Spoilers Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2016: "The Last Refuge" author's annotations

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Cap'n Calhoun, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Cap'n Calhoun

    Cap'n Calhoun Writer Red Shirt

    Jul 3, 2013
    Don't know if this is of interest to anyone, especially given the limited and somewhat lukewarm response that Strange New Worlds 2016 has received, but I've always been a fan of Christopher L. Bennett's story annotations, so I've written up an (almost certainly overly long) series of annotations for "The Last Refuge." Hope this is of interest.

    As you'll see below, I tried to honor the 50 years of Star Trek history being celebrated by this collection by making references to the franchise in general and Voyager in particular without cramming them in awkwardly. (I didn't see any reasonable spot to add an Enterprise reference, which is a particular shame since no Enterprise story was included in the collection.) All episode titles are from Star Trek: Voyager unless specified otherwise. Extensive spoilers follow.
    • Title: A reference to the quote "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" from Foundation by Isaac Asimov. (That quote is in turn based on the Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.")
    • Voyager: This was originally meant to be a DS9 story about Kira's past as a terrorist, but it refused to stay that way. Which is funny, because DS9 is my favorite Star Trek series and Voyager is one of my least favorite. But when I realized it made more sense as a Maquis story, it only made sense to shift it over to early Voyager and try to use some of the lost potential of conflict between the two crews. In classic Star Trek style this "conflict" expresses itself in my story largely as a "talking heads" argument, for better or for worse.
    • Tuvok Orchid: As seen in "Basics, Part I," though orchids pop up all the time during Voyager's second season.
    • Tuvok's prize-winning orchid breeding: Mentioned in "Tattoo." We also saw one of his grafts in "Alliances."
    • Symbiogenetic orchid: As seen in "Tuvix."
    • Crossbreed of various orchids from the Delta Quadrant: Again, "Tuvix," though I assume he's found others.
    • Lon Suder: First appeared in "Meld", where his struggle with violence was first seen; died in "Basics, Part II" while fighting the Kazon.
    • Exile by the Kazon to Hanon IV: "Basics" again, to which this the framing story is a direct sequel.
    • Suder's confession: I originally intended to write this as a murder (attempt) mystery, but figured that there was no way that Suder being the culprit could possibly be a surprise to anyone. I like to think the story works better without using mystery as a crutch, though I suppose the framing story using a pre-recorded "deathbed confession" is really just a crutch of a different sort. I usually find recorded messages from beyond the grave unlikely, but I figure Suder had enough time, and it isn't unreasonable that he suspected he would die while trying to single-handedly retake the ship from the Kazon.
    • POV: Yeah, it's probably really weird that I used Tuvok as the POV character in the present but Chakotay as the POV character in the past. A bit of a cheat, but I like to think I can get away with it more easily with tie-in fiction with familiar characters. At least I kept it consistent, right? My thinking was that the Maquis elements that I was trying to build the story around wouldn't work well with anyone but Chakotay, but Tuvok's personal bond with Suder and his position as chief of security made more sense in the present (which is also why I had to take him out of commission in the past to keep Chakotay involved). I tried to "pull out the camera" a tiny bit for the second-to-last scene and have Tuvok and Chakotay share the spotlight a bit more while still using third-person limited with Tuvok as the main focus.
    • Sixteen months ago: Shortly before "State of Flux", but after "Prime Factors," as clarified later in the story. (And "months" after "Caretaker.")
    • Ayala: I tried to make good use of the existing Maquis crew from the series. Ayala was fairly minor but appeared in 123 episodes of Voyager, including "Caretaker" and "Endgame." He "tried to attack Tuvok" in "Caretaker." He moved around departments a bit over the years, perhaps as a result of Chakotay wanting to give him "some more responsibility."
    • "You were planning to turn us over to Starfleet": Tuvok was a Starfleet plant in Chakotay's Maquis cell way back in "Caretaker." This is also why Suder later says "Back before I knew you were Starfleet."
    • Seska: Seska appeared in 13 episodes ranging from "Parallax" to "Shattered." "We've already had to reassign Seska from sciences" sometime between "Parallax" and "Prime Factors."
