Years before I even started writing it, I had decided to end FV on its fifth season. With the prequels included, the series would have eight seasons all together, one more than Voyager, and it ending on a Five was definitely fitting. I had long ago decided not to write or publish my ideas for my own sci-fi novel series, which would have branched off like Star Trek into spinoffs. I only really had a few original ideas in this whole series and most of them had so far been brought into Fifth Voyager so they were not wasted; the Lena and Kiara paradox, the time travel ship Erona (originally the Game Cube ship Excelsior), the Soft, the Lillyia's etc... My only original idea I had left to bring in was a spin off titled Millennium. The story I had planned for that was perfect for Fifth Voyager and its final season, and that is all I can say without spoiling it.
Planning for it started extremely early. A lot of Season Five's entries were thoroughly plotted out in my head while Season Four was still a few episodes old. I couldn't just bring in the Millennium story out of nowhere. Thanks to the previous novel inclusions above there was a foundation to work with anyway, but Season Four had to build it up even further. Long story short a lot of work had gone into Season Five before I had even started Wrong Direction and most of the time I think it shows.
This season however was blighted by the big writers block. I had a confidence crisis when I was about to begin my most ambitious work yet. Just before starting the episode that was to kick off the season's arc, I just didn't think I could pull it off. The series was silent for years. After one failed comeback using this season, Fifth Voyager did come back after five years and since then the fifth season has flourished. I think I needed the break, even if I did think it was the worst thing to happen to the series at the time. A lot of the episodes post-writers block probably wouldn't have been as good, or probably not even finished if I had wrote them in 2005-2007 like I planned.
No matter, I'm blabbing again. It worked out in the end cos here I am, on the final season with only a few episodes to go. To that I say, bring it on.
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The title is more for the season than the episode itself. The episode just concentrates on bringing the characters onto the fleet. The wrong direction is just generally going into the corridor.
Millennium. Ok this isn't fair, but if Final Millennium had a different title this is what I would have gone with.
The novels titled Millennium, which would have been a part of my Kidz Trek series. Well the season arc was inspired by this, but hey this is the start.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) It's probably not the most thrilling of season openers, not even close, but I figured there wasn't enough time to get everyone to leave their lives to re-join the fleet in Death Corridor.
2) Speaking of which, James and Jessie's plot goes on a lot longer than I intended, it just comes off as favouritism, doesn't it? The truth is I didn't expect it. I wasn't really enjoying the episode and I kept getting stuck (A/N: The writers block was starting to show the telltale signs here). Expanding some of the other characters plots was just not do-able at the time. If it was on my list of reboot episodes I'd fix it, but rebooting a few episodes of Season Four was bad enough.
3) The episode was originally released as a two parter. Or more accurately it was released as a Part 1 out of 2, with Part 2 coming later. This was done because as mentioned above, I was struggling with it and I needed it released for the date I had promised. Stupid really. The episode was changed to a solo parter in March 2015 as it is way too small to be a two parter, and it wasn't supposed to be one anyway.
4) Now that Speaking In Riddles is online (oh yeah, if you haven't read that do not go on. Spoilers) I can talk about the last scene of the episode. For a while I had forgotten about it, it had been nearly ten years since I wrote it. One of the men in the scene is Matteo (I badly need to pick a first name for him lol), and the other is a nameless/faceless man he recruited first. They talk about It's joining Voyager, and they need to find more people to help them. The opener in Riddles shows what happens after this. I'll expand on this trivia point once the appropriate later episode(s) are released. For now, this is it.
5) In preparation for the final four (at least, who knows if they'll be Bounds of Illusion'ed eventually), I decided to give Season Five a read through. I haven't done that since Death of the Soul was being written, so it should be interesting. It will take a while as well. Anyway I obviously started here and I've discovered the episode isn't as bad as I remembered. It definitely works better as a 1 parter at least. The James/Jessie stuff doesn't seem to take over all that much, again the 1 parter edits may help with it. The point of the trivia entry here though is the beginning of the arc itself. I have found several nice nods to what's to come in it, which I didn't remember, so the episode does more than force the cast onto the ship. It foreshadows the season. Its a mildly decent premiere, which at first glance (and since I hadn't read it in full since the season was 8/9 episodes long) is relatively harmless. At second, after the majority of the season is online anyway, it's a bit more revealing. It may seem that way to me though, as I know the whole arc but hey.
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The anomaly they go into was recently discovered. The Crazy Horse crew would give it a nickname once their problems start. The Voyager and Leda crew only know it as that.
From here on out there isn't going to be many episodes with much here. My only inspiration was that I was on the final season, B4FV3 was almost finished so why not have a few callbacks to previous episodes. Yes this was long before I decided on Five's overall premise ^_^
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) I wanted to start the season with this particular episode. However I knew that everything in Wrong Direction would have to go in first. The episode wouldn't have gotten to the point, ie the title, until a third/half way in and the episode would have been quite long. Death Corridor was pretty lengthily for its age, and coupled with Wrong Direction would have toppled Closing of the Eyes. I figured it was a better idea to have the crew coming back, or rather the reasons for their coming back in one prologue type episode. That way Death Corridor can mostly concentrate on its own story. Definitely a good move. I consider Death Corridor the real season opener.
2) I go back and forth with my only gripe in this episode, and that's James and Jessie's story. I guess even when I'm ok with it, I still think it does the same here as it did with Wrong Direction; took over the episode. Wrong Direction had nothing but character stuff going for it, and that was the point, so it was noticeable. Death Corridor's certainly long enough for it to be less noticeable, I guess. My gripe involves the pregnancy revelation and the resulting argument. Why?
Jessie's obviously not well, what she does is pretty out of character for her. James is naturally and in my opinion rightly upset by it all, but his reaction is well, that's the part I go back and forth on. The scene was written intentionally so people could see both sides, shift over to Jessie's, or even think they're both stupid. Take your pick. It messes with me, and I try to tell myself that's the point. Jessie did a crappy thing, James is understandably mad, he gets too mad, you hopefully start to feel sorry for Jessie when he does. She's depressed and we know it, it doesn't fully excuse her but it explains it. James doesn't know what's going on, his wife and best friend is blanking him and rude for no reason he can see. He's tried, but he's left to raise the kids on his own. On his side his wife's not interested in him or the kids, yet went out of her way to make a new one, while making him think he couldn't (yeah that's the other gripe but I'll get to that). On her side he's shouting at her, saying he doesn't trust her which is a huge blow and her self esteem is already in the gutter, she's miserable. The last thing she expected was James turning on her. So yeah...
I only gripe about that scene because it's uncomfortable. I wrote it to be that way, so eventually I have to remind myself of that. Silly.
The other thing was what I mentioned before the brackets. I've altered it over the years so it doesn't seem as strange, but it still is to me. I'm not sure what I can say other than I don't think I've seen Star Trek address birth control before, ever. I assume since it's the twenty fourth century that it could be just as simple as a hypospray for either person. If they have and I've gotten it wrong, well oops. I guess that's my only issue with it, not knowing and I don't really want to either haha. I guess the story is a futuristic version of a guy hiding the girl's pills somewhere or replacing them with paracetamol, heh... it's probably the safest comparison I can make here ^_^ It's bad, mkay. I just worry that I show off my lack of knowledge on the subject in these scenes, that's all.
Like the episode, the James and Jessie stuff tries to take over the trivia page too. Moving on.
3) Sometime during Season Four I decided that Damien was in the series enough to be considered a main character. Then I thought of how much fun it would be to have him join the crew. I mean I did enjoy his forced to help/work with them episodes more anyway. If I go by my older news pages this happened whilst that plot was kicking off in Closing of the Eyes, so there you go. Later than I thought. I did originally write that Chakotay was going to work on his own in that plot before I promoted Damien to MC, but that doesn't make much sense from what's been "shown" so far and what's to come. He was probably just a guest star still when this happened and ran off when it went sour, nothing more.
Anyway this addition worked out nicely as it created someone Ylara could interact with. If I remember right she was hated by one reader on the forum, and the Damien interaction helped fix that. Pairing up the unintentional and more effective villain and the intentional and a bit hapless villain, so they can bounce off each other was a great idea IMO. It helped humanise Ylara a bit and Damien actually. They definitely had a bit of chemistry too, it was so easy to write their scenes. Don't panic though, that doesn't automatically mean shipping. I find Damien has this with Jessie too. As does Tom and James, James and Craig sometimes (early S5 begs to differ). Damien and Ylara were hated, and that's really all I went into their scenes with in the beginning. Some characters just work together and I was happy they did.
4) This one will contain spoilers for later episodes, not much later though. If you're reading this and you're not much further ahead than this episode, skip to point 5. If you're safely passed Responsibility (see) then go ahead. There's still stuff I cannot say for this particular trivia point as there's still a few episodes left to write before I can write more. I have no doubt that there was/is confusion about Chakotay's condition and how he boarded Voyager so easily. It wasn't meant to tell you everything and that's definitely a re-occurring theme in this season, not everything is explained right away. Sometimes it doesn't at all, it's there for you to notice later during a re-read of the season. This is a bit of both. Some of it will be explained later on, while other parts are left to your imagination from what you've learned in later episodes.
What's there to talk about then? What's the problem? Chakotay gets aboard, despite the security system they have for boarding passengers. However he's Tolg, Tolg are simply dead Borg. The shield should have stopped him. He claims he's undead in one scene. Wrong.
Later episodes the Doctor mentions that he isn't dead, he just kept the implants and didn't really do anything to make him look alive. He was injured in Responsibility, bleeding and everything. Dead people obviously don't do that. His lines about being dead and I'm sure that undead one wasn't the only line, is just a reference to his state of mind. He got through the shield because he was alive, simple. As for the rest of it, that's still spoiler territory I'm afraid.
I guess I just wanted to say that Chakotay's dead lines were not a mistake. Responsibility proved him wrong a mere two episodes later. How could I make that mistake anyway? Before he says he's undead, the person he's talking to tells him he'll never get through the shield. I'm not that forgetful. Though point 8 definitely makes me look that way.
5) It could be seen as a mistake and I wouldn't object if someone told me that, but I was very much aware of it at the time and chose to ignore it for the sake of "humour". The scenes in question? Harry and Jodie's. Like most of the characters, the pair have to re-live a previous episode's plot issue and theirs is Faye's bout of invisibility in Paper Bag (B4FV Season Two). In that Faye only was invisible. One of her gags was making Janeway believe her coffee was either talking to her and/or the coffee pixies were real. That required Janeway to hear her talk. Harry and Jodie are also muted to everyone else too. I just thought having them invisible didn't really work. Having nobody hear them sounded a lot more fun. So yeah a bad poetic licence, but it's an intentional mistake all the same.
6) It seems appropriate for a trivia section, so here goes. This episode was created to not only start off the arc but also pay a tribute to what had gone before, by bringing back up old threats. The original reason for it was In The Eye (B4FV3). I had enjoyed that so much, I wanted to continue it somehow even if the ending made sure to stop that. So apart from that, what other episodes did this one reference:
Paper Bag (B4FV2): As mentioned in an earlier trivia point. Harry and Jodie were re-living Faye's wish to be invisible. Only I cheated and made their voices heard only by each other, for laughs. Heh. Paper Bag's best moment was the one I mentioned with the coffee pixies.
Suicidal (Season Two): I had to think about this one, it's not an episode I read often. It's been probably a decade. There's a few incidents from this, which makes me re-think getting rid of this episode in a reboot (yey, not). The first one was the console exploding in Naomi's face (Tom had this). Nikki later suffers from water in the lungs, which wasn't a big deal to her* (I had to look, Triah suffered this one). The next one I'm unsure about, it happens in this and something similar happens in the Atamit... and I'm definitely not keeping that horrible thing. Um, Ylara and Annika get holes punched into their wrists and legs. James and Emma got this in S2.
The episode was basically the awayteam of a previous episode are attacked differently by er... someone, and the proof of it happening disappears. One character commits suicide, or it looks like it. The weapon disappears for one. A computer explodes, no sign of why. Another hallucinates. Two others get brutally attacked by something invisible. As mentioned, this episode isn't a one I read much and I don't remember it well. I had to check it to write this entry.
Various: The Doctor's been messed with a lot, especially in the first few main seasons. It seemed like a fun idea to show him in some of them, as well as ones that I had made up for this episode. Also the Neelix's stripping from the prequels is brought back, yay?
End of the Day (B4FV3): Zare and Kevin end up fighting demons that seemingly come out of nowhere.
Lately (B4FV2): Daniel is knocked into a coma by the coffee bat, like Danny was. Yasmin later goes after it.
Twisted (Original Voyager Season 1 or 2): I still regret not mixing this episode's plot with Elogium like I had planned. Oh well. B'Elanna, the Doctor and maybe some others are unable to get to where they want as the ship is acting like it's twisted again.
In The Eye (B4FV3): And the one that sparked the idea itself. The villain from this episode returns to haunt the next generation of its victims.
Yeesh, that's a lot of prequels, haha.
Unleashed (Season Four): Oh never mind. The spiders attack the Leda instead, scaring arachnophobe Faye nearly half to death. Since she's just me, it's a bit of a plot hole that she didn't scream the place down and pass out down some stairs. Oh wait, no stairs. Ahem *cough*. I said too much.
If there are others, they were tiny enough to miss. I'll add them if I ever find them.
7) *Nikki's scene looks like it came out of nowhere. I had planned what her species was like long before FV came about, I just never did talk about it in the series, at least I don't think so, other than the species partner habits (ahem). So it does come out of nowhere and there's no excuse why it did. I didn't make it up on the spot and I cannot prove otherwise. Oh well. Oh and her species name, if not mentioned before this episode, was er... a slightly altered version of the original species name. Bare in mind I was no older than 12 when I named them. That species name, Porse lol. Porsean is not looking so bad now, is it? Liger, Porse... I was so creative XD I could probably pick a better name, I just wanted to keep it close to its roots.
I'm actually forgetting details of it so I'll go by what I do remember. Mercury was originally a small ocean planet. An advanced species set up a cloak to hide the Porseans from Humans, as they are/were a barbaric race. The idea is that the cloak makes the planet look like how we see Mercury in real life. The Porseans evolved from the oceans and hadn't long since left it, if I remember correctly, so they are capable of breathing under water. They've evolved enough to survive in and out of it. The parts I'm not 100% on is if the advanced species evolved on the planet as well, or just squandered it. It's either both or the latter. Also if the oceans were dried up or expanded by this species. Fair Chance should answer that, but I haven't checked yet.
It's been a while since I thought about my old ideas for Mercury. This was gonna be another sci-fi novel, only a one off. It would appear to be a loosely fantasy one based around a few generations of royals until it's revealed what planet they're on. I only didn't write it because I figured scientists would rip me apart for it, haha. I think I then moved the Mercury ideas into Kidz Trek, as I did have Venus colonised in that. It's no mystery as to what my favourite solar system planets are, hmm?
8) I just discovered a huge plot hole in the episode, something I can't believe I didn't spot and I should have. Its been corrected now but, wow. Daniel is knocked into a coma, Jessie finds him and gets him to Sickbay. A few scenes later he's on the Leda Bridge with Faye and Bryan. It's not just that first scene either, he's there for two. I figured that scene was written at a different time, and I stupidly edited the scenes together in the wrong order. It definitely seems to be the case with a line like this: "probably five or more, the writer must have lost track after writing in four different places.". Yeah. I wrote the Leda Bridge scenes and coma ones separate... it gets better.
Only why is Daniel there anyway? He's never been a bridge guy. I assumed it was meant to be Craig as he was on the bridge and Daniel wasn't, then all of a sudden Craig's gone and Daniel's there. I've fixed it as such. I've mentioned this here as that mistake has been there for so damn long.
9) My re-read of the season and I ended up enjoying Wrong Direction more than this. Strange really. I guess I did have to read a bit of it for episodes like Riddles, so it wasn't so much a fresh read as WD's was.
More Coming Soon
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I wanted a vague ish title that obviously wouldn't give away anything. Outbreak was picked as the problems that surface here aren't resolved, they're out in the open, ready to infect the rest of the main cast and season arc.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) This episode was so close to being lost completely due to a massive screw up on my part. At the time my old computer (rest in hell) was hooked up to one of those three way adapters that are designed to cut off the power to the monitor & speakers once the computer is off, without having to switch it off at the mains. It also was to protect it from power surges but hey. Trouble was my old bulky monitor didn't work with this, neither did my speakers (though the latter do now, weird) so they'd remain on standby. I opted to just turning it all off at the mains anyway. It was very early in the morning, like 3/4am. The computer was either taking its time or doing an update while shutting down, and I think you can see where I'm going here. I realised right away what I'd done and so I promptly booted it up again. I was greeted by the scandisk (remember that!?), so I left it to it. Something caught my eye though, it was doing something I'd never seen before. Truncating file. I saw the episode file flash up for like half a second and I panicked. The computer finally booted up with no issues, then I checked the file. My panic was reasonable, the episode was a garbled mess and for once not because of my awful writing ^_^ It looked like when you open a picture or anything that isn't .txt or html file in Notepad.
It took a while but there was a nice program that can recover things from the computer's memory, and it was still there. Unfortunately it was in many and tiny little subsections scattered around sectors. It was like putting together a jigsaw honestly. Nevertheless the episode was recovered but I learned my lesson. Thankfully the "new" monitor and "new" computer both work with this adapter so I never have the chance to make that mistake again.
2) During my re-read of the season the first thing I was hit with was that opening fourth wall Log. Tom's worst case scenario about the speed of the series, was it wouldn't end until Christmas 2008. By December 2008 I had tried to give the series another go after suffering from writers block, but all I ended up with was an unfinished Death of the Soul and Caretaker remake. The series went on hiatus around Christmas 2008. It's a painful coincidence, a one I made fun of in the original Death of the Soul (now Queuing Forever) as I knew it would be released at that time. Try possibly "Christmas" 2015, Tom ^_^
3) I really liked Outbreak, I enjoyed writing it... with the exception of the mishap in trivia point 1. I was worried that the years hadn't been kind to it, but it's still not a bad episode. I still skipped the counselling scenes though. Regarding that, the original version of that scene had been butchered to what it is now. It's still an improvement over the original. The scene itself feels awkward, especially now that I've actually had counselling. Hmm.
4) I think it was meant to be that way, but the scene with Li'Chin and Wesley metaphorically humping James' leg is uncomfortable as hell. The scene looks like it paints him as awesome, I worry that people will think that I see him this way. No, no... There's no deep meaning with it, or I'd remember what the meaning was. I think that they were just trying to butter him up to do as they wanted. Ylara wouldn't listen, Zare doesn't trust them and why should she, and that leaves Kevin, who they don't seem to respect at all.
It makes no sense for me to slag off all the other Slayers, including Lena, when I've done the opposite a lot of the time. Zare for example was mixed up for a Chosen, apart from Jessie she's treated quite well. Sandi gets her due. Lena, the series wouldn't exist if it wasn't for her. So yep, the scene doesn't reflect my feelings on the subject. It's just the watchers being a bit too OTT. I'm still going to go with the flattering him meaning for that scene.
5) Within Reach spoilers, but first direct quote. Spoilers are in the emphasis:
"Our computer records only go back so far, and our paper records have been damaged or lost over the years. An old record mentioned one man getting to his fifties, but was killed by a vampire. We've come to the conclusion that it was false as the Masters had only just escaped the game that created them," Li'Chin said.
The scene in question isn't that bad after all. Ah, hello Frenit foreshadowing... and proof I don't make things up as I go along (now), unless they're Annika jokes. Hurray.
6) Jessie groaned, "this is going to be a long season."
Outbreak started out with a poor prediction to its completion date, but it did end up getting something right. I have to admit, I laughed a little.
7) With point 1 in mind, I do think there's an unintentional deleted scene in this episode. Zare confronts Ylara and everytime I read that this line "he blames himself for what happened to Lena, no thanks to what you said to him" I think when did this happen and I'm the bloody writer. Everytime I go back as far as Burnt Out And Falling and search for Ylara scenes, and I don't find this scene Zare mentions. I try to tell myself it wasn't meant to be "seen", it's something Ylara said to Craig that wasn't written. Why though? It just makes me go backwards and check, it annoys me. I imagine as a reader it would be even more irritating. That's poor writing. I suppose that's me in a nutshell.
However with the issues the episode had, and now that I'm reading through it fully instead of just skimming, it does feel like there's stuff missing from it that might have gotten lost in the corruption. How I recovered it as I've mentioned already, the episode was in bits I had to put back together. Maybe I did lose some of it. Now I have vague memories of trying to rewrite one scene as some of it was missing during the recovery. Maybe it was that one, or maybe it was the one after the missing scene. I'll never know. Maybe I should fix it someday.
8) I'm surprised that I went there with Jessie's dreams. I remembered they were there, I was just surprised that I tried to describe what Jessie was seeing in one of them. There's nothing graphic in the words, it's all implied which I think is creepier, until Jessie blurts out what one of them was about in the following episode. I don't remember coming up with the idea to be honest. It went together with Responsibility quite well IMO.
9) I suppose it's obvious that I have no kids and very little experience with them. I don't have any intention of changing that either. Maybe it doesn't seem that way, now anyway, when you have Amy being so damn cute I can't stand it, or Miral the adorable little monster, and Carl (I think this was in Death Corridor but nm) with his constant interruptions and questions during the book reading.
10) I think before Outbreak was finished, I had decided to do some episode shuffling. The "cliffhanger" was created for this episode as it fit with everything that had gone into it so far. It would have been in episode four instead until I changed it. More in Responsibility.
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Like It's Your Duty, the title refers to the Slayers and their Human sides clashing.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Like Wrong Direction, this episode was a two parter originally. I'm not sure if it was done for similar reasons, ie I wanted it out but had only gotten half way. However the episode was a decent length and I probably would have made it a two parter anyway. I didn't realise though that much bigger episodes would come, solo's would dwarf episodes such as this. Also the main plot doesn't really start until the second half, true FV style haha, so I made the decision to make it a single parter in March 2015. Yeah the plot doesn't start until half way through but at least the story before that doesn't put in a "to be continued" in between, it wasn't exactly cliffhanger material.
2) Responsibility was originally slated for episode number five instead of four. I still get mixed up and open file 5-05 for it, just like I sometimes get True Colours and Stop Or Die's episode numbers the wrong way round. I only have vague memories of what happened, so don't take what I say as 100% accurate, other than it originally being episode 5 that is.
Season Five's episode list was extensively planned. It was deceptive when you looked at it, as there were many empty slots making it seem like the season wasn't planned that much. Those empty slots though, as you may have noticed nowadays were at the time secretly storyline arc episodes, that either didn't have titles yet as it depended on how far the named episodes had gotten (see Shadow), or their names and/or synopsis would spoil the hell out of Death of the Soul+. Even named episodes had their true intentions hidden.
This is where it gets fuzzy though. Something was in between Outbreak and Responsibility. OR something was between Death Corridor and Outbreak. I'm leaning more towards the former though, it makes more sense to me. This is just a guess, a safe-ish guess based on the evidence but I think the episode was cancelled as it was merely filler, I wanted to get to the point. This created Outbreak's cliffhanger that was brought into the beginning of this. The empty slot was moved forward and was eventually replaced by Meets the Eye. I used to think it was One Hundred, but that was an essential episode. Meets the Eye I'm sure was created during my Ring phase, likely after Death Corridor didn't fulfill my need to make a creepy not-a-spoof of it.
That's just my theory though. I don't remember Meets the Eye being a part of the original season. I think One Hundred was a recent addition, confusing me further. It could be either. Programmable You also gets mixed up, I keep thinking it's episode six. These episodes were released as episodes four and five respectively, and have been as such for nine years. I shouldn't get mixed up, but at least it's a reminder that the season did change.
I know one of my reasons for freeing up a slot initially was to bring Try Harder Next Time and Heaven Sent a little earlier. In the end they're just two episodes sooner, I think, with Heaven Sent being the original 200th episode. Not that I knew that at the time, I only worked it out in recent years. Never mind, I don't regret what is now.
Do I remember what this episode three or four was? Do I hell lol. My news pages from way back then has no mention of it. I'm going to assume that it happened before Season Five even started, as I never mentioned the change there. For all I know it could have been Corporal Form, as a news section mentioned a transfer from 5 to 4 and I think it was that. The only other change I saw related to these episodes was that I thought about delaying Outbreak cos it was too hard. Oh those were the days.
All my research into this has done has reminded me how much filler Season Five originally had; Distorted Image (silly imposter rubbish), Where Is Everyone (another kids in trouble episode), Friction (Bounds/Within without the arc storyline to make it interesting). There was a lot less empty slots in it than I remember. If I followed through with that version of Season Five, it would likely be thirty+ episodes long by now.
3) The fourth wall stuff nicely dates this episode, at least it does for me. The GameCube (and GameBoy joke) chat in the second scene, it's funny in hindsight. The cube was ironically my first console and my love of console gaming was born. I joke that it was that, that stopped me from writing but really, it and video making was what kept me going until the revival. I can't stand doing nothing after all. It all started with a Pokémon game on the GameCube.
4) Maybe it would have worked better before or many scenes after the beat up Chakotay scene, but where it is now, the James is calmer scene doesn't work. We just saw him leave Chakotay probably half dead on the floor, and the next Tom's wondering why he can't pee him off, and he knows what he did too. Meh, this is Season Five's version of Kiss of Death's "maybe you're growing up" line.
I did have my reasons for it, which basically I'm getting to right about now with the latest batch of episodes, but it doesn't mean its been done right.
Spoilers for late S5: James is supposed to be calmer and a little bit happier. It's however a quick fix, a plaster (bandaid) over a gaping wound, a watering can to put out a blazing inferno. You get the picture, right? The Chakotay scene is an excellent example that the temper is still there, just held back, which is far more destructive than before. That's not to say that his character development was for nothing, just for this, it wasn't. You'll see.
I just think the scene I was talking about would have worked in a different place.
5) Interesting trivia, if you're interested in that. Ylara has her first vision regarding Death of the Soul, the same night James has his abilities taken from him. Her second one comes the next day, while he still doesn't know it. He doesn't get a vision until much later. If anyone wondered why Ylara got it first, when they should have got it at the same time (Final Millennium says as such), well there it is. He can't get a vision if he isn't a Slayer anymore, can he?
Just thought I'd mention it as I had originally forgotten what episode she had the visions in, and was wondering why she got them so much sooner than him. To be fair, the episode is nine years old. Ahem.
6) Jessie's reaction to Onlan mildly hitting on her was a bit extreme. I did read that bit a few times to make sure. I know it was probably a pregnancy thing, especially cos directly after that comes the public flirting she did with James. He was the one more likely to be a bit more public, at least that's what my memory tells me (the distraction kisses anyone? lol). She only seems to do this when she's pregnant. I dunno why I'm complaining about this when Aggression has a running gag about a violent cos she's pregnant woman. I guess I just wanted to mention that I've noticed it.
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Simple, the holographic Lena. I love easy ones.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Ah, my favourite side character enters the fray; Nathan. He's charming and has a way of getting people to talk to him, he's quirky and full of life. It probably seemed farfetched that Jessie bothered to listen to him at all, you'd be right normally. That's his appeal. I didn't really get into his character until Meets the Eye and Death, I was still working the kinks out. That's obvious as there's a few things in Programmable and Hundred that don't happen again. Nathan claims he has a temper, he shows it off when talking to Stewart (and I'll get back to that), but that never really shows its face until Shadow. His mannerisms/quirks feel more forced, his dialogue when he acts like this feels more natural once I get used to writing him. Then there's the ending to Hundred. I'll cover that one there.
The temper issue is a little complicated, as it's not actually a big mistake on my part. Spoilers for Lifestyles onwards. Nathan's more of an easy going, love life kinda guy. His best friend then was murdered quite horribly and he's admitted to spending some of his life searching for her killer. Then he's told he was adopted, his mother raped his father and that's why he's never met them. I think this kind of stuff can shake a character that is usually more glass half full, than a pessimist. How do you make these two life developments positive? Is your view of the world tainted when you can't explain things like this? His bouts of temper are rare as it's not his nature. As evidenced in Shadow his temper is far more vocal, he only resorted to physically as he was trying to accomplish something. The incidents that gave him a record were more him telling people what he thinks, which he does anyway, but in his bad temper days will land harder as the charm that softens these comments will be gone.
I hope that makes sense. Hundred and Shadow were the only episodes that really showed off this particular character trait. Its only unexplainable part was his attitude to Stewart in that one line, where he threatened him. I dunno what I can tell you about it. It's not a mistake, however it really shouldn't have been written that directly. I'll leave it as that for now.
If you're curious, Nathan was planned a while ago. I just can't remember when I decided to bring him in and develop his character. 2004 at the latest, heh.
2) Some episodes you can tell whether or not I enjoyed writing it. This one I feel like it shows that I enjoyed it. Originally drafted as the Lena Hologram episode only it was more than open to develop other stuff. I don't remember if I planned to include the birthday party or Nathan's introduction here until the day came to write it, or not. This episode just feels like the side stories were made up on the fly as I went along and was one of the lucky ones that worked out as if they were plotted.
3) I tend to dislike some of the scenes with the kids, especially the older episodes, as I used to write them older than they should be. Nowadays I think I'm doing better. To sum up what I mean I absolutely love Amy and Miral. Johnathan has his moments sometimes. Carl seems to have little brat down. Sasha seems to struggle a little, which is a shame. Duncan still is a love/hate him kind of kid. He's funny but you wouldn't want to deal with him in real life. Though I think that about Amy; cute but please stop crying so much. I think only Sasha isn't really a bother.
Duncan was always written to be a smart ass, next generation James in a nutshell. However he's got a little of Jessie in him that's a bit more subtle, which is why those scenes where he seems to give James another perspective (like here with Amy, and with Jessie in Death Corridor) exist. He shows sometimes that he can be quite thoughtful when he isn't being a sarcastic and abrupt well... brat lol. His issue has always been he acted older than he was, a symptom of being born in Season Two. It's worked out well for him anyway.
Sasha's a tad more complicated to describe. She was developed as a mix of James and Jessie, unlike Duncan with his primarily James like qualities. Like Jessie as a kid she prefers to be good, yet she's impressionable around Duncan. She's brave when it comes to other people (both of them technically). Despite being the good one, taking after Jessie, she was meant to be not very shy, vocal, taking more after James. She has proved to be quick witted sometimes, mostly James again. I think you get the idea. There's the topic of comparing Sasha and Amy, and the reasons why Amy was picked to be the Slayer over her. There's plenty of time for that though.
