other crew aboard? You could perhaps de-power some of your characters and focus on the unique backstories you've provided to create stories and interpersonal conflict and drama.

    But really, great set up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
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  3. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But not "Obie Wan."
    How about something like the Companion from Metamorphosis? Charged gas cloud, but with the ability to manipulate objects,

    Or if not gas, then some kind of particulate (again) cloud.
     
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  4. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Thank you a billion and a half for this advice. Over-thinking my stories is one of my biggest problems, now that I think of it.

    I'll take your advice to just get out of my own damn way to heart. After all, problematic things can easily be changed or written out as the "series" goes on.
     
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  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're saying you're not sure what to do with Zaffar after she gets her kids back, why not have that be the end of her story? She rejoined Starfleet with the sole purpose of using its resources to get them back, once she accomplishes that she has to face the music for her actions and is then discharged from Starfleet to live her new life with her kids. That way you could promote up one of your existing characters to become the new XO or introduce a new character to shake things up.

    I'm not sure about having two former criminals on the crew, Starfleet would do background checks. One might be able to create enough false information and fraudulent data to backup a fake identity (maybe one he created after getting on the wrong side of a criminal syndicate and is now looking to hide out) but two might be a stretch--even with skills and knowledge they could bring to Starfleet, questions would be raised over their suitability for the service.

    If you're not sure what Charleston looks like then why make her a physical being? Why not make her a gaseous life-form contained in a special EVA suit, so she is reliant on technology to function among the rest of the crew? This might also be an interesting take for a Doctor, instead of a friendly face and soothing smile they are confronted with a blank faceplate (plus potential humour from a non-corporeal life-form looking after health and well-being of flesh and bone people).

    Just some stray thoughts that popped into my head.
     
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  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bry makes a good point there with Zaffar. I mean, you can wrap up personal stories, move people around, and maybe bring them back, if necessary, when/if the story requires. And you can delay when you introduce some of these characters. They don't all have to be in the story from jump. They can come in over the course of time until you get the basic crew lineup you want. That also would open the door to have redshirts or sacrificial lambs you can kill off or or send away as your series progresses to add some unpredictability and tension to your stories.

    Bry's suggestions for Charleston brought the character Jiterica, from the Stargazer book series, to mind. About the two criminals thing-it didn't bother me per se-but Bry does also make a good point here. Perhaps they don't both need to be members of the same ship, or serving aboard Oberon at the same time, one perhaps could be someone from the captain's past or another crew member's past or something. Maybe they could be a recurring character.

    http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Jiterica
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  7. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Commodore Commodore

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    The doctor in this story could be slightly hyperactive. Maybe someone who at the same time that they are super-obsessed with everyone else's care, they have to constantly reminded to care for themselves. Less of a self-punishing mentality and more of a "not enough time in the day to do all I want". Maybe a slowed-down Scalosian who is having a hard time adjusting to everybody else's slowness and having to act slow themselves - not mean and berating others for it, but always on. Hard to wind down and relax. Perhaps overcompensating for something?
     
  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Jitercia, thank you! I was wracking my brain to remember her name. Devising a similar species with a physiology and abilities that fits into your story would give you greater freedom, whilst their very different nature would also be a good character to examine humanity through.
     
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  9. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Thank you everyone for all the advice! It's seriously been extremely helpful so far.

    Sorry, I forgot to clarify something fairly important to the subject of the "cast:" the U.S.S. Oberon is partially an unofficial dumping ground for people Starfleet... doesn't necessarily want to "get rid of," but just isn't sure what else to do with. Charting wormholes, the Oberon won't be the "face" of Starfleet, and will be largely "out of sight" for both Federation space and cultures the Federation is worried about having good relations with.

    Nuvo Auz is especially on the Oberon to be as far away from the Trill homeworld as possible. Part of this ties into a personal theory of mine. "Star Trek" novels and whatnot so often feature improperly joined Trill, despite Ezri supposedly being the "only" one not to undergo the training. In "Oberon," I'm planning to reveal that the Trill government usually tries to get improperly joined Trill sent on far-away missions, to keep the Trill populace from seeing much of them-- hence why Ezri was allowed to live on DS9, despite the "no re-association" rules. For Nuvo, that's half of why he's on the Oberon; the other reason is for his own protection, since his family is heavily involved in Trill organized crime--which is another personal theory I have about the Trill. Not only do they have the whole illegal-symbiont-market, but if you think about it, marsupials would also make very good drug mules. Now imagine a blazed Trill drug-dealer half-consciously dumping a variety of drugs and a stolen symbiont into his pouch and.... the Trill government now has yet another improper joining to cover up.

    As for the surviving Maquis, well, they have to go somewhere. Starfleet's no doubt hesitant to trust putting those people in important positions on their flagships or military ships; but a dinky little Nebula classer just out to chart the wormholes... smaller risk.

    And of course, Zaffar, the "temporal clone," is someone Starfleet doesn't know what to do with, and want to start off on a (seemingly) not-so-important mission.

