lordyellowtail: (Default)
Anakin/Padme

(Yes, I'm doing these out of order. I'm going to have to work myself up to Tim and Greta—I've still got lots of complex, conflicting emotions there.)

Paging [personal profile] sharpest_asp . Part 2, as promised.

An iconic pairing. The unbeatable crusading knight and his equally unstoppable lady diplomat, who is herself a Badass Normal action hero when the situation requires it. They're not hero and damsel. They're each other's champion against the whole rest of the universe, and may all creation tremble at their passing.

Or at least, that was what they were supposed to be. That was the couple of myth and legend whose love reshaped the galaxy, spoken of in awe and reverence and fear and hatred in the original trilogy. That was what we were promised.

What we actually got was incredibly formulaic, and while it had its moments, too many of the crucial events in their relationship were at best stilted and awkward or at worst completely lacking any emotional resonance. Their wedding, for instance, did nothing for me, largely because it wasn't presented in any detail. It was a several-second throwaway scene with no dialogue and a great booming musical score that had nothing to do with marriage and was pretty much GENERIC STAR WARS SERIOUS BUSINESS MUSIC. Not that there's anything wrong with that music—I love it, actually—but this is the wedding and the love story that effectively changed the millennia-long course of the galaxy forever. It deserved more than a part in a montage. It deserved much more than being simply another item to check off on the "And Then That Thing That Got Us to the Original Trilogy Happened" checklist.

For me this was a larger issue with the prequels as a whole. It felt like 80 percent of the prequel storyline existed merely to provide in-jokes and references that explained gaps in the original trilogy. And you're probably thinking, "well isn't that the point of a prequel?" And yes, a prequel needs to do that, but it also needs to be as compelling and complicated a story as the original material it's based on. And for crying out loud, it has to be more than fanservice. It has to have soul, and you've got to work extra hard to make the viewer care, because we already know the ending. In my {obviously not so humble} opinion, the prequels failed hard at this, and few other places is it more apparent than in the shallowness and emotional numbness of the Anakin/Padme relationship.

This is the love so powerful that the fear of losing it left Anakin, The Hero with No Fear, the somewhat mentally-unstable Chosen One, so destabilized that Darth Sidious was able to seduce him to the Dark Side and cause the ruination of the Jedi, and then the Galaxy. It should have been a great raging fireball, so bright it burned the eyes to look at, from The Phantom Menace on.

That's the love story I was expecting to see, and I'm still waiting.

Instead, we got a lingering glowstick of under-developed inevitability that bored large portions of the audience, and at worst actively turned them off.

Worse, all the terrible things that happened to bring Anakin to the Dark Side and kill Padme—whose death was completely stupid and contrived in the context of a non-fantasy canon with obscenely well developed medical technology—involved Anakin, Padme, and the entire Jedi Order playing Calvinball with every Idiot Ball they could find. Let me cite a couple of the biggest examples.

Anakin was old when he joined the Jedi Order. Not only was it unrealistic to expect him to purge all emotions like an Initiate conditioned from babyhood, especially if all they did to help him along was give him some lectures on suppressing his emotions—which humans aren't naturally wired to do without extensive mental conditioning—and avoiding the sort of emotional attachments that science tells us are actually necessary for a normal human mind to function correctly. Short of actual brainwashing, he was never going to have the emotional control or the ability to go without emotional attachments that a normal human psyche needs to function. Classically trained Jedi possess these things only because of intensive training from infancy that rewires their brains and makes them both more and less than human.

But Anakin was forced into that mold anyway. No wonder he was unstable. To their credit, by A New Hope, Yoda and Obi-Wan seemed to realize their mistake and didn't repeat their error when training Luke, though they sure griped out about how much better the old days were. They also made new and different mistakes, but that's another story. And their behavior with Luke doesn't really excuse the fact that the entire Jedi Council took a brain holiday and not one of them ever put forth the idea that holding a normal human boy to standards used to shape and measure children mentally conditioned to have abnormal thought processes since infancy was maybe a bad idea.