Johnathan is only ever fun to write when he's gossiping, which is most of the time. Programmable You definitely has one of my favourite moments with him, and you don't even see it. It's just Nathan's description of what he did. Yep, the bit where he tells him he's Jessie's brother and snaps a picture. However my favourite non gossipy one is the same episode, with his present opening. There's not much to say about him that isn't really shown. He's a baby Tom really, and I love writing him now.
Bryan's definitely gotten better in Season Five, when I remembered he was supposed to be a damn kid in an adult's body. I know, I always remembered that, it just didn't come off as such until here. He is closer to Tom than B'Elanna, but he's meant to have a bit of her temper. I'm not sure it shows.
Amy, I've worked so hard on her. I really have. I wanted to show it rather than actually say it, but here goes. Amy was born prematurely, her twin sister died. Her dad was basically told to choose between the mother of his two kids, or her and her twin sister. He chose the former and that's what happened. So we have a premature baby that'll be sensitive to everything and an already overprotective dad, who feels guilty about the death of a twin she knows nothing about. (FYI: If James had picked Amy and the twin, Jessie probably would have died soon after and the babies wouldn't have been much better off than the choice he picked. The episode described both options as pretty bad, but the one he didn't pick definitely would have been the worse one. It would be interesting to talk about that particular choice with people but FV's not well known enough, oh well).
Amy is naturally a bit sensitive, which is more from her dad's side truthfully. However James has treat her differently even if he couldn't admit it right away, because he's making up for the death of her sister. If that makes any sense. She's sheltered and overprotected, I'm hoping that her character comes off that way. In my eyes she does. Her other personality traits come out to shine in a few episodes when she's not scared of something, and they're nice to see. Sin Deep for example shows adult and kid has a defiant side and a bit of a temper. She's also a bit argumentative, which you could argue is both James and Jessie haha, but it is meant to be more like Jessie. I could go on but I don't want to spoil anymore.
Miral... I really feared she wouldn't work. She does. I adore her. I can picture her everytime. So damn cute but so damn malicious, a deadly combination. You wonder where she got her man hating trait from, well I think Harry jokes about it at some point. My Tom was a wannabe womaniser (although Voy Tom had multiple girlfriends at once, apparently, back in Season One), he is shown to treat Miral differently to her brothers. The thing is Tom's sort of created the problem himself. He sees his daughter rejecting him, doesn't really tell her off, and she thinks what she's doing is normal, she doesn't respect him. Lifestyles the tables turn, but I still keep her the same. She's just less antagonistic towards her dad.
4) I do aim to talk about the Craig story sometime, I assure you. I just as usual have been writing this section instead of writing an episode, and well writing this entry has inspired me to continue with that so... The time will come.
5) Dark Clouds spoilers: the weapon test and Nathan's results; I like my foreshadowing that looks nothing like foreshadowing. Also it's so hard reading Nathan's scenes now that the episode is done. I mean, he was created solely for that storyline, but I didn't expect to grow so fond of him.
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I can't honestly remember, but it's a high chance that it has something to do with the killer girl who says that pain is true, or pain never lies.
Oh look, inspiration! The "inspiration" was a film called Audition which I caught the end of on TV once. If you've seen it, yes it was mostly that part I tuned into. If you haven't, unless you like watching the stuff that happens to Nathan, don't watch.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Spoilers for episode 24; Dark Clouds
One Hundred & One Lies was basically Foreshadowing For Dark Clouds, the plot itself would revolve around that premise. In the end I was inspired by the film Audition and rest is history. What foreshadowing? In both episodes Craig asks for James' help, but for different reasons in both. A lot happens between here and there, Craig's had quite an arc there. Here he asks for help as he doesn't care, or rather doesn't want to care about what is happening, so someone else should investigate. DC he asks because he cares, he wants it solved and the more help, the better. Unfortunately he doesn't know the damage it will cause later.
Inevitable the two end up bickering one way or another. How it's dealt with differs, and again it's meant to show what the season has done to the two of them. Also there's the parallel when Jessie overhears something and because she's closer to it, she figures it out before them. Furthermore, it gets her into trouble confronting the person.
Also the story revolves around Nathan. He was the victim here. The twist worked without One Hundred in mind, but if you were thinking it was similar (the episode does try to remind you in places), then the confrontation between Jessie and Nathan in DC, you should be wondering if she's confronted him cos he's the victim, or its 100 again and she's confronting the culprit. Only it is far more complicated than that, but the intent is there. It's also written in a way so you don't necessarily know for sure who she's talking to, it could be obvious to some but not everyone. I hope. Heh.
One Hundred was the tester. I wanted to see if I could do the storyline. I had created a character I liked for such an awful storyline/back story. Could I follow through with it? Even the girl's pain is truth line that was from Audition, was an idea of things to come. Hints were left, the parallels above were brought in to DC, even if it was hopefully not obvious to anyone else but me, there was no going back after this episode, everything was set in motion.
James even has a remark about hoping the victim was a rapist, cos of the horrible way they died. Craig's remark about them getting away with these things. It has more hints than I remembered.
2) Unfortunately with a lot of my focus being on the main storyline, the sub plot ended up losing my interest and it really shows. In the end its whole point got lost within the main one. It wasn't much, but some episodes building up to Death were meant to show there was a problem where the ships are. Death Corridor itself had beings that caused hallucinations to be real. Responsibility brought in the Slayer wannabe's eager to train. Outbreak had the mysterious deaths of the Crazy Horse crew. Meets the Eye with the planet and the aliens who mentioned that things have been odd for a time, now this. The episodes themselves mostly present it as being random filler plots, but they're not meant to be.
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Originally this special was going to be about the kids practicing the play in the holodeck, sort of like a dress rehearsal for the stage. Then the holodeck does what it does best and malfunctions, merging multiple programs together. The deleted scenes show the beginning of this, but the rest was lost due to file corruption (not for the same reason as Outbreak, which was a shame cos I could fix that). Anyway the episode had been released without me realising this, and thus it had been online with this title for ages. So yeah I was lazy and couldn't think of a more appropriate title after it was rewritten.
Nothing, I just wanted an episode devoted to the kids
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Since the episode was written way in advance, for the most part, there were a few things I couldn't mention in case they spoilt earlier episodes. Nathan was the biggest example. I ended up mentioning him in the rewritten parts as he'd already been introduced by that time. The other thing was mainly Chakotay's storyline. I definitely wanted to avoid that but here I did what I usually did, had a character say something fourth wall-y anyway. This is one of a million reasons why any decent or not decent publisher would throw my novels in the shredder (you know, just in case the poor people who recycle the paper bin see it!).
2) I'm still unsure how it happened, but I remember it happening a few times before this. Virtual Fairytale was released originally at Christmas 2005, yet unknown to me the file itself had been corrupted. The uploaded version stopped half way through, in the middle or rather near the end of a scene. It wasn't like Outbreak; the file could be opened, the first half of the episode was fine/readable. The rest of the episode was just missing, like the file was just an older version before I had finished with it. At least, that's what I think I recall happening as I never managed to recover the rest of the episode. This happened with Symbiogenesis and a few others
I remember Symbiogenesis in particular as the entire episode was lost like this. All that was left was the episode file template, you don't forget something like that.
The embarrassing part was that I didn't check after it was uploaded and it was like that a while. Luckily in those days I had a forum that was used, so I was informed. The episode was deleted and I set about rewriting the ending. As stated in Title Meaning I ended up changing the entire premise of the episode, mainly because I felt I couldn't duplicate what I had done and I never liked the episode anyway. A nice harmless Christmas episode/special before everything kicks off in Season Five, it seemed like a better idea, and that's why the episode is what it is now.
I wanted the episode released at Christmas, which meant it was originally ahead of some of the episodes based before it. In the end it was released in July 2006, after One Hundred & One Lies, where it eventually ended up when the series was rebooted in 2012. Before the reboot the episode was supposed to be based after Meets the Eye. When that was finished nearly a year later it just didn't work with its cliffhanger (old drafts showed the cliffhanger took place in the first part of the episode, no I don't know why either), I just didn't do anything about it until then.
3) The deleted scenes from the episode are what was left of the corrupted file that didn't fit with the new version of the story. With the exception of one scene that was edited for it to fit in Meets the Eye, I think. It was the scene where somebody, Tom I think, says that Jessie would call red alert over her hair or clothes (my memory's fuzzy). In Virtual Fairytale the bridge crew were trying to make sure Jessie didn't find out about her kids trapped in the Holodeck.
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The old saying "more than meets the eye". Something is more interesting or complicated than what it first appears to be. Since this is a FV episode, the title meaning leans more towards the complicated. And when I say complicated, I mean a convoluted mess. It's what I do best ^_^
A book I had read, well two actually. Ring and Spiral. Yeah that does sound familiar.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) By the time this episode was due to be written the B4FV3 series was nearing the end, it was a good thing at the time. Little did I know B4FV was the only thing really keeping me going. Don't get me wrong, I liked the idea of Meets the Eye and greater things were to come in Season Five, which by the way is nice to say now that the episodes are there to prove it. It was soul crushing when I used to and had nothing to show for it but excuses for not writing.
At the time I assumed once it was out of the way, Season Five would continue and well after B4FV was over. How wrong was I? Meets the Eye struggled, and the episode did have some fourth wall excuses in it to "explain it". Oh there was a lot going on, the plot's too complicated, everything needed explaining blah blah. Needless to say that was ridiculous. As of 2015 17 episodes have been released since Meets. I can think of at least six of those episodes I thought would be harder than Meets the Eye, almost impossible to write and yet they're here, online and the longest writing time from them was a month (Five).
It was just excuses. Meets the Eye wasn't a tough episode, it was just written at a tough time. It would have happened to any episode.
It wasn't a complicated story. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. True there was some stuff I wanted kept in the episode, but had to fit in to any of the improvisations I made to the plot while writing it (I think Tom or Duncan references this, can't remember which). It didn't slow the episode to a grinding halt though.
I think it's really noticeable near the end with Jessie and Damien. Both of them I used to write so easily, almost naturally, yet their last scene together (I'm excluding the one after it with Jessie's attempt to scare Tom, only to lose her power, forcing her to walk) felt forced and bland. That's the best way I can describe it. I then started to realise it wasn't just that scene. I read through the whole thing and I imagined all sorts of similar problems. Every joke looked like it was being shoved down the reader's throat (more than usual... ok I'm doing it again. Stop it me), the attempts at being serious/dramatic were cheesy and again forced, the characters interactions through 90% of the episode felt lazy(er) and dull. I don't remember what happened next. All I know is that everything I tried to write after this would end up backspace-ed to oblivion, in the end I gave up.
Looking at the episode now it's hard not to remember my neurotic response to it and the downfall afterwards. There wasn't anything wrong with the episode, not really. Again, it could have happened to any of them. I try to concentrate on the good about it. At the top of my head the best parts involve the James, Craig and Nathan team up. Yeah Daniel was there too, but his contributions weren't as good. There's a reason I teamed the three up in Death, though to be fair Craig was the only extra addition, the original storyline already had James and Nathan. I also (as mentioned) liked Jessie's attempts to scare poor Tom, as well as Miral trying to copy off her.
Anyhow, Meets the Eye's title now has a double meaning, only for me. I thought that I had trouble writing this lone episode and I'd feel better once it was finished. It ended up being more complicated than that. Sigh.
2) Meets the Eye was originally released with a rather long joke/filler. As stated above the episode was the victim of the growing writer's block, and the scenes were created to get me going basically. In the end I decided it was pointless, boring rubbish that cluttered an already large episode, and it was soon moved into a deleted scenes file.
At the time one of the people I had chosen to play a FV character, or more accurately represent the character's image for the site's graphics (banners, site designs etc...), had commited himself to the insan... er Big Brother house. I tried to watch it in places as I did used to be a fan of him, but I still don't get the appeal of it. No matter, I had bad inspiration for the opening scene; Voyager crewmembers in the Big Brother house. You know something I hadn't done before *facepalm*.
Since the character, James, is nothing like his "actor", he really couldn't take after him in these jokes, other than have his admirers wonder if he will (he liked to show his chest quite a lot, lol). The most I made him do that was the same was to aid someone's escape from it; he helped somebody climb over the wall. There was controversy with the show that year and so that gave me more things to make fun of that had nothing to do with him. Basically three woman gave another a hard time, bullied her. One of them was pretty damn stupid, at least on the show anyway. That's where the guest star character, I think Jade named directly after her, came in. After deletion the character was badly introduced later on instead.
The other jokes that I remember top of my head was the guy singing, which someone did as they went in. The guy who swore a lot, I think he was the one that legged it to be honest. It has been six years so... I think apart from Annika getting beaten, Kevin's catatonia and the "pwned noob" guy, all of the jokes were Big Brother inspired. The last one was just because at the time I played too many online games.
If you haven't read it and are curious, the deleted scenes are here. You're not missing much though.
3) Late Season Five spoilers (Dark Clouds spoilers): There is a blink and you may miss it scene that was meant to foreshadow the Nathan reveal in DC. The scene is where Nathan contacts Voyager and infects it with the virus. It wasn't meant to be given much thought until the plot twist was revealed, and I hoped that by the time it was, it would make at least one person wonder "was it really accidental?"
If you're curious: I considered the "not an accident" for a few minutes. Then realised that it made no sense and was much better as I initially considered it; something to look back at with hindsight and think "omg". Why didn't it make sense? Simply put; it didn't fit with his/its intentions, did it? Everyone on Voyager would die, the planet inhabitants already were dying, leaving him alone with an awayteam of men. He/it didn't know for sure if that awayteam with a few women in it were still alive. Even if he did, that's a huge risk to take. Basically he'd be limiting his choices and survival. Dumb move. Still a nice little nod to DC though, and that's the only point.
4) I'd explain about the Birch character and the singer jokes revolving around him, but they're mostly self explanatory. Needless to say I was frustrated. Years later I just ignore music and the charts, as I tend to jinx anything I do like and stuff I hate gets everywhere. A lot less stress, I'll tell you.
On a completely unrelated note, a nice quote from the guy; "Nah mate. He claimed that this little lurgy was supernatural. He's just lead you here for nothing. Your other friends will have their ears talked off now about mystical nebulas, shapeshifting vampires or some crap like that," Birch muttered.
Notice anything weird in that last sentence? Hmm. I forgot this was even here, nice foreshadowing surprise.
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This title has gone through a few episodes. First it was given to Epilogue for the Q half of the plot (the Game Sphere was going to be a separate episode), I don't really get why I used it for that either. The second one was Voyager's part of Death of the Soul back in the old days, which would follow on after the different James and co plot Dead or Alive. I thought it suited that episode for two reasons. One; Kiara returns, hence the Q. Two; it had the big Voyager versus the little ships and rifts battle, which as it's very difficult for them goes on for ages and ages. When you're in a very long queue for a while, it feels like you've been standing still forever. Meh, it's not that clever at all but that's where I was going with it. This version is just a hint at the same stuff to come on DotS.
Death of the Soul (originally QF was Part 1 of the episode. I split it up as I felt it was more of a slow prologue chapter to DotS, and with a few changes it would fit as a solo episode)
Naturally the Sphere/Towers side of it were developed when I decided to shift Millennium's plot into Season Five. The Game Sphere and how they affect the planet were decided as early as Season Two.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Currently this is the shortest episode of the season. Ironic considering that it was a part of Death of the Soul, the second/third largest of the series overall.
2) As badly explained above, Queuing Forever was originally released exactly four years earlier as Death of the Soul Part 1 back in 2008. I hadn't released anything since Meets the Eye in 2007, writing was getting extremely difficult but I wanted to still celebrate the series' anniversary on the 4th December. I had already thought about rewriting my earlier work, mainly as an attempt to write something a little less complicated or new for that matter. I spent a lot of time on the Caretaker reboot when I should have been writing DotS/Queuing. In the end neither of them were finished so I had nothing to release. That didn't stop me, they went up anyway. Caretaker Part 1 aged quite well, it wasn't too bad and of course it was an improvement on my original Caretaker. Death of the Soul Part 1 though was a disappointment, a forced and badly written build up to the episode I thought would be my best. In the end that was deleted from the site, I was ashamed of it.
When I decided to focus the reboot on Season One instead, I started to get back into things. Aggression however did take a turn for the worse as personal issues delayed its completion, resulting in another anniversary being wasted. It took another year to get back into it, but once I did I was feeling a lot better. I decided the best thing to do with DotS 1 was to change its format a little, reorganise the scenes and write new ones. I'll get into that further down. While I planned that I figured it would be best to not associate the whole thing with Death of the Soul. There was enough there to make a small episode on its own and I had other scenes planned to add to it. It then became Queuing Forever.
3) Spoilers for Death of the Soul+: Before this whole story Death of the Soul was a trilogy of episodes; Dead or Alive, Queuing Forever and Paradise. Dead or Alive focused on the Delta Flyer being kidnapped by the Softmicron instead of shot down by terrorists. They'd discover their real location, or James would and wouldn't tell them until they were out of the woods (he was alone with the trainees and didn't want to give them more to worry about). Queuing Forever would be the Voyager is attacked outside and in storyline. The differences were that Kiara would appear at the end, none of the crew are missing elsewhere and the fleet wouldn't destroy the tower network. They did still land on the same planet though, unaware that it's dying and why it is. Paradise the Voyager crew would become attached to this dying planet, they would be setting up home there. The natives are completely fooled as well. The tower heists would eventually happen but only with the Chosens of the crew. The planet would also be doomed as well.
I made the changes long before the block. I wanted the trilogy to be a "movie" event instead and so it became Death of the Soul. QF seemed like a reasonable title as it was no longer being used and it was a title from the trilogy anyway.
4) You can see already that the storyline had a different structure/order than what it is now, but I also mentioned QF's being changed for its re-release. The changes here weren't as big as the Dead or Alive to Death of the Soul change. The changes are all in the time and dates the episode is set. QF and Death were based a few months after Meets the Eye, when James had the vision of the whole thing, and if you remember even more months since Ylara had visions of the invasion. DotS Part 1 was full of flashbacks to when he reported it, and so the crew are training to defend themselves. It's not as interesting as it sounds. A lot of the scenes that went over this are still there, just all in the present and with a lot of edits/new lines. QF itself became the first proper rebooted episode (you know like Unforgettable and Mirror Universes) now that I think about it. A lot of the material is still there just most of the issues I had were fixed.
The new scenes I still think are easy to pick out. I wish I knew how to explain it but my writers block material always seemed lifeless and forced. I know I keep saying forced a lot but it's still the best word I can think to describe it. While writing character interaction, (bad) jokes etc... the conversation just flows freely, it's usually not something I plan in detail and then write. I just write it and if it needs it, edit it later. Not all of the episode feels like the opposite of that. Tom and James' chat in the latter's office was written before the crippling writers block and it just... well it's a good example in the episode itself. I had a basic thing in mind for that scene; Tom and James talk about the problem, Wesley comes in to try and foreshadow what they already know. That's all I had in mind. I put two characters in a scene that were bound to take the piss out of each other and you've got a scene ten times longer than you planned, haha.
Onto the positives; if the episode was as bad as I've portrayed it to be I would have just started from scratch, but I didn't. There was quite a bit in there I wanted to keep, so it's not all that bad. FYI, Damien buying Snugglebumps is probably my favourite Damien moment in the whole series, and is up there with one of my favourite scenes in Season Five. See, it's not all doom and gloom, I still need my insanity moments. And no, this scene was in the original Death of the Soul Part 1, it was written during the writers block. Most of my block happened because I didn't pat myself on the back when I did something right, or I simply wasn't aware that I did. Shame really, so many years wasted is a big regret of mine.
5) Sheesh, I'm all over the place in the above. Some old scenes probably do look forced, maybe only to me, while a lot of them are still good despite the issues I was having. There's a reason why I must have stopped working on Caretaker to do it instead, surely? Anyway while checking this page it occured to me I never mentioned what the big differences between Death of the Soul Part 1 and Queuing Forever were. Timeline changes aren't big differences. So... off the top of my head, let me run through them.
a) Kiara's return. An earlier point mentioned she appeared in the second episode of the trilogy, the same episode this one was named after eventually. When the trilogy became Death I brought forward her return to where it is now, instead of after the battle that forced Voyager to crash. However the original Part 1 ended too early. By the ending I was on a self imposed time limit (the site's anniversary) and so rushed, like the good old days. I thought if Queuing Forever was to become a prologue episode to Death, instead of just a part of it, then it needed to have more in it. This and Point B were decided almost immediately.
b) Jessie and Damien's kidnapping. Same explanation as point A. Only Jessie's storyline was completely different in the original trilogy. More on that in Death's entry.
c) Point B was where the episode ended on a cliffhanger. What was the original cliffhanger of Death Part 1, that would have been there for years? The Flyer being shot down. I thought the scene itself would be a great way to replace the opening of the episode just because of the way it was written. Also I wanted the Jessie and Damien scene to be the new cliffhanger, so the crash would look a bit off in between scenes.
d) Which brings me to Death of the Soul's opening. It was always DotS' opening, and I wasn't keen on changing that, so it was moved from this. I was disappointed as it meant my efforts to make the tiny QF longer was off to a bad start ^_^
e) The Bridge scene with Tom, Chakotay and James was a lot shorter. I don't remember where it ended. All I do know is that it was edited as the episode was fully in the present, unlike Death's tendency to go full flashback mode every now and then. Basically James was still having the visions, not long after that one in Meets. The original was based months later.
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The episode itself was the storyline of the season truly kicking off. S5 was always meant to throw in the Enterprise mystery, then have the crew get distracted by filler for a while, only for the bomb to drop on them in this episode. The title, or at least the new/current one, had to reflect that I feel.
Death of the Soul has numerous meanings. One was referring to the planet and its energy (aka its soul) being drained. Another meaning was what was happening to the people experimented on. Even that hasn't really been explained yet, so yeah. Lastly the title was vaguely referencing Voyager and its fated crash on the surface, so anyone assuming that was the case would think Voyager wouldn't survive the episode. The title also (not intentionally until the episode was being written anyway) refers to Kevin's death affecting Ylara. She never really recovers from it.
Dead or Alive, Queuing Forever & Paradise (QF has all of the information about that)
The plot was developed loosely from what I had planned for KT Millennium. One tiny bit of it (miniscule compared to episode's length) was inspired by Bones.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Despite me keep saying that Death of the Soul did not cause the writers block I suffered, that put the series on a five year hiatus, I still think that if it had happened earlier in the season or after this episode, it probably wouldn't have lasted as long. I had high hopes for this, the bar was raised too high. I had hinted that Season Five would top Season Four by miles, that it would be the best season and this episode would be the one to really kick it off. My writers block was caused by multiple things but it can be summed up in one word: insecurity. That's me in a nutshell. At the time I was struggling to really write anything and was convinced it all sucked, so writing Death of the Soul at that point was always going to be a do or die moment. Nevertheless despite all of this when the episode was finally ready to be written, I didn't dare change a damn thing. I was going to write what I had planned and was going to do it well. It's a year old now while I write this and I still find nothing to really gripe about. There's always something, I'm very negative like that. Don't get me wrong, there will be something, but the fact that I was able to finish it after suffering for so long and have it live up to my expectations more than overrides anything I will ever find wrong with it. To sum up, it was worth the wait.
2) The episode itself introduces a lot and leaves most of it open, which leaves me without much to write here. The title alone is a big no, no to fully discuss. Yeah the episode itself hints to the title anyway, but hey I still can't discuss it here.
3) I have mentioned this on another trivia page, the B4FV3 one, but it's just as appropriate here. The James and Frenit fight in the third part uses ideas from a "deleted" fight I planned for the prequel series. The B4FV finale had three different endings. The first ending was what is there already but with the last few lines missing. The second ending is what you got. The third one had all of that but continued for a bit longer (That ending ended up making it into Five's fourth part). Then the movie would follow to revolve around Lena's home timeline, showing her birth and her childhood (Again Five took care of that^). The third ending would have ended with a cliffhanger, the cliffhanger being that Janeway's connection was not severed properly and the Borg try to assimilate James to get Voyager's position. Only it doesn't work.
During this whole thing, Frenit breaks out of Deck Thirteen and kidnaps James and Jessie's newborn son. The fight I planned was pretty damn brutal. The James in that timeline isn't as strong, Alternate Scorpion showed he was no match for him. He has to be smarter to defeat him. One of the plans lead to Frenit getting caught in something that ripped both of his arms off. I'm not going into details, my own arms hurt enough these days without thinking about it haha, but that was the jist of it. It was a big moment for the Natural James, so having the Chosen one do it too and so... well easily in comparison, creates a nice contrast between the two. When the movie was cancelled that kind of bodged that up, but it's not like I was going to change my mind about ever doing it. As if!
4) I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love the James, Craig and Nathan dynamic. I just do, I can't explain it. It's all there. It's the only reason Craig was added to the Flyer part of the plot, and I couldn't be happier with that decision. He's an excellent addition to the story.
5) The ship crash had been planned a long time ago, and despite the removal of the "Paradise" plot it had to remain. That's not what I want to talk about though. Here we have two ships in the fleet. Originally one would crash on a planet where the natives believe they're living in a paradise, when in reality their planet is little more than a big rock with an atmosphere. The other would remain in orbit and do what exactly? My notes on what happens to the Leda during the old Paradise plot are long gone, I don't remember. I do know that the Leda was attacked as well, probably at the same time. I know my guess work isn't exactly trivia but it's interesting to me that this particular part of a story that I planned so much is missing. It's a shame really.
It has nothing to do with why I changed everything. The reason I changed everything was because I thought of a better way to tell the story, and I think I was right. Paradise was a nice idea and all, don't get me wrong, but Death of the Soul meant that more of the characters were involved and were instrumental in the solution to it. Paradise would have been James, Ylara, Kevin (and Kiara) resolving it while the other characters packed their bags. I know I prefer stories where the cast work together over ones with one character working against everyone.
6) That one tiny bit that I had talked about in "Inspiration" that I was sure was inspired by outside sources, that had been bugging me for a while cos I couldn't remember what it was? I remembered it was related to the changes when the episodes Dead or Alive, Paradise etc... turned into the "movie" Death of the Soul, but that was it. That tiny bit of inspiration from something that wasn't mine worried me greatly. Death of the Soul was my pride and joy and I hated the idea that it could have been inspired by someone elses work (I wanted that old rip off me gone lol). It could have been small but it could have just started small and affected a huge part of the episode.
Nope. It was just how Jessie would reunite with James, and how he'd react. I don't remember it affecting anything else, all it did was inspired me to write that scene long before earlier scenes. Where did that come from? A character in a TV show on the run attacks her intruder, only her intruder is her FBI boyfriend. Despite the brief fight, they smooch. I thought it was funny and would work for these two. Yeah the old rip off me is still alive and well ^_^ The inspiration did have a fight in it, I'd hardly call mine one. Excuses *wink*
At least I can stop worrying about one of my favourite stories being inspired by a tiny ickle idea someone else came up with, which was what I was doing for so long. Which leads me to point 7.
7) I don't remember when Death's plot was figured out, or rather Dead or Alive's plot was. However I know it was long before 2007 or 2008, whichever year it was when I discovered a certain video game series that's mentioned in this, or more accurately was mentioned in Queuing Forever. If you've read these pages you'll know that I sometimes draw attention to mistakes, make them into fourth wall jokes. When I originally started Death of the Soul Part 1 in 2008 (now known as Queuing Forever) I noticed a few similarities to one of the series' games I was playing or had played. Bare in mind the game was released in 1997 and I lived under a Kidz Trek sized rock back then (I didn't even know Aqua then. I know! The shock horror). The only games I played were PC ones like Civilisation or Roller Coaster Tycoon, as well as Pokémon on the Gameboy. So even though the game preceeded or were at the same time as my Millennium/Season Five ideas, I had no knowledge of their existence, let alone their storylines.
It's not a big thing, even though I'm dressing it up as such. The game's background story/theme was about the planet being destroyed by a big bad corporation drawing energy from it, to make electricity, monsters and super soldiers. Okay, maybe it is a little... er big. The story is completely different if you ignore the background info. I didn't completely notice the similarities right away. I know I wrote a joke article on another site (that's still on fv.net somewhere) that the main character shared some commonality with James, the heroine with Jessie etc... Frenit, blah blah (hilariously I apparently angered a few shippers of the MC and some Seven like bimbo by doing this. Something I made a habit of during the writers block, that's another story). I think I wrote that to try to stir some interest in writing FV (it didn't work).
Anyway the similarities didn't occur until writing began. As usual I wanted to make a joke about it, I dunno why. It's just something I like to do. I remember two scenes in different episodes where I made a typo, one of those typo's that just create another word the spell check wouldn't catch (hid instead of hit for example), instead of fixing it I keep it and make a joke. Actually make that three, two of which are quite recent as well. Moving on... Kevin was picked to be the fourth wall voice. When the aliens mention their government destroying their world, there he is. When everyone's talking seriously, he mentions a holodeck program of the game. When Jessie's death is wrongly foreshadowed, Kevin makes a comment on how similar that is to a certain other character's death in the game, ahem (it's a bit cruel that it technically foreshadows his own but hey).
If you don't know the game, the comments likely fly over your head. It's just some guy and his holodeck obsession going a bit overboard. If you do know then it may give you a small laugh, I dunno. I just hope no one thinks I went out of my way to rip off the game. I may have heightened my chances by mentioning all of this and writing the so called jokes.
More Coming Soon
> next episode >
Skin deep, without the K. I was just trying to think of something that would hint to vamps, blood, etc... and I came up with Skin Deep, which in a second became Sin Deep. Rest is history.
Well I think it was always called Sin Deep. HOWEVER this episode was developed at the time FV was going to have a spin off revolving around the kids of the series now teenagers, and there would be a cross over called Voyager In Time. I'm pretty sure the episodes were planned to be separate, and released close together but I have my paranoia that tells me it was just Voyager In Time on its own. So VIT may be an alternate title, but it may not. Heh.