    "Oberon" is basically about "the other guys" in Starfleet. The non-human captains. Those non-Voyager Maquis who had to face prison time, and convince Starfleet to let them help fight the Dominion; those improperly joined criminal Trills that Dax dealt with; those temporal clones who <i>don't</i> end up conveniently dying shortly after coming into existence; etc.
     
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  10. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I like the thought you've put into the premise. I think the idea of Trill as drug mules is very neat. Something I hadn't thought about before. I really appreciate how much thought you put into this, taking little twists here and there to flesh out the Trek universe.

    Another thought I had was maybe the captain should be a steadier hand, an old veteran. Perhaps one that is close to retirement, or came back to the Fleet due to the Dominion War. I mean, you can kill this person off earlier and then then Iopaz could take over or be assigned because Starfleet Command would be reluctant to give the reins to Zaffar. Perhaps Command might even want Iopaz there to keep an eye on Zaffar?

    I do disagree with you about an Nebula class ship being dinky. The Nebula class is one of the best starships they have, not the size of a Galaxy, but still more prominent an assignment than what I think you've envisioned. I suggest looking at smaller ships, from these following classes: Miranda, Oberth, Nova.

    Or ones that haven't gotten much canon focus at all like the Apollo, Saber, Steamrunner, Norway, Centaur, Niagara, Challenger, Curry, Yeager.

    Of the suggestions here I like the Nova-class the best. It's a cool looking ship, it's small, with less than 100 crewmen, and it's could be the kind of ship that perhaps best fits what you're going for. And it's a newer ship class than the Oberth-class, which would be my second pick.

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Nova_class

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Oberth_class

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Miranda_class

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Curry_type

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Yeager_type
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  11. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Having done a similar mini-series (though set during the midst of a war), I look forward to reading what you come up with!

    I would agree with @DarKush, the Nebula-Class might be a little to good for such a crew, something smaller and/or older might be a better option.
     
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  12. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks!

    I'll have to do more research, maybe. I honestly just love how Nebula Classers look. Since we seem to learn about a new class of ship pretty much every time there's a new series, I may cook up one of my own.

    At @DarKush (sorry, too lazy to do a "quote" right now), the three main commanding officers--now that I think of it--are all Dominion War veterans (not that that's unusual, since all of Starfleet was involved in the War). Io starts off beaten down and world-weary, trying to find her old adventurous self again.

    The Dominion War turned her into a humorless military officer, and after the war ended she wound up becoming first officer aboard a military ship (under Captain Elizabeth Shelby). After talking to the ship's counselor Io decided to request a transfer to a more exploration-based ship. She was surprised when Starfleet offered her a captaincy aboard a ship charting wormholes. But then she comes to realize that she's something of a zoo-keeper for all these people Starfleet doesn't want to deal with. And then she realizes this might be the best mission of her life.

    Sorry for all the mistakes in this post: it's early yet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  13. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  14. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Fleet Captain

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    What about "Alberich", "Albie" for short? He's Oberon's equivalent in germanic mythology so you could keep the theme of the name.

    While a character like this is interesting it wouldn't be likely that she could function in a class M environment, it would be as hostile to her as the atmosphere of a gas giant would be to us. I'd maybe change her backstory to be from a class M planet, her physiology could still be very different from a humanoid but it would be much easier to integrate her into the stories if she can move through the ship freely. She could wear a vorlon style encounter suit but then you'd get people complaining that you ripped them off.
     
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  15. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bry,
    That Apollo-class looks real nice. It's funny but I had a totally different Apollo-class in mind.

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Apollo_class

    Your choice looks much better.

    WarpTenLizard,

    As you've already suggested you can always make up a starship to fit the needs of your story, or if your heart is set on using a Nebula, use it. Or you could have your main character start out on a Nebula and then transfer her to another starship class. I personally think a smaller ship, like the Apollo-class that Bry suggested or the previous ones I did, might work better with your premise, but ultimately it's your decision. You're going to be writing the stories and if you enjoy what you're writing, readers will likely enjoy reading it. And you can always start out with a Nebula, it's destroyed or something, and then bring in another ship, and it's the Oberon-A.

    Another thought that came to mind is the Luna-class and the Merian-class.

    http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Luna_class

    http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Merian_class
     
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  16. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've always thought it a bit weird that a ship of clearly Vulcan design was the "Apollo-Class", they could at least have added a "T'" :lol:
     
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  17. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Maybe "Apollo" also has a meaning in a Vulcan language.
     
  18. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Fleet Captain

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    Pol is already in T'Pol so it could be the same root and Apollo isn't such a complicated word that I'd find it hard to believe it showed up in two completely unrelated languages, it's not "Gorsafawddachaidraigodanheddogleddolonpenrhynareurdraethceredigion" (no, I did not just type random letters :rommie:)
     
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  19. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    That and, you know, the fact that Vulcan is a planet, not an island. There must be more than a few languages on that planet, even if only from its history.
     
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  20. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Commodore Commodore

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    What about a doctor from a conjoined species? Two heads, each one has a different personality. Their species can have one head go dormant by mutual agreement while the other is awake. You never know whether you'll be treated by one, the other, or both when you go into sickbay. They don't always argue, but they have different approaches /ideas about a problem.
     
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