    • Ensign Wildman: Samantha Wildman appeared in eight episodes, though Seska trying to punch her is my own invention. I make no comment about whether she was really asking for it or not.
    • Crewman Chell: Shown to be "unreliable" in "Learning Curve," though he also appeared in "Repression" and was mentioned several other times.
    • Crewman Jarvin: "Was speaking of mutiny" in "Parallax." Chakotay thought he might leave the ship in "The 37's."
    • "I've said this before: They aren't your people anymore": Janeway said this in "Parallax": "That's the problem, right there. They're not your people. You're treating the Maquis on this ship like they're still your crew." It's hard to create real conflict when the characters largely bonded on-screen within the first few episodes.
    • “Commander, would you mind grabbing that for me?”: This may be the only recorded instance of someone ordering something from the replicator from the other side of the room. (Or it may not. Really not sure.) Hey, I'd do it.
    • Dalby: Kenneth Dalby appeared in "Learning Curve" where he showed "too much initiative."
    • Gamma shift: Presumably the same night shift that Kim commanded in various episodes, though I don't know if Voyager used a 3- or 4-shift rotation.
    • Black coffee and creamer: Janeway is known for her love of black coffee. I had a line later in the story joking that it was enough "for a week's worth of coffee" (joking about how much coffee Janeway drinks with the intended implication that this was if she used cream, since the context already specified that she doesn't use it), and Margaret Clark shot back the following note: "PER CBS: Since Janeway takes her coffee black, this doesn’t track." This was the most gloriously geeky moment of my life: Arguing with CBS about whether I could have a joke that could be misunderstood to mean that Janeway takes her coffee with cream. Ultimately, they were probably right to take it out. I also appreciate the attention to detail that this shows: Even if they don't catch every little inconsistency, it isn't for lack of trying.
    • Explosive non-dairy creamer: There's some science behind this, though I'm obviously stretching things a bit. (Watch Star Trek Continues' Grant Imahara test this on MythBusters: )
    • Fireworks: If this scene feels like you're watching it in slo-mo, then I have done my job correctly.
    • Fire-suppresion force fields: First described in "Up the Long Ladder" (TNG). I don't believe we've ever seen it on screen, though I seem to recall a diagram in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual.
    • "With Tuvok enveloped inside": Maybe it's just my e-reader, but it looks like there may be an unnecessary "scene break" after this line. If so, it's a mistake.
    • Fire extinguisher: Yes, Janeway's always had a fire extinguisher behind a secret wall panel. I can't help it if she's never used it before or since. But we've seen plenty of times in DS9 that people keep them around just in case.
    • "He wasn't planning to be the only one to see it": If only Jyn Erso had a tricorder... (Though I obviously wrote this long before seeing Rogue One.)
    • Personal force field generators: Though I don't think we were allowed to explicitly reference TAS in these stories, this was inspired by the life-support belts from "Beyond the Farthest Star" (TAS) and "The Slaver Weapon" (TAS), though this story uses armbands closer to those in "Timescape" (TNG), which also acted as skin-tight force fields. Note that neither version was necessarily defensive against attacks, and I can't imagine that these generators are particularly effective either, otherwise we'd see them in combat in episodes like "The Siege of AR-558" (DS9).
    • Tantalus Colony: As seen in "Dagger of the Mind" (TOS).
    • Elba II: As seen in "Whom Gods Destroy" (TOS).
    • "Voyager needed a trial by fire": If it doesn't feel like Suder's plan quite makes sense, you give yourself a gold star. Like many people, he comes up with a weak justification to follow his urges (violent urges in this case) and then tries to further rationalize it after the fact. See the title of the story.
    • Lieutenant Andrews: A background player who appeared in at least seven episodes of Voyager, including "Caretaker." He has more lines in this story than in the entire series. I thought it was important to remember that Tuvok's not the only competent security officer on the ship, even if he is the most experienced.
    • "It was definitely a Starfleet transporter": Because other transporter beams always a little look different. They must notice that in-universe, right?
    • "Andrews shifted uncomfortably": I would too.
