As part of my preparations for writing Star Trek DTI, I decided to take another look at the Lucsly-Dulmur scenes in Deep Space Nine: “Trials and Tribble-ations” to refresh my memory about their look, voices, demeanor, etc. For future reference, I took note of the time and duration of their scenes in the episode so I can track them down more easily if I need to.
The two DTI agents first appear about 12 seconds into the teaser and the scene continues for about 1 minute, 45 seconds. Their second scene is at the start of Act One and runs a bit over 30 seconds. After that, we go into flashback and they aren’t seen again until the start of Act Four, in a scene lasting about 40 seconds. Then they return at the end of the episode, first for about 15 seconds before we cut to the final flashback of Sisko meeting Kirk (in footage taken from “Mirror, Mirror” instead of “The Trouble with Tribbles,” and with Sisko appearing unnaturally short in order to match Kirk’s eyeline as he looked at Barbara Luna), and then for another 35 seconds as they wrap up the interview and leave.
So Lucsly and Dulmur’s total screen time is only 3 minutes, 45 seconds. Less than that, actually, since they weren’t on camera the whole time. Dulmur has 31 lines in the episode, Lucsly has 18, for a total of 49 lines (some of them single words). Dulmur speaks 170 words, Lucsly a mere 99, for a total of 269 words.
And I have to base a whole novel on just that.
Well, it’s not just that. The performances of James W. Jansen (Lucsly) and Jack Blessing (Dulmur) are informative as well — the way they react and interact in their short time onscreen told me a lot about them. Dulmur talks more and takes the lead in speaking with others, but defers to Lucsly, turns to him for answers, suggesting that Lucsly’s the senior partner but Dulmur’s the more gregarious one. At the end, Dulmur softens when he confesses to Sisko that he probably would’ve arranged to meet Kirk too, but Lucsly reacts to that with a sullen glare, suggesting he’s more strict, meticulous, humorless. That fits with Lucsly’s superior knowledge. He knows what Bajoran Orbs are but Dulmur doesn’t. Dulmur says there have been five Enterprises, Lucsly corrects him that it’s six. From their faces and deliveries, I see that Dulmur’s able to compute the exact date of a stardate over a century ago but needs to think about it first, but Lucsly adds the day of the week with savant-like ease. All this tells me a lot about who these men are, or at least who they might be. Developing these characters is detective work — watching and listening, reading between the lines, deducing their personalities.
And I do have other things to draw on besides those 3-plus minutes. Lucsly and Dulmur have shown up in a few short stories, most notably Bill Leisner’s “Gods, Fate, and Fractals” and Dayton Ward’s “Almost . . . But Not Quite” in Strange New Worlds II. Last Unicorn Games’ All Our Yesterdays: The Time Travel Sourcebook has a couple of chapters on the DTI and its organization. And while I’m not bound by any of these and indeed have chosen to go in different directions from them in a lot of ways, they all offer ideas that are useful in building the story. For instance, Dayton’s story mentions Dulmur’s ex-wife in passing. I was able to build a ton of Dulmur’s backstory and characterization from the simple suggestion that he was married but isn’t anymore. Sometimes it’s not so much detective work as taking a single idea and letting your imagination run wild with the possibilities it implies. (Oh, and most tie-in fiction spells it “Dulmer,” on the theory that the names are anagrams of Scully and Mulder, but it’s Dulmur in the script, on StarTrek.com, and on Memory Alpha, the Trek Wiki.)
Plus the book isn’t just about Lucsly and Dulmur. There’s a whole cast of DTI characters and their associates, including a few familiar faces but mostly original to this book. There are a variety of subplots, and tie-ins with multiple ST time-travel episodes. And I’ve done a lot of reading up on real quantum physics and time-travel theory to help me devise a (more or less) coherent model for how time travel works in the Trek universe.
But it all still centers on Agent Lucsly and Agent Dulmur. And it all began with those 225 seconds of screen time, those 269 words, those two actors who probably spent no more than a day on the DS9 soundstage yet left an indelible impression. That’s the thing about time — sometimes a little goes a long way.