SCE: Aftermath Spoiler Notes
Warning: contains spoilers for SCE 23-24: Wildfire and after
(Sorry, no page-by-page annotations; this was my first Trek story and I hadn’t begun doing that yet.)
On the scientific side of the story, I decided to work in some ideas I’d put together about how to reconcile Trek physics with the cutting edge of modern physics. The early warp theories mentioned in the story are real; see Marcelo B. Ribiero’s Page for the original papers. In the real theory of space warps, wormholes and the like — all of which are derived from Einstein’s equations of General Relativity — spacetime is shaped by the distribution of mass and energy in the area. This would make a spacewarp unstable if that distribution changed, unless it were stabilized by some kind of exotic matter. This instability provided the main source of danger for the story.
I also brought in elements of string theory, postulating that “subspace” refers to the six or seven extra “compactified” dimensions predicted by the theory. Altering the geometry of those extra dimensions underlying our spacetime would change the laws of physics, so I assume that a “subspace field” is actually a region in which that dimensional geometry is changed, allowing the physics-defying effects we’ve seen in Trek such as mass reduction, FTL signals in computers, and the production of exotic particles.
The other kind of “aftermath” that went into this story was the aftermath of the death of Lt. Commander Duffy. Keith tipped me off to this little fact in advance, giving me the chance to work up a story based on it. He wanted me to concentrate on Gomez’ depression, on her struggle to resist that tendency to give up and see things as hopeless, and to figure out how to move forward after a tragedy and get on with her life. As it happens, I’ve had my share of experience with depression and with being in a rut. So I was able to bring a lot of my own experience to bear here. The depression issue and the presence of O’Brien also let me call back one of my favorite DS9 episodes, “Hard Time.”
The timeframe of this story also gave me a remarkable opportunity: even though this was my first SCE installment, I got to introduce a major new character, Lt. Commander Tev. Keith created the character, but I was the first one to write him, and got to invent a lot of details of my own, such as his appearance, voice and full name. Keith’s character brief was basically “Charles Emerson Winchester the Tellarite,” brilliant, haughty, hard to like but worth the effort. So I based his appearance and voice on David Ogden Stiers (though not specifically on Charles). I also tried to figure out why he was the way he was. I decided that Tellarites (or at least those of his subculture) are essentially honest to a fault, seeing tact and modesty as deceit. What’s polite to humans is rude to Tellarites, and vice versa. Actually, though, I based him largely on my younger self, before I had learned much about tact and other social skills.
I also got to make up a couple of new security guards, Rennan Konya and Ellec Krotine. The latter is named for an old friend from college (hi, if you’re out there!). Konya, meanwhile, was an attempt to approach a security character from a fresh perspective, not as a tough-guy fighter but a gentler, more empathetic type.
Fans of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda will probably notice a ton of in-jokes. I was quite a fan of that show before the studio systematically got rid of everything I liked about it. But since my in-jokes refer to the original writing staff and their ideas, I’m okay with their presence in the story.