[Age of Mouldwarp]
secrets of Cadavers
~ The recurring theme of Franzoni lamenting his grandfather is a nod to JLA # 8, when Connor Hawke, in his tenure as Green Arrow, must bail out the heroes of the Justice League from the clutches of the Key by using his father Oliver Queen’s trick arrows. By the end, writer Grant Morrison literally has him muttering, father, oh father…you are going to be the death of me…
~ Lewis Rivera, current captain of the U.S.S. Madison and former first officer for Captain Matheson aboard the Copernicus, is named after my first independently-registered e-mail account, firstname.lastname@example.org. The Waterloo portion is a nickname I gave myself when comparing the prospects of regaining the high score in a computer game called Jezzball from my oldest brother, who I had dubbed a modern-day Napoleon, who would meet his proverbial doom by my hand one day. It was an inevitability, or so I thought. It’s going on four years now, and I haven’t come very close to that goal yet. The Rivera portion comes from the retired baseball shortstop Luis Rivera, whom I first encountered as a member on the early 1990s roster of the Boston Red Sox. Nicknamed Little Latin Louie, he had for some time possessed an endearing quality that would resurface when I discovered that simply using Waterloo for the account would not do, so I picked up on the similitude of the ending syllable from Waterloo and its compatibility with the "last name" Rivera, and how together it evoked Luis Rivera. To set the character apart in the Copernicus realm, I simply modified the first name once more, and there you have it.
~ The relationship dynamic between Franzoni and Ethan Chenoweth was adapted from Herman Melville’s short story Billy Budd, Sailor, in which a similar dynamic costs Billy his life. The character of Claggart, Billy’s antagonist in the story, had a certain parallel to the boundaries I had set up for Franzoni in "Eyes of Fire," and so with that in mind I was able to slip something extra into the layers of Cadavers by allowing the suggestion of the link with Claggart to influence how I unfolded the story. Had things gone differently, and point in fact Franzoni not been the killer, there was the implication that, like Billy Budd, Cadavers might have ended on an even more tragic note.
~ Incidentally, Jacobi had one of two fates that I deliberated over. One was the one you have read, him awaiting transport off Haley Minor at the end, andtwo, dying, as he seemed ready to do. Had it been death, in a sense, Billy Budd would have been appeased.
~ Another confession as to names. I hesitate to call it a secret shame, but it is something that I perhaps would have liked to keep secret…Anyway, the crew manifest of the Copernicus has something in common beyond appearing in the same stories. Most of the names come from the creative forces from the films Gladiator and O Brother, Where Art Thou? See if these names sound familiar: Douglas Wick (producer of Gladiator), Derek Jacobi (actor in Gladiator), Djimon Hounsou (likewise), Hans Zimmer (music), John Mathieson (director of photography), Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald (executive producers), David Franzoni, (credit for producer, story, and screenplay), John Logan (screenplay), William Nicholson (screenplay), Ellen Chenoweth (casting for O Brother), Ethan Coen (producer and writing), and Joel Coen (writing and directing). In addition, Tim Blake Nelson of O Brother receives credit for securing the name of Nelson into the engine, since it helped create a direct connection between an earlier work I’d written, Anathema, and through that Star Trek: Voyager, meaning that Joel Nelson’s past as a Maquis, revealed in "Silent Running," could be possible.
~ The original outline of the story reads like this:
>The ship returns to Haley Minor and discovers the situation, which is officially being kept off the record. We follow Franzoni throughout this part, and so we learn of the murder mystery aboard the ship through him
>Franzoni is handed the assignment of uncovering the killer while Keb’s story begins.
>Pentek is discovered and Franzoni spends the installment dealing with this.
>Velar finally enters the picture, when he realizes that his friend Parkes is spending a lot of time with his former foe Franzoni. The emitter angle is revealed.
>Continuing with Velar, we meet Gird, who’s getting agitated by Matheson’s negotiations with the Phalli, which seem to be going nowhere.
>Keb’s conflict draws Franzoni’s interest out of investigating the crew and to the Phalli themselves, who may be responsible after all. Pentek begs to differ.
>In the conclusion, Franzoni comes to an unsettling realization. Velar learns of the truth behind Parkes and struggles with what to do. The Phalli unite on a single issue that means the end of the mission and the Copernicus leaves Haley Minor.
~ Written just after "Eyes of Fire" in the fall of 2001, that synopsis doesn’t even mention Lt. Jacobi, who in this version takes the role Fonden fulfills in the completed story. As you might notice, Keb is still around, despite the fact that he isn’t in the stories. This is because his death in the unplanned "Cool Heads" tale from early 2002 was not planned even in the writing of that particular adventure. It took me by surprise then, and it threw a curve into Cadavers. Keb was to have been the one who became entwined in a personal conflict with the Phalli, meaning that his subordinate was already in control of the murder investigation. The undefined nature of the Phalli conflict at this point was that it was a racial issue dividing the Pasterns and Macrons, but it evolved into a political issue, meaning that the Houses of Pasterns and Macrons were government bodies. When Keb left the picture and Fonden introduced, I had to alter the course of Jacobi’s involvement, and he eventually found himself in the role chronicled in the story. Interestingly, he had been intended to never actually be seen, and this worked up until the sixth installment, when I found that I could not entirely avoid the activities on the surface of Haley Minor as I’d wanted to and still get across an adequate resolution to the mission Captain Matheson originally sets out for.
~ Speaking of undeveloped premises, the problem of solving the murders complicated things when simply revealing Pentek as Derek Parkes became insufficient in explaining things. I wanted to keep Pentek an ambiguous figure, so he would need accomplices, and Franzoni’s recurring theme of inner conflict needed tying into the story. Thus I brought in the Letheans who, as portrayed in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, had telepathic abilities that messed with the minds of their victims. Coupled with Franzoni’s secret Betazoid heritage, this unwritten subtext of the happenings happily provided enough of a hint as to how Franzoni was able to be the killer and longtime collaborator and still emerge relatively innocent of these crimes.
~ Doug Velar never quite becomes an integral component of the story, as hinted in the outline. Instead, he becomes a commentator to (as seen in the fourth installment, "Basement Instincts") and one of those who is affected by the dramatic events of the narrative without needing to be explored. As related in "Eyes of Fire" and "Silent Running" already, Velar has had a complicated relationship with Parkes in the past, one that is further complicated by the knowledge that the Parkes of "Silent Running" was not Parkes at all, but Pentek. By not having Velar find out the details directly, the emotional impact of this fact is lost, but in the one reference in the final installment ("Voyage From Haley Minor"), we are told that he is "distraught," which could mean various things, including the thought that he might very well have figured the whole truth out for himself. As it is, having Franzoni remain Pentek’s lone means of absolution envelopes the Cardassian in a pocket of uncertainty. Is he all bad, or is he borderline-pushed-to-one-side-by-circumstances as the character of Gul Dukat was?
characters and story © copyright Sean "Waterloo" McKenna 2001-2003; Star Trek copyright Paramount