Worst still, the prequels ignore the setting's own rules. We know that there were Jedi allowed to marry because of insurmountable cultural and biological needs. One of them sat on the Jedi Council. The Corelian Jedi were absolutely allowed to maintain personal attachments with their families. This was done because it was a accepted that trying to train one of these Jedi using the standard model would be an absolute disaster. Yet never once was Anakin given any accommodation befitting his unique circumstances. No wonder he thought they were all being hipocritical.

No wonder he leapt at what Sidious offered him.

So, the point of all that: I am deeply in love with the concept and potential of Anakin/Padme. I absolutely loathe the canon version, for the reasons I've outlined above and others I won't bore you with. These are the big issues that ruin it for me.

So, for Anakin/Padme fic, give me AUs. Alternate universes where the story is written in such a way that their love story actually feels like a relationship with the potential to shatter the galaxy. Make them burn for each other, and make me believe in the magnitude of their devotion.

But that also means making Anakin and Padme and the Jedi Council and Order and their supporting cast the kind of people, in the kind of setting, that can pull off a love story with firepower of this magnitude. So give me an AU that strips out the flood of idiot balls and plot holes canon introduces. Let them be the legends we heard of in awed whispers in the Original Trilogy. Let them not make decisions that go against all logic and common sense just to advance the ball towards the inevitable.

And when you strip out those plot holes and idiot balls, the events of the original trilogy become no longer inevitable. So go wild. If you want to make Anakin fall to the Dark Side still, that's great, but make it a tragedy worthy of a hero of his legend, not the McDonald's Drive-Thru version where he goes from flawed but ultimately heroic to genocidal mass murdering child-killer in about five minutes because he had some bad dreams and Yoda gave absolutely crappy advice and Sidious is really good at being Faux Affiably Evil.

Hell, if you really want to get dark, have Anakin seduce Padme to the Dark Side and overthrow Sidious before he becomes Palpatine and let them co-rule the Galaxy as some sort of sexy, lawful evil Grey Jedi/Sith power couple. Just make it internally consistent enough to be believable, and I'm there. I might need chocolate afterwards, but I'm totally there.

But my personal preference is to write and read AUs where the universe doesn't stack the deck against Anakin, and lets him actually be the hero we was meant to be. Let him not fall, because unlike in canon he has friends and family that love him and he can trust enough to reach out to for help. People that can catch him when he stumbles under the impossible weight they've put on his shoulders, who will smile and let him know they've got his back instead of scorning him for not being the perfect classical Jedi he was never meant to be.

Let Padme be strong and capable enough to stand on her own against almost anyone who would challenge her. Show us the woman who Princess Leia Organa inherited her heroism and political saavy and idealism and iron will (and attraction to lovable rogues) from. I have a lot fewer issues with her characterization in canon beyond the crappy love-plot writing itself, so I don't see a need to change her character that much so long as we're actually made to believe in the love story. But please, show us Anakin's equal. Let them be co-heroes and partners.

Let them stand shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, his lightsaber lit and her blaster charged even as she kicks just as much aft with diplomacy as anything, united and strengthened by their love for each other, ready and willing to stand against all comers to secure the peaceful future they both want and deserve.

And because this is supposed to be an epic love story, let the galaxy tremble.
lordyellowtail: (Let's Talk Crack Pairings (Snape/Roker O)
Quoting [personal profile] sharpest_asp  from her MemeTime entry:
You know that meme that goes around sometimes where you post your five favorite kinks and then five favorite couples, and it's like a wish into the universe to see if anybody will write it for you? Let's make it a little more interactive.

Comment here if you want to play, and I will give you 3-6 couples that I associate with you, and you make an entry in your journal talking about those couples and fics that you wish the universe would write for you.
So, this seems like it should be pretty fun. Comment if you would like to play.