The main storyline not so much there, except it's a continuation of the B4FV3 rift arc AND the H'Taria/Loved Up storyline. However when I first came up with the episode, Twilight didn't exist. It did while I was writing and I thought that the "vampires" in that were so insane and ridiculous that they would fit right in the FV universe. It wasn't the original inspiration but it still should be mentioned here.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) The first person narrative was originally started as third person. It still showed what she was thinking, but more like it is in Three's A Paradox. I'm actually not sure what it's called. Currently *spoilers seriously* Amy and Roxanne narrate their scenes and you read the former's thoughts at some points. Before I go on, yes I was never taught how to do this and yes I know I suck at it. The first draft which I think was half way through at the most, just described what was happening in their (well just Amy, as it was only half way) point of view, with some thoughts included. Seriously, I paid attention in English but I swear I was never taught what these things are called, or how to do it. I badly need to re-take English Lit, but you're on my site, you know this already! Sigh, I'm done with that I promise. Anyway I found it a lot easier to write it as it is now.
Oh and the reason it was written in their perspectives in the first place, while the rest of the episode is normal? Other than me being a bitch or really bad at writing, my reason is this; I wanted to keep who the narrator was as vague as possible. I badly wanted to avoid "she did" or "the girl did this". Too bad some of the narrative still suffered from it, "my brother" for example.
2) I had forgotten to mention this. I dunno if anyone is curious about it, I'll answer it here. The girl that adult Amy hangs out with in the beginning is definitely Miral. She was going to be a MC in the series.
Spoilers for most of Season Five are within. I wouldn't read the rest if you haven't gotten as far as maybe Shadow:
3) Back when S5 was in its infancy or even just being planned, I was planning a spin off series to take over B4FV when that ended. This one would be based many years in the future and would have the kids as the main characters. It was only planned for one season, as I knew from experience it's best not to plan too far ahead. I decided to cancel it once I started to run into problems with writing FV. It also couldn't be released until FV had finished, as it risked spoiling a few things; Lena's resurrection (the site had Ylara in the bio instead), whether or not James and Jessie's latest kid survives (with these two, you never know) and what gender it is, the resolution to Parental Advisory (as if I had the gall to kill off any of the kids but still worth worrying about). You get the idea. The biggest spoiler was in the spin off itself and the site wasn't afraid to poke hints at it. As the series was never going to be written, I felt it was more than okay to go all out in this episode and reveal that spoiler once and for all.
Only I didn't reveal it all. I thought it would be more fun to introduce the spoiler, throw hints around, basically give you everything and then not explain it. It's left to interpretation. I will say this before I go on, you know what kind of plot twists Fifth Voyager is capable of. You can probably figure it out if you have that in mind. I thought about revealing it here, but I still want to leave it open.
What is it, you wonder? I have one word for you. Roxanne.
She is the real reason the episode is in bad first person, why even though there's lots of evidence I don't name the future characters, and heck why there's flashforwards in the first place. I think the best thing to do to explain this is describe some of the plans for the spin off series.
The series was based when Duncan is old enough to go to college, so around 18. He decides to move into the campus area so he can finally do what he wants. What he wants is to not actually go to college but just follow in his dad's footsteps. The evidence for that is all through the series, that kid loves the idea of being a Slayer and idolises his dad. Since the series was code named Slayer (or Slayer X, yuck) you'd think Duncan's sharing his starring role with Amy. Nope. Don't get me wrong, she's a main character but it's really newcomer Roxanne that would be the second name in the imaginary credits for this series.
Roxanne is the same as Duncan; she's upfront, a little rude sometimes, confident. They quickly become friends and it's not long until he discovers she fights evil as well. Amy isn't in the running as she's still too young to help him out, and shown very little interest in training anyway. It's obvious to Duncan that Roxanne's a Slayer as well, but doesn't really question her. This eventually leads to an episode called "Who Are You", which is where I run into problems trying not to spoil the big twist.
Sin Deep basically took all that it could from Who Are You as I was never going to write it. I'll run through what SD did say or hint to.
When Amy thought she was getting stalked by the Twilight vampire, she told Duncan who then asked if he could bring someone else, a her. The only other girl in the episode is this Roxanne.
Roxanne shows some worry for Amy and tells her not to be reckless.
Even with what we know in mind, Roxanne is described as the eldest of the two girls, sporting different hair styles and colour. Their personalities are different, except for one major thing*.
James recognises Roxanne somehow. The scene is similar to a certain one in Chain Reaction. Seriously, check that out.
The meeting itself is definitely awkward as Roxanne suddenly becomes shy and badly doesn't want James to recognise her. The key part there is she's convinced that would be impossible.
*The major thing is Roxanne is described by the villain as a daddy's little angel. That alone wouldn't scream plot twist if you think about it, but he says something like "here too" on the end.
The ending. I struggled to write this as I had a specific image in my head of it. It didn't fit with the first person. I couldn't keep it that way after the body falls to the ground. Who would be thinking rationally enough to describe it after seeing that? I had to shift out of first person and that's the only issue I have with the episode. This scene was in Who Are You, it's the biggest thing I took from that.
I mean some of it is obvious, at least I think it is. Roxanne is James' daughter. He knows that too. When others talk to him about it, they don't think he means her, they assume he means Amy who he rescued later. In fact I wrote it that way so hopefully a reader may think that too at first. The truth is he didn't really see future Amy. She had her back to him, the vampire pushed her to the ground and he went on to fight one of them. Amy saw him, but he was too busy to see her. The only one he truly saw of the trio was Roxanne.
Now remember some of the facts above. She's Duncan's age, she has things in common with Amy but they don't act alike or even look alike, she is a Slayer like Amy and Duncan, James recognised her, the nightmare present Amy had at the end was Roxanne's POV, future Amy hasn't met her before this.
So now I'm going to ruin everything. At least I hope so, hehe.
Roxanne is not Amy.
Roxanne is not Sasha, though I'm hoping no one thought that.
Roxanne isn't the unborn child Jessie's carrying either.
I hope that's put a spanner in the works. Now to prove I'm not that cruel, but still cruel enough, I have one last clue for you:
"When war has consumed all that can be, two strangers will appear to release those lives into the next. Strangers soon arrive to ravage the land once again, bringing us death with no escape. A child sired by death, only then we can be saved."
Harry was onto something. Enjoy! *cue evil laugh*
To be honest, I hope someone does get it. I'm not that clever, I'm sure someone will.
> next episode >
You'll see a lot of titles like this in S5; bad puns, slightly altered versions of sayings, long titles, this is the most obvious. I really don't have to explain what it means other than I wanted a character driven episode only, with nothing really happening, to deal with all the crap that had hit the Season Five fan so far.
The synopsis may mention soaps but they weren't my inspiration. My only inspiration was what I said. Secondly the Annika and Damien storyline was decided on the fly in Sin Deep BUT the inspiration should be called to attention here. It's not just Twilight I'm taking the pee out of here. While I was on my writers block hiatus I tried to keep up my (lack of) creativity by doing something else, and that was video making. Annika's antics are half based off what I think of Twilight and the character in the videos.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
> next episode >
It's explained in the Misc section, but simply put there are three paradoxes and three mc's needed to fix them. It's obviously a play on the term three's a crowd.
Nothing in particular, I just originally wanted a Jessie's childhood flashback episode and it went from there.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Three's A Paradox was created to be the Jessie's childhood flashback episode. I figured the best way to do that was time travel, and in true FV style make it revolve around a paradox. The plot was developed quite heavily unknowingly years before it was eventually released. It didn't take long to add two more paradoxes which gave it its title. However I was either too stupid or too naive to even think that the Jessie plot would be long enough on its own, and these other two would make one big episode that would take months to write. That didn't occur to me until I started. To be honest I thought earlier that it would be a long one, but not too long that it would cause a problem. Unfortunately this meant that the original story was going to go through some big changes.
I know I don't have a limit to what size episodes have to be. Burnt out and Falling was a single episode longer than most two parters for years, until I made it a two parter in 2012. The smallest episode of the series is 1/15th the size of the largest, of course that's only bloody Hunters but it gives you an idea. The problem is time. I haven't got as much time as I used to before the writers block, and I still suffer from it at times. If I kept Three's original plot the same, I'd probably still be working on it. Three's A Paradox's first paradox to be written was Chakotay's, so it gave me an idea how long the episode would take and be.
Anyway you're not still here cos you care about that, you likely want to know what got cut. Before the cuts I had already decided to change some stuff around, so I might as well start with that. If you're still here and haven't read it yet spoilers are within, there will be no more warnings. Okay.
2) James was originally going to "kidnap" Jessie from the orphanage in the scene where she now escapes, and there would have been more scenes in the hotel as a result of that. The idea was that James would spend some time with her, talking to her to help her with her crippling shyness. I'll get more into that at the end. Once she was rescued at the end, his scene with her before he leaves was bigger. It would have been a small speech to finalise the whole thing. There was also going to be this whole deal with the present Jessie not understanding why James was calling her that, hinting that she only calls herself Jessie because of the James that travels to the past accidentally calling her that once or twice.
These scenes were in the plot for years, and I was never really comfortable with it. For one some people may consider it creepy, but my main reason for it was that it screws up everything I've done with these two. All their development would be based on him travelling back in Season Five, meeting her etc. The paradox was primarily the kidnap and rescue part anyway. I added all the above crap later and planned myself into a corner with it.
Weeks before writing I changed a few things around so James was there, but she would never have any reason to think he was. She doesn't really see him so there's no chance of her recognising him later on, and he barely speaks to her (top of my head he doesn't at all) so there's no influencing her meeting with him when they're four. It works better, it's a lot less creepy and their relationship is still mutual, not just something James influenced in the future. Doing this certainly helped shorten the plot but not enough.
3) The final version was cut down in the following ways (thankfully these changes don't need a lengthily explanation);
a) James was at the orphanage for a few more days, slowly learning about what was happening. He now gets most of the information in a space of a day, not even that.
b) Jessie's chat with the nursery teacher about Duncan and Amy was shortened. The Bridge scene afterwards was altered as a result. They were written but not worth keeping, then again I think I'll have that draft somewhere. It's only a few lines.
c) The dream/vision sequence was new. I'll go into this in another "bullet" point.
d) James and Admiral Janeway talked a lot more after it was all over. I'm not happy that I removed this, but I guess it's probably territory I should have avoided anyway.
e) The rescue scene took place in another location. This is where the dream/vision part fits in as well. James still goes to this house, probably getting the location from Jessie's file, and gets the visions there. He was awake and they appeared as ghostly images. Eventually the father vision would expand to give him a hint to Jessie's current whereabouts. It's a lot more drawn out than the way it is now and the new version makes a bit more sense, James usually gets visions while being unconscious, not like that. My only issue with this change was I had a hell of a time trying to describe the vision so the readers knew it was. My previous vision scenes were disguised as actually happening, so doing it the reverse way was tricky.
4) The other paradoxes have a small story of their own. Craig and Ylara's was always the same thankfully, this one is about Chakotay and Damien's. Damien originally had nothing to do with this, Chakotay had to go back in time to interfere with another character's past. Doing so would influence the other two paradoxes. I'll try to explain this later. This was changed when the reboot was created and I started rewriting Caretaker.
Originally the episode Rewind/Time About in Season Five would basically be a longer version of Chakotay and Damien's plot, only Damien would be travelling backwards in time each time to fix a previous error he had made. For example his first trip would be to stop him losing his ship in the Season Four finale, but he only causes it. He decides he has to go further back to undo his mistake. Eventually he'd get back to Caretaker, where I had already wrote a scene in the rebooted version. Rewind was too complicated and too similar to Three's A Paradox, so to fix the awfully tricky one Chakotay had already (I couldn't figure all of it out), it was moved into Three to be the third paradox instead.
Generally Chakotay's is the same. He sees his as an opportunity to undo his own mistakes, but does the right thing eventually. Craig and James' wouldn't work without his paradox. To put it simply cos as I said above, I never figured it fully out; Chakotay has to save somebody who barely affects James' past. Doing so causes ripples, eventually leading James to not be on Voyager later on, disrupting the Lena paradox (like described in the final version of Three), Ylara either goes into another Slayer in Burnt out and Falling or a one much later, OR doesn't possess anyone at all.
The part I was figuring out was Ylara's in more detail. Basically I knew Ylara's existence was a factor for Chakotay wanting to not co-operate here, and he'd realise that Ylara had to exist or his daughter didn't. It was way too similar to Craig's story. Still, the main reason was that it was too complicated, having all three paradoxes linked in such a way meant that the present day the boys see before time travelling would have to reflect that, cue mass headache. Damien's Rewind plot has its moments but at least it keeps the three plots separate from each other, simplifying it a lot more.
So that's that, the stories of Three's A Paradox. I'm happy that I finally got it out of my head and I never have to plan all of this ever again ^_^
> next episode >
Unforgiving is simple, Craig believes Lena is haunting him as she's angry at what he's done. Kiara also believes that Lena wouldn't forgive her for leaving and sets out to do whatever it takes to bring her back, though as her plot was in Hush Now it's not applicable really.
Hush Now... I suppose.
Explained in full in Misc, but I was inspired by Jessie's death in Season Three and how a messed up/evil James would be handling it behind the scenes.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Season Five's episodes have been re-ordered so many times it's hard for even me to remember where everything went before. However I do know that once upon a time the episode Hush Now would closely follow Three's A Paradox, and in any of the original season lists be based directly before the trio of Unforgiving, Try Harder and Heaven Sent. As I mentioned in Cancelled Episodes, Hush Now was a very loosely planned episode revolving around Kiara. Sometime in 2013 I decided that having that episode as well as Craig's "Unforgiving" would be a tad overkill, as they were about a character grieving over the same person. I also figured after the events of Lifestyles that I needed Unforgiving to happen so Hush Now would be resolved properly and vice versa. They needed each other.
2) Now the spoiler part; Unforgiving originally came about when I was absentmindedly thinking about Season Three, that was quite a while back now. It was long before the reboot but I had been thinking about how the whole Jessie's death saga would have been if I wrote it "now". I came up with the idea of James seeing her "ghost" but in such a way that he thinks she's punishing him for not protecting her and for his Evil behaviour. One of the "haunting's" was the bedroom scene, and I wrote it here exactly as I imagined it then.
I never planned for it to be in Season Three, especially as then I was in my "I'm never rewriting FV" state of mind. Besides I think it works better for James' story if he never sees or imagines her, it would probably clash with what is already there too. I quickly assigned the idea to Craig, I didn't want it for Chakotay... *cough* I have other plans for him *cough*
Kiara's plot was a lot more flexible to change as I had barely planned it. I believed the Q being involved made a lot more sense than the three witches, and in my opinion a tad more interesting as well. I think I made the right choice.
3) Lastly for anyone wondering about the whole Annika plot that started in Sin Deep; honestly, it was a whim. I was trying to figure a way to do the scene with the vampire holding her hostage, and it just popped into my head. I had wanted to use Tani in a similar plot during the reboot, but I think this is far better. I also thought Annika's already immortal, so why not make it official. If she was going to be sired by any vampire, it had to be a pathetic kind. It just wouldn't be "funny" otherwise.
I do remember an old conversation on the old forum about a love interest for Damien, but that didn't really aid the decision. I remembered after I did it.
Of course the way Annika stalks is inspired by a few things, one being the book series her "vampire" type comes from. Thankfully I've never read more than a chapter, never really seen the films, but I know more than enough to take the pee out of it.
The other inspiration is from a video game series and film. Unforgiving basically took a character's scenes from a spinoff game and made Annika do them. I wanted to see if they really were creepy yet funny stalker moments, and not romantic scenes of a girl looking for "her man" in a bookshelf or behind a portrait (no, I didn't make this up). I badly wanted (and still do) to understand why she and the character she was looking for is shipped, cos thanks to these scenes and many more, I don't get it! I understand Chakotay/Seven more, honestly. Anyway using Annika to do them was easy, it fit her, so the pairing still falls into the one sided crazy stalker column for me. There's more to come, especially when I first saw those scenes I took the piss out of them in another way *cough*. Besides the two characters have a lot more in common than you'd think, so that makes it even easier.
Warning! - Oh my god, so many damn spoilers. I can't warn you enough. If you haven't read either and the episodes before them for that matter... you're going to get spoilt the hell out of.
I will get down to business with the two episodes separately. The two episodes need to be talked about together first, they are a double act. So let's do it.
FV is definitely not popular, not even close, but when Burnt Out And Falling happened there were tiny ripples anyway. Lena was dead and within one episode after Janeway was offed as well. Season Four was the season of death. Even worse a new character had literally taken Lena's place and she was evil. Poor Craig and poor Daniel, poor James... hey Chakotay hasn't reacted to this. The cliffhanger, oh dear. The end of S4 was my riskiest time of the series, ever and I feel like I pulled it off perfectly. At the time I figured S5 would start to ruffle feathers some more in 2005 until these two showed up to do so all over again, for different reasons. - Off note 2005, and I believe at my current speed S5 will finish 2015. Writer's block truly is a bitch -
I wanted Ylara to join the cast, that was the whole point. I wanted her to cause tension between the characters. I wanted people to hate her just like the characters for replacing Lena. Over the course of Season Five I wanted to then get at least one reader to like her, and if I remember an old forum post right I did. She was to be redeemed, one way or another, I wanted it to be disputed if she had to be or not. Did she really kill Lena or was she just a victim of circumstance? I loved this plot, and I was damn well adamant about getting it right.
Ylara was doomed from the start, and I was actually pretty damn depressed to do that to her. A shocking confession here, I actually felt more sad about killing her than Lena 0_0 Though to be fair to me for once, I tear up at fiction a lot easier than I used to. Though maybe it was cos the death of Lena was always going to be fixed, who knows if I don't. If I'm honest, I hadn't decided how Ylara was going to go. There was a spell, there was a (bad) misdirect, it happens anyway, that was planned. As soon as I figured it out I knew that was it. It was harsh and sudden enough for HS's meeting to go the way it did.
After I had decided the how, I decided that was going to be it for her. I imagine some would think that it should have been left like that, it's more realistic and brutal. However I felt that even though Ylara had only been around 19 episodes, she deserved to have her story finished. I didn't just bring her in and replace Lena for the hell of it, and I definitely didn't want her to just be swapped back later with barely a bat of an eye. I may be a crappy writer but I know that's not how you do it. Making her a person, giving her a backstory and a storyline other than "hey I look like Lena" is, at least I think so.
Anyway Ylara admitted early on she felt guilty for the people her evil self killed, despite her comments even earlier. When Kevin dies in her place and Kiara returns, hoping to see her mother, the guilt does start to grow and grow. She wanted to redeem herself and as far as she saw it, she was failing but getting more and more to atone for. The original idea was she'd be swapped for Lena by the spell maker with no say in the matter. I didn't like it. I liked what happened instead; yeah Daniel did the spell, but Ylara was the one who really saved Lena. I hope with my crappy writing style, if you can call it that, that anyone who reads the episode will know this without reading the Trivia section. Honestly I really, really hope so. It would be sad to ruin the storyline now.
Moving onto Craig. I know it doesn't seem that way with all the crap I throw at him, but he is one of my favourite original characters. There's a reason he's in the main cast after all. I thought it would be weird and off putting going from Season Five back to Season One as the two Craig's are so different. It wasn't. True with Season One he's not going to be exactly the same anyway, the boy was a walking chat up line in the early episodes, but still, there's a difference between Reboot One and Five. Writing him as an angry and uncaring ass was hard to do, I remember, but luckily when I "returned" from the writer's block his calming down was beginning. I wanted to portray him slowly getting less and less angry, but as a result the sadness was coming back. It ends up being too much for him and you see/read what happens.
I do want to portray him as the good, normal guy with bad experience. He has his selfish moments (FYI his needy scenes before Lena dies was a pain to write, probably noticeable), who doesn't, but he can do the right thing in the end; persuading Kiara in Unforgiving, when he stood up to Evil James in Closing etc..., Three's A Paradox. THNT/HS I wanted him to be conflicted, and I had hoped people would forget Daniel and Lena was a "thing" to even think he'd have anything to do with her resurrection. Craig wasn't right to help him out with that, but he wasn't really wrong either. At least I hope it came across that way. The point is he's just flawed and again, who isn't?
There's more to write, but these are more focused on the episodes themselves. THNT had a lot of ideas for it that didn't make it, HS went through rigorous rewrites while THNT was finished in the record time of six days - I hadn't done that for a brand new episode in probably ten years. Everything I've said above is about both of them. You hopefully get the idea, so without further ado.
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Title Meaning: Daniel and Craig try a spell to revive Lena, but it looks like it hasn't worked and only has caused chaos. Voyager tries to catch the Enterprise but fail, twice. I think it's obvious from here.
Alternate Titles - N/A
Inspiration - Like a lot of S5, the inspiration is quite simply me thinking "that's a good idea, it'll help continue the storyarc/Lena arc"etc... I honestly don't think anything in particular inspired me here.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) It's not just the season arc that's not confined to particular episodes. Various character arcs are free to go mostly anywhere. There are a few upcoming that have to be in certain episodes later, targets if you will, but I'm not worried. I do actually feel more freedom this way. However there is an example in this episode that I think proves that it isn't a good idea, and it probably isn't to be honest, was Three's A Paradox finally being referenced. I wanted James to talk to Jessie quite literally at the end of the episode, not two episodes later. Here I felt that it had to be referenced before it got "Duncan isn't Tom's son, let's not tell him for months" too ridiculous.
Three it was simply a case that I enjoyed the current ending way too much to add the talk after it, also the episode was at the time the third longest episode of the series (currently fifth now thanks to Five and PA). Unforgiving I felt didn't fit in. The time between Three and Try Harder isn't actually that long, but in episode terms (and release dates) it does feel like it took him too long to say anything. Also the talk went a lot differently to what I originally planned. I went through so many ways he could bring it up, so that was never definite. How Jessie originally reacted was a bit overly dramatic, BUT Three at the time had more planned for her and James' side of the story (see that episode's trivia for more), so she would have more to complain about. Rightly so, I hated all of that original stuff. Ah well.
2) Try Harder Next Time is a completely different beast to the original idea. Very basically it's the same; Daniel & Craig do a spell to save Lena, it sacrifices something, they think it doesn't work, it does, the end. I had very different ideas about the details of the plot and to cut a long story short, or to sum it up cos I'm going to blab about it anyway below, it was a convoluted mess that didn't need to be done. What replaced all of it is far better and it doesn't forget the other reason for the episode's title; Voyager's chase of the Enterprise. I say forget, that's not true. I just went a bit nuts plotting the Craig/Daniel half and figured the Enterprise side didn't need to be worked on. I guess I was right, but still... for a time I forgot Try Harder Next Time referred to two different events, not just Lena's resurrection.
Now you know I've come up with some ridiculous plots, if you can call them that, over the years. I could name dozens of episodes as good examples, but I won't. So surely me saying that the dumped details of this episode were convoluted and a mess speaks volumes, right? You're probably not prepared for this rubbish, I assure you. To be honest, this trivia should come with a warning.
Warning - what I'm about to blabber about next was actually planned out for years, considered canon until the big revival and I thought it was clever when I came up with it. I was not. I was just chucking in drama for a character that didn't even "deserve" what would have happened, it was just a mistake, and he was only picked so the spell itself would be tried again later, hence the title. It was forced, pointless, rubbish and many other adjectives that spring to mind. I actually thought I'd keep this to myself, but I eventually decided that I wouldn't. There's a lot more embarrassing stuff that is canon (for now) after all, ha.
Bare in mind that Craig would have had the same development before all of this too (this should be in warning red too), so not only does the original idea give a mostly unrelated character some unneeded forced drama, it damages Craig's character further.
Daniel and Craig do the same spell, they both know something will be sacrificed and one of them is sure it just means Ylara. Jessie comments in another scene that it's something precious, but it has either gone over their heads or they haven't seen that part of the warning. Anyhoo... instead of the Leda being in a battle, nothing is really happening to distract them or interrupt, right? Wrong. As nothing is happening what they're doing is noticed and somebody goes to stop them. The spell does its sacrificial thing first. Like in the actual episode, it draws power from what it can, only this time instead of drawing it from the Leda, it draws it from the interrupter. I'm sure you've guessed it already, but I'll say it anyway; James. Craig stops the spell, or tries to when he sees this (like with the Leda) but it's mostly too late. James is crippled; he can't move as all of his strength, including normal Human energy has been drained. The spell hasn't seemed to have worked either. Jessie is mostly left to look after a completely helpless James, three kids and her pregnancy because of Daniel and Craig. That's not all.
They decide to try again. Craig hopes/figures trying again will reverse what happened, somebody overhears this and decides it's worth helping. Enter Duncan. I'm not kidding, this was going to happen. "Luckily" though the first spell took and Lena is back, stopping Duncan from crippling himself as well. As for James' cure, I'm not sure if I ever figured it out as I can't remember it. Even if there was one, I couldn't do this. I hope you can see for yourself after I've described it, how useless and forced it all was. I believe the new Try Harder is less "busy" but it still tells the story it was supposed to and it flows better. Plus the sacrifice is much more permanent, which is far better than some silly ohno a character is hurt for one episode thing.
Of course this meant Heaven Sent had to be altered slightly. I deliberately avoided planning it with too much detail until I got there, and I'm glad I did. Try Harder always was going to end on Ylara's death, but I believe the original one had Lena's awakening following immediately afterwards. However with the old plot everyone knew what Craig and Daniel did, they had to, this new one had the potential for it to still be a mystery to the other characters. I liked that much better. The further I got away from the old plot, the better.
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Title Meaning: It was just a title hinting that someone returns from the dead or dies; someone's sent from "heaven", or sent to "heaven". I wanted it to be a mystery as to which would happen. Both do.
Alternate Titles - N/A
Inspiration - Nothing
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
Heaven Sent was billed as Lena's return episode and that was it. I had no plot, no anything. I wanted to write this episode with only what had happened before and what I knew of future episodes in mind, with some freedom as well. A plot would have been too confining. Once I finally got there I did have the difficulty of how I was going to develop this. Should everyone find out right away, should it remain hidden from the characters, just some of them, should it still be not spelled out for the readers too? Should she return at the beginning, middle or end? I had no idea. You may think this is why HS went through at least three drafts before it was released, but it's not. When I started on draft one I had it all mostly figured out.
When I say mostly, I had decided to kill off Ylara brutally at the end of Try Harder and never write her again. Sometime during draft two I decided on giving her a little more respect than that. The Unforgiving/Try/Heaven trio were already planned in for S5 when Lena was still alive, Ylara obviously had no development back then. By the time I got there things changed. She had a back story, she had a few stories going on with the main crew, she had some burden on her shoulders. Her story wasn't finished. I've already blabbed on about this further up, but to sum it all up; Ylara was a character, not an obstacle that needed to be destroyed to bring back precious Lena. At the very least, Craig and Kiara had to see this too.
The new trivia though revolves around the third and final draft. The second draft added the new opening in Ylara's point of view (more on that at the end), but the third added the other characters as well. The scenes felt bare (even by FV standards) and I felt I had to fix that, adding what people were thinking was the way to go. If I'm to write properly/professionally someday, I have to learn to do this better. The first few scenes with these were written without them, I believe these are obvious, I didn't start writing scenes from scratch like this until Kiara and James meet (I'm not ashamed to admit that their scenes in this episode are amongst my favourite parts of the episode. It just makes me sad that YWF exists).
Now as promised, HS's opening. Back in 2008 I was struggling, as you may or may not know. I hadn't wrote, well finished anything in months and FV was suffering from being left on a cliffhanger cos of it. I desperately wanted to get back into writing but everything FV related wasn't good enough, or that's what it felt like anyway. I decided to try something else. I hoped if I could write something else that it would keep me going long enough to get back to my old self, then I could go back to FV.
The story I was writing was a crossover between a game and a film. I had also toyed with the idea of writing another series if things with FV got really bad, I only ever did a few scenes of that luckily. The best thing I did was the first one. Luckily for HS I had started to type up what I had physically wrote down and saved it. Unluckily though it was saved on a work computer, I hadn't been there long and it took a few weeks before my access to the folder I had was taken away. It was quite literally the next day after I typed the opening up. It was a while before I figured out how to rescue it despite being denied access, but by then my writing was all but dead and FV had been on hiatus for at least a year. I ended up just leaving it on my laptop, thankfully not my home computer that would later surrender to a corrupted boot up sector *sigh*.
Back to more recent times, I was thinking of a way to open up HS properly. The original opening was just the Sickbay scene, with a slight Ylara perspective before it - basically we "see" the last thing she does. I wanted to expand on that as I had decided to keep her "around" then, she was going to be observing what was happening before she eventually passed on. Then some words came to me. "She was drowning." I thought where the hell had I read/heard that one before, it didn't take long until I remembered my old project. The opening to that was all there, after reading through it I realised it wasn't too bad (for me) and could easily describe what Ylara was going through as well. Even better it opened a door to her plot for the episode. She wasn't going to be watching everyone, she was in limbo, on the cusp of dying but something was stopping her. The spell was to force her out, to allow someone else to return but Lena didn't want to return. Ylara could have gone back, she didn't. Ylara's story ended far better than her just dropping dead on the floor, at least that's what I think.
So there you go. That writing I did in 2008 helped after all, it was just six years later than I expected.
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Title Meaning: This had many titles, only some lasted long enough to stay in my memory. The episode itself was depending on what I'd managed to write in previous ones, like in Try Harder and Unforgiving. Anyway Shadow means multiple things, one is the powerless Enterprise is a shadow of its former self, the area they're in is a twisted shadow of the sphere, in a way and then there's Lena (which mirrors the Enterprise part). It's the best I can put it without spoiling anything.
Alternate Titles - I remember two; Turn Tables and Roles Reversed. Both didn't fit anymore after the changes made to stuff like DotS, so... yeah.
Inspiration - Nothing, although my worry was that people would think it's just another Death Corridor or Fantastical, so to hide that I decided to have a character draw attention to it. I'm good like that ^_^
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
Shadow is the first episode of the series not planned in advance, and I don't mean it the way you may think. Mostly everything related to the season's overall story based after Death of the Soul wasn't really restricted to a particular episode. Try Harder Next Time was, but it was still loosely planned. All I needed for that was the knowledge that the Enterprise was still AWOL at this point in the season. Basically the season storyline was planned, but Shadow could have been any part of it. I could have easily had Shadow's storyline integrated into Heaven Sent, then there would really be no need for the slot Shadow was in. I hope you understand, I know I'm not good at explaining stuff like this.
Since it was quite essentially a "Season Five arc continuation" and not an episode in its own right for so long, Shadow was a bit tricky to sort out. You really have to think about what you need from the arc, what you don't, consider upcoming episodes like Parental Advisory, figure out where it has to end, and still make it seem episodic. I know there were a few things I could have included which proves I didn't consider PA that much, although my only mistake there was not realising how long it would be so... hindsight's always nice. I was concerned that since the episode only really had time to cover the anomaly and Enterprise discovery, and the problems it came with, that it would be short, boring, uneventful, you get the picture. It didn't turn out that badly, at least IMO, and it has made me feel a little more confident about tackling the later "unplanned" empty slots later in the season.