    • "Keep this as quiet as you can": This is why the attempted murder of Janeway and Tuvok's injuries are never even alluded to on the show. It's not just because Voyager (like TOS and TNG) has a tendency not to acknowledge the episodes that came before. And it's certainly not because the episodes that came after these events were written 20 years before this story.
    • Psych profiles: Starfleet keeps psychological profiles on-file for its personnel as seen in episodes ranging from "The Enterprise Incident" (TOS) to "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" (DS9). Existing profiles were pulled in "Coming of Age" (TNG), "Hollow Pursuits" (TNG), and "Eye of the Beholder" (TNG).
    • "One of the members that came from the colonies": It seems like the early Maquis were mainly colonists. Janeway's condescension is unfortunately a bit of a pattern in how Starfleet (and Star Trek) has viewed many human colonies and colonists, though you can see how she arrived at the conclusion. Still, it echoes a bit of profiling by race or religion, even though that wasn't an intended theme of the story.
    • Garth of Izar: Chakotay lays the smack down with another reference to "Whom Gods Destroy" (TOS).
    • Chancellor Gorkon: Apparent TOS fan Chakotay now references Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, alluding to the conspiracy involving Col. West, Valeris, Burke, and Samno. (Yes, I remembered those names without checking.) Though West had probably made it through the Academy before the "tighter screening practices." Assuming he went at all. How does one become a "colonel" in Starfleet?
    • Boothby: As first mentioned in "Final Mission" (TNG) and first seen in "The First Duty" (TNG). Chakotay's relationship with Boothby was established in "In the Flesh" and "The Fight."
    • Brikar: I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to reference the novels, but the editors let me get away with this reference to Zak Kebron from Peter David's wonderful Star Trek: New Frontier, and more specifically his fight with Worf as depicted in Star Trek: The Next Generation—Starfleet Academy #1: Worf's First Adventure, a book which is only slightly longer than its title. I did give them the option to switch to "an Andorian" if there was a strong objection to the reference, but it was allowed to slip through. As a result of the inclusion of this reference, "The Last Refuge" has been included in the Star Trek Lit-Verse Reading Guide at https://startreklitverse.yolasite.com/voyager.php.
    • Admiral Pressman: Chakotay's obviously unaware of the revelations made in "The Pegasus" (TNG) around a year prior, and with good reason: Not only was he in the Maquis, but it's unlikely that the violation of the Treaty of Algeron was spread around to people other than high-ranking officers. Janeway is obviously in the loop. I assume Chakotay is using what he believes to be Pressman's current rank (assuming he didn't lose it in the court-martial), since Pressman was a captain at the time of the mutiny.
    • "Decided that helping the Ocampa was the right thing to do": Surely there's no way you've read this far down and don't remember the gist of "Caretaker," but I'll note it anyway.
    • "The Maquis are not terrorists": "From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!" But, seriously, I don't know that a post-9/11 Star Trek show could get away with having people like Kira and Chakotay as heroes even though they have histories as terrorists, at least from the perspective of those they were fighting. There's a lot to unravel here about the nature of violence and terrorism, and I'm hoping that this story had some interesting things to say about the two. Interestingly, I don't believe that Voyager once used the words "terrorist" or "terrosism" in connection with the Maquis. (Nor did "Preemptive Strike" [TNG].) DS9, however, didn't shy away from it, with Sisko, Odo, Worf, and even Eddington referring to the Maquis as "terrorists" in "The Maquis" (DS9) and "For the Cause" (DS9).
    • The Bok'nor: In "The Maquis, Part I" (DS9).
    • The Vetar: In "Preemptive Strike" (TNG), though the Vetar attacked Chakotay back in "Caretaker." (Evek's ship was named in "Journey's End" [TNG].)
    • "Whose decision was that?": See "Journey's End" (TNG).
    • "The woman he loved was assaulted by the Cardassians": I felt a little uncomfortable with the trope of Dalby's significant other being "fridged" (to say nothing of being raped as well), but with the event already being in continuity (from "Learning Curve"), it felt weird not to use it as an example of what pushed someone to join the Maquis. It was a Chekhov's Gun just sitting there waiting to come back. To be fair, I don't know that you can "fridge" someone who's never appeared.) I deliberately stuck close to the wording Dalby used in "Learning Curve."