In the meantime, Asp gave me the following:

1. Rogue/Remy
2. Robin/Secret
3. Anakin/Padme

So, let's go do that. These are turning out a bit long, so I'm gonna divide them up into 3 separate posts.

Rogue/Remy
I'm probably going to disappoint Asp a bit here, but I honestly don't have a lot to say about any present incarnation of this ship. It only works for me in certain versions of the X-Men canon. In others, one or both characters are different enough that the chemistry that draws me to them—particularly the juxtaposition of his extreme intellect, bravery, and deep emotional connection with those in the X-Men he considers his friends and family, all covered up by a veneer of devil-may-care bravado and a show of emotional distance that would fool those who don't know him well; and her outward Type A southern belle, action girl, courageous and kind and gentle outer-shell around a battered, wounded, and deeply, crushingly lonely soul. In universes where they're written this way, they put on acts for the world around them, and some of the only people they can't fool are each other (and Logan, but going into that would disrupt the flow of my over-thought ramblings here). They understand and accept the other for everything they are, and love them for it, warts and all. It's only refusal to fully accept their own selves that stalls their relationship. You can't be in love with someone else when you really don't love yourself—not if you want a healthy relationship, at any rate.

All the fun of their banter and the adorableness of their actual relationship aside, they're a pairing that, to properly work, demands that each participant become a stronger person and consciously fight their personality flaws to be together. It's an explicit element of their relationship, when it's usually just implied in other similar relationships. That's somewhat unique, and so it appeals to me a great deal. X-Men: The Animated Series showed me this version of them and got me hooked. The problem is, not every version of them has this dynamic. X-Men: Evolution Rogue and Remy don't feel like what I described above at all. This version of Remy is a much less sympathetic, layered character and comes off more as a grudginingly enjoyable antihero than a loveable rogue to the people around him, with a tenancy to manipulate Rogue's feelings to his advantage when it's fairly obvious nothing will happen between them, if for no other reason than he doesn't sincerely want her. X-Men:TAS Remy was completely devoted to his Rogue, in his own special way. In Evolution, Rogue still has plenty of problems with interpersonal relationships and isolation, but considerable time and energy is given to developing her confidante/heterosexual life partner relationship with her brother, Kurt Wagner. Their relationship is deep and nuanced and complicated and they rely on each other in a way they don't rely on anyone else, in a completely platonic love sort of way.

Having such a well-developed loving sibling relationship in this context is rather refreshing, but it means that there's no hole in Rogue's heart and relationship with those around her that Gambit would usually be the on to fill.

So, the fic I would write and read with them would be anything in the vein of the characterization and sort of relationship they had in X-Men: The Animated Series. At this stage in my life, well into adulthood and still single, long drawn-out will-they-won't-they and Idiot Ball driven relationship obstacles and love triangles for The Dramas don't appeal to me, so I'd not write or want to read any of that. So much Rogue/Gambit material is devoted to getting them together that I want to see them actually be together.
lordyellowtail: (Alia (Nerdy Chicks Rule))

A few months ago, before I decided to start blogging again, I found this post on the Trekkie Feminist Tumblr, asking who the reader would assemble for their dream All Woman Star Trek Crew (and why), from all available canons. I've been wanting to respond to it for a while, but am still Tumblr-averse, so I never got around to it.

 

But now i have a blog again, so the situation has changed. I've also split off certain positions that are really only combined on the TV show for plot convenience, but otherwise probably shouldn't be. I'm not going to try to define a full chain of command, as I'm still thinking about that. I'm also assuming this amalgamated crew is flying around immediately post-canon, in 2380.

 

Oh, and SPOILERS.