Once Season Five is finally completed, I may feel more comfortable about discussing the Enterprise part of the plot at least, but until then my lips are... um, my fingers are tied up *shrug*
More Coming Soon
> next episode >
Warning! - As usual the trivia here will spoil anyone who hasn't read the episode itself. Why would you read this first anyway? It's got to be more boring than the episode is. It's also probably more confusing too. Why do it? Still, I think I should keep warning people. Just in case. Also if you decided to read the main seasons before going to the prequels, there will be spoilers here for that too.
Warning 2! - Being the 200th episode and as a result is filled with references aplenty, this is going to be long.
Title Meaning: Five timelines, five parts, "fifth" Voyager. It can't get any simpler than that.
Alternate Titles - N/A
Inspiration - Originally was going to be just Four and I mean that only by the story. I wanted Lena's childhood shown, mixed in with her current life. The ending is probably the only thing that remains of the old plot. Like most of S5, it wasn't really inspired by outside material.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
Five started out as a mere note on my phone after a long and notepad-less bus journey home. I thought about Lena's return, I soon realised there was potential for something else there. I then thought about the cancelled Dimension Rewritten and what losing it meant. Blah, blah... that's not important. In the end the note was basically this: "Fourth timeline merged in with similar scenes from fifth. Lena remembers at end." My phone's old, the letter limit is scarce at best.
After much thought at a much later time - I think I've since deleted the note so I can't remember when I did it - I thought, why stop there? This whole series is about the timeline being altered to bring Lena and Kiara here, that's what this series was always about. They were the first two extra characters, the only ones in fact, in the beginning. I had already mentioned the third and fourth timelines, the fourth even had an episode devoted to it. I was in the final season, I figured why not expand the episode idea and actually explain/show what I had been trying to explain via Kes and Q in several episodes, piece everything together. I had gone on and on about FV being different only cos Lena/Kiara were there. If I didn't show why now I never would. The S5 storyline had no more room to do so.
If I'm honest, Timelines One and Two were "new". Three and Four have been there since god only knows when, my memory is terrible. Season Two's premiere, no later than that. One/Two were still open for me to figure out later - yeesh I'm way too honest these days - I had only decided that the Voyager in FV had come from the original Voyager (Timeline One), the only difference was the people. James and Lena's birth had changed things, and apart from Lena, the details of it weren't planned. At the time I had no reason to.
Now I have confessed elsewhere that Fifth Voyager's title originally came from my old Kidz Trek days, which was based in a fifth dimension. It was the initial inspiration, I did want to expand on it and do something different here, but I didn't know what at the time. The paradox involving Kiara and Lena, or more accurately Kiara and Roxanne in my very own Kidz Trek, gave me somewhere to start.
Season One wasn't exactly a well thought out piece of work, was it? I rushed through that while thinking about it and it shows. It's frustrating cos of that as I don't remember when I had finally decided on the Lena/Kiara/James paradox. I don't know when James became Janeway's son. I honestly don't know, I only have theories. The work itself doesn't give me away, even to me. Sigh.
Anyway all I did was make up a different reason to keep readers/the characters "satisfied" that would work with World Domination, which had already been written long before Aggressions. Fifth was because Voyager was in one of many fictional universes created by fanfiction writers, ie the fifth dimension. The online version of WD ended up being altered after all to fit this excuse, as well as to add the new characters that weren't there, and it was a bigger mess than Try Harder Next Time's James is crippled for Drama! plot. Thankfully I have the reboot to work on this, fix it, but that's another trivia section.
I dunno, I'll never completely remember what I was thinking, it's awful. Kiara and Lena were already in the series, Timeline had introduced the paradox hints already, so why fanfiction dimensions? Apart from the WD theory, I can't think of any other reason for making up the "fifth dimension is fanfiction" crap other than funsies. Knowing me back then, that's probably IT >_<
Back to Five. Yes the whole five timelines wasn't the first thing I thought of when I thought of FV, I admit that. My point above though is neither was fanfiction dimensions. I hope after this, just one person believes me. My original plan was basically Lena's from a future based timeline which has been destroyed etc... Kiara too in a way. Similar to Kidz Trek, cos it was the only original thing I did there haha. I'm onto a winner here. Time to skip the first 13/14 episodes and write Timeline. No World Domination, cos I feel like it. Honestly. Timelines Three and Four were still planned out very early on. Timeline One always had to be original Voyager...
Brief Note: While I'm on the subject, Return of Third Voyager's title and the episode itself is ruined (and that I'm okay with, what rubbish that one was), it was a "joke" episode only and it clearly wasn't original Voyager anyway.
... and another second timeline had to bring James into the mix. Five timelines or dimensions. I just hadn't decided why things changed the way it did in Timeline One/Two, I only knew what changed.
Soooo, now that the FV/Five title confessions are out of the way, I can get on to what I really wanted to talk about. Hopefully the rest of this trivia section will be focused on the following; the differences, the many nods and references to old episodes, basically other 200th episode stuff, even references to the original Voyager itself.
If this series had a known fanbase or anything for that matter, I'd put up some sort of competition for readers to count the references in this episode. There are a lot. Not that I'd have anything to give away, it'd be just for fun. As I'm likely talking to myself here, the forum is empty and whatnot, that's not gonna happen, so I'll try my best to mention the important ones here at least. Let's start with...
I had toyed with the idea of messing around with Endgame, not because I like it, but I hate it with a fiery passion. No it's not just because of Chakotay and Seven, though that is a big reason, it's almost everything else about it. The second big reason was always the time travel. When I've tried to write about time travel, I've always kept in mind that the person/people time travelling had to come from somewhere. If they succeed their reason for going is gone, and that is usually ignored in a lot of time travel tales. No, I'm not saying that I'm better at doing time travel than Star Trek writers (haha), I just have a particular gripe about that thought being ignored. Endgame pushed all my buttons there. Janeway doesn't like that Seven and Chakotay are dead, Tuvok's sick/nuts, I imagine other Voyager crew died on the way. Let's ignore the selfishness of changing (I think) 20 years of history just to resurrect a few people. She goes back to Voyager's seventh year, gets them home, Admiral Janeway has no reason to ever do this again. Not only that, but Janeway uses technology from the future to do this. Voyager itself now has this technology, so it doesn't get developed in the future, blah.
I noticed that the latest Voyager novels explored this particular paradox as well, I'm not saying it was my inspiration here but it was an inspiration to do something in the reboot instead. In the end though I needed a paradox fitting to spark off the trouble in Timeline One, and since it's the biggest mistake Voyager ever did excluding Irish holodeck programs and C/7, as well as being the canon end of Original Voyager, it was only natural that it would be the paradox I used for this.
Now it's time for references. I think the way I'll do this is skim through the episode and make comments as I go. Hopefully I'll spot them all since I wrote it ^_^
It's a personal joke between me and a long time friend who has helped and read the series since the beginning. It's also very old and I was surprised after how much we joke about it, how brief it was. We're going back to Thrown Key Part Two here, I believe, where the Borg Queen hates Janeway so much she has a poster of her just so she can attack it. Since it's Season Two the act itself is barely a sentence and it wasn't how me and my friend joke about it. We have specific sound effects she does when it happens, facial expressions, everything. The reboot will very likely do this again, but Five was a 200th episode and deserved to have a call back to something as ancient as this. The noises she makes is exactly how we sound when we're bringing this old scene up. Yeah it's probably only funny for me and her, but hey for all I know she's the only reader anyway, haha.
Oh and before I forget, there's a specific Janeway picture I imagine for this particular scene every time. The banner for Resistance uses it (I'd hate to link to it, the banner itself is awful). I believe it's a Season Seven promo image, her arms are folded and she's smiling smugly. I imagine it wouldn't be hard to find.
I've only watched Endgame twice, once in full (bleurgh Seven - you wonder why I'm so cruel to you). So considering I did the scenes from a 13 year old memory, I didn't do that badly. Still, I had to shorten it down anyway to get to the point thankfully. There's two reasons there for you as to why the scenes are formatted as they are.
I tried to avoid referring to Janeway as Kathryn for as long as possible, even though the Queen labels her right away. Since she's gone in S5, it just didn't feel right to, dunno why. Personal choice only.
I've gotten better at writing Q over the years, but I realise that he's probably not perfect. After the end of the Voyager novel Unworthy (I think), I don't feel as bad about it. Just my opinion really, but Q telling Janeway he hates her no matter what the situation was, just felt more wrong than anything I've ever made him say or do. Meh. It also reminded me of Craig's silly little "you've made an enemy of me" line to James in Resurrection, so that probably doesn't help either.
Sacrifice, that word again. It may seem obvious in the grand scheme of things, but it means more than one thing. Despite this being a trivia section, I'm not saying. I am still a bitch, remember?
My one problem with this episode is even though I tried to bring up Janeway's memory as much as I could, it still feels like I haven't explained it enough. It's important and it feels like its glossed over. More on that in either or both Two and Three.
I've said this before, this was the hardest chapter as it was the last one to be truly developed. One was Original Voyager, Three was Kes' home "time", Four is Lena's birth and Kiara's creation, and Five is obviously the series. Two just had one thing going for it; James needed to be born and that should be the only thing to change original Voyager to Three, but it's still not Timeline Three for reasons I'll get into nowish. I believed that nobody would take the whole James is Janeway's son from when she was 16/17 seriously, or believe it for that matter. I've read Mosaic fyi, so I kinda knew that the change wouldn't fit. Crying, Dying was written badly; the flashbacks showing how she came to deciding to keep him and then later give him up weren't right. The explanation as to how he came to be didn't go with what I knew of her character.
I'm going into spoilers territory here, kinda, when I say that the first Chosen/Natural is fated to be, this is why Duncan exists in Timeline Four despite all the changes in his parents relationship there, but Amy sort of doesn't (I say sort of, name wise she is but she isn't the same Amy we know). If I wrote Crying, Dying in recent years, I'd try to show that she's being drawn in a way to have James, despite her age, the mess with the father, even the er conception itself, her desire to go to the Academy etc... Unfortunately it just came off as "nah I'm keeping it cos there's no choice". Here she's already lost her memory of the future, but it's still sort of there as a sixth sense. Also the changes I made to the scene which did come from Crying, Dying I felt made her more in character so it doesn't just come off as Janeway blindly following fate. James had to be born, but I still wanted Janeway to choose it because she can't say no to a challenge, heh.
As for the abandoning him plot, well... I'll go into that more in Three as it's more appropriate. Here she has that sixth sense of the future, a soul of an older woman so to speak, a faint memory of a choice she made etc... and that alone separates timelines Two and Three.
Development wise, I wanted (as I said before) one little change in timeline Three from Two so Three wouldn't have two incidents: James' birth and his death later. I should have left this until last but it's basically this;
One: Janeway decides to travel back
Two: With the knowledge of the paradoxes of the future and that she has to make one change, she goes on the trip that allows her to meet Peter.
Three: With her memory completely wiped since Two didn't end up too well, she only has her teenage self to go on (no future déjà vu stuff, no subconscious life experience etc...) and she leaves James behind.
Four: Kes travels back to save James from dying.
Five: Q's make Janeway carry Kiara instead of Lena. Well you know, or should know this one.
I thought it would be a nice idea to expand on the idea that created Mind Games. What if Janeway decided to keep him instead. How would everything go? This is what I actually thought. Mind Games was obviously never supposed to be real, however it proves that in someway James has some subconscious recollection of Lena and who Janeway is, or he wouldn't have been able to dream that dream.
Now that, that's out of the way, let's go through Timeline Two:
I doubt anyone will remember this minor detail, but at least twice it's been mentioned that Peter was just as drunk as Janeway was when... well James happened. He isn't here and that's not a mistake.
The decision scene had to be done so that in Timeline Three where her memories are all gone, she'd still make the same choice. It just made it easier and more in character, at least I think so. Also that whole the first Chosen/Natural's have to exist thing would have come into play if it hadn't anyway, so...
Another scene from Crying, Dying with a 2014 touch to it. I originally wanted her decision to leave alone or kidnap James to be subtle, just one sentence difference to Three. However I thought it wasn't enough.
I remember back in the Season Four days I tried to make Peter Taylor a little more human. There's no such thing as a black/white truly evil person, there has to be something 3D about them. I'm blabbing here, but writing him again in Five goes from that same mindset to the creepy jackass I created him for within a few lines. The line about blood and legacy was for him to basically admit that he got what he wanted *cough*, but re-reading it also comes off as that he doesn't give a crap about James himself. Oh well.
I didn't have much time to really develop Timeline Two James. I wanted the differences to be noticeable. This is him raised without an abusive parent, plain and simple. The main differences I did want to show; that he's less quick to anger, hasn't got the same self esteem issues he has in Three, Four and Five, both of which allows his more thoughtful side to come out, and lastly the lack of Jessie in his life. The last part is a tad more subtle, at least I hope it is. He's not conflicted about giving up his life to do his job, he's not even debating mixing both lives either. Yeah it may in some ways make him a better person/hero than Timelines Three+, but to me it makes his life a little empty and sad. Apart from his mother, he has nothing else going for him and that means that he's going to die doing something reckless as he does in 3/4/5 timelines too, but not really care about it. In my honest opinion, James is more Human when Janeway gives him up. That's not an insult on Janeway, she is my favourite of the original series, it's just how I wanted to portray his story here. I wanted to show how important Jessie is too.
I'm glad I started the reboot. It gave me some practice writing Tuvok as I was never any good at it. This was why he was killed off. I know the same's true of the whole original cast, but with Tuvok I couldn't do that in a "funny" way that worked. Tom's overly gossipy big mouth nature was overexaggerated, Janeway's coffee addiction, Seven turning completely bonkers, Harry's brief "evil" trip (meh it's only "funny" in the Monkey Island parodies, and cos they're in Reboot One now they make no sense right now, oops). The point is thanks to the Reboot I realised I can write him as in character as I am capable of, and make him fit into the nonsense that is FV.
Brief reference; the Game Cubes that James mentions in Manchester happen in every timeline but One. There's a good reason for the lack of any in One, two in fact. Anyone want to guess before I eventually explain it? Five does try to show one of them, but I didn't want it in your face or anything. It would be nice if someone guessed it, but I'd still be happy if it remained a mystery (until I "remind" everyone later).
I'd like to think that Janeway with a subconscious memory of Voyager's journey would have done something different in Scorpion. However what I like doesn't always work. She wouldn't have changed enough to do something different. However Two glosses over that a lot of events would have been changed thanks to her déjà vu, it's mentioned enough times, it's intentional so I can leave it to others imagination.
Heh heh, I forgot this but Janeway gets more coffee obsessed in every timeline, and more quick to irritability as a result. Coincidence?
I'm getting ahead of myself, but the mention of New Earth reminded me, Deck Thirteen is active in Timeline Two. The characters do have theories as to why this place is screwed up, and all I'll say is one of them is sort of right. I don't want to say who or what, not yet. However I can leave a few clues here; the creation of this supernatural deck, the rifts that opened up in B4FV3 screwed up my five timeline paradoxes. Simply put in Three, Voyager should have been destroyed before they even reached Borg Space. A change, only minor, had to be made to fix it and it started in Two, which is briefly mentioned in the Janeway and James chat before he leaves.
Damien. It's James' fault Damien is in the series, and it's Janeway's fault that he's so anti-Voyager. Just throwing that out there. As usual the Damien stuff I've kept mostly to myself, he'll share what I want him to share. ^_^
I'll never stop making fun of my awful spelling of Astrometrics (Astrometrix HA!). I'm surprised I haven't made fun of the fact I called the Enterprise's Stellar Cartography that, as well as renaming its Ten Forward (or whatever the hell it is on the E) to the Mess Hall. There's still time.
Ah ha hint/nod to the accidentally deleted scene about Damien's childhood that only I'd know anything about. How clever me, not ^_^
Also when Seven's sane, she doesn't like Damien at all.
Quite literally when I got to this part, I said to myself "here comes the good stuff". Timeline Three had so much going on, but I don't think I showed any of it over the years. Kes just said things about it, Kes even gave a modified vision of it to Lena. Now I was getting a chance to show what the hell I was talking about all those years. I don't have much to say about it before I skim through it like the last two, I only wanted to bring up the James abandonment stuff; there's a parallel here to what will happen in a later S5 episode. Janeway's subconscious memories from One/Two are gone, now she's left with both of their decision to meet Peter and get pregnant and she's only 17. She explains it later in Four better than I ever could make her explain in Season Three (I can't wait until I reboot that episode). All that went away in Two when Peter stopped being just a sexist asshole and unleashed his true callous self as he knew she was leaving anyway, which didn't happen in Three thanks to her future self subconscious being wiped.
Perhaps I should have explained that in the episode itself, better. It got to the point where I didn't want to spell it out like I did above, so all you got is what is there. As I said earlier, it's my biggest problem with the episode. Now to skim:
Three's A Paradox/Caretaker Reboot makes their appearance. One day I'll go back to the rebooted Caretaker, I was halfway through a second part for god's sake, and it was far better than part one. The differences here are that the future Damien doesn't meddle, so neither does Chakotay. I won't spell it out like above, but the changes aren't really that important to the story, just a little nod to Three's A Paradox (apt title considering which timeline we're in).
Again, Janeway's getting far more irritable and coffee dependant. Despite me never liking Mark, I seemed to make him almost a perfect match for her. He can put up with her moods far better than Chakotay does, for the most part. Almost, cos Janeway can't seem to stand him without a coffee in her hands. The scene's only an excuse to show Janeway's not happy with the decision she made, as well as foreshadow Lena's arrival.
If I go back to Caretaker, I have new scenes to put in it and that's the modified scene of Janeway meeting James and Jessie, as well as her big speech.
Chakotay tried not to smirk, "uh huh, fifth time's the charm." Haha, not clever me. I made a few of these number comments and I haven't caught any of them during my skim until now, but there is more.
Most of Part Three is Broken Wreck, which I tried to break down so it wouldn't take up so much time. Unfortunately once I did it made a lot less sense, and its ending needed stuff explained. Now only a few lines are cut until it gets to the point where it really splits off from Timeline Five. The big changes are with Zare, she's different when she's Chosen. She knows she is, there's no doubt, as her brother is young she has this idea that she's alone in the Slayer world and there's so much on her shoulders. It parallels to what James goes through in the prequels after he finds out what he is. The difference is Zare's life seems to revolve around being just a Slayer, once Chosen she's almost proud of it. James however had a life first and is determined to keep it, he'd rather be human (though Body Swap may say otherwise, it's not meant to). I didn't make this up on the fly, there were a few S4/5 eps where she struggled to understand why James was picked over her, why the timeline was altered so much that she wouldn't be picked. Her pride and stubbornness about being the lone wolf gets her killed, unknown to her that's her answer.
Well it's one of the answers, the rest lies in the rest of this episode and season. But anyway... I love how easy it was to write the new scenes to Broken Wreck and Death Wish and have them lead in or out from existing scenes. It's probably not a good sign, to be honest.
Broken Wreck didn't have the James and Jessie brief chat about him finding out who he is in the original episode. That chat never happened. It should have, what a lost opportunity. Instead you got jealous Jessie and that awkward convo at the end. Joy.
The suicidal Q situation, that was fun. Death Wish hinted that he wasn't immune to the timeline changes, and that he had been made to live on probably each occasion before Five (except One of course), or just in Four at least.
It was a whim that Thompson and Foster beat themselves up, not be beaten up by the vampires. I just figured the vamps would have killed them or at least hurt them a lot more. My main reason was that I thought it was funny.
I'll talk more about the Frenit vs James fight in Timeline Four as you actually "see" it there. All I need to mention was that Tom was the only survivor here, out of two teams. The second team was added for a reason I mentioned a lot further up. I needed to fix that Deck Thirteen rift problem. They're linked but it's not really very interesting, trust me. There is a hint for anyone interested in looking, Chakotay mentions names of the lost crewmembers. Ahem.
In case it isn't clear. Janeway's desire for revenge means she never goes to New Earth, never gets the insect bite and thus nobody is stuck there for two months. Voyager doesn't have to go forward a month, double back, pick them up, then go through the same space again. This is also important. A lot of original and FV episodes after Resolutions are dependant on Voyager being in the right place at the right time. Yes I never cared about that in Season One, but did I care about anything then? Ha! The point is Seska couldn't trick Voyager into being taken over, she hadn't given birth yet. Voyager wasn't even at that planet where the Masters were when all of that went down, also without any Slayers (Zare, James and Rean all gone), Ligod had no reason to send them there. You get the idea, I hope. As a result Voyager's journey through the third season was boring and uneventful. I imagine they only got Future's End/Yesteryear and the episode with the lonely woman in a nebula. Even Q and the Grey would be missing as the suicidal Q never offed himself. Janeway's depression after James' death comes into play as well. In the end Voyager reaches Borg Space early, which leads to the ending of Three.
Since there's no demon rifts or possession, Damien doesn't have those scenes in End of the Day. This means he never gets off Voyager.
Surely I don't need to point this out as Damien mentions it over and over again, almost beating you over the head with it, but he remembers Two. Why? There's a line in Timeline Two, it looks like a joke, it is but it explains this. This is another thing I don't want to say, so I hope someone spots it someday.
He also mentions Species 8472, but says it's too early for them. He's actually wrong about that as Kes' abilities begin to develop further when they're around. A little way down Kes does mention something that confirms this, I forgot about that. Heh.
I'm grateful I decided to keep Kes' departure in Year of Hell abrupt, but not as abrupt as the original Aggressions (shudder). It meant that I could write it here and not be repeating myself. It would have been another copy and paste job, with slight edits to Janeway's attitude with the whole thing. Though she was a little on edge in Five/YOH anyway so...
In Before and After Kes sees an alternate Year of Hell. There the Engineering station explodes while Janeway and B'Elanna are at it, killing them both instantly. In the original Voyager's Year of Hell it looks to me like an unknown woman was killed in the exact same way. She's burned and lying like she has been flung backwards from it. In FV's Year of Hell, the new one anyway, Jessie rushes to power down the ship to stop the overloads and ends up being burned horribly from it. Then Timeline Three's version of it, it kills her instead. I love parallels. This isn't a mistake or a "happy" coincidence. I did this on purpose, cos why not? If I'm right about YOH of the original series, I hope the writers there did as well.
I'm still not sure whether Kes' visions should be written in past, present or future tense. I wanted present, but hey, I've got little to no experience and how do you do future anyway? Oh and I'm not picking apart the visions and explaining it, its meant to be the way it is, so tough. The only thing you'll get from me here is that one of them you shouldn't be able to figure out from Five or older episodes for that matter. I haven't hinted to it yet, that is the first one.
If I had no qualms about writing an episode probably longer than Season One or Two etc... itself, then I would have kept everything I planned for Dimension Rewritten in here, as well as everything else. I'd have explained what happened in between the scenes that are here. Unfortunately I do have a problem with the length, I was disappointed it topped Death of the Soul, I didn't want it to be any longer than it was. What you see is what you get, and it still isn't too bad I think. I did my best to get everything that needed to be there and explain why it was there, for the most part. I hope it isn't as all over the place as I originally feared. I haven't got much to say here other than like Three there's a few scenes here taken from other episodes, but altered enough just so I didn't just copy and paste this part. I wanted to write it. With Alternate Scorpion existing, I didn't have much choice there. Luckily though True Q is old enough to work around. Anyhow, it's time to skim this one.
Three, Four and Five the James and Frenit fight is the same, for the most part. It starts the same, the only difference is James is a little less confident in Three & Four due to running from the decapitating demons that killed Zare. So yeah, the fight and the incident with Frenit's daughter (I can't say too much about this. She died a child and is forever a child. That's all I can say without ruining anything) is the same. What happens when she dies differs in the timelines. Three/Four James isn't Chosen, he isn't strong enough to take on Frenit. Here he only has to grab him and that's that. Timeline Five he would have enough strength (and a bit more confidence ^^) to fight back, which lead to Frenit deciding to kill him in another way. As he killed his daughter he didn't think James deserved to die by his hand, so when he's calmer he made his minions do it.
Four however he's still a Natural and dies the same way he did in Three. Only this time Kes arrives to stop them from feeding on him. She can heal him but can't think of a way to get him out of there without him knowing.
Q's involvement I love cos he has appeared to be all over the place with this paradox. That scene and the one following it should tell you where he really is in all this. He's not going to admit to anything anyway, lets leave it as such.
The episode Run or Hide, James gets a little defensive about killing the vampire kids. Any wonder why? That scene here was hard for me to write. What made it harder was the cries for daddy reminded me of Amy, and he's holding a weapon to her heart. Gah, yeah tough to do.
I didn't get to show it, but the Resolutions Saga was mostly the same in Four with a few minor changes; the vamps had gone. After they escape, the affected crew fall ill and they have to return. James should have been shown beaming down, but I figured it was obvious where he was going. The only hint I really have to this is the bug flying in Janeway's face. The original scene I wrote was cut out, and when I say cut out I just mean deleted.
Call back to Aggression/Aggressions and I guess the Grove of H'Taria; Tom yelling at a wall he thinks is Vorik. Had to do it.
What happens to the planets in Four happens in Three as well. No actual Slayers to take on the Masters in It's Your Duty, they do what they threaten to do and that was just to take over that first planet slowly. They had Frenit to help them out as well. The differences start when Voyager catches up with one of the taken over planets - Three they would have had that two month head start at least and missed it.
The stuff with the vampire ships was cut before I even wrote it. The whole point of writing it at all was because of the next point below, it wouldn't have made much sense. Also I felt I needed to show the consequences of not doing It's Your Duty. James going down may have seemed pretty bad, he endangered the planet blah blah. I mean he did, but he had no reason to think he was, but ultimately it was better than doing nothing at all. Also I was going to show that James and Damien's take over of the alien ships left it open for Frenit to get back to Voyager but there was no need, Alternate Scorpion already proved he was still there and "Five" doesn't need anymore of him in it.
The Grove of H'Taria's a big change even if what's written is short. I hinted to this (or I just wrote it plain and simply) in Precise Timings that Janeway & Chakotay did the H'Taria ritual in Four instead of James & Jessie. What I hadn't decided on was how. J/C needed a romantic push as this was thee timeline to do that in, but I didn't think about the details. Having James distracted by the vamp mess was the best I could come up with, what with the Resolutions plot in Four leaving it hanging. I had also wrote so many notes about skipping It's Your Duty affects their journey through the third season, it seemed a shame not to actually write it. Unfortunately like later scenes, it had to be shortened down considerably.
Tom and Harry have a similar conversation in Three before the Borg stuff happens, again I like stuff like this.
The ending of Alternate Scorpion, or at least the second off last scene of it, hinted at the poll I had put up to decide what kind of ending it had. This made it hard for me to use the scene directly, and I wanted it in here. Unlike the other changes I couldn't change it cos it was another dimension, this was the exact same one. Unfortunately it meant having to cheat. The last few lines mentioning this were altered so they were talking about the same thing, but not fourth wall-y or anything. Tom's connecting line was a brief joke about a typo'd word being spell checked into something else, it originally said in AS "Tom connected". I assume it was commented.
"Why waste your time thinking up alternate scenarios? We should be moving forward, not back," Harry said with a chirpy smile on his face. Chakotay frowned at him and then Tom. "Why do I feel like that was a dig of some kind?" Cos it is.
The Janeway and James scene was actually quite interesting to write. I originally wanted this to be the cliffhanger ending of Alternate Scorpion, you know the one in the poll I mentioned? It's a good thing resolved/hmm ending was picked in the end, as Dimension Rewritten never got off the ground. Season Five took priority for a brief while, and I mean brief, for one episode before FV died for a few years. I guess it didn't have to be here, but I felt it was too good to lose. It does explain how he knows at the end of AS, and if anyone cared why he said he was assimilated in Phase In Time. Then again it does help with/foreshadow what happens to Lena later.
For the second time in a space of a year, I return to Hunters, the dreaded episode. I chose this as it was rumoured to be the episode of the original series where J/C had a kiss scene removed. There is a clip online which was part of a Season Four trailer that showed two deleted lines from the two. As it fit with the getting together I had in mind for Four, I used the lines here. Also it gave me another go at Tom freaking out over Hunters, I never stop loving that.
Speaking of Hunters. I hope that people avoid my original like the plague, BUT I still make stupid references to it. Jessie's baby throwing her bobbles at her references the silly bobble throwing in the original, she throws them at James if I remember right. It's likely he returns the favour. Craig possibly going over to her and the kid is just Tom thinking he's going to babysit the baby (alluding to Kiara and the ridiculous babysitting party of the Hunters finale, yikes). Yeah it's a fourth wall joke which makes no sense, it's technically a fifth joke and Tom shouldn't know about it. Though Tom shouldn't know about it in Hunters Again, so who cares? ^_^
I'll put this here. James and Jessie named their ill fated child Robbie. I don't know why, it didn't suit them, neither did Robert for that matter. I figured if I gave him a different first name, and one of those two were a middle name, it would be cute if little Lena just kept getting his name wrong and he told her to call him something easier. As of Phase In Time, the son officially became Michael. No, I'm still undecided on which R name to use. I could have changed True Q to Michael, but I still think the mini story of Lena's name for her older than her nephew is too cute to change.
Oh yeah, Michael... Michael was picked long ago because of the events in Three's A Paradox. James' alias was Michaels, the first name I picked but decided not to reveal. Despite what Jessie says, she does remember enough to at least subconsciously think of that surname for her first son. Jessie has hinted to that first name as well, somewhere in S5. Cookies for anyone who finds it.
Kathryn has good reason for asking for a bodyguard for her new pre-mature daughter. That reason hasn't been revealed... yet. In fact everything revolving around that scene will come. I promise.
I hope that people do remember that Craig's mentioned his mother's name long ago, in Season Two of all things. I don't want people thinking I just made it up for the sake of being... well creepy tbh. Craig's sudden mention of that in S2 is a one of surprise "oh, Lena/Morgan was called that in Four... that's my mother's name." Meh. I'm surprised I remembered it to be honest, in fact I didn't, I was researching for Five and discovered it, so I can't expect anyone else to remember if I can't.
Some of Lena's first lines were taken/altered from Mind Games. The deleted scenes also did this, which is a shame. I wanted more hints that James' dreams in that episode were taken from the previous timelines.