    • Tabor: Tabor and the events described were a major part of "Nothing Human."
    • "Some sort of barbaric medical experiments": While I can't say this was completely intentional, it continues a long Voyager tradition.
    • "Did you know that my father was killed by Cardassians?": In "Tattoo" Chakotay said his father "died fighting enemies who would have taken our home colony." Presumably, this was referring to the Cardassians. I don't believe Chakotay ever discusses his father's death with Janeway in the series, so here seemed a good place to do it.
    • "It had been surprisingly short on details as to why he had defected": I'm a little confused on some of the details myself, at least for the "how" and "when" if not the "why." Chakotay resigned his commission on March 3rd, 2368, (per "In the Flesh") or about a year before the events of the first episode of Deep Space Nine and about two and a half years before the formation of the Maquis. Maybe this was a precursor that gained more supporters after the treaty shown in "Journey's End" (TNG)?
    • "The French Maquis during World War II": The source of the name "Maquis."
    • "This residue is just like the Talaxian sparklers I grew up with": Neelix ex machina. Handy for authors who are lazy and/or have a limited word count.
    • "Nelix's inability to thorw anything out": He was a hoarder in "Caretaker."
    • "I don't know how I would've integrated these crews": I wish I could say that the parallels to cultural/racial profiling combined with the word "integrated" here were on purpose, but they're really just a coincidence. Chakotay refers to 'integrating' the crews in "Parallax."
    • "Talk of mutiny": Again, "Parallax."
    • "We needed a test of that trust": Suder is full of it IMO, but I'm willing to accept other interpretations. Still, I left some hints here that he's not completely sure whether he believed his plan made sense or not. He also refers to it as an "experiment," which is probably closer to the truth.
    • Baxial: Neelix's ship didn't get a name until "Alice" in season 6.
    • Ashmore: Ashmore was a background character who popped up around 30 times from "Learning Curve" to "Endgame."
    • Carey: The late Joe Carey popped up seven times throughout the series starting in "Caretaker," but Torres famously broke his nose (as mentioned later in the story) in "Parallax."
    • Hogan: Hogan was eaten by a giant eel in "Basics, Part II," his seventh appearance. His bones had a cameo in "Distant Origin."
    • Jonas: Jonas actually did betray the ship, but not until later. He died during "Investigations," his fifth appearance.
    • Vorik: Vorik appeared eight times, all of which were after the events of this story. The nice thing about Voyager is you know everyone was hiding on the ship somewhere from episode one, so you don't have to deal with issues of "But Chekov wasn't on the ship yet when they met Khan!" when for all we know he was on the lower decks.
    • "I can't even say which terminal was used to make the change": I struggled with the possibility that Voyager keeps recordings of goings-on all throughout the ship, but Trek isn't super-consistent with this, so I assumed Big Brother wasn't watching.
    • "A particularly dense blend the Klingons use...": Hand-waving so we don't have to question the science of whether the coffee creamer would've reacted that strongly.
    • Raktajino: The favorite coffee of pretty much everyone on DS9, though Paris ordered one in "Meld."
    • "...augmented with a few other reactive chemicals": More hand-waving.
    • "Sometimes we share security codes": We've all been there.
    • "About Mister Tuvok": Suder first greets Tuvok as "Mister Tuvok" (as opposed to, say, "Lieutenant Tuvok") in "Meld."
    • "I'm often not privy to the lastest gossip": Suder doesn't make a lot of friends.
    • "Torres practically broke your nose": Presumably she broke it in a practical way, since it was broken in three places in the aforementioned incident from "Parallax." Either that or Chakotay's not quite remembering how bad the incident was.
    • Sikarian transporter: Carey helped obtain this in "Prime Factors."
    • "What about Seska? She's talked about mutiny before": Same theoretical mutiny in "Parallax" again.
    • "She's turned down shortcuts to get home": "Caretaker", "Prime Factors", and arguably "Eye of the Needle."