 

Commanding Officer: CAPT Nyota Uhura (Original Movie Era): She has decades of first-contact and doing-the-impossible on the job training from James Kirk, and wears a velvet smile and sparkling sense of humor around a razor-sharp intelligence (she's from an era when Starfleet actually needed communications officers on the bridge to decode languages and break encryptions and do all sorts of other things the computer couldn't) hiding a cortinide-and-duranium spine that makes her someone not worth crossing. Combined with her actual genuine compassion as demonstrated throughout TOS, she's everything Starfleet should want in a captain: an excellent, open-minded explorer who wants to see what's beyond the next star, and a veteran space combatant with enough experience to keep her ship and (whatever it's supposed to be protecting, as the case may be) in one piece, and someone who cares deeply for her crew but doesn’t let it cloud her dedication to the mission.

 

Executive/First Officer (2IC): CDR Shelby: (From TNG's "The Best of Both Worlds") I like the idea of her more brash, FIRE-THE-CANNONS-ALSO-I-AM-SCIENCE-AND-AMBITION personality being in balance with Uhura. I see this assignment as one where she's been given to Uhura to sand the rough edges off and train to actually be a starship captain herself. Given that every other XO we ever see is part o the crew's circle of True Companions and is never leaving, I think this would be an interesting and rarely seen dynamic for a Starfleet crew--I'm sure the wider Starfleet works like this, but it's not what we're used to seeing on Hero Ships.

 

Chief of the Boat (Senior Enlisted): SCPO Janice Rand: She brought order to what was surely the unspeakable chaos of James Kirk's captaincy of the Federation flagship, which was also apparently a Suicide Squad-class vessel given the insane, unsurvivable missions it kept being sent on, without losing her sanity. She is made of awesome and deserved far more than to be the subject of James Kirk's emo forbidden office romance rants. I imagine her older than her TOS era self here, but younger than she was in the later original movies, so ... late 30s/early 40s. I only bring up her age because like Uhura we see a huge chunk of her life on-screen and she changes considerably over time.


Operations Officer (Department Head)/Communications Officer: LT (jg) Gaila: I love Seven of Nine and think she's awesome, and due to her efficiency expertise I would've made her also be the OPSO, as like Data she's got the physical and mental ability to do both at once. But then I realized Operations Officer is a position that, to a large degree, is about managing people, not just things. Annika Hansen is okay at that in 2379. She's not really good enough to be an actual personnel manager. So then I thought about it and realized there is someone available who fits the bill. Gaila's got interpersonal skills to spare, and her training is stated to be as a computer specialist, according to a deleted scene. In other words, she makes sure the computers work and do the things they're supposed to do. From what we see in TNG and VOY, Communications is either a responsibility of TAC or OPS depending on what ship you're on. Given that she roomed with Uhura, it's reasonable to assume Gaila took some classes with her and is sufficiently cross-trained for both her primary position as OPSO, combining making sure the computers work and managing logistics, and COMMs. She's not nearly as good of a Communications Officer as Uhura, but 1) no one is; and 2) given the advancements in computer technology in the 24th century, she doesn't have to be. Also, Uhura is sitting right there. Bonus: I'm assuming Prime Reality (original canon) Uhura is Captain of this ship. Gaila comes from an alternate reality where she and Uhura were room-mates and best friends. Hilarity should ensue.


Science Officer (Department Head): LT Annika Hansen (Former Borg Drone Seven of Nine): She's brilliant and has a considerable chunk of the Borg's vast wealth of knowledge crammed in her head, and is demonstrably willing to consider unorthodox solutions to difficult scientific problems, and stand up for what she believes in. And by this point in her career she would have learned how to be flexible enough to fit into a Starfleet crew sufficiently to be in a position of leadership.


Chief Engineer (Department Head): LT CDR B'Elanna Torres: Even without finishing Starfleet Academy (which I'm gonna assume she actually finished upon returning to Earth, and finished quickly given her skill level by the end of VOY), without being able to recite Starfleet protocols and regulations forwards and backwards while suffering from polywater* intoxication, with no resupply resources and limited salvage opportunities at any given moment, she kept Voyager in one piece and functioning well enough to match 4 out of 5 "Our hat is homicidal nutcasery" species and natural phenomenon** in the Delta Quadrant, and managed to come up with solutions to survive the 1 out of 5 species and natural phenomenon that clearly outmatched Voyager long enough for everyone to pool their resources and come up with a solution. Given how she performs under those conditions, she should be completely magnificent in a situation where she has proper resources and a Captain who, like Janeway, is willing and able to work with her volatile personality.

 Chief Tactical Officer/Chief of Security (Department Head): CDR T'Pol: As much as I love what the fandom apparently has labelled "Science Polly"--though I'm not sure how I feel about the nickname--Seven of Nine, in both terms of her skill set and abilities and source timeframe is a superior candidate for Science Officer. T'Pol's science officer training is from a time when Vulcan was deliberately indoctrinating its scientists with arbitrary skepticism (e.g.: time travel cannot exist), and though she's gotten over that to a large degree by the end of Enterprise (the series), it's still affected her thinking and made her a bit more rigid than she might have otherwise been. On the other hand, there's a whole dimension to her character we never really get to see on screen (because the the writers were too interested in shoving Sex Symbol/Damsel in Distress T'Pol at us for most of the series). T'Pol was an operative of the Vulcan Ministry of Security. It's implied/all but stated she was as close to a wetworks operative as ST is ever likely to show on screen. I'm going to play out the associated inferences there and assume she would've also been trained in ship to ship combat and military police-style security work. Pretty much everything you need to know to keep a starship secure. I love T'Pol's character, and Tuvok demonstrates how much fun Vulcan TAC personnel who love their work are, and I'd love to explore this part of T'Pol's personality. I'd also like to have explored T'Pol as a mother in a committed relationship with Trip Tucker, but then they killed the baby and Trip and T'Pol broke up and I will never forgive the show runners for that.

 

Chief Medical Officer (Department Head): LT CDR (DR.) Selar: This oddly expressive, highly competent Vulcan physician was personally trained by Dr Beverley Crusher, and served on the Enterprise-D for most if not all of its seven-year mission, thus bearing witness to a great many improbable things, in and out Sickbay. As a doctor she should thus demonstrate a unique combination of coolness under extreme pressure and a somewhat unVulcan willingness to think outside the box when necessary.
 

Helm/Senior Flight Operations Officer (Department Head): LT Ro Laren: I love Ro, and always thought the way she was written out of the show was a terrible waste of her potential. If the actress had to leave, that's no reason to have destroyed her character's redemption arc. I'm not saying she shouldn't have chosen to go the Maquis, if that's where her heart and morals called her, but she was written as doing in such a way that it was an active betrayal of her Captain and her friends and crewmates on the Enterprise, and they had just spent literally seasons showing us she was better than that. So I'm gonna assume she is. So this is the Ro from before her whacky defection, the one that's a crack pilot and also, thanks to her graduation from the Advanced Tactical Training Course, apparently a highly competent space commando with considerable ship to ship combat skills. In fact, I'm just realizing that in terms of skill set she's scarily similar to LT Tom Paris.
 

Head Counsellor/First Contact Specialist (Department Head): CDR Deanna Troi: Because Star Trek: The Next Generation happened, and she's actually really good at this job (and her secondary first contact specialist job) when properly written.

 

Other Personnel: Head Nurse Christine Chapel; LT (jg) Samantha Wildman (Gamma Shift (night watch) bridge science officer); Dr Gillian Taylor (exobiologist--oceanic life specialist)

 

*My onboard dictionary recognizes this as a properly-spelled word by default. Nicely done, Apple.

 

** Because in the Delta Quadrant, the natural phenomena were actively trying to kill Voyager, most of the time. The Delta Quadrant was the Hub City of the Milky Way.

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Lord Yellowtail

July 2016

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