The Amy born here isn't the same Amy. I think I've mentioned this already. The deleted scenes had her in, just briefly. She technically replaces Sasha. James/Jessie only have one daughter in this timeline. As I said earlier, Duncan is the only kid that's the same as he's the first Natural/Chosen, he has to be there.
I picked the Leda to be the one who contacts Starfleet during the er... thing - I'm not saying, I'm hoping it is obvious with the dates and whatnot. Why not?
I have to say writing in a kid's perspective was a little hard at first, but it was still Lena. That made it easier. Also that Craig scene, I just hope I haven't ruined any shippers hopes by having him as her babysitter here. It is meant to explain her strange attitude towards him in Timeline Five, she liked him enough to kiss him a few times but it made her feel strange. Gah, if I hadn't ruined the 'ship with the episode I have now. Bad Marill. I still like the scene though. The two have a connection in both timelines which are different (thankfully cos of the age diff's), both sweet in their own way. It's gonna cause problems in future eps, sure. It had to happen though. Just remember shippers, this episode explains more and more that Lena had to be in Timeline Five at that age and time.
Well that's all I've got for Four... which is a lot, but not as much as I thought.
What can I say? I mentioned the original idea for this episode, I've blabbed on about what I ended up adding and whatnot, and I'm back at the beginning. The part was just going to show her assimilation, then flash right into the present. However I felt it needed more than that. The flashbacks have more than just Lena stuff, there's the differences that I believe are crucial. You may wonder why at least one was there and that was the Equinox/Softmicron line. All in good time.
Unless you've figured it out of course ;)
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Title Meaning: It's not a good day for the parents of Voyager, the kids are exposed to stuff they shouldn't (kidnapping, violence etc...). It also warns that this episode is a little darker than previous ones. Well I think it is anyway.
Alternate Titles - N/A
Inspiration - If I was inspired by anything I can't remember it now. I needed the episode to continue the season arc anyway, so it's likely it wasn't.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
If you've checked out earlier episodes in this page, you may remember the part where I admit to the Leda not being the original sacrifice. So in other words the Leda originally survived Try Harder. This episode definitely suffered because of the original idea, the ship basically had to be out of the picture one way or another to make Voyager a lot more isolated and helpless. The shields were down, the aliens were eavesdropping on the bridge, Deck 8 was cut off etc... there was no way for the kidnappers to really stop the Leda from coming to the rescue. No this wasn't the reason I picked the Leda, it just helped ^_^
I'm not sure if I've actually done it before, at least not formatted in such a way anyway, but this episode tries to end but then there's that extra scene. Despite being miserable for most of the episode's writing, I still couldn't stand the thought of ending the episode like that. I dunno, the Damien and Annika scene was a literal last second decision. I finished typing the original last scene, looked at the "the end" already formatted into the file, then started to type it again. It was definitely a spur of the moment thing I don't usually end up keeping (anymore. S1, S2 etc... I definitely did duh). Whether this one was a bad idea or not, remains to be seen. Maybe when I'm feeling more myself I'll be able to judge.
I expected the episode to be a one parter, I really didn't foresee it getting to be big enough for two, let alone be that size. There wasn't anything really new in it to make it bigger, it just ended up that way. I have a feeling the rest of Season Five will be the same. Dark Clouds and Closure will likely be multiple parts, considering what I have planned for them. Anyway right now the episode just topped Three's A Paradox's length, making it the fourth biggest. Unlike Five and Death of the Soul, I never never saw this one coming.
Also due to the length of the episode, PA has some unfinished business. So if the ending seems rushed to you, it sort of was. It's ok, PA is a part of the story arc for Season Five, it's still to come.
I was researching a few things from old episodes and discovered that the main villain shares a similar name to the one in Disconnected. Disconnected: Sotjin. Parental Advisory: Shoytin. Not intentional, I assure you. I did think Shoytin's name wasn't right in some way, this is probably why. I hadn't really read Disconnected in a very long time so it makes sense that I didn't realise the similarities. Oh well.
More Coming Soon
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Title Meaning: There were many titles, all mostly a play on previous episode titles related to this storyline. (In the) Bounds of was a call back to Inside of Two Evils. A stretch I know, but that's where it started. Without spoiling too much the title works on multiple fronts. First is just a general title for the story arc itself, the illusion is the Game Sphere which they're all trapped in. Second refers to the Enterprise side of the plot and is why I picked it in the end. Again, no spoilers. There's a third but I can't share that one yet.
Alternate Titles - In The Bounds of the Illusion (naturally the current title is the shortened version), Diseased Core, Within Reach, Shattered Illusion.
Inspiration - Storyarc episode, so once again it all goes back to Kidz Trek Millennium.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
This is the second episode of Season Five that wasn't planned as an episode itself. Its story is a part of the big Season Five arc. I don't have many episodes like this, at the time of writing there are only two left. Most of the season's plot was thankfully assigned to specific episodes, but I wanted some freedom while writing the second half of the season. Empty slots were chucked into the season listings to accommodate this. Unfortunately I have underestimated my own storyarc. After PA was released Season Five only had eight episodes left, six of which have had fully planned storylines since Season Five was in its planning stages ten years ago (scary thought). The storyline itself is barely at the halfway mark here. I'm not kidding. It doesn't help that I reduced the size of Season Five from the average 28 episodes to 26 as I thought the amount of empty slots were too much. Now it's 27, I may as well bump it back up to 28.
Back to Bounds, even though all of that is still relevant, most of what happens in it was supposed to take place after Speaking In Riddles. Why didn't it? Riddles is an easier episode to write, believe me, I've already started it. The reason is Parental Advisory was never meant to be this big two parter. It was meant to be a single part with the kidnapping stuff ending 3/4's of the way through. The last quarter would be dedicated to some of the first scenes that are in Bounds of Illusion. The episode was so much more bigger than I expected. I figured it would be best to leave that last quarter I had planned, especially cos the first 3/4 were huge, until the next episode (Riddles). Speaking In Riddles though had a detailed plot I couldn't falter from. I brought forward an empty slot assuming that would fix the problem.
I was wrong. Immediately I knew that the episode needed to have more going on than that 1/4 of Parental Advisory, so stuff from the storyarc were brought forward. I can't say much more as the episode speaks for itself. You'll see that there was no way to really stop the episode, do a different one and come back to this story after that. It had to go on. It got to the point where the episode was big even for a two parter, like PA all over again and I was barely half way. I was at my wits end at this point. What do I do? It was October, nearly November and I had the site's anniversary thing(s) to do and I still hadn't finished this monster. I had to face the facts. What I was writing wasn't just another episode, not even an ex-movie episode like Death of the Soul or even Five, there's at least two episodes worth of material before I can say "the end".
Now Bounds of Illusion is two episodes and Season Five probably has another episode in its roster to make up for it. I still have more to tell even after these two. A lot more. To the journey huh ^_^
My troubles didn't start and end on the episode's length either. My first issues were the opening to the episode. As it was Parental Advisory's ending, I had to write that as well as explain a few things as it was no longer apart of a previous episode. There was also a lot of character stuff to fit in there, or so I thought. I hated the slow, extremely slow opening to Bounds. In the end I had to restart as my original excitement for writing this episode had been replaced by distaste and dread.
I needed it to start "later", scenes already written had to be referenced only, bits of some had to be rewritten to fit elsewhere. In the end though it still wasn't enough. The setup wasn't working, I felt I had to explain more things as the older scenes were gone. You can imagine at this point I was very frustrated with it and even trying to think of a way to restart yet again, or do something I hadn't done in so many years; change the storyline completely. This is a story arc episode, ultimately the plot had to still go down the way it did. Unless I wanted to think up an on the spot plot twist or two, there was no way around it. Once again the opening had to be changed so the scenes did not drag on like they did before. The character interactions scenes I had "deleted" were brought back in different ways. In the end instead of being chronological like I wanted, the beginning ended up being in two places but at different times. It's a big mess and I don't know if it works. Like PA I won't know until my "depression" lifts.
More Coming Soon
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Title Meaning: I guess I still can't fully explain this title choice even if the episode is out. Both rescue missions, or rather the ones who need rescuing, have discoveries about the story arc in them or at the very least touch on them so the people involved can theorise. The other reason for the title was that I'm not far off finishing Season Five and FV itself now. One way or another, the end is within (my) reach.
Alternate Titles - In The Bounds of the Illusion, Bounds of Illusion, Diseased Core, Shattered Illusion.
Inspiration - Storyarc episode, so once again it all goes back to Kidz Trek Millennium.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) As stated above, this episode didn't technically exist at first. The episode started off as an empty slot based between Say It Again and Dark Clouds. Then it was brought forward into the second half of Bounds of Illusion, which ended up getting too big for its boots/slot. Bounds was split into two episodes, the mentioned slot was moved forward and here we are.
The Season Five story arc was developed long, long ago during my KT days, as you've seen me blabber on about several times. What I don't think I have mentioned was I had various different ways of telling the middle of it. I had the Season Four stuff, aka the prologue. The beginning; Wrong Direction to Death of the Soul. The "filler"/character development episodes Sin Deep to Three's A Paradox. The Lena saga Unforgiving (or rather the cancelled Hush Now) to Heaven Sent, as well as a basic premise for Five. After a short gap Parental Advisory would gradually start the middle of the story, which I'll come back to. Then I had the final bunch of episodes to finish it all off. Speaking In Riddles and Emotion were slotted in between that. That is where we are now, the part of the story where I had empty slots and various different ideas on how to get to these final episodes.
This doesn't mean the finer details are getting changed willy nilly to suit what I feel at the time. The final lot of episodes are not getting amended to suit different ideas brought up in the middle, there's not two different versions of the finale planned out to suit whichever direction I go. They're staying the same. I basically just left myself with a lot of freedom to get from point A to B. I'm travelling to a specific place, but I wanted to leave the route I take still open to me, just in case there's road works or a traffic jam on one of them. I probably will go into the specifics someday, but it is way too early to.
2) It also wasn't as I'm free, I can do whatever I want as some may imagine, or I imagined for that matter. Bounds and Within were plotted to such detail that lines of speech were even in there at some point. All of them during the Lena side of the story. There were a few changes as I went, as while writing I can sense when an old idea isn't working and a new way is better. I dunno if that is good writing or really bad writing, but hey, it works for me.
My only examples that I can remember off hand was the Zare and Craig scene and how that unfolded, as well as how the Enterprise crew reunion went down. The original plot for the former had other team members (Doc and Tom) encountering her first, Craig does his thing and only then meets up with them. It's not a big change but I felt it worked better the way it is now. The latter I felt was too dull, with the crew already awake and explaining things in one go. The change I made allowed the exposition to build up which I feel is better. I'm blabbing again about stuff that I normally don't share (this is exactly what I was talking about above FYI), so I'll stop and move on.
The episode was never meant to answer everything, it was not meant to resolve every issue both episodes brought up, and if it did it wasn't cleanly either.
3) One of the biggest stories this episode in particular does finish off is the Frenit "saga". I wanted a powerful but yet oddly "human" villain for James. Not only that, but a villain who challenged the very problem with the previous timelines ("explained" in Five) head on. Something that would not only point at it, but actually be the turning point for it. If you've read Five, you may understand what I'm blabbing about. I hope. Now that Within Reach is released (and I should warn you, big spoilers are within. I've tried my best to avoid biggies so far), the whole thing can be discussed.
So anyway, back in B4FV2 I thought it was about time to test Frenit. Him being this said villain wasn't set in stone at the time, I wanted to see if he worked or not first. I know his first episode is the timeline changer one itself, but I had several in mind to use just in case he didn't. Thankfully by the Resolutions episodes, I was happy with him. Good thing too, as I preferred Death Wish being the subtle at the time big game changer to Outside of Time (the villain wasn't good enough to last), It's Your Duty (too late in the season at the time, and the masters were awful too), and Mind Games/Images (whatever villain I had in mind for being responsible for the ex-B4FV2 now 3 episode, he/she would be brand new). I liked him for being so untouchable physically, but you'd never know it from the way he acted. He was a typical villain who talked too much, but with a "dork" side to him. Someone you should take seriously but you'd forget to do so just by talking to him.
The idea was that he couldn't be defeated, he'd kill anyone who opposed him. He kills James in every timeline he encounters him in, one way or another. James later can just hold his own, just (Blood Oath's fight still makes me cringe actually), but the whole point is yes he's good enough to defy the odds and survive, but he needs help to kill him. He first needed to be Chosen to survive the initial fight, just so Frenit would "shame" him by getting the lackeys to off him instead. James had to be revived to come back and stop the vampires from leaving that planet and causing chaos (Five highlights it). You get the idea. He couldn't be Chosen without a younger sister. Lena being around at the right time instead of later, or not at all, not only gives him the power to survive but also gives him a team-mate equally as strong to finally kill Frenit in the end.
That's not the end of it. Frenit's strength was never explained, his legacy, origins and heck even how long he'd been around was up in the air. I always knew though, it wasn't made up during this episode or during some of his other ones, it was planned before his intro in Death Wish. It's (hopefully) one of my best kept secrets, next to how FV ends lol. I wanted to leave hints but not explain it until this inevitable showdown occurred. This is again what made me happy Frenit worked over the other choices for this villain. His backstory trumps them all by just being connected to his protagonists. The only one even close was Outside's, and even that is miles off. Frenit having so much in common with both James and Lena, and him using that fact the whole time; going after Janeway in Blood Oath, the threats to Jessie, the kidnapping of Duncan and Amy, killing Janeway (yes that was his work, despite everything said otherwise*), sending the witch to kill Jessie (same), his taunts towards James' life in general, etc... The stuff he knew about Slayers and Watchers, games as well. The hints were all there.
*Note: I guess the stuff about him surviving Closing of the Eyes and appearing in Death of the Soul still leaves a part of his story untold. It's only a slight oversight in this trivia section, I haven't forgotten about it, I just didn't think it was worth worrying about here. The oversight is I ended up needing to mention it after all haha.
4) Moving on. Tani. That's got to be the biggest plot point up in the air in Within Reach. There are a few, all of them intentional, but this, it had me struggling to write it at all. How much do I tell, do I tell at all, do I even name her and just have Lena react? You get the idea. It's the only one I'm still having second thoughts about. I badly wanted it explained in the episode, all of it, but I just couldn't fit it in anywhere. Lena and James' side couldn't do it, it did all that it could do. It named her, it showed Lena's reaction, and they speculated.
The explanation belonged in the Enterprise's crew part of the story, it just never could come up naturally. The only thing even there is that no one in the crew mentions her, but they mention Sandi, someone who wasn't supposed to be there anyway. They also don't seem to notice or worry that she's gone. Tani wasn't even focused on during the Season Four finale's memorial for the Enterprise crew (yet her last scene places her on the Enterprise), so without the Lena/James story anyone could think that she just opted out of the Voyager reunion back in Wrong Direction and was safe on Earth. Maybe it works like that better, maybe it looks like a big huge whopper of an error, I don't know. That's the reader's opinion. Mine is I regret not having at least a passing mention by Danny, Ian or Triah. Something to cement Tani to that crew. I'll get there eventually in later eps, but for now it's still a loose thread.
5) Speaking of those. What was with that strange flashback when Lena encountered Tani? I'd check out the episode Do's and Don'ts. The answer isn't really there in plain sight, but it may give you a clue. Even if I explained what happened to Tani, that whole scene would still need to get an explanation later.
6) Getting to Lena, as well as Craig's parts of the story. Years ago I hated myself for letting the writers block get to me, I thought FV would have been finished long ago if it wasn't for that. Now that I'm here and back in mostly full swing, I can finally say that I'm strangely glad it happened. I really don't think I was capable of writing most of the new episodes that have sprung up in 2013 and 2014, all the way back in 2007/2008. I didn't fully reach this realisation until Bounds and Within Reach. Five and Heaven Sent certainly sparked it, but WR is one in particular that if I had wrote it back in 2008 I wouldn't have done it as well. It wouldn't have worked.
Why? Somewhere I read that you write what you know and I didn't know as much as I thought back then. Writing Craig in particular has definitely been an eye opener, then I got to Lena here and it all made sense to me. I definitely couldn't have wrote Within Reach years ago. The circumstances are so grossly different, but Lena's essentially going through what I have been for the last few years. Ironically the years where I stopped writing and then came back. I dunno, everytime I try to write about it I delete it and try again, rinse and repeat. With Lena though I could describe it. She doesn't understand why she's back, what she is supposed to do. The anger and the feeling of hopelessness, that's been my life for the last five years. I battled with what I assumed was depression back in 2002/03, which greatly affected my work with Season Three/B4FV1 and I did touch on that in some later episodes (Paper Bag especially), but that was different feelings with different circumstances. What I was going through then couldn't be channeled through Lena or Craig later on in Season Five. The recent case which probably started with my failure to continue FV, then progressed further due to an accident at Christmas 2009, gave me something to work with in this story. To be honest, it's probably the only decent therapy I'll ever get. What's sad about all this is that in many moments of despair, the only thing that's kept me from doing something stupid is the thought I'll never finish what I started here. But hey...
Craig's is probably a better example overall. He started out in S5 so very angry and with little care for anything that was happening. He was, and I begrudgingly quote my bloody sister on this, living in his own (sad) world. To debunk the same person he wasn't doing it for selfish reasons, he wasn't trying to hurt anyone, he simply wanted to close himself off to spare the pain. (A/N I realise I'm using this paragraph to vent about my sister's attitude towards me lately, so I'll try to cut it out. Unfortunately I kinda need what's already there). I think I had him describe the exact same thing in an earlier episode, and that if he did open up, the pain would crush him. What he says holds true as when Kiara returns he does exactly this, he goes on a slow decline.
That's where it gets a tad complicated and more and more like me unfortunately. The despair, the hopelessness, the feeling of being a useless burden and the guilt starts to show itself, but it's not all the time. There are a few scenes where he seems normal, he's able to smile and make jokes. Then the scenes like his last in WR happen to prove that he's not fine. I repeat for the sake of it, there's no way I'd have wrote this and been happy enough with it to keep it before 2009. As much as I love Outbreak, it did contain the biggest proof of this until I edited it down. Jessie's breakdown in that foreshadowed my future issues and "luckily" I did know enough to write her identity crisis and feeling of uselessness, but the counselling session scene still screams at me to delete it whenever I think about it. I've seen two counsellors myself since then, and I guess I only had the previous one I had at college (um yeah... saying too much lol) at the time to go off.
As for Lena, again, she's got a bit of a short temper at the moment. I know she did before, but this is slightly different. Back then she was a teenager and I wrote her as such. A lot of things, some mild, irritate her enough to snap at people. Unfortunately I can do this, but I'm more likely to keep it to myself, the cold shoulder is used a lot. I'm not proud of it or making excuses but I'm afraid that's my problem at the moment. The big one was the reaction to Tani, which was inspired by a recent event. Luckily James' part in it wasn't the same as the person in my version, I think readers would hate him if it was. I wouldn't have done it, James and Lena need each other for support... (Yeah I'm doing it again... stopping. I already ranted enough on the forum not long after it happened, sigh). Anyway that panic attack, I tried to describe what I was feeling at that time as it was still fresh in my head.
I think I'll leave it as that. This isn't my blog, even though it looks like one and considering what I've wrote, I really should get one. I'm still really proud of what I've done here, at least with the Lena and James side of the story. Craig's last scene as well. Sometimes I guess you have to suffer to really learn anything, hmm.
7) Not much of a trivia point but while I was stuck on Bounds of Illusion and later the beginning of Within Reach, I was tempted to expand on previous episodes openings that starred the Enterprise, and show their side of the story. Not all of it, but enough to give WR a big opener and answer some questions. Why didn't I? The Enterprise's re-appearance, its odd behaviour, the trip into Death Corridor, it ending up dead in the anomaly... it's all a mystery to Voyager and apart from these brief openings, I wanted the reader to be just as baffled and lost. I think it's better to have the same info as they do, so the puzzle gets solved along the way. It seems a bit dull if you already know the answers before the Voyager crew work it out or are told. Also you don't want to "see" what happens and then get told about it, do you? Yeah it would have made WR's opening much more interesting but it betrayed my original plans for the season. 3/4 of it was always about the mystery, why ruin it?
More (Maybe) Coming Soon
> next episode >
Title Meaning: The spoiler-less meaning is "Riddles" isn't literal, it's just a way of saying someone is talking nonsense and it badly hints that magic is involved in the story. And no the title was not picked just for that James and Nathan conversation where James accuses him of talking in riddles. That was, as always a bad title shoutout like Blind Eye had. The spoiler-full meaning involves the warlock, Matteo. His motives are still unclear, even at the end. He claims that he wants to save Starfleet from its fantastical threats via the Softmicron, and yet chooses Jessie as a target. Sure he ends up blaming James for it and going for him, it still doesn't make sense to anyone else but the man himself.
Alternate Titles - N/A
Inspiration - I'm not sure so I'm gonna say nothing.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) As this and the following episodes titles are similar - speaking / say - there was a time where I had the two stories mixed up. Not a good sign, I know. I wondered why the events of Say It Again's plot was happening before Riddles, and then I realised the problem haha. This was a long time ago, but hopefully it's an interesting tidbit anyway.
2) Before I really get into the episode itself I'm gonna talk about something that only really affects Season Five, and really slowed down the writing for this episode. Season Five started back in 2005, let that sink in for a moment. Eight episodes were released over a stretched out three years, and most if not all of them were meant to slowly and carefully build up character arcs, foreshadow things, discreetly or just vaguely start off later plot developments, as well as be low key so the rest of the season would hit the reader like a brick.
I never expected to still be writing FV on its tenth anniversary, let alone still be writing Season Five on its tenth anniversary. I'm bound to forget things from older material and I'm also going to worry the reader will have as well. Don't get me wrong, I remember quite a lot of the Season Five arc and the plans I had all the way back then. It's not like I've spent my writers block not thinking about it. Speaking In Riddles itself was an episode I went through in my head multiple times, developing it, coming up with better ways to tell it etc... It was the little things, or rather the things that looked little in the first eight episodes that were really hinting to the big stuff to come later.
The warlock/Matteo story was hinted at back in the first episode of the season. To be honest, his motives were built up in Season Four. So many years of just thinking about Speaking In Riddles, changing things, made me have to research a lot of my own stuff to make sure it still worked. Luckily they were minor things, I remember the major ones. It still made setting up the "new" Speaking In Riddles a bit of a chore, as my large Word document I had open while writing it would prove. It's usually the little things that tend to be easily discovered later and pointed out as plot holes. You have to be damn careful.
3) I didn't want anybody to know what the episode was truly about until it happened. This was why the synopsis did and still just says "Voyager loses power". The first attack in the quarters did hint that it would get nasty, but the second attack was meant to dispel any worries there by showing how incompetant they were without the element of surprise. I wanted it to seem like it would just be another Voyager Nights without any real threat. Just a nice character episode, with the birth of a long overdue baby (seriously ten years). Then the warlocks attack again and the real reason for the episode begins. It's probably around the half way mark, which is pretty much a tradition for FV ^_^
4) The opening scene was decided on when I had already started writing the episode, originally in chronological order. The reason was I wasn't keen on what was there already, which is why it ended up as a deleted scene. As I blabbed on above I was concerned that a particular "tiny" hint in Wrong Direction would be forgotten by readers, cos I certainly had, so a scene related to it seemed like a good idea. It did ruin the whole hiding the true plot thing I mentioned. I guess for a while the opening scene means nothing until later, it's just a random flashback to give a non main character some focus. I worried but I kept it. I guess I wanted to show the back story a little more. It was needed.
5) Tiny trivia point for once. I always wanted to write a scene with characters trapped in a powerless lift. I liked the story in Disaster and the brief scene in Year of Hell. I nearly did one in the rebooted YOH but I couldn't decide on the details. I already had Riddles in mind anyway even if it was brief. Even then the scene itself was changed to Nathan's perspective as I couldn't get it to work. It's one thing writing about being trapped in a lift, it's another being trapped in one without lights around to describe it.
6) Riddles originally had James and Jessie trapped on Deck Thirteen with Nikki. She was picked for a few reasons; worked in Sickbay, would be awkward with Jessie in labour and her liking James. Thankfully the writers block gave me time to form the idea I should have had to begin with; to swap her with Nathan.
7) Back when S5 was in its infancy, and by that I mean in its planning stage, Speaking In Riddles had a complete plot already formed in my head. When I say complete, I mean primarily the main story. The quarters attack, the chat about it, the turbolift, everything on Deck Thirteen (well... almost, I didn't have Nathan originally to do the Debbie scene), and the final fight. That is the main part/point of it after all. What the rest of the crew would be doing came later.
Its plot was never wrote down, just played out in my head a few times over the years. Episodes such as Up In Smoke, Death of the Soul, Closing of the Eyes, and many more were the same. I did end up typing the DotS plot out to help mesh the three stories together since they were planned separately (planet/Voyager/Jessie & Damien, but still). Jessie's story in Three's A Paradox counts too. Future episodes like Dark Clouds and Closure have their plots ingrained in my head too. And no, that doesn't guarantee that it's easier to write. Majority of the time it's the complete opposite, as I'll have a perfect image of what I want to write but I suck so ^_^.
8) I can't go into it that much just yet but I didn't decide on the gender of the new baby right away. For the longest time it was going to be a boy (twin boys actually). I thought it was better for the rest of the story if I changed it to a girl. Besides I like the idea of somebody as overprotective as James with so many daughters. Their teen years are going to be funny as hell. Also I came up with a character for her (why? why not hehe), whereas I struggled with the male versions. I'm not sure why. Why did I highlight some text in black? I have my reasons.
9) Like with the WD scene I was a little worried about bringing back One Hundred & One Lies' villain Ruby, even if it was just a joke. That came about when writing the original opening scene and I thought that with the power cut the brig would open. I remembered Ruby and the first thought that came to me was a conversation between Harry, B'Elanna and Tom, at Tom's expense. Then the Annika story popped into my head and the floodgates were open. I have to admit, the Ruby/Annika/Damien storyline was made up as I went along. With Annika post-Sin Deep I usually do, it's more fun that way. By using an old character like Ruby it probably didn't have the same effect, as maybe nobody remembers what she did to get put in the brig. That could be just me being paranoid though.
10) I figured either Tom or Harry would take command, temporarily for the time being, of the Enterprise while they're on the way back to refuel. During the first few days of writing it was going to be Harry. It was only because of Tom being the one in charge of Voyager and Harry had lost his own ship recently. I swapped them over as I always thought Tom would make any excuse to use the manual steering, although he was in charge of it for a short time before. Besides, there was always this back and forth between Harry and Chakotay about who should be second in command, and I thought that would help the Bridge side of the story.
11) I really, really don't do gore. I mean I try, but it just doesn't come off well. Outside of Time 1 is/was good proof of that. Closing of the Eyes had a vampire death scene cut down as I just didn't like it. I preferred the reaction to said violence. The problem here is with an evil warlock/witch, there isn't really much you can do as they're able to heal their wounds. So if you kill them, you gotta do it fast. The first way to come to mind was, that. I never intended to describe the attack itself, I wanted Jessie's POV, but ended up chickening out on the state of the body afterwards. I'm worried that it'll be unclear.
More Coming Soon - There will be more revolving around the warlock storyline, but spoilers. I'd come back in a few episodes time.
> next episode >
(Avoid this if you haven't read it yet). The Enterprise is still a mess, the beginning shows what happens to an alien world, Tira's world is being threatened by the same thing, the system that Tira directs Voyager to is an accident waiting to happen, the warlock issue is unresolved and now thanks to that Rachel's identity is revealed, Daniel's warning. There's more but the episode ruins quite a lot in its short time. Seemed appropriate.
Say It Again With Emotion and Meanwhile (see Misc 1 for information)
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Say It Again With Emotion and this were originally one episode. When I planned Say It Again I had primarily just plotted out the main story, which was James and Jessie's. I honestly thought the story was tiny, that there'd be room to have season arc scenes and other character development on the side. I wrote the main storyline first and was really, really surprised that the story was getting quite long on its own. I ignored it stubbornly and started to write the side stories to fill in the gaps between the main scenes. If you recall a similar thing happened while writing Bounds of Illusion and I decided to end that on a cliffhanger, then continue the story in a new episode called Within Reach. I decided to do a similar thing here. I didn't want to have to make the episode where nothing happens but exposition a two parter. It meant that from there on out the season would be just multiple part episodes. I really didn't want that either.
However the differences between the two incidents made these two episodes far more difficult. Within Reach hadn't been written yet. Planned, yes. Written, no. Also it was obviously going to follow on after Bounds. The problem here was with the episode's title, so my stubborn nature told me the only way to separate the two was divide the main and side plots up. I thought that these events still happen around about the same time, and that was when the title Meanwhile popped into my head. The original plan was Say It Again would just be James and Jessie's, revolving around everything with Rachel. Meanwhile would be everything else. These two episodes would take part at the same time as each other, each episode would have hints proving this.
Once they were separated I wasn't happy with the format of both. The James/Jessie story was never meant to be told on its own, it just looked strange. The side stories just didn't flow well, I needed to write more scenes just to do that. The two needed to work off each other to work, show time had gone by, broken up similar scenes etc... so I was back to square one. I thought that I was on the right track with separating the two episodes. It is basically now a repeat of Bounds and Within, only both episodes were finished more or less at the same time (see 2), when all this happened I only had one scene to write.
I feel like a liar for having the next episode being Ruins instead of Say It Again, even if that did go online as well. However there's a reason for the Say It Again title and that reason is more for the final scenes of the combined episode, which naturally ended up in the second episode after the split.
2) Like I usually do with episodes with multiple things going on I wrote each different story separately. I didn't do that straight away. I wrote the diary opening, the Voyager/Enterprise scene, and finally the brig scene. After that I concentrated on the James/Jessie story, so I could see how much of the episode it would take. At the time I didn't know it would be enough for a two parter, but never mind that. The side stuff was written afterwards, with the last scene being the Chakotay & Lena and Jessie & Rachel meshed conversation.
> next episode >
Without spoiling too much of it. The title is another way of saying try saying that with a little more feeling to it, or say it like you mean it.
Meanwhile, see Misc 1.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) As mentioned in Ruins, the episode was originally a huge two partered size thing, despite the fact that it's mostly exposition. Say It Again itself was just a James/Jessie episode directly after Riddles, for almost a day. You know it's a bad idea if you aren't keen within twenty four hours. Yeah they're still in a majority of it, the contents is the same. This way meant that the reader gets a breather.