    • "I'd have been charged with far worse than this": This is one of few changes made by the editors that I'm not particularly happy with, though I understand why they did it. My original line was: “If I was back home and the Cardassians caught me, I’d have already been convicted and tried for far worse than this.” This was viewed as an error (Cardassian trials presume guilt, so they don't "convict"), but I had intentionally flipped the phrase from the usual "tried and convicted" to "convicted and tried" as a play on this concept. The fact that the phrase trips easily off Seska's tongue also hints at her true identity as a Cardassian. So, while I understand the change, I would've rather kept the original phrasing.
    • "I'm not a Klingon. I'm not going to try to kill my captain.": As described in "A Matter of Honor" (TNG).
    • "The first question in any crime is this: Who takes benefit?": Alluding slightly to DC Comics controversial series Identity Crisis, though I did try to change up the phrasing.
    • "'When you have eliminated the impossible...": Quoting Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of the Four. Spock quoted this same line in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Presumably Vulcans (especially those in Starfleet) are big fans of Holmes. Though Vorik is less clever than he would like to believe.
    • "Let's just say an anomaly." "Heaven knows we run into enough of them.": Yes, they notice it too. "Parallax", "The Cloud", and "Eye of the Needle" come to mind.
    • "The traitorous engineer had been revealed as a Cardassian spy": In "State of Flux," which is also when she provides the Kazon-Nistrim with replicator technology.
    • "Suder's tragic, but heroic, death as well as her own end": "Basics, Part II" again.
    • Bajoran lilac: Kira Meru's favorite flower in "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night" (DS9).
    • "Recycle the meal in the replicator!": Don't forget to recycle, kids. I want to say the replicator's ability to recycle matter was first described in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, but we saw it in "Hard Time" (DS9) (and possibly earlier). Janeway orders the replicator to "recycle" in "Fair Haven."
    • "My last replicator ration": Voyager is first mentioned as using replicator rations in "The Cloud."
    • Investigation closed: Had trouble making it believable that they'd drop the investigation entirely or just leave it sitting for long. Hoping that putting the events close to "State of Flux" made it feel like it wasn't too much of a stretch.
    • Les Misérables: Star Trek loves its literary references. We saw how much Eddington loved Les Misérables in "For the Uniform" (DS9). As with that episode, it's debatable how well the characters in this story really know the book. Jean Valjean was also the namesake of Chakotay's ship the Val Jean as established in an on-screen display in "Repression." (The ship's name is a typo according to The Star Trek Encyclopedia.)
    • "I am a bit disturbed that this information never arose in my work with Mister Suder": Nice lampshade you have there Tuvok.
    • "Love each other well and always": At the risk of patting myself on the back, I love that Tuvok says something like this as his way of fact-checking everyone.
    • "Dismissed": Man, Janeway is *constantly* trying to have the last word in this story.
    • Harry Kim: Does not appear in this story. Nothing personal.
    • Tom Paris: Sir Also-Not-Appearing-In-This-Story.
    Thanks to Memory Alpha and Chrissie's Transcripts Site for being invaluable resources both when writing this story. I used both extensively as well as the most recent edition of The Star Trek Encyclopedia while making these notes. Memory Beta was also handy for trying to avoid explicitly contradicting other sources unnecessarily.

    If any other authors from the collection would like to share their notes, I'd love to see them too!
  2. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Thanks for doing this. I'm also a fan of annotations, footnotes, show notes, directors' commentary....

    It's a toss-up between your story or "The Manhunt Pool" was my favorite of the '16 edition, so I appreciate the chance to revisit it.
    DS9forever and Cap'n Calhoun like this.
  3. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 20, 2005
    Woodward, OK
    I always like when authors go this extra mile. And thanks for treating having your story listed on the Litverse Reading Guide as an accomplishment. :bolian:
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  4. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 21, 2005
    On the USS Sovereign
    Annotations are always welcome, thanks.
    Cap'n Calhoun likes this.
  5. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

    Sep 11, 2007
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Thanks for putting this together!

    These are great--and if you can post them somewhere else, they'll be easier to link to from Memory Beta's Author's Annotations page.
    Cap'n Calhoun likes this.