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That Name Sounds Familiar

by Ross Fertel, Renaissance Man

9th September 2015

Ever wonder how The Creative Team comes up with elaborate backstories for these guys who are on screen for all of eight seconds and don’t mention anything because that would require the actors to be paid a higher wage for the day? There are limited tools available. It’s not like the production team kept and released detailed notes on them. Yes, yes, we can ‘fill in the blanks’ so to speak, but sometimes we have to get a bit… creative.
Sarah Shaw
Take names, for example. Some are mentioned in dialogue. In fact, if you hear something resembling a name mentioned in an episode, chances are it’ll be used for a personnel of some sort. But for some of the background players, they are a bit more … involved.

While we can make a historical or cultural reference, sometimes it’s a more novel approach that we can turn to. There are a ton of one-off players that we can draw from. In fact, Turo and Selan, a random Romulan and Cardassian from The Gamma Quadrant are courtesy of Peter David’s Q-Squared. Similarly, Crossover’s Sarah Shaw literally wrote the book on the Mirror Universe.

But they don’t always work out perfectly. Sometimes, the stories don’t quite line up.

Take Crossover’s Nu’Tal for example. For a long time, he was Dorrek, the brother of Klag, featured prominently in novels set both in the prime and mirror universes. The problem is that he wasn’t a captain at that point; that would happen years later in Family Matters by Keith R.A. DeCandido. We’ve seen others step up to take command, but Vartoq is specifically mentioned as the first officer of the ship. How far down the ladder would we need to go to justify it on this guy? It was better simply to make the personnel someone else entirely.

At one point, we also had The Gamma Quadrant’s Guna’shan as M’Rak. Straight out of The Search by Diane Carey, the scene where Dax and O’Brien are captured by Dominion forces is greatly expanded, with M’Rak as one of the heavily featured characters and better yet, specifically named.

M’Rak.

M’Rak.

Doesn’t sound too Jem’Hadar like, does it? Although someone personally took a trip down to the local library to make the confirmation, it wasn’t something that would work, so we went with the card that you see today.

Then there’s Jiten’Prekash. When we first saw the personnel, he practically demanded to be Taran’Atar. This was one of the main characters in Pocket’s Deep Space Nine relaunch featuring events that happened after the series. The issue came up with ketracel-white dependency. It is a key plot point that Taran’Atar is not dependant on it. It’s not a huge deal in universe, but it is in the game. With Goran’Agar already immune, it would be possible to make a Dominion crew featuring the main three races that would be entirely immune to white deprivation. This was probably territory that design didn’t want to go towards, so we went in another direction.

Then came Second Edition’s Strange Bedfellows, featuring the Dominion and, best of all, no white at all. Unfortunately, all the Jem’Hadar featured there are specifically battle ready. This was in character with what we knew of them, but not for someone who is specifically supposed to be an observer. 

Unfortunately, it looks like Taran’Atar will have to wait another day.

Lest you think that Second Edition is entirely prose free, one card in Unnatural Selection does share a name with a novel, Hideki Chang‘s first name is from another one entirely, and Jacklyn LoPresti is lovingly lifted from Vulcan‘s Heart.

Who knows what other cards will have their inspiration from the novels and other liscened sources?


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