2) Spoilers for the episode. I've been badly/vaguely (take your pick) hinting to this storyline that started in Speaking In Riddles for so damn long, it is nice to finally be able to let loose and start writing it for real.
As per usual there's been the paranoia that's lead to me looking up episodes as old as Test of Time and Mirror Universes. The most I've gotten wrong was Dannielle's name (Her first episode was just Danielle, later episodes used a double N so I go with that), her and Jessie's mother's age when she had them (I was one year off while writing this episode). Nothing devastating really.
The story's not over yet, I can't talk about everything just yet. I think I'll name episodes though, just in case anyone's curious. I won't say what the hints are but I will say the hints are different in nature, so even if you find one, it doesn't guarantee another episode's hint is nudging you about the same thing: It's Your Duty, Deception/The Moving Shadow (although I hate to inflict Deception on anyone), Hell Break Out (ditto), Bring It On (bet you weren't expecting that one), Three's A Paradox, Disconnected and one more for luck Worse Case Scenario 1. There are more, but I don't want to share all of them and as said above, I can't remember specific episodes as the hints weren't apart of the main plot.
3) The episode's name was for the final scene. I won't go into detail as that scene is lengthily enough to do it anyway. That's why the second episode or just the James/Jessie storyline had to use this title.
4) I was concerned that the final scene was too much. When I finished it and read through to check it, I did alter it slightly - changed a word that wasn't as strong, you know little things like that. Then I read a news article about something loosely related to it:
Spoilers again for the episode, I'll whiten this later when the episode's older. I was worried that Rachel's intense dislike of James goes way too far when she brings up Amy and her lost twin. The character's meant to be fiery and has very little self control, so I wanted her to say something she would regret out of anger and hate for him. I was concerned it was too much so it wouldn't be believable enough. I didn't want her to be one dimensional and as such hated for this. She has stated her reasons for blaming him and whatnot, her anger takes over and Amy gets caught up in the middle, hearing things she was not meant to.
The news article told me these things do happen. It was about a grandfather who apparently hated his granddaughter's father, and that's what people thought contributed to his violent attack towards said granddaughter. I did say it was loosely related, didn't I? Before I move on, I think this asshole should rot in prison and be beaten by inmates for what he did. I did say loosely after all; a parent hating their daughter's boyfriend/husband and a poor innocent kid getting involved. Rachel has shown to care about Amy even after that, she's just angry about her grandkid's being lumbered with the Slayer curse, at least one of them being dead, and a son in law with murder on his resume.
I think the real issue is now that the scene is written, it's not that she may have gone too far when she lost her temper. She did, I still think that. It's that James doesn't share it with Jessie, he pretends it doesn't happen and urges Rachel to do the same. As I said the story continues later, so I can't talk about that just yet. I just hope that what's there so far works on its own until the storyline continues.
The scene in question is why the episode has its name, just so you know.
> next episode >
Again without spoiling too much of it, the dark clouds hints that a storm is coming.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
Please Note: This episode is relatively brand new and contains quite a few spoilers within it. The trivia will be full of them as a result. If you haven't read the episode, I'd stop looking at this page now or scroll back up. I do start off slow, but that's just to avoid having spoilers possibly in sight.
1) Before I delve in to the meaty stuff, I'll say that Dark Clouds was supposed to be this seasons Closing of the Eyes, in a way. I didn't plan on it ending up as episode 24, just like it. Happy coincidence.
2) On release DC was the longest or third largest episode of FV. It all depends on what you think is more accurate; word count or gross file size respectively. At least when Five and Death of the Soul were the champions, they each were at the top spot on both lists. Dark Clouds though likes to be different and difficult in more ways than one. At least it's just as inconsistent as CotS.
For comparison sakes so you don't have to go to another page for it:
Dark Clouds: 64,233 words (1st) / 667kb (3rd)
Five: 59,890 words (2nd) / 725kb (1st)
Death of the Soul: 54,087 words (3rd) / 671kb (2nd)
Closing of the Eyes: 33,354 words (7th*) / 600kb (4th)
* see what I mean by inconsistency. CotS is beaten in word count by Three's A Paradox (6th in FS), Parental Advisory (5th), and Bounds of Illusion (9th).
3) Technically this is the last one off/filler episode and it's dark as hell. It does have serious effects on the rest of the series, but since the season arc takes a back seat in it, I don't know what else to class it as.
4) I'll probably repeat this a lot in this section but Dark Clouds was created as a challenge. I wanted to see if I could write something different. I wanted to see if I could go that far. There's a few things I experimented on; first person (which yes I did do in previous episodes but they weren't planned when DC was created), warped perception (Deck Thirteen was my first attempt to try this), a dark/controversial storyline, tackle huge/serious consequences with a main and side character (I'll explain in a moment), and lastly write an episode that ends completely differently to what it first started out as.
Before I waffle on again, I never expected to finish DC. I expected if I tried it, to weasle out of the hard parts, rewrite the plot to make it nicer and/or easier. The only rewrites I did improved it, which I'll go into in later points.
Soo if you've read it or not, what am I talking about?
Something Different: Even when FV goes all serious I make sure there's lighter scenes, random and/or pointless in nature. DC does the opposite. The nice scenes are there only for the serious scenes to ruin them.
The nice scene with James, Jessie, Craig and Lena hanging out; James is destroyed in Part 3, his interaction with his younger sister likely damaged after seeing his older one and his effect on her. He's known for a while that he's the reason Lena suffered so much, indirectly anyway. He wasn't Chosen so her life was altered so he was. Debbie's life was tragically changed for the worst since he was born. There's other examples here in this one scene, but going through 'em all would spoil it if you haven't read it (seriously if you're still reading this, stop).
Even Tom and Harry's card game, Damien's inclusion, are there for a bad reason. Tom and Harry are merely trying to distract from the situation, as well as the bleakness of the main arc. Damien is there to remind everyone that I used to write villains like him and that's that. Now DC's villain is around.
Go That Far: The story is about a teenaged girl being attacked horribly. The crew try to figure it out, all the while trying not to break down themselves. Only then to discover the story is deeper than it appears. Part 3 is all about a character getting his sense of self utterly destroyed into tiny bits, while revealing who had murdered his sister in the same way as that poor girl. One side character that I loved, even though this was meant to happen to him all along, is surely too far gone to like again.
"First Person": Yes I'm very aware that my writing proves that either I barely passed English GCSE's at school or my teacher was crap. It's both. I wasn't taught how to write in different tenses and perspectives. I know first person is more "I felt like crap" than "He felt like crap". I dunno what you call it when a character's narrating the scene. I can't even explain this well, so...
DC has most of Part 3 in James' perspective, but my issue with first person in any story (well I have two issues. The other is that character must be in every scene) is that if they're having a really crap time, like James is, then they're not going to be voicing their breakdown. "I felt like the world was crumbling down around me, blah blah", in real life it would be lots of random thoughts and/or words, and you'd never get an idea what was happening cos they're having a bloody breakdown. Come on. How many of us stub our toe for example and narrate that experience in our head, it would just be "oh s### that hurts". Kudos to anyone who can write full stories like this, a few lines for me was hard enough. As I have multiple MC's, I'll stick to third person (and past tense but that's another subject).
Yikes I'm off point. DC was the original episode I wanted to have a go at this. The vision was really it, but then I realised that if I was going to pull off DC's big "plot twist" then I'd have to do a perspective there as well. Otherwise I'd be writing the attack, and I was never going to do that. Nope. The challenge here was showing everything through James' eyes, but unfortunately when it gets to the point where he's snapped out of "reality" near the end of Part 3, it had to shift to Nathan or third person. I guess DC probably wasn't the episode to do this in. I'll let you decide.
Warped Perception: I think this is obvious. This is the first vision again. James had to be shown three different things; Perla's encounter with her dad, Nathan attacking her, and James' father beating him. Not only that, they needed to get mixed up, distorted so it was hard to know who it was happening to and who by. Some points are meant to be so mixed up that Perla gets hit by Peter, for example. It's meant to be god damn confusing.
It also was used a little in Part 3, as scene changes needed to be disorienting for James. I couldn't do what I normally did and type "June 2350" or "2 months later". Boring.
Dark/Controversial: Another one that speaks for itself. The story is about rape and murder, as well as psychological mind games. The villain of the episode is a parasite that if it can't survive in its current host, uses children to its own ends. I know that the rape part of the storyline may get some people disagreeing that it's as controversial and/or dark as episodes with murdering souless beings, people being murdered in their sleep, a warlock being cut in two etc... but you've got to admit the children involved in the story part is dark, at least. What happens to Nathan's mother is brutal on its own, IMO.
Consequences: FV has its reset button moments, and Season Five hasn't been an exception in some cases. DC gives James not only the murderer of his sister; his wife's brother but "possessed" by a demon which he can't kill without killing him. That demon delights in tearing apart his self esteem, something that's been picked at all the way through Season Five. What happens to James after this won't be forgotten about in the next few episodes. That's all I'll say about that for now.
As for Nathan. I've gone through his story so many times. The fact of the matter is, the resolution to his story will never be nice. His condition can't be reversed, the memory of what the demon did with his body will live with him forever. You can't come back from something like this.
Finally: I guess the synopsis gives away there's more to the episode, but not too much. I hope. The episode was the James discovers what happened to Debbie before it was about a poor alien girl getting attacked. The episode starts out making you think it's a crime "thriller"/mystery, but by Part 2 it takes a different turn. Then Part 3 comes around and the reason for the episode becomes clear. James and Nathan must discover what happened in their past. Both of them were destined for this awful character assasination, it sucks but it's not meant to be nice. Both of them don't have an easy ride ahead of them.
5) Warning TL:DR entry. I should warn people more often.
I have this rather large worry that if I still have any readers left after the big writers block (or even before that), that certain aspects of Season Five will have put them off for good. I know that when I first started out that the series only ever got its favourable reviews and votes in polls for the light silly stuff it churned out, which back then was 99.9% of the time.
Season Four and B4FV Three is where I think I finally got it. It being the series was finally what I envisioned it. I had Season Five coming up with some big ideas which I never thought I'd pull off, especially if I was still writing like I did in One to Three.
I guess if anyone's up to Dark Clouds and has read everything so far, I'm likely not gonna lose them here. I hope.
Still I worry that an episode such as this, that doesn't have time for the usual lighter moments that still tell people it's FV, will put people off... if there's any left *nervous laugh*. My biggest concern is if it does the job I want it to do. Did anybody see what was coming too soon; earlier than it should be in the episode, or worse, earlier in the season. Did anybody feel anything for the characters involved, especially the ones at the focal point of the finale. If so, were they the intended ones? I'll never know, that's the depressing thing. It's something I had to get used to before coming back to FV after its unintentional break. Not knowing if I was improving, whether anything made sense, whether it was awful, taking itself too seriously etc... was one of the reasons for the writers block. Any writer looking at this will agree that without anything constructive it's difficult to go on.
Note: I'm not hinting for anything here, I know it will seem that way, but I promise on the existence of FV's mythical series finale (ok maybe not so mythical now, "four" episodes to go, but hey!) that's not my intention of this paragraph. If I cared about that still, I'd have tried to get FV out there again. I do nothing, so again, I expect nothing.
Ever since the relaunch in 2012 I've expected nothing^, which made it so much easier then. I know it beats the point. With most of Season Five now written and out in the public, I have to admit that I do worry about the nothing sometimes. I feel like I'm releasing my best work and no one's around to see it. It's silly really and entirely my fault too.
6) Dark Clouds on its own originated from my idle thoughts as I tried to sleep, probably over a few nights. It's a habit now. A night doesn't go by without me planning out storylines. It's probably why I don't sleep well haha, what a vicious cycle. It was one of those plot lines where I used to think "nah, I'll never write this. It's harmless to think about it though." Until it became an episode it was an untold backstory, something I could leave hints at but never show off. I haven't a clue how long ago I thought about it.
Somewhere along the way it became an episode. I had already decided it was a part of James' back story. You really have no idea how much "crap" is in my character's past that I haven't and probably never will explain in an episode. There's enough for their own individual novel I assume. Gah, I'm off topic already. Why not explore this story, why not shake things up a little bit. It will give me a good challenge, as it has plenty in it for me to chicken out of, and lots of times I can see if I really have learned anything.
7) The opening was written months before the episode as I was inspired. I came up with the opening while doing something else and I wanted it written before it faded from my head. It's written in a way so it could easily be anyone and anywhere. It's a character that is not hinted to be in the episode at all, but it can't say that. I think it works well.
8) This storyline was hinted at long ago in episode four of Season Two, with some of it set up in Season One. Yeah Season One mentioned a character suffering from child abuse. Season Two had a rape in the same character's backstory. Not that it excuses what this episode does, I guess. It just proves it didn't come out of nowhere.
As I said previously they were only meant to be hints to a backstory that would likely be left untold. I don't think I had any intention in exploring it back then. I think it was at the very least around Season Four when I decided to write an episode about it.
9) I think it should be said if it hasn't already. James and Jessie were mostly raised in my home town, specifically in the village where my first school is. I chose my town for the characters long ago, probably so I could write Test of Time with a specific place in mind. As the series went on it helped the setting (Season Four mostly).
DC gave me the chance to do some world building, or more accurately town building. My home town isn't being looked after right now, it's neglected. Buildings have been burned down or just burned and left, the biggest names on the high street are Boots and Asda, there isn't many places to go, no restaurants, crappy pubs, the cinema has gone, and the sports centre is slowly being shrunk down to nothing. Think, a town that isn't good enough for a McDonalds or anything of that calibre. Think about that for a second.
Its actually in a nice place, surrounded by countryside and culture, it sits in the middle of three big cities, but hey the people who run it have no imagination so, who cares? They'd rather spend all the money on the town far out in the middle of nowhere instead. Heh. Anyway I'm going on again. I figured in the 24th century where money is no object, people who love the town would actually have the power to do something with it. And so, I had a thought about what it would look like then. It's a horrible episode but it was nice to do this, I had fun.
I also couldn't resist taking that other town down a peg or two. My erm, timing though is just a bit terrible for it though.
I had to describe the area for the most part, so the flashbacks worked at least a little bit. I guess cos I'm not used to it, being awful at writing, so it probably looked juvenile at best. Still, got to start somewhere.
10) This episode is the reason One Hundred & One Lies really exists. James and Craig have to work together to solve a grissly murder or two, yet with everything that has happened they clash a lot, and they nearly let the attacker do it again during their fight. Here they have to work together again but a lot's happened since. It all goes to hell for other reasons later, but that's another point. Also Jessie overhears information and basically solves it before the investigators do, then runs off to confront. It's not by accident and it isn't lazy, I thought it would be interesting to do this. There's a reason there's references to One Hundred here.
11) Warning, another TL:DR:
I'm very pleased with what I've done with James' story arc ever since Burnt Out And Falling, or technically Happy Ever After. He gets hit by tragedy after tragedy, any normal person would be greatly hit by even just one, let alone all of them. Final Millennium I wanted him to tell the Admiral that despite it all he's still fighting, and not only that, he's improved. The tragedy has made him stronger. "It wasn't my fault" and "no it's me, get used to it" were secretly big lines in that episode.
This is the character that blames himself for everything. It was a huge step. I knew then the story would lead to Dark Clouds, and beyond. Season Five started a few months after this, and despite the issues with Jessie he's brighter and a lot less pessimistic. Excluding the Chakotay beat down (I'll get to that, it's relevant) he's calmer. He claims that having another daughter is the cause of it. The reality is that it was Lena's death. He wanted to rescue her, but Ylara was in the middle of doing a ritual that would destroy Earth. He had no time to waste trying to get Lena to take over, which she wouldn't anyway. He had to stop her before the time ran out, which did result in Lena's death. Earth was saved though. That's the trigger.
Death of the Soul is the first challenge to his state of mind. I try to show his old self conflicting with his new one. I wanted to show his guilt was still there. It looked like he was back to his old ways of keeping secrets and doing things on his own, but later it was revealed he had involved Tom and Jessie, and then he asked for everyone's help. He wants to change, and he has in ways. However he can't completely erase all of his bad character traits. I dunno if it works, I may be biased as I love what I've done with him in this season. The point of it all is that Death and then later episodes continue to test him, and they slowly wear him down, making him doubt he has changed at all. It's meant to lead him to the inevitable downfall at the end of Dark Clouds.
The first sign that he's never going be 100% the optimistic, not easily angered team player James, is in Responsibility when he beats Chakotay. Is he actually calmer or is he holding it all back, which is much worse than just being violent every now and then. That's what I want people to think about. Parental Advisory does this too. James was pissed at the people, mainly Shoytin, who kidnapped his kids and threatened Sasha. However he still thought about the effect that violence has on his daughter, so calmed down. Riddles pushed further with Matteo, leading to that huge breakdown. He's slowly realising or thinking he can't truly change, and that he'll always be a violent murderer. For me it's heartbreaking writing this for him, as I really enjoyed writing his more positive self in early S5. I'm doing this for a reason though. I hope someone enjoys the result, and the ride for that matter ^_^
And no, I haven't forgotten about his scenes with Lena in Within Reach. He wasn't lying or being deceptive to stop her, he was being completely open and honest with her. The most honest he's been in a very long while, since that scene with Jessie in Closing of the Eyes before she dies. That big scene in WR is one of my favourite FV moments. I wouldn't forget it. Stay "tuned".
12) I feel it is important to point out that before Nathan was introduced in Programmable You, this whole arc was already planned to quite specific detail. I didn't decide to do this to him later, after he was introduced. He was created solely for this storyline. It is a shame as he is one of my favourite side characters. I guess for a plot like this that is a good thing. Once the series is complete I fully intend to talk about the storyline, its got some interesting trivia of its own.
13) With an episode this god damn huge it means that some things do end up being deleted or even just not written at all. It's annoying to say the least. However with DC it turned out quite well. The story in Part 2 was quite long winded and was doing its best to avoid getting to the point, and yeah it probably still does but not as much as it was originally planned to. The scenes that were removed were taken out long before I was due to write them, as it's a lot easier to see they're not needed while you're actually writing the story. The only scene that would have made it into Deleted Scenes was a little chat between James and Jessie before it all truly kicked off. It wasn't needed, it wasn't something that hadn't been read before with them, it worked better to not have it. Nothing of value was lost, trust me, it was poorly done.
The big changes were later when the whole twist was coming together. Well I say twist, I'm paranoid that someone will have seen this plot development coming ^_^ . The first encounter with the villain (yay I'm back to being vague as I'm scared of spoiling anybody curious) was in a different location, and the reason for that was to just add a little bit more danger to the scene. Basically another character was going to be involved and witness this. The character was not needed despite the many years she had been in the plot. I originally thought that she was needed to create related drama to the situation. The scene works better with who is there now. Think "Try Harder Next Time's" deleted story, just 10x less "omg forced drama" ish.
There wasn't any real point to it other than that. Again, I think the scene is much more sinister with less characters in it. Of course only I know which character was going to be involved, so I suppose only I have a picture of the two versions. I'll leave a few clues though. There was and still is a foreshadowing scene of this character's involvement. It was her only scene in the episode. I've only kept it there as it is crucial to James' part in the storyline.
All of this means there are less scenes before getting to the point. Always a good thing.
The ending itself was originally supposed to go on further. However a slight change was made and the scenes were not needed. I guess that's all I can say without spoiling anything further.
More Coming Soon
> next episode >
The title has multiple meanings behind it. The one that first came to mind and instantly confirmed the name, actually spoils Closure as well to be honest. Basically it hints that something is empty or feels it. There's nothing there, anything that touches it bounces back.
The title can mean other things, so there was little chance that I would rename it as I thought I would. Voyager and company are on a hunt. They're attacked by other ships, they're not welcome wherever they go. Everytime they do find something new but still don't have a clue why it's happening. They hear about the rumours, something being echoed on other planets and that's why they're not welcome anywhere.
Echoes also hints that things are repeating themselves. That alludes to a lot of things in the story. The fleet being blamed for towers going down, a possible reason for a certain someone's disappearance, the anomaly growing, planets dying, further towers appearing. You get the idea. The title IMO fits this episode well.
Like a lot of S5, the "inspiration" is my very own Kidz Trek Millennium.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Thankfully this is the final "empty slot/TBA" episode devoted to developing Season Five's story arc. The rest of the season is planned out, so whatever's here had to lead into the next.
2) Since it's the last one, this empty slot had the huge and pressurable task of mentioning and developing all of the season's many arcs. The next episode has a frigid plot, so has no room for anything I missed. The last two are the finale episodes where it'll be too late to do it. The episode took two months to release, but had a writing time of twenty days. You do the maths. Of course I wasn't working on the episode every day, but it gives you an idea.
3) Two weeks have passed between Dark Clouds and Echoes. I thought that the background story, the one the characters avoid just plainly talking about for a lot of the episode, needed some time to stew. It would be more effective, more urgent to have some time pass. Also it gave me the challenge of writing a story that relies more on show than tell. Two weeks have gone by, nobody's still going to be asking "what happened?", "why did it happen?" It's just not realistic, they'll have done this weeks ago. They're trying to answer those questions. The challenge is how to do it without making the reader annoyed that they don't know what's happening. I had to balance between leaving a clue and saying too much, and slowly reveal more as the episode went on. In truth the characters don't fully have a clue either.
Also the reader doesn't know what happened at first, but when they figure it out they may understand the why. May. The characters argue about what's going on and why, they all have an opinion which sometimes changes as the episode develops. Usually when this happens we the reader/viewer knows what it is, and you're telling the wrong one to shut up (meh, I do lol). This time any of them could be right, cos you don't know either.
I imagine I can annoy a few people with this episode. I'm hoping that with all the other stories going on in it, it is still readable.
4) While writing one scene it occured to me. I've never seen any Star Trek movie or episode where the ship has gone into warp vertically. They always travel in one straight horizontal line. It's boring. The planet Voyager was going to may not have been a few degrees to the right. It may be behind them, above, below. Space isn't flat after all. I wanted to show Voyager change course, what I did was much better than veering to the right or left.
5) Remember point three? The background story wasn't always like this. Yes it follows on from Dark Clouds which was planned to exact detail, and yes DC always did lead into a story of this "magnitude", but the details of it have changed quite a lot. It was planned long ago when none of Season Five was written. It's hard to explain but during the hiatus a lot of new ideas, new ways of telling the same story came to mind. While writing these newer improved versions, the stories that have been trapped in your imagination come to life and so do the future events.
After ten+ years I thought that the original background story for Echoes, not the arc related one, just didn't fit with the development that occured in the previous episodes. It had very little edge to it, wasn't that interesting and would actually be difficult to do. I thought, how else would this happen? What fits with what's gone before? A new way of telling the story came to mind. Developing that was easy, it was how it was going to effect this episode and the next that was the challenge.
Now if you've read the episode and you're still thinking things like: "Who or what are Voyager looking for?" "Who is that in the final scene?" "Why is James keep getting mentioned, did I miss something?" Then it's likely you're going to be spoilt here so don't read and just wait for the far clearer Closure. I'm not going to suggest reading Echoes again, just for that. The episode is meant to be confusing. Not too much I hope. If someone asks that first question, I may be a bit worried and feel the need to edit somewhere.
Though if you're confused and your questions are like: "Wait, is James evil again?" "Are the towers being destroyed by him in the Flyer, or is it this silver ship that appeared at the end?" "Who the f*** is the woman in the robe?" "Is James actually missing, it doesn't make sense if he is." Then Echoes has done its job. I wanted it to be different for everyone. I hope some will figure it out, at any time in the episode. I also hope that some think they figured it out but are wrong. I actually do want questions to be asked, the synopsis certainly hints it's that kind of episode. And lastly, I'm okay if somebody is asking all but the first question in the first spoiler paragraph.
So... this is the part of the storyline that changed from its incredibly old initial plan. The empty slot between Dark Clouds and Closure was there to prepare the story arc for its conclusion. Because of the events in DC, it was also meant to have a missing character. Yep, the original excluded James completely. Any mention of him, if any, was kept to a bare minimum. I even considered excluding Jessie, as the original idea meant that you shouldn't see her on the Bridge or anywhere. Closure would explain what's going on there.
Now the episode mentions him a lot. He's still missing for most of the episode though. What changed? How the hell does Voyager's mission in the episode, or at least a good part of it, make sense when there's no talk about this? And you thought Echoes tried too hard to hide what happened to James. The original "Echoes" pretended he didn't exist.
I dunno if I'll share all of the details yet to be honest. Especially now as it ties in with Closure, which isn't out yet.
And no, the fact that there was no mention of him in the original plan from 10 years ago, doesn't answer any of the questions above. Original Echoes didn't ask them.
More Coming Soon
> next episode >
This trivia entry is packed full of big spoilers for the episode. If you haven't read it, go on at your own risk.
The title was originally inspired by an axed episode of S5 called Out Of Sight, Out of Mind. As the episodes had nothing to do with each other, I didn't want to do a Home Sweet Holodeck and just directly copy it. I started playing around with it, shortening it to Out of Mind's Sight. (Spoilers ahoy!) Then I remembered the term "mind's eye", which I googled for a better definition than I can write out (lol): "one's ability to see things with the mind" or simply "one's visual memory or imagination".
Without going into too much detail, it describes James' situation. "Out of" is there for a few reasons. The main one that came to mind when originally thinking of Out of Sight, Out of Mind, is that it's a merge of "out of your/his mind" and "mind's eye". It also hints that the episode works on getting him out of his head, basically.
An Eternal Flame, Closure, Out of Mind's Sight
Nothing. If you'd like it was inspired by the original Closure's method of dealing with James' character arc. It really developed over the last couple of years.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) As stated already the inspiration for the title, axed episode Out of Sight Out of Mind, is not at all related to Out of Mind's Eye. The axed episode only had a vague plot and that's all I know/remember about it. That's why it was axed. It screamed filler anyway.
2) Out of Mind's Eye started out as Closure, Part 1. Somewhere during the now second half of Closure I was starting to get very concerned about the episode's length. With possible giants Untitled and Back To Normal upcoming, and the previous two being two parters Dark Clouds (biggest episode so far) and Echoes, I badly wanted to avoid another huge episode in the middle. There was no break. Worst of all, an episode that was potentially young adult novel sized (I dunno, what's 70000 words?) divided into three parts would be annoying to read.
Anyway with Misc point 3 in mind, Part 1 was separated after a lot of griping and made into a new episode. Like with Ruins, I badly wanted to keep it all together as in my imagination, it was all one episode with a fitting title. It was a similar size to Speaking In Riddles, and compared to that, not as much happens. I'm hoping it's just me. Though, Ruins is definitely worse in that regard.
3) Closure itself was a story created at least 10 years ago. I know it's at least 10 because the first hint to it is Wrong Direction, released in 2005. Since it's an essential part of Season Five and there's that particular um, character in it (yes still remaining vague on spoilers for now), I'd put money on it being 11 years old. It was DEFINITELY created around the same time as Dark Clouds was as I came up with it the same way; idle thoughts about character's past history and Closure's story had to follow on from DC.
Anyway what's this got to do with Mind's Eye, other than it was apart of Closure. It's not now, right? That's the point, it wasn't until recent years. Don't get me wrong, a few scenes in Mind's Eye were always Closure's; the reunion scene in the transporter room, another reunion later on, some of the conversation in the shuttle was on Voyager, and the scene with James being interrogated about his kids. Ok, I'm surprised that there's that much TBH, but never mind. These scenes were always at the beginning of this story, regardless of what changes were made to how the episode was presented. Here is proper spoilers territory for anything after Dark Clouds.
I can't get fully into it as obviously the episode is linked with the unreleased Closure. The storyline revolving around James' breakdown at the end of Dark Clouds was changed somewhat, developed. As mentioned/hinted in Echoes' trivia, he was forgotten about in the original plan for Echoes, nowhere in sight. The circumstances around why that was is what's different. Don't think that the entire premise is changed and that I've gone all last minute on everything. The story is essentially the same. James would be force fed memories from Nathan and his counterpart, it would magnify the guilt he was already feeling and basically snap. He'd be out of action, or at least out of Voyager's action until somebody else (yes still vague) arrives, which sparks the changes to his mood.
The difference I'm harping on about is what essentially made Out of Mind's Eye its own episode. If I didn't change anything, Closure would still be all together with those scenes I mentioned. Why? Because there was no rescue mission, putting it simply. The beginning of the old storyline, or more accurately Echoes and the beginning of Closure was far simpler and IMO extremely dull, repetitive. The main issue was that I felt it didn't go with James' development in Season Five and believe it or don't, was out of character even during a breakdown.
I don't remember when I began to implement the changes to the story. I just know that it definitely played a part in why Closure was soooooo long. Out of Mind's Eye is no Ruins or Queuing Forever, at least it's a decent length for a Season Five episode.
4) I know I said that James' story in Closure was always like this. No, I wasn't lying (got you!). Dark Clouds though was another matter. It lead into Closure a little differently, giving the reason for his breakdown a much different feel to it. Bare in mind that I hated the idea when I really started to think about it. When it first popped into my head it was amazing. Once I started to imagine how it would play out there were so many issues I couldn't work around. Something new came about and you've got the much shorter Dark Clouds ending.
Yes, SHORTER. Scary thought.
What happened, and why was it so bad? What's this got to do with Out of Mind's Eye, do you have any trivia for the actual episode Marill? Yes, I do. I'll not tell you what the initial plan for it was, at least not yet. I'll give you hints though and if you work it out that's fine.
a) Liked the action in Closing of the Eyes Part 3? Great, here it is again.
b) With a twist!
c) Who cares about character development.
d) On that note, James is constantly hurting and/or killing people through necessity, accidents etc... he actually breaks down in Riddles over killing the guy intending to burn his wife and new baby to death, murdered innocents for fun, and beat him to a pulp. Lets add to his guilt for no reason other than so called shock value. Yey!
e) Nah it's not shocking. Predictable. Seriously, how did you think James was going to react to the memory of his sister's murder?
f) Hmm, Nathan's likeable but the reveal makes his character arc complex. Easy way out please.
g) Really, who cares about character development. I really liked Closing of the Eyes.
h) Jessie and James should really do more things together as a couple.
i) Remember that "cool" trick James did in Half of the Heart to get them out of the brig? Hell Break Out? No. Good.
I think that more than covers it. The old ending to DC was an excellent example of bad writing, and the "less is more" saying. Try Harder Next Time is a good example too by the way. James would basically have one more thing to feel guilty about, added onto Debbie's death. Jessie would be uneasy around him. Out of Mind/Closure would definitely have started out quite differently.
