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> The Birth of Helena
Historian Dlan
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post Jan 4 2008, 06:15 PM
Post #1
Major Sanctuary Lost spoilers below. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

One of my favourite parts of the HF experience has been reading Dan Crout’s and other writers’ comments after an episode or arc’s been released. So in an effort to add that to Helena Chronicles (and driven by an ego that tells me people actually care enough to read long posts) I figured I’d give some behind-the-scenes stuff on the development of the characters and Sanctuary Lost in general.

THE BIRTH OF HELENA

Well, not really the birth. More like the puberty, since the ship itself was born in “Her Battle Lantern’s Lit”. HC started as a three-part mini-series intended to showcase a few HF characters which didn’t make it into Iliad. A couple of concepts were pitched, one was chosen and work began on the outline and first script. Then, during a creative meeting, Rob and company had an epiphany about Helena and the show’s scope exploded from mini-series to Odyssey’s sister show. The original concept no longer applied. Instead, a much larger, far more ambitious story needed to be told.

SANCTUARY LOST

The pilot required two things: Aster’s return and a Helena-defining adventure. Aster’s return was mostly supplied by Rob in an outline that included Aster’s waking up sequence, the first sickbay scene, and a conversation with Dao that became Aster’s subspace chat with Lefler.

For Helena’s “first” adventure, I asked myself what HF hadn’t done. The answer hit me pretty quickly. Space Monsters. Big, nasty, Starship-eating critters! My favourite TOS episodes were the space monsters, with honourable mention going to Doomsday Machine. I didn’t even pitch this. I went straight to scripting, figuring it was better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Here are a couple of quotes from Rob.

“Kracken - This is really the only CGI I'm having trouble seeing how we'll do.”
“Tentacles for example, are beyond my current abilities.”

Shortly thereafter an AVI of the kraken arrived in my inbox. The lesson: Never listen to Rob when he says something in CGI is beyond his abilities.  ;D

THE NEW CREW

Faisal and Dao came attached. The rest of the crew was undefined.

MORDAN NESS
Ness was inspired by a mad scientist from a story Andrew Helfer wrote in the 1980s. The scientist created poisons and pathogens which he tested on himself. Of course he died horribly, debilitated and disease-ridden. But it made me want to write a character who could survive using himself as a lab rat. This idea rattled around in my head for twenty years, a nutcase searching for a home. Then Helena dropped out of warp and Ness was born.

None of the existing canon races were suitable, but it was easy enough to create one. The story of the Braidans will available in the HF Wiki within a few days of this post.

ARVIN ROCKNEY
Rockney is Montgomery Scott’s spiritual child. LaForge, Torres, O’Brien…they took care of things, oiled the gears and tightened the screws, but for them it was just a job. Scotty loved the NCC-1701, and no bloody A, B, C or D, thank you very much.
This did more than just make Scotty a dedicated engineer; it brought the Enterprise to life. IMO there is no Trek ship more beloved than Jim Kirk’s first command, and you can thank Scotty for that. So love for the ship was pivotal to Helena’s engineer, but what if it went a step further? What if the engineer didn’t just love the ship, but was in love with the ship. Oh…that’s weird. That’s actually a little sick. And that makes it perfect.

DAIS
I’m a sucker for a tough chick. Probably comes from a childhood crush on Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman. But I’m not about to psychoanalyze myself and honestly I couldn’t afford what I’d charge. Still there was no question of Helena’s TAC/SEC being a woman. But what kind? Worf cornered the market on Klingons and Intrepid bagged the Romulan, so what does that leave me? Vulcan? Nah, too boring. Android? That’d be like walking on Data’s grave. Hmmm. Tough races…tough races…Nausicaans! Ouch. That makeup’s not going to happen and a Nausicaan has about as much chance of making it through the Academy as I have of ever making a responsible decision. Okay, so half-Nausicaan. That might work. This raised the question of what other race would sleep with a Nausicaan.

Certainly Trek has stretched the boundaries of inter-species romance, but there’s a limit. Researching the various other races revealed that Bolians were the most open-minded, but even that wasn’t enough. Then it occurred to me how this crossbreed could come into existence and I ran with it. The circumstances that led to Dais’s conception won’t be revealed until HC-102, so I’m afraid y’all will just have to wait for it. One thing I will say is that violence wasn’t involved.

ENSIGN NOT APPEARING IN THIS SHOW
Ross Cooper was Starfleet’s oldest ensign. Grey-haired and long in the tooth, he couldn’t pass a performance review if his life depended on it. He barely graduated from the Academy, was resentful of pretty much any other officer, and spent most of his off-duty hours playing space combat games on the holodeck. This made him an amazing helmsman, but that was the extent of his usefulness. His job basically was to screw up on away missions and get redshirts killed.

Rob didn’t feel there was much strength to the character and suggested replacing him with Artim Ibanya.

So that’s what happened, and in my mind Ross Cooper is serving aboard Excelsior and trying to live down getting his butt stomped by Henglaar’s niece.

RETURNING FACES

THERESA FAISAL

It was good to know who Helena’s captain was going to be, but HF episodes didn’t offer much to work with. Commander Faisal was little more than Naros’s seat-warmer and yes-man. So with nothing to go on, I reached out to Sharon Savene and the two of us had a long talk about where this woman came from. By the end of the conversation we’d nailed down Faisal’s heritage and birthplace, as well as special skills Sharon could bring to the character (eg Yoga). So a good deal of Faisal’s persona is based on Sharon herself.