5) In the opening scene James starts to hallucinate while helping the town. What is he seeing? No worries, it is meant to be off putting because it is to him. Basically the chip has chosen a memory to make him relive, but there's a second memory of the same incident clashing.
This is True Memories. I needed to cook up some memories that had happened in episodes, or at least were referenced, and at the time I was worried about TM's hidden twist. I didn't want to come out and say it like I did in Season Four's trivia. It made sense to me that a chip that was initially revealed in B4FV3 bringing back repressed memories, would try to do this again.
6) You may have figured it out, but the other visions suffered in the episode are It's Your Duty and then Phase In Time/Fantastical both from B4FV3.
7) The biggest spoiler of the episode was very difficult for me to keep under wraps. What with episode banners, synopsis' and the ten years it took to get to it. There's also been little hints that this spoiler was coming in earlier episodes. There's a faint clue in Heaven Sent's banner. Echoes also has one a little more in your face, depending on how bright your screen is set. Echoes itself introduced it, unfortunately it still had to avoid being too obvious. It was a hard ride and I'm glad it's out there.
8) Speaking of 7's spoiler. I really, really hope that people won't accuse me of, or just think that I've stolen my ideas from the Voyager novels because a certain character came back. That crap's been planned in for as long as she's been gone, 2005 at the latest. The proof is in Wrong Direction, without Closure though it means nothing.
More Coming Soon
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This trivia entry is packed full of big spoilers for the episode. If you haven't read it, go on at your own risk.
There's certainly a lot of closure in the episode. James gets a chance to tell Janeway the things he wanted to when she died. Chakotay's bitterness and anger is explained even to himself, and he can now move on. Both he and Janeway air out their grievences over the Tolg incident, allowing them to work together again. After several seasons, Jessie now feels secure about who she is and what she can do, despite her family history. James meanwhile has plenty going on what with his guilt and his sister's murder.
An Eternal Flame, Out of Mind's Eye
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) When S5 was young the episode was planned in as an "empty slot" like Echoes was. Basically the season arc was to be told here, wherever I was at that point. However I wanted to devote some of it to ongoing character arcs. The episode was given a name based off that (alternate title Eternal Flame). Without spoiling much, the episode now has way, way too much going on to do this now, so it made more sense to have the character arcs progress through earlier episodes of the season. So yeah, that's been happening. A lot of character scenes you've seen in the later half of S5 would have been packed into Closure instead. Examples: Chakotay and Lena's confrontation from Emotion, all of that Damien/Annika/Chakotay drama from Echoes.
The new version of Eternal Flame needed a new title, as it was more generally suited for that story. I never liked it anyway. Closure definitely fit what happens now far better.
In the end S5 was reduced down to 26 episodes, and I think this did have another empty slot based after it until I did that. Now we're back to 29 with nothing but the two finale episodes to go. Oh well.
2) Due to its ridiculous length, Part 1 of Closure was separated from it and released as a different episode.
3) Now that the episode is out, I can explain trivia 1 a little better. An Eternal Flame was to follow from all of the episodes before it, heck at one point was supposed to be before Dark Clouds, so it could do what Lifestyles did (which didn't exist then); deal with, resolve and/or stir up the character issues the episodes brought up. It was a breather from the Game Sphere arc, an episode devoted just to character development.
I'll be honest. The character development it was primarily going to focus on, instead of Lifestyles' style of trying to cover every main character, was relationships. I hinted back then that there would be a couple reunion or a new pair would get together amongst it. The truth is the episode was Janeway's comeback, and the reunion would be her and Chakotay. Not that it would be romantic, it was just my way of vaguely hinting at her return without spoiling it. There'd also be development for other couples or exes, and that meant James and Jessie's story, the aftermath of Lena's resurrection and how Craig was handling it, Tom and B'Elanna's issues with Miral and commanding the fleet. That's why the episode was titled An Eternal Flame. I've had other episodes just like this with similar fire titles; Light the Fire, Up In Smoke. Other character development arcs would be touched on and likely finalised in it as well, but it was the couple ones that had the primary focus.
An Eternal Flame ended up being stripped bare once Season Five was developed further. It was silly to store everything up for one episode, when they could naturally develop throughout the entire season. Imagine Lifestyles being here instead, dealing with everything between Sin Deep and Dark Clouds (or for authenticity's sake, between Sin Deep and Say It Again With Emotion). Why would every person on the two ships have their issues keep going until the same time?
In the end the episode was left with the Janeway return and the James & Jessie story. The basic plot for both came together after going through Dark Cloud's plot one more time, probably around the time I decided to cut DC's ridiculous old finale out (I don't know, it was over 10 years ago), and it made sense to give the finished result a new title.
I assume this was when Lifestyles was created at a much earlier point in the season.
4) I was looking forward to Closure and dreading it at the same time, just like with Dark Clouds to be honest. DC had the big twist in Part 3, while Closure (originally) had the Janeway return, the explanation as to what the hell happened on the Tolg ship (nearly 11 years, wow. I'm sorry), the Jessie's family history twist that's been hinted for even longer than that (I'll get to that later), and the fact that once Closure was done, I'm in series finale territory... FV is almost over.
5) I try to be honest in these pages, however doing so here may make me look bad. Still, here goes. The Jessie and Rachel part of the story. How long has that been cooking up? The series is filled with foreshadowing and hints about this. The earliest I can recall at the top of my head though is Season Three. Though I have Oasis of Abatua, an ex Season Two "episode", in mind but I'm not sure if that particular hint was meant to be one or just coincidental. I'll stick with the one I know is true. The episode in question is Chain Reaction. James is visited, I believe rescued even, by a future version of his daughter still unborn at that point in time. Like him she's a Slayer, but she also has a talent for magic. I do remember having difficulty with it as I didn't want to spoil, only foreshadow, and I wasn't exactly doing all that well in that season. The hint originally made me believe during a reread that I had slipped up.
Firstly, Sasha's appearance proves she knows magic.
Secondly, Sasha tells everyone that the spell to protect the ship needs three witches. Annika and Juna are there already, and instead of being the third witch, Sasha explains they need to revive Jessie.
Thirdly, near the end of the scene James asks her about the trick she did. She explains that Lena taught her to be sneaky, and the one she used is particularly a hard spell for a witch to master.
See how it can look like a really horrible mistake. The part I'm not sure about here is if a certain point was explained, as that wouldn't have spoiled Closure and would've helped avoid the confusion with the above. Slayers can't have natural witch power, and witches can't become Slayers. Sasha was taught magic. She couldn't be the third witch because she didn't have the power. Season Three fails again.
However it does do something right. It proves that I was building myself up for the Jessie's family plot twist pretty early on. Not only that, Jessie's defensive/healing talent that Rachel and later James hinted at wasn't just something made up on the fly. I believe one of the first instances of her using magic was a shield. There's several foreshadowy hints as far back as early Season Two. B4FV Season Three's opening episodes do it too. The big thing to consider is that after her revival, that even though various people tell her she should avoid doing more powerful shield spells in S4 in case she turns, the few times she does turn evil are when she's using more offensive magic. Basically the kind her sister Dannielle would have been more naturally adept in. When Jessie was revived she got access to it all, which was explained in Season Three, and that's what turns her.
That's barely scratching the surface. I left so many hints, that I'm honestly surprised when I spot one during re-reads. I do have a poor memory sometimes though.
6) The names for the kids is an interesting topic, which I think is fine to put here now. If you're at this point in the series there shouldn't be any spoilers in this text.
Starting first with Michael Robert, aka Robbie. James and Jessie's AU son who unfortunately was murdered by the insane Q, father of Kiara. The name is only known thanks to Lena's memories from that timeline resurfacing. Originally there wasn't really any significance to his name, when he was merely Robbie/Robert in True Q. Some development later gave me the idea for Michael, which then inspired some more details for the S5 episode Three's A Paradox. James' alias during his time jump to Jessie's childhood was the surname Michaels. Despite having very little interactions with him, he had quite a big impact on Jessie when she was very young. The name may have popped up in her head when they named their son without her realising the significance.
Which leads me to Alternate Scorpion where she suggested it. Another name she brought up was Duncan.
I'll admit that Duncan was originally a spoiler free name for him before Season Two began. He was revealed as Duncan Paris I believe, hiding that he was James and Jessie's from readers. The name came from Tom's actor. I ended up liking the name and kept it. Even if B'Elanna carried him, and Tom was unaware of the truth for a while, he still should have been named by his parents. So like the story above, somewhere along the way this alias of Duncan Michaels or Duncan Michael came into the picture, giving Jessie two names that had meaning to her. It wasn't like James had many male influences, especially positive ones. Only John, his step father. Jessie had a far more hidden past to exploit.
Sasha's unfortunately is probably the least interesting of the bunch. Originally named Lauren, Sasha was to be named after her future counterpart. She came from a future where Jessie died before she was born, leaving James the sole one to name her. I didn't think Lauren suited the character and so decided to change it. I remember a list of names I liked the sound of. Sasha was one. With the meaning of the name being "protector of humanity", it felt only right to name her that. Her interference after all saves a lot of the Voyager and Enterprise crew, and leaves the series to progress as it did *ahem*.
Amy, aka Sarah-Amy. The first name is simply explained in the series as being named after the woman who took them in. Now I don't know why I decided to use a -, or why I decided to use a name I didn't like for the adoptive mother of Jessie and later James in the first place. Both issues explain why she referred to herself as Amy and everyone else followed suit. Amy is a nice background story that I don't know if it'll be written (reboot Test of Time would be fitting). Amy's inspiration was shown in B4FV3's Fantastical, in hallucination form only as Ian's younger sister. To not spoil a story I'm not sure I'll even share I'll keep it brief. Amy befriended teenaged James at his lowest after being separated from Jessie. These next points aren't spoilers as James has mentioned it, she saved him and gave him a purpose. Ian's reaction to her shows that she died a long time ago when she was just a young girl.
So far Jessie has named one child after somebody who saved her, while James has knowingly done the same.
Don't ask about Roxanne. I'm keeping that one to myself... for now, maybe *cue evil laugh*
Which brings me to new girl on the ship, Alisha Debbie. Originally named Debbie Morgan after 2/3 of James' sisters (poor Yasmin). As hinted miles above, she's not Roxanne in Sin Deep. Alisha was a tough one to name. I still have the document going through the many options. Debbie had to be one considering when she was born and what storylines would follow. In case you missed it somehow, ahem, the Debbie part of her name came from James' elder sister who died protecting him. What about Alisha? I'll direct your attention to Three's A Paradox once more. You'll see the name there too.
I had multiple reasons for picking this name for the list. One was it was a variant of the name Alice, which I'm fond of but couldn't use with Debbie. It was also similar to their foster sister Alison. I did think it would look like a bad mesh of her sisters Amy and Sasha, not intentional but I ended up liking that in the end. A second opinion made it official, which made the one scene in Three's A Paradox a lot more meaningful than it was intended.
7) TL:DR warning. I'm not sure if it was mentioned in this page itself, but I have gone over it somewhere. Every other season in the series has had a short writing time, the biggest one was B4FV Season Three's 2 and a bit years. That time was shared with Season Four and early Five. Five itself started in 2005, went into hiatus in 2008 with a very, VERY unproductive 2 years on its belt already, and now in 2015 is nearing its end after 10 long years.
What's my point? I'll start with that I'm very fortunate that this season is following such an old and beloved idea for a novel series of mine, so the majority of it is engraved in my brain. That episodes such as Dark Clouds, Death of the Soul, Three's A Paradox and this one had plots that I imagined so many times, they're memorised. Cos you know what, ten years is a long time to have an unfinished story. I imagine it would be easier to have the whole story in your head and nothing written, as opposed to what I did. Why? I didn't just have eight episodes already written with vague hints, exposition, character development etc... to make sure I didn't accidentally contradict due to fading memories such as "does such and such know this yet", "have I already hinted at this", "which character is on what ship", "when did I have a character say or do that". I had an entire series with almost 200 episodes to think about as well.
So yeah, with Season Five I've had to do what I've never needed to do, unless it was a minor thing, and that was research my own god damn work. Sarcastic ohno, right? I rarely needed to do this in the past as I had little trouble in remembering events in Season One while doing Four or the prequels (despite what looks like evidence in the prequels to the contrary), I suppose since very little time had passed then. Now, Season One's almost half of my life ago, so I should give myself a break here. So no, this isn't really the issue. All writers should do it after all. It's the things that even after researching, I still can't find. Lost notes and files, my inability to remember which episode had a line/scene I need to check. Even worse is when your memories of a certain scene conflicts with your notes, or you have two ideas on what it was, and you don't know which one an older episode was hinting at.
Closure has a few of these issues, partly due to it being a so called "memorised the whole plot" episode like Dark Clouds and Death of the Soul. Those two lucked out, they turned out exactly how I imagined them with little trouble. Very little back tracking was needed. DC for example I just double checked dates and spellings of names like Susy, and to make sure how much Craig knew about Debbie for one scene (then I recalled it was discussed in an earlier S5 episode and I had no reason to change the scene in progress). Death of the Soul didn't need anything as its ex-Part 1 was recently read through, edited and re-released as a new episode. I remembered everything, I just needed to merge the 3 storylines into one with a written plot.
Closure on the other hand wasn't so lucky. The plot didn't flow together that well. It dragged on, it was repeatative. James' condition and gradual recovery up until the rehearsal dinner was to be a slow burner, but I wasn't all that keen on doing that. When I shortened it down it felt rushed and not very realistic. Because I had shortened it down it didn't merge with the Janeway storyline as well as I pictured. I was having difficult getting from A to B and then to C, it was jumping around, so naturally I assumed I'd forgotten something. It's frustrating even now that it's finished, as whenever I went through Closure's story in my head, imagined it, it flowed fine and I rarely stopped due to hitting a dead end.
Best example here is; The scene with James and Jessie talking about traditions and starting anew was particularly annoying as I knew I hadn't forgotten anything, it was a pivotal scene I'd memorised word for word (not exaggerating here), and yet I just could not recall how the conversation went from "my family has hurt your family" to James' realisation and the start of his speech. I can't explain it well, it just felt like a step was missing and I had to climb up there. It took a day to get it down finally. Plot twist here is I didn't forget anything, it just didn't work as well in text. It's strange.
Then there's the "two memory conflict" I mentioned earlier. I should point out that when it came to these memorised plot episodes, I didn't feel the need to write much notes. Just because it worked out with all the other episodes, didn't mean the same would keep happening. There's one particular part of the episode that has been developed since Season Four, and I'm so sure on what I was intending to do with it, but my paranoia kept telling me I was winging it. It's a strange experience, feeling guilty for making something up on the spot to explain a 11 year old storyline when you haven't. Feeling like you're insulting your readers when they read it, even though in my heart I was 99.9% sure what I was writing was what I intended when I started the story. I've gone back to older episodes, I had to with Wrong Direction anyway to use a scene, to shut my paranoid conscience up and it should have done just that. Even now I still feel like I cheated.
Let this be a lesson. If you're a paranoid person memorising "awesome" storylines years in advance, make sure you still write it down. Yes the first things you write may be the best work you've done as well as surprisingly easy, but it doesn't mean it'll be like this every time. You'll get Closure'd eventually. Why do you think Untitled's word document was 24 pages of notes before the plot was started. I've learned my lesson the hard way. Don't stop writing a story and leave it for 6 years, and even if you don't, take some god damn notes even if you think you'll remember it.
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This trivia entry is packed full of big spoilers for the episode. If you haven't read it, go on at your own risk.
I basically didn't want anything that would hint to what would happen in the final episodes, a title suiting the episode would probably do that.
The shortened version fit with a few things in the episode as well. Firstly, the crew know throughout they're heading into the unknown. The episode has "no name" because the crew don't even know what's going to happen. Another meaning was it had United hidden in the title, as well as Led. United is explained in the synopsis. The crew have been through all of S5's drama but they're (mostly) working together. Led is a bit more abstract. I'm not sure how to explain it, I'll come back to it.
This title was set in stone for many years, probably while Season Four was still being written.
The One With No Title
Same as the majority of the season; my abandoned Kidz Trek Millennium.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
I'm warning you again. Spoilers are within. Only look at this is you've read the episode. I'll start with the tame ones.
1) It was during the final plotting, or second off last one at least, that I worried about people thinking I was ripping off Endgame by doing my own version, or was inspired by it. The battles have been slightly altered over the years since its conception, and I really must assure anyone reading, Endgame wasn't on my mind with any of the incarnations. God forbid. The only mention would be Annika's little line in her singathon with Lena.
2) The 10 days part of the story was very close to not making it at all. Apart from a few key scenes, most of it was going to be summarised in a log.
3) Changes to Closure's finale affected Untitled, but for the better, so not to worry. I may go into this on a later date.
4) Changes to Dead or Alive and its trilogy, which created Death of the Soul affected Untitled as well. I'll be vague for now, it centres around the whole tower aspect of the arc.
5) Back to 1, tell a lie *gasp* but not in regards to Untitled, but Back To Normal that follows it. I hate Endgame with a fiery passion and one of those reasons is the ending: "Yay we're home" The End. "Untitled" technically is the "Endgame" of FV, but better with no last minute shippings that have the same amount of chemistry as a plank of wood lying on the ground, time travel to save the grand Mary Sue from death (and Chakotay and Tuvok, but Admiral Janeway opens with Seven) etc... while Back To Normal is the series finale that never was. So fine Endgame was on my mind planning the series finale of FV but not in the way you'd think.
6) Now we're getting to the meat, so I'm hoping you've already been spoiled by the episode itself.
No matter how the last (ship) battle would go down, Voyager was never going to make it. Remember point 4 about Death of the Soul's changes affecting Untitled? I mentioned in the episode's trivia about Voyager always being planned to crash. Well that's true, but it wasn't always in Death, or more accurately Queuing Forever. The demon battle was imagined to be quite damaging to the ship, the attack on the outside's only affect was the beams that opened the portals. Voyager was merely supposed to land to make repairs. I remember the old synopsis saying this (though that's not proof, S5 had vague ish, almost lying synopsis until release). The crash I was referring to was supposed to happen later and be far more brutal.
Then we go to episode Five. I hopefully don't need to go too deeply into that, as a character or two do discuss it in Untitled. In almost every timeline/dimension that is used to create Fifth Voyager, the ship ends up in pieces at the end, sparking the next change. Timeline One is the exception, but only because Q intervenes. After Janeway is taken, Voyager is unfrozen and nears its doom as well. Summing up:
One: Absorbed by temporal rifts/distortions.
Two: Destroyed by an approaching Game Cube while trying to land.
Three: Destroyed by the Krenim after being hounded by the Borg.
Four: Destroyed by a future Borg ship coming from a temporal/dimensional distortion.
Voyager has some bad luck. It doesn't mean they're doomed in the Fifth. As someone suggests, the reason they're there is so Voyager survives and gets to this location to make a difference. I could go on about this, but I don't want to explain here. The episode goes into it anyway. Moving on.
Death of the Soul's third part has an odd synopsis, from top of my head it's; "Voyager tries to avoid its fate".
Bringing forward Voyager's crash into Death was an omen. Its avoiding fate line is still talking about the vision of Voyager being attacked by the Soft from within, the towers and the Shurouva planet. They end up there anyway, foreshadowing the true fate of Voyager in more ways than one. Voyager was going to end up like the Enterprise D, unsalvagable on a planet. I liked the idea of having a near miss earlier in the season, the ship was going to end up stuck on the planet anyway so it made sense to me.
In a moment of weakness I did consider Enterprise retrieving it/tractoring it home in that state, so it could be immortalised in a museum. A very weak and not brief enough moment. Why I pushed it away and the other reason for the earlier crash, it didn't fit, it left too many things open. I was being soft with the crash. It couldn't be the end moment. So Untitled's method was decided.
7) Apart from plot "stuff", why did I have to destroy Voyager leaving only the Enterprise E, the ship they originally set off to find, the only survivor? Was it really necessary, could I have worked around it? I could, if I wanted the option of continuing the series or trying again at a spin off (Slayer X anyone? Noooo).
I wanted FV to end on Season Five, eight complete seasons. Without Voyager there's no series (insert Enterprise taking over S3 and half of 4 joke/insult here), no temptation. Kathryn Janeway I greatly missed in Season Five, even though I knew she would come back briefly, and so I'd refuse to continue the series further without her. Most of my MC's have had their character arcs completed already (James' guilt and violent ways being worked on. Lena had many, one including her fight with Seven/Annika. Jessie accepting who she is finally. Kiara's relationship with Lena is fixed. Craig and Damien's are the open ended ones). Voyager's destruction means the Deck Thirteen curse is no more. Using it against the Softmicron, destroying the Games Matrix means no more Game Cubes and Spheres. There's still fantastical elements remaining but they'll diminish eventually after some time. Back to Normal will (and already has hinted to) finalise the series even further.
Don't get me wrong, I can see temptation for a Season Six still being there. I can't say why as BtN hasn't gotten that far yet. However one of the reasons would be cheating and still would ignore the series title, while the other would cheapen what I have planned in BtN and what's there in Untitled. The series has been going on for 15 years, it deserves an ending. I'll have the reboot to tide me over, I'd also like to try a (bad) novel someday, haha.
8) TL:DR Warning. I may have mentioned this once in a place easily missed, so I'll say it again. Lena started out as a character called Roxanne in Kidz Trek: The Voyage Home, my interpret*cough*Voyager rip off*cough*ation, intended to be the "Seven" of the series, but with a twist (and some personality). That twist was the building blocks for the paradox that not only created Lena and Kiara, but the premise of FV itself. So what am I saying? That Seven is the reason for FV? Haha, not exactly, that is a terrifying thought. I chose Roxanne to be the "Seven" of the series as I felt it was the easiest way to develop the twist. If Seven didn't exist, I likely would have just chucked her in as a new character kidnapped by other aliens, or used Kes instead.
Though you could argue that Seven was why I began to watch Voyager religously at all, thanks to my comments on Scorpion being where it started. That's wrong too. Seven wasn't in part one, that's where I truly was hooked. It probably helped that I saw older episodes before it. If you want to blame anyone for FV's inspiration, it'd be the Borg itself, Species 8472, Janeway/Chakotay shipping, to name a few. I've admitted before that I liked the idea of Seven, which is why I attached Roxanne to that role, but only when I felt I could do better. I imagine a majority would disagree as Seven seems to be universally loved *sigh*. To be fair, when I planned KT I was a kid, at least 12 years old (when did Scorpion air?), and the majority of FV was written in my teen years.
Wow that was more long winded than I imagined. I wanted to get to what my plans were for Seven herself in FV once Lena, formally known as Morgan, arrived on the scene. Several episodes of Season One show Morgan stealing Seven's parts, and unfortunately like Dark Frontier, did and said everything the same way. The eventual conclusion would be in the second half of Thrown Key, the Unimatrix Zero parody, that Seven now Annika would die somehow, permanently, so Morgan would replace her completely. I debated if it should be Morgan herself doing the deed as I had Seven already losing her marbles in S1, betraying the crew in Upendi and Voyager Conspiracy thanks to her mistreatment. I hadn't decided on the how. The rest of S1 was finished, with episodes like Dark Frontier doing Seven Dies gags (I only remember that one episode, doesn't mean there aren't anymore in S1), which was written after the finale. By the time part 2 came along I had heard about Endgame, or seen it myself, and decided that she deserved to suffer for so much longer. Instead she got her technology partially removed and forever more was referred to as Annika.
It made plenty of sense that since FV was nearing its conclusion that Seven/Annika's death had to happen here, or never. It wasn't cancelled, just merely delayed.
The material that came after her originally planned death episode proved to me that only Lena should do the honours. I have mentioned that Annika's story in S5 was written "on the spot", and that's mostly true. Her turning into a mockery of a Twilight vampire was a spur of the moment, as well as her Damien infatuation. Most of her antics in the season wouldn't have happened without them. However her clueslessness about Lena's death and then resurrection (she'll never know who Ylara was *snigger*) was already planned in. Her usual paranoia and at the same time naive ignorance about the crew's feelings toward her, have been a part of her character since Season Two. The final death of Annika was always going to happen, but with the many death and suddenly ok gags I had written myself into a corner. I can thank the spur of the moment vampire idea in Sin Deep and a comment from Harry for resolving it, roughly saying; "if we kill her as a vampire would that mean she's gone permanently as she was undead/immortal at the time. You know, for irony".
9) TL:DR Warning. Click to escape. Getting back to the Lena and Annika fight to the death, replacement and rivalry part of the tale. In the recent years that I've been rebooting FV and working on S5, I've discovered something I should have seen long ago. Seven/Annika has a point. My reboot of Voyager Conspiracy, which will get released someday I swear, expanded the Seven and Morgan argument already with the epithany I discovered. Lena/Morgan did take Seven's role... a little too far. She repeated the same crimes I accused Seven of, and not only that, added a few new ones of her own.
Blame it on my age and inexperience at the time, or don't, that's up to you. I only partly do because I didn't just insert a character who turned into a scene stealer etc..., her intention was to replace the one who was doing it in the first place, to FIX it. I should've known better, even though I was writing tripe like the writers Team Rocket motto's and Hunters, I should've seen it sooner. If you haven't seen what I'm talking about, then hopefully I'm wrong. If I am or not it doesn't matter, as it still inspired the two sided argument in Voyager Conspiracy and Untitled, where you're not told to side with Lena as I don't like Seven. You get both sides of the coin.
You could agree with Seven/Annika, you could think both of them have points, both are fighting over silly things, or you could think Lena is in the right. Or, you may think Seven was right but Annika/Seven went too far, while Lena's moved on and grown from her old ways. Long blab shorter, the scenes had far less of a biased style to it. I actually am quite fond of Annika anyway, I had loads of fun writing her, so that helped make the scenes a tad fairer than the old days.
Annika didn't really touch on the epithany with much detail. I'll try not to go too much further here, as you see with the above, my trying doesn't work out well a lot of the time.
a) The Voyager Conspiracy reboot expanded on this a lot further as it was an excellent example on its own. I hated Seven for basically hogging the screen a lot of the time. I still can't remember which Season Seven episode it was, as I only saw it once because of it, that she was invited into the Ready Room to compare her Borg upbringing to a situation that had no similar traits whatsoever. But anyway, while editing the episode I noticed that no matter what was happening, Morgan would appear. Chakotay had just been told about the conspiracy, he bumps into her so she can comment. Bridge scene is too alike, hello, here's Morgan with a Tragedy dance routine.
There was little to no break that I recall. Unfortunately as the episode wasn't meant to be a rewrite or many new scenes affair, just an edit, it still looks like that. Scene after scene with her. Nowadays I try to avoid following another scene with the same character, unless it's necessary to the plot. Seriously, it wasn't Morgan's episode. All I wanted her to do was to bump into Seven when she's convinced the conspiracy is about her. What was I thinking, other than "lol this fifteen year old is so funny drunk". I was fifteen, so maybe it didn't seem like a big deal at the time but that's another wow moment in Conspiracy right there.
b) Despite being in the Borg for little more than a few seconds, but raised on a sphere (well she used to have a memory of it anyway), Morgan really knew a lot about other races, technology and whatnot. Was she supposed to replace Seven, or replace Seven? Having someone in the know all the time as a walking database with big boobs makes a series/story a little less interesting. Sometimes/a few times, fine, but all the time. Seven annoyed me for it, but all Morgan/Lena did was do it for her.
c) Dark Frontier is a good and bad example at the same time. Good because it shows I was barely making any effort to hide my intention with Morgan. When Morgan is in Seven's role, she talks like her and acts as she would. When Morgan is herself, she's a completely different character. It's off putting. Why is it a bad example? I was naive to think Dark Frontier with Lena and not Seven would work the same way, I mean why would it? Would Lena sacrifice her identity and well being to save Voyager? Probably, very likely. Would Janeway pursue her to the end of the galaxy if she could to find her, of course. That's fine and probably what made me do it in the first place. I never thought or forgot everything else.
Morgan was a 15 year old girl, not used to the collective mind. Why would anyone on the ship think she had a change of heart and wanted to go "home"? Would Morgan have tried to sneak a few Borg victims away? Maybe in recent years, but at 15 and with her then impulsive personality, she'd probably go in fists blazing. Not that the idea was better than Seven's, it's not, but would show that the two are different characters, and that Morgan isn't Seven in a teen's J/C related body.
Okay, it was never a bad example. Being 15 is no excuse for me to take the lazy way out, even in S1.
d) The Borg Queen's obsession with Seven is passed onto Morgan. I don't need to say anything else I suppose. My point is clear. Only that it makes less sense than it does already. Morgan's brief connection didn't take, the Borg Queen knows nothing about her, other than her assimilation attempt went horribly wrong. She shouldn't have a designation either. This is true in all versions of the Morgan/Lena story, paradox or not. It can be explained as the Borg have shown, with 8472, that if they can't assimilate something they don't give up, they'll keep trying. It does make sense that the Queen would want to adapt to better herself. I didn't think of that then, so all of this is moot. She was literally replacing Seven, facts and sense be damned.
e) I imagine it's a common trope, and it's debatable if it's complaint worthy. Probably depends on how it's done. In Voyager, Seven is automatically crushed on by Harry. Tom I believe comments in the way of "what straight man wouldn't want her, I mean dayum!" Chakotay, eugh... almost lost my dinner. The Doctor falls for her. There's also Axum. So many male guest stars comment, one I recall saying you're the prettiest Borg I've ever seen. You get the idea.
I'd say Jessie gets this more than Lena, but still instead of Seven who's automatically repulsive now thanks to my writing of her (I'm not sorry ^_^), it's Lena who gets the attention. Of course there's Craig and I won't speak ill of that... at least not here. Daniel falls for her, which was creepy in some ways not due to his age, but due to his previous Ronnie persona having memories of training her through childhood. James is accused of it before the secret's out, I still cringe for other reasons during the meeting her scene (I've changed it right, please tell me I've changed it. My memory of it is tainted).
Yeah, it's nowhere near as bad as Seven. Jessie gets it far more. Both of them get the attention not because I think they're perfect and are so pwetty, sigh, it was always to highlight their tough to get image. Jessie again more so than Lena. Not the best example.
Now that it's been established that Lena repeated the crimes Seven did, and thankfully not all of them. Lena had character growth past her first season that didn't solely focus on malfunctions and retcons about not being able to cry, love or dream, when she could before. Morgan and S5 Lena are very different, whereas Seven felt to me like the same character in S5 to S7, a regressed version of S4 where she had a little bit of potential (I like S4 Seven, there I said it). But anyway, I mentioned that Lena had a few of her own crimes to her previous name... for the most part, some examples are when she was called Lena. Bare in mind that she was only Morgan for a year out of fifteen, so that's not really that much of a shock.
f) The Enterprise. I don't believe much thought went into this other than; OMG Enterprise E is awesome, and now I've got it in FV. You know who should be in charge of it, not Janeway or Chakotay, duh, but Lena, cos she's their daughter and my favourite character.
Forget my story of depression and drama behind the scenes during Season Three. That's irrelevant. I had this in mind long before my downfall. At least, I think I did. I know for certain Enterprise was planned to be in from the beginning. No matter, I was a daft kid that didn't think for one damn second how it would look on my own character. Lena getting command of the Enterprise should never have happened, even if it did pay off during Season Four IMO. A teenager getting command of the famous starship is the stuff that plagues fanfiction. It's favouritism, makes no sense, and reeks of Mary Sue'ism.
Sure I made fun of it all the time, but it doesn't change the fact that no reasonable thought went into it and ruins Lena's credibility as the decent original character I imagined. At the time, who would think of her as a well developed character with flaws and a story arc if she's handed the Captain's chair at 16/17? Not many I'd wager.
g) A few days of editing Conspiracy, then Timeline and I'm reminded of how bad she was. She was a teenager, so it worked for her, I guess? Morgan was rude, even more blunt, sometimes self centred, and very huffy. Again, teenager. I played that to extremes, though I was her age during writing so maybe I didn't see it the same way haha. I'm not saying Seven was all of these things, some but that's not really the point. My point was that despite being awful 99% of the time in Season One, I don't remember anyone but Jessie in Upendi calling her out on it, her being punished for it, and worst of all, I remember she was well liked by everyone... but Seven and Jessie.
Everyone and their grandmother ended up worshipping Seven's feet in the end. Even though I kinda liked the scene, the moment B'Elanna and Seven find some common ground in S7 sealed the deal for me really. B'Elanna and Chakotay were likely seen as the bad guys, questioning her behaviour and her loyalties. They were honest about her, not to the point of cruelty. It was refreshing and IMO realistic that not everyone took to Seven, one reason or another. Despite drooling over her, Tom had a cautious attitude and yet treated her with respect, offering help if she had trouble settling in (one of my few liked Tom moments ironically).
In the end everyone was so enthralled by her. Chakotay, the one who objected to her being there and was responsible for her nearly being sucked into space, ended up dating her. B'Elanna at least ended up tolerating her for the few things they had in common. It just felt like that was the point, everyone who didn't like her would change their mind eventually and see her for how wonderful she is. I've already mentioned the Borg Queen, responsible for billions upon billions of mindless automatons, obsessed with one of many separated Borg drones. She acted like the woman escaped the Borg on her own, and at that point in time I was surprised she didn't either... let's make Seven more awesome. Why not. Gah, ranting. I'll end it on that note.
Special snowflake indeed.
h) I'm heading back into trope land, something I didn't know about when starting FV which is why I fell prey to them. Lena (and Kiara I suppose) being introduced as the J/C child had bad fanfiction written all over it. How many fics are out there? I've discussed the child "prodigy" getting the command of the starship over the more qualified crew.
Being the Slayer likely is one, but it's the telepathy part of her story that came to mind for me. Well intentioned I assure you, but 16 year old me didn't think for one second that giving her another special ability, on top of her current one and EARLIER, BEFORE the older character with the same main ability (James), would put her into super special awesome territory. I knew James would be equal to her, both Chosen Slayer and ex-Borg, so maybe I felt I had to give her something else to make her better than him. I lost count how many times Lena or others portayed her as more powerful and experienced (don't ask why I said he was inexperienced, I believe I was still in his S1 mindset despite already changing almost everything), when they always should've been equal. That's the point after all.
I like James as much as her, but I didn't always, so that's probably why. I doubt I noticed I was doing it. I wasn't exactly the cleverest kid in the world, ahem. I think my reason (other than her being the descendant of Roxanne who I adored, while James was so far removed from a underdeveloped KT character) was I wanted to make the female character better than the male. Girl power!
To think, I was worrying about James all these years. Apart from scene hogging, character replacing (which at least James actually bothered to change his lines 99% of the time), getting the opposite and sometimes same sex attention by the masses, he wasn't anywhere near as bad. This stuff was usually balanced out by his behaviour which was called out a lot, being a Janeway kid that wasn't Chakotay's too (wonder how many of J/Cish fics like this there are), having him screw up a lot, murders, his powers being taken and being worst off for it for most of the time, character growth that included severe breakdowns and an epithany to change his ways, and lastly so many people do the opposite of worshiping the ground he walks on. I think more characters dislike and/or fear him than like him.
To finally finish this, I'm not saying that I now hate Lena and James is my super duper favourite in her place. Nope. Lena is still one of my proudest creations. It's not her fault. She ended up getting quite a fine arc after all of the damage I did to her in the beginning. I adore Lena and Kiara, they're like my children in a way (further proof that I'd be a horrible parent lol, so be thankful I never will be), they've been a big part of my life since no later than 1997. James, Jessie and Craig I have the same amount of pride and love for them too. It's hard to pick a favourite. I sometimes say it is Lena because I'd have no series at all if it weren't for her, but the others certainly helped keep it going. Some days I pick James for his arc, excluding Season One because *cringe* at the James imposter. Then there's days where I think about Craig and how far he's come since that one note Brock ripoff.
All of above doesn't change anything other than the fact that I know I've made a lot of rookie mistakes. It worked out IMO, it helped make that Annika and Lena fight so much more interesting. If it were just a battle for a character slot with a biased for Lena writer, then I imagine only I'd like it. I want people to root for either of the two, or both, or heck to patch things up, and I want readers to see both sides of the argument. My mistakes helped greatly with that. It's ironic that Lena's "perfect" past gave her rival something to use against her.
10) I imagine there might have been some confusion over what may be plot holes in the Game Cube part of the story, regarding who takes part. At first the crew are confused because someone has gone into Zero Hour before they start to figure out which 20 to pick. Then there's the matter of the number jumping to 21 despite their best efforts. Which would be fine cos again, Damien and Annika are quickly revealed in the beginning, making it obvious who jumped the queue and snuck in at the end. But then Kiara is shown despite saying things to Lena that hint she wasn't taking part, and even more confusing Nathan is revealed to have snuck in, a prisoner who really should've been noticed.
"You've f$$$$$ up Marill."
No not really. There's a few hints to show how and when this all occured, but in true late S5 fashion, I don't go into the details or in some's cases even tell. For stuff like this, I like for people to spot it. For the history section, I like to wait a few years before I display the answers.
First, the picking scene itself. The hints, that I remember anyway.
+ There's plenty of time between the description of the door opening and Tom telling the volunteers to stop, and between both and the number 1 appearing.
+ "We must have no more than twenty. We can't risk our experts being kicked out by the likely biased AI because we have too many volunteers." He swore he heard a tiny giggle come from the audience.
+ Lena's making her way inside when Kiara talks to her.
+ "All right, that should be seventeen," Chakotay announced.
Tom cleared his throat as a hint, Chakotay waved his palm out to allow him to continue. "Quickly, but one at a time," he told the group. Most branched off to follow James and Lena. Tom didn't look so sure as he watched them. B'Elanna stopped mid way with a curious worry directed at him. "Did I really just swap a Slayer trainee for Neelix?"
She laughed, Neelix wasn't far behind her so he overheard. He huffed, "hey. A Game that rewards entertainment and team work is the kind I shine in." He stomped off, bringing the door number to eighteen.
This immediately follows James and Lena making the total 3.
Tom and B'Elanna are described to be keenly watching the volunteers go in single file, but he has second thoughts and gets distracted. Chakotay points out they need only 17 volunteers, Tom and B'Elanna were meant to be the last ones in. Neelix going in brings it 18, which would be right, meaning that one of the four sneak in at the last second to make sure that the total is skewed at 21, likely just before T/B go in.
+ Later on the prisoners are mentioned during one of the scoreboard scenes, Harry acts as if they didn't check but disregards it as a possibility.
So moving onto second, who and when?
+ Come on, the smile and giggle, the first one in is Annika.
+ Two out of four of the characters who shouldn't be there would intentionally try to bump up the total to 21 instead of 20. Out of the two, one points out that taking the other side just to spite the "Voyager" crew would risk losing the game, which would at this time be certain death for him. The second out of the two hasn't thought of it or doesn't care. Also going in first was instantly noticable. They may not have known this'd be the case, but still, there was a chance of it.
Kiara or Nathan have no reason to screw this up, so it should be obvious who went in last; Damien.
+ This leaves Kiara and Nathan. As you know, they only had one more player than they oughta, not three, so what happened here? With all the talking and distraction, both Kiara and Nathan were regular volunteers. No one's surprised by Kiara. My intention with her was that she did volunteer and was let, but she did it behind Lena's back. As for Nathan, my intention was he took another volunteer's place. When they do role call later, they notice a couple extra (remember, James one crewmember's place), not less as that's what they were searching for and thought nothing further of it. Nathan made sure to get in while Tom wasn't looking. Nothing too complex really.
More Coming Soon
Basically FV is still pretty much insane despite S5's attempts at drama, so a final episode would be an end to that madness. The crew's lives mostly return to normal, or already are normal at the beginning of the episode.
The entire season is based on/inspired by the premise for my own Kidz Trek: Millennium book series (which I'm no longer doing), but the episode itself's inspiration is the one book I planned to follow it; Kidz Trek: The Future.
Miscellaneous (Other Trivia)
1) Season Five and the series itself was planned to end with the two finale episodes and a "movie". The two finale's would be similar to Season Four's finale style, with one long story divided into three shorter episodes, or in this case two. The movie was a separate entity, the true epilogue to the series. When I decided that having movies was a little silly, it made sense to have the movie simply be the episode titled Back To Normal, while the finale episodes merged to take place in Untitled only.
Nothing's been deleted. Untitled and Back To Normal didn't have a set scene or two where one would end and the other would begin, ruining the titles and whatnot. Untitled/No Title was originally given its name to give it a mysterious feel, keep it unspoiled. While Back To Normal was a very fitting title for a final episode of Fifth Voyager.
2) The format for this episode is a little different as it's more of an epilogue/ex-movie. This has given me a good excuse to share some of it early, ahead of its full release. I thought it would be nice to have a preview.
Its intention was to be the episode after the finale, what Voyager itself should've done.
3) Now that the episode is finished, I can try to explain the whole Untitled is thee Finale malarkey I've been blabbing about. As mentioned above, the original plan was to have the finale episodes Untitled and Back To Normal, then have a movie later. The movie's plot was later moved to Back To Normal when I decided to remove the movies all together (FYI Death of the Soul was also going to be one. Season Five would have two if I kept them).
Yes I've said this already, but what does it mean? Can Back To Normal be skipped, is there any point to it?
As you know from the many times I've said it, Season Five was closely based on my old novel series Millennium. The ending of it would've been the fall of the Game Sphere and the crew's return home. A book simply titled The Future (I probably would've renamed it) would follow to show the aftermath. Simply; Untitled is the final chapters of Millennium, Back To Normal is The Future.
Untitled is the finale/end of the Game Sphere arc, it's the end of Voyager's journey, most of the cast's arcs are complete. Remember its story was intended to be the ending. The movie I thought would come weeks, if not months later. Since this was planned years ago during my quicker days, that would translate to probably a year these days. Joking, or am I? So yeah, Untitled had to provide enough closure to be a temporary finale until the movie showed up. The only thing that changed was the release gap between it and the movie's story, for the most part.
Back To Normal returns to the crew many years later to see how they're doing. Its intent is to finish things for good, close the book, hopefully answer some questions that were left open. I'll go into the "many years later" in a different trivia point as right now it isn't relevant. Normal was meant to leave Untitled alone for a while, then appear as a nice harmless epilogue for the characters, something that I still wish happened to Voyager itself. Then it would remind you that Season Five (and Four, even Three) had left various hints and clues that there was more to this entire storyarc, which Untitled didn't answer.
KT The Future didn't do the "oh it's a catch up with the crew, wait, what?" story, it dove straight into the problem. The epilogue theme was created only for FV. I'll explain later about The Future, it's interesting (I hope it is anyway), just not related to this "which is the finale" trivia.
Both are technically the series finale. All I meant in the dry patches between Untitled's release and Back To Normal's final part, was that Untitled could easily be your final episode. It finalises a lot and I'm not sure if the hints/clues I mentioned are all that in your face, at least that isn't the intention of the vast majority of them. A lot of them were soooo long ago, that even if somebody noticed they may have forgotten about it when Untitled appeared, and wouldn't wonder why a series finale didn't explain or mention it. Simply if Untitled closes the series for you, then great, it did its job. If it didn't, it still did but that's what Back To Normal is for.
You could see it as an excuse for not finishing FV on the 4th December or in 2015 for that matter, and you'd be right in a way. Ahem. But I wasn't making excuses to convince anyone. I only did it to stop myself doing what I inevitably did on Back To Normal's final part anyway; beat myself up to the point of slogging day and night to finish it "on time". I learned during the writers block days that self inflicted pressure like that killed the series at the time, and I needed to let myself off sometimes.
Still, it is technically true. Untitled's story was the intended season finale in the old days. It wouldn't have been as confusing if I kept the Back To Normal plot as a movie or even a special. Using Star Trek as an example, nobody would really be second guessing All Good Things' status as a finale because of Generations, right? If the writers had changed Generations into a two part episode because they didn't want movies, then yes people would. I shot myself in the foot with this.
It doesn't matter now. It really is this simple. Final Millennium, Illegal Operation and Inside of Two Evils were ALL Season Four's finale. Basics and Instinct are B4FV2's. Untitled and Back To Normal are Season Five's. The only difference is Untitled is far more self contained and didn't have any kind of cliffhanger to it. I recommend reading both of them anyway, but you're free to skip Normal if Untitled works for you.
It could be more confusing, it could've been like Worse Case Scenario 1 and Alternate Scorpion's situation, but let's not go there.
4) After it was made an episode and divided into 10 parts, I imagined releasing the parts singularly over the course of December, starting on the 4th naturally. Not because it would give me more time to write it, the plan was for it to be finished already. That was last year I thought about it, when I realised that my original plan of finishing Season Five on its tenth anniversary in June 2015 didn't have a hope in hell's chance. I knew that certain episodes before it would be difficult, but I still underestimated how much time it would take to get episodes such as Dark Clouds, Say It Again, Closure and even Speaking In Riddles out of my head and onto a webpage(s) in a half decent manner.
With Untitled already a few weeks, or even a month, later than I hoped, I couldn't count on being ready in time to pull this off. Instead I thought I'd up the pressure, finishing this episode on the series' fifteenth anniversary was too tempting to ignore. If I released BtN a part at a time when it wasn't finished, after the 4th, I ran the risk of shirking off. The 4th deadline in recent years has done wonders for me, and I always felt like I earned my December and January break because of it. In the back of my mind I knew I was overdue a failure. My first attempt to get Death of the Soul for the 2008 anniversary, or Aggression for the 2010's (2009 I didn't even bother, that's how bad 08's was), they were the last ones. When I fail, I fail hard. I should've kept that in mind, it would've spared me the last two months.
It didn't start out that badly. I finished Untitled a few days before the anniversary on the 1st. I had a few days off work already booked in. Technically all I had to do was get the mobile version of the site ready and update pages such as Episode Archive. On the evening of the 3rd I decided to start Back To Normal and see how far I could get. Three parts, that's not bad, they'll go up too. Without even planning it, I was basically following the original plan after all. The problem? The last 2 weeks of the year at work is busy, I had no time to do my own work during it. I was tired so I shirked a little, thinking that the holidays would be my time. Nope, no such luck. It seems like I have all the time in the world at Christmas, but really once everything that I had to go to or do was out of the way, I only had a couple of days.
The 31st December update almost never happened. I was almost done for the day with my back hurting, head pounding and the thought that I really should spend new years eve doing something else. I did the usual word count and realised that I was very close to reaching the 400,000 mark for the year. That gave me the incentive, the realisation that Part 9's ending wasn't actually that far away gave me the push. I finished it with still time to do something else to ring in the new year. "I'll finish first week in January, no problem." Yeah, it would've been no problem, had it not been for a re-occurring arm and hand injury, and strange head cold that left me struggling to remember what I went into the kitchen for. Coffee, it's always coffee brain. Unless it's dinner time. Sheesh.
You've probably read me whining about something similar before. It does happen quite often. December and January do tend to be uneventful in the FV side of things, I usually chill out to prepare for the year, recover from the 4th December slog. I did try this time though and it ended up the same. I didn't want to finish at an obscene hour on 31st January, a month after the previous part, and nearly 2 months after the first. No matter, it's over now. I just wish I had the energy to celebrate it ^_^
5) The inspiration for Back To Normal stems all the way back to my Kidz Trek days. The novel series I abandoned for this, and my current ideas for a different series. In case you haven't read about them, the KT series had several different versions like Star Trek does, most of them involving a different crew or a mixture of old and new;
Kidz Trek: Three books revolving around a much younger version of Lilly and her crew on the many Lillyia's, primarily the F9. Most of the time there wasn't really much of an overall storyline, chapters were planned to be like mini episodes. A book was an equivalent of a season. The only arcs I remember off hand were the two crewmembers turning rogue (one was basically a mixture of Damien and minor character Sid), and the cliffhanger of book three which Season Four's was inspired from, and lead to a later book series*.
The Voyage Home: The Voyager rip off. The initial differences revolved around the character Roxanne joining as Seven did, eventually revealed to be a future version of the Captain's daughter Kiara with amnesia. Once the "season five" part of Voyage Home started, other differences took shape, mainly the introduction of two characters who would later become James and Jessie in FV. Another three books.
Excelsior: The Erona crew, but instead of time travelers from the future, they were Game Cube travellers searching for the "Voyager". Also three books.
Planetary Quest: The first lone book "series". This was a bit complicated. In Voyage Home, I think book 2, Roxanne, Kiara and another character were lost in the Games. This book takes place during that time and follows them. The James and Jessie characters were technically introduced here, only brainwashed to do evil for the majority of it.
Millennium: The big one. Follows on from the KT cliffhanger. It's Season Five in a nutshell. Three books.
The Future: Many years later, another Lillyia is forced to deal with the repercussions of Millennium's final battle. One book.
As you can see The Future was the last series I came up with, and because of that it didn't get much development. I only had the bare bones for it. As like Season Five did, Millennium dealt with the current problem of the Game Sphere, but how they did it meant a huge change for the universe. Remember when I said the main Lillyia was the F9? Do you remember what they were up to in FV? Probably not, but it was the Z's. The F9 was a relic from 3-4 hundred years ago in FV. The two ships I remember using the most in FV were the Z4 and Z5. Now, I don't remember which out of the two it was, but one of them was The Future's ship.
I'm not sure if I'm clear enough, so a sum up. The Future was based a few centuries after the other KT series. Naturally it would have a new group of characters, and yes you guessed it, some of them would be descendants of the originals. Which, I don't remember but I'd put my money on Lilly and Scot's, "James and Jessie", and one of the Roxanne/Kiara's, not both. They were my main, main leads after all.
The inspiration came from the overall premise of the series, which apart from its crew, was the only planning I ever did for it. I still hadn't wrote more than a few pages of the original Kidz Trek, so why bother? I always did like planning miles ahead, that hasn't changed I suppose. Even this must've been too far. Basically the heroes thought they defeated their enemy, only they didn't, they've spent the last few centuries rebuilding.
As you can see, the whole character epilogue feel the episode had at the beginning couldn't have been in The Future.
However not only was the basic premise, it being a direct sequel to Millennium, used for Back To Normal, the idea of a big jump into the future was taken as well. The reason... there's a perfectly good one.
6) During the fifth season's writing, I occasionally did consider not making it the final season. I thought about a sixth season, with the potential for more. I might have gone to eight like originally planned before the prequels. The thing is, I really didn't want to do that. I wanted to finish FV. Yes I know, reboots, I mean actually get to an ending. I'd never truly done that before. I finished episodes, I finished the prequels, they didn't feel like real endings to me. I never finished anything Kidz Trek, apart from a few chapters. My biggest accomplishment in that regard was a tiny Star Trek "novel" I wanted to get published, which was inspired by the Roxanne/Kiara plotline in KT and then later inspired the FV version of it with Lena and Kiara. It barely took up half of a A5 notebook, hardly novel worthy.
So yeah. It fit that the series would end on the number 5, it did have eight seasons like I planned, it's just three of them were prequels. Maybe if the writers block never occurred, it could've happened. I wouldn't have liked it though. I saved the best till last, the ex-Millennium/Future story was always meant to be the last season of FV. Having something after it wouldn't have been right.
All in all, this brings me to the previous trivia point. I had to kill any temptation I had left. Now, this doesn't mean I'll change my mind someday in the distant future (future me, don't you bloody dare!). I gave it a good go. Now I'm assuming you've read the episode if you've gotten this far in the trivia, so there will be spoilers. Firstly, the plot of the series finale always had Voyager's destruction in it. Always. There's one reason not to go into another season, and it's a big one, you can't keep going in a series if your titular ship has gone. I love Red Dwarf, but it always felt iffy that two seasons were based on Starbug instead of Red Dwarf. Just saying.
Then there's Janeway. I know that she was missing for the majority of Season Five, that's not an argument for, but against. I missed writing her, which is likely a contribution to the reboots FYI, and the series isn't the same without her. Basically, I couldn't do a Season Six without her too. There's a good reason for her being gone in Five, it was never meant to be something that went on for seasons. It was a one season thing. I could've not killed her off again I suppose, but I'm not a fan of changing huge plot points like that. Besides, I didn't want to look like I was chickening out (again). The biggest death is probably Tani as she was a huge part of Season One and Two. But with ones like Lena and Jessie, I never intended them to be permanent but it'll look like I changed my mind, chickened out I bet. I didn't want to actually do that here, not for an unwanted sixth season.
Okay, so no titular ship, the main lead dead, the series arc wrapped up. It didn't feel like it was enough to put me off. What would make it difficult to continue on? If the crew were back home and split up, I'm sure I'd imagine up some new scenario to get them together again, so that wasn't a deterrent. I didn't think of The Future at first. I just thought, that one of the issues with first episode Wrong Direction was that I skipped a lot of time. Even though there was a story reason behind it, writing the crew coming together after so long felt strange and forced. What if, the time that passed between Untitled and Back To Normal was bigger. A lot bigger.
2390 was picked, the year that in the AU, Lena fled from Voyager before the Borg destroyed it. It seemed only fitting. I'd get to write older versions of the kids, like new baby Alisha, and that helped make it a little more appealing. Since The Future's events took centuries, it made more sense that a few years had gone by than a few months before the Soft made their move. It's still a huge difference, however The Future was meant to span a whole book, potentially two more. This was one episode. Back To Normal had another point to make in its version of this story anyway.
7) Now whether you noticed what was going on all along, noticed SOMETHING was going on, or none of the above, the point of Back To Normal shouldn't be that clear to see. It may in fact feel rushed in its execution, that I spent more time explaining things and having catch ups with the characters.
Compare it to other big hitters in the arc, Death of the Soul, Echoes, Bounds of Illusion, Within Reach etc... Untitled for that matter. What's the key difference here?
They're not surprised. They're, for the most part, ready for what they're up against. They're prepared and they've certainly not been doing nothing this whole time.
Tom knows, and he's nervous about proving that he does in front of his "father". B'Elanna knows and has been his strength through it all. Harry is his first officer and trusted best friend, so telling him made sense.
James and Lena have known for a while. At the very least he's been fighting against it, and until recently has been doing so in secret. He'll obviously tell Jessie something like this, and Lena would tell Craig.
Chakotay's known far longer than any of them. I've hinted, or rather been direct as much in the later S5 episodes like Echoes and Closure.
Damien, it's up to your interpretation how much he knows and for how long. That's the point. There is a right answer though, I haven't not decided and left it up to you.
Janeway spoke about this a lot during her episodes, it's just your opinion whether she was clear or not. I wanted her scenes as natural as possible. For example I didn't want her sounding avoidy (like "let's talk about that thing. You know") about the topic in scenes with just Chakotay, she has no reason to. If the conversation got to the point of her mentioning something that was considered a spoiler, I wouldn't reword it to be vague or change the conversation to avoid it. By the time she's around, it's more than time to start revealing things.
I hope you get the idea. I'm so damn paranoid as for many years I'd tell, not show it. Now that I'm trying to show more often, I worry that the point gets lost. For once, the Voyager crew are in the know, they have the upper hand. It's why the final scene with the Soft is how it is, showing them for what they are.
8) Okay, surely this plot's been made up as you go along. You're just filling in the gaps, explaining away plot holes.
Yeah I've done this in the distant past, but when it comes to Season Five's arc I'm certainly not.
I mentioned somewhere above that one of my bad habits is too much planning, not enough doing. I planned the entirety of Kidz Trek, well up until book one of The Future before I gave it all up, but wrote very little. When Fifth Voyager started, eight full seasons were mapped out with episode titles and synopsis. How many of them actually made it, probably about 10% and most of that will be Season One.
The point is, it's not out of character for me to have planned out the Season Five arc years in advance and leave hints, develop up into it in seasons before it. The difference between the KT and early FV years and today are that I like to follow through on my planning.
Sometimes I think that I've struck it lucky and found a coincidence, or made something up to fix an earlier problem. I did say I've done this before after all. Then I find something that proves to me that it was meant to be there, I planned it long ago.
Collective Instinct for example. I had forgotten that the episode was there to foreshadow Lena's arrival and James' role in the series. The Borg lose their connection to newly assimilated drones James and Jessie, no explanation, and a few episodes later Lena arrives with a similar story. The disconnect was always Slayer related, so James' role was decided no later than episode 11 (8th episode released). True, the Slayer stuff in Season One was very unclear and inconsistent, but the idea was there.
James and Janeway's relation. I've seen hints of this as far back as Season One's Fugitives. The earliest definite example was in Games Resistance, with Daniel/Ronnie's really bad attempt to cover stuff up and still explain Cubes and Slayers. The two lines here:
"I did, but maybe Morgan can teach him better than me. I sense a potential bond between them," the Watcher said.
"Meaning?" Kathryn asked as worry started to show on both Chakotay and her face.
Daniel did talk a lot of claptrap in the episode, and that's not because it was badly written (it was but hey), he contradicts himself an awful lot. Whether or not his line was a lie or not is irrelevant, it's Chakotay and Janeway's reaction. Yeah they're overprotective of Morgan/Lena, but their reactions to Craig are much more subdued than James.
That brings me to YWF, with Chakotay's reaction to finding out she was talking about James when she mentioned liking someone more than Craig. Or rather being bothered about him but still wanting to spend time with him. Chakotay told her she had feelings for this mystery guy, not knowing who it was. His reaction to it is to go throw up. Janeway also gets angry when Tom I think cheers on Lena in the deathmatch between her and him. His whine and confusion basically being "but I'm on Lena's side, why".
Then there's the whole Chosen hints in The Slayers. It's mentioned somewhere in that season or even the episode they can only be brother and sister. The latest comment I can definitely remember is Oasis of Abatua, but I'm sure something was mentioned before then. The episode was badly written and stole too much of what it was parodying, but the initial point to it was to foreshadow the reveal. The pair win the Game Sphere despite only Chosens being able to do it.
"Man Out Of You"'s you're like a son to me line, despite no scenes that I can recall in prior episodes showing this.
Sheesh, I waffled on AGAIN. I only wanted to list examples of my planning future plot "twists" ahead. Sigh.
9) My hope is that the Softmicron in Starfleet "twist" in this episode sparks either of the following;
a) Complete surprise, which inspires a re-read of older episodes to look for any hints of this. I've personally enjoyed stories in books, shows, films, games etc... that have had these late game revelations, as a second time through feels like new now that I know. Of course not all examples of this are good. It's usually the twists that were made up at the last minute that ruin a thing for me. Dollhouse I'm looking at you. It makes no sense that he was the villain all along, you deserved your cancellation.
b) A "I suspected it all along/knew something was going on" kind of reaction, as that would mean the hints I left behind did what I intended them to do. Will I go through them someday, probably, but I'd prefer to leave them for you to find if you haven't already.
As mentioned above, it wasn't a made up in that episode "omg he's the villain the whole time" Dollhouse twist. The only reaction to a plot development that made me near-shout "what", pause and angry pace in the kitchen wondering WTF happened for 20 minutes. Yes even Chakotay/Seven didn't do this, but probably because I was warned by spoilers and rumours in advance. Still made me sick to see it though.
No. I dunno if I can go as far back as Kidz Trek here in all honesty. Possibly. But I can easily go back to Season Four for evidence of the storyline's origins, but the true ones go as far back as Season Two's cliffhanger. Yeah Damien took the credit for that cliffhanger, it's not like he didn't do anything, but consider this:
Damien was planned to be killed off in late Season One, along with Seven an episode or two later. He was originally a one season villain. Season Two's arc was meant to be the introduction and alliance with the Ligers, with episodes introducing and/or showing off bigger villains like the Tolg and the Softmicron. Season One was the deviation from Voyager/introductory season, while Season Two would go all Kidz Trek-y by using its MCs, ships, villains and some of their storylines.
Damien's influence would've been a driving factor in the Liger storyline, not him himself. The only reason Damien became a regular was his character got hit with the editing scissors in early S2, big time. A new name, new origin story, some new personality quirks. You get the idea. He was essentially a new character with some added potential. I liked the idea of keeping him around after that.
Fair Chance had been cemented to be a season cliffhanger for a very long time. It was in the eight season plan. It may have been a Season Three cliffhanger as I remember Witchcraft being Two's. The basic plot and idea for it didn't change, it was the writing of mostly part 2 that ruin... changed it. So if Damien was dead by this point, how did Fair Chance follow the same Starfleet takeover story?
How indeed. It's one of those episodes I wished I wrote a year or two later. If it were the Season Three cliffhanger, written at the same time as the actual cliffhanger for that season was, then it'd be a far better episode and the hints of the actual origin to S5's arc would've been clear. No instead we got a Simpsons Cape Fear Part 2 and a botched attempt to rescue the Softmicron link to Damien's story in Games Matrix. Thank god for reboots, ey.
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