DAO

This was a cakewalk. Dao was already well-established by HF and fully realized by Adam Browne. There was no need to create anything for Dao, only the question of how to address him. As far as I was concerned, the Dao symbiont was still a secret except to a select few. To get around the Zen/Dao confusion, he’s always addressed as either Number One or Jorian. Ness (when talking to Aster) says “You can thank our first officer…”. And even with all this I still screwed up when Dao addresses himself as Dao when calling on Faisal. This was a total mistake. Chalk it up to typing Dao a thousand times while writing the scripts.

Still, it’s not as bad as the time in a TNG episode where Picard calls Geordi “Lev”.

ARTIM IBANYA

As mentioned above, Artim was suggested to replace another character and I jumped at the chance. In addition to providing another bridge to HC’s progenitor, the general consensus on the boards was that Beau had grown into some fine eye candy, and what with the new characters not yet cast, eye candy in the hand is worth two in the…er…okay, that’d lead to a double entendre I’m not going to touch. Let’s just say bringing in Artim was a win/win.

HF had already established that Artim was a skilled pilot, so it was pretty easy to hand him the steering wheel.

THE EMPTY UNIFORM

By the end of development on Sanctuary Lost and in fact HC’s first season as a whole, my one regret was that there wasn’t a place for John Whiting. In watching Hidden Frontier I eventually came to love and care for everybody, but Henglaar was what made me a fan. Though it’s going to embarrass the hell out of him to read this, John Whiting became one of my heroes. So it was a major relief to me when I found out that John would be playing a major part in Odyssey.

OVERALL

Working with Areakt thus far has been a tremendously satisfying experience. Joint projects with the Intrepid team have added to that satisfaction. There is so much care and support in this group it’d be nice to bottle it and share it with the world.

IMO the casting of Helena Chronicles is superb. The CGI is breathtaking, the music beautiful and Sanctuary Lost’s directing was flawless.

Even though I know what’s going to happen next, I still can’t wait to see the next episodes of Odyssey and HC and I can’t express my gratitude enough to the fans and crew for giving me this opportunity to be part of the team.

Fondest Regards,

Brian S. Matthews
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Capt.Josh
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post Jan 4 2008, 06:27 PM
Post #2
Calling it a sister show to odyssey, not just another trek series. gives the impression that they sould merge, converge, or crossover at sometime and that there overall plots may be somehow linked. It gives me hope.

Kinda like angle and buffy...

For example they never called voyager ds9's sister programs they weren't linked and stood alone.  Calling it a sister program links them i look forward to seeing this dynamic unfold.
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Loccy
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post Jan 5 2008, 05:20 AM
Post #3
That was really good stuff Brian - it helped clear up a few areas of confusion for me. I was actually wondering what race Dais was intended to be.

The circumstances that led to Dais’s conception won’t be revealed until HC-102, so I’m afraid y’all will just have to wait for it. One thing I will say is that violence wasn’t involved.


It was alcohol, wasn't it? Under such circumstances we've ALL slept with "Nausicaans"!

I'm rooting for Dais' MOTHER to be the Nausicaan, incidentally. That'd make it a little more interesting than a Bolian girl who just fancied a bit of rough. I imagine a great scene where a hungover Bolian bloke wakes up, looks beside him and tries to sneak out without waking the Nausicaan woman up. Gets caught in the act, then proceeds to get the living sh*t kicked out of him and thrown around the room while a hysterical, tearful Nausicaan woman screams "but you said you'd still respect me in the morning!"
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Historian Dlan
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post Jan 5 2008, 11:18 PM
Post #4
... a hungover Bolian bloke wakes up, looks beside him and tries to sneak out without waking the Nausicaan woman up. Gets caught in the act, then proceeds to get the living sh*t kicked out of him and thrown around the room while a hysterical, tearful Nausicaan woman screams "but you said you'd still respect me in the morning!"


:rofl:

HD

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post Jan 6 2008, 03:08 AM
Post #5
Brian, I lap this stuff up, if it continues to be possible, don't give up with these types of posts.
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Historian Dlan
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post Jan 6 2008, 11:50 PM
Post #6
I'll probably do one for each script I write. I'm nothing if not long-winded (as you've seen on the Intrepid board on occasion. :) )

And I'm not deterred by a low number of responses to a post of this nature. It's really long. Most of the time if I open a thread to a post of this length I usually think "forget this" and click away, unless it's a subject that I'm really interested in.

HD

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post Jan 7 2008, 09:39 AM
Post #7
Well I'm interested, but then I think you and I go through a similar process. You're just a gazillion times faster than I am.
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post Feb 1 2008, 03:55 PM
Post #8
Still, it’s not as bad as the time in a TNG episode where Picard calls Geordi “Lev”.


Which episode was that?
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jackoverfull
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post Feb 1 2008, 09:14 PM
Post #9
if i remember right, it happened during the pilot itself, while he was still a bridge officer.
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post Feb 2 2008, 01:27 AM
Post #10
I'll probably do one for each script I write. I'm nothing if not long-winded (as you've seen on the Intrepid board on occasion. :) )

And I'm not deterred by a low number of responses to a post of this nature. It's really long. Most of the time if I open a thread to a post of this length I usually think "forget this" and click away, unless it's a subject that I'm really interested in.

HD


When it comes to Behind The Scenes info, I love long-winded people. I love getting a chance to see the twists, turns, shapes, backflips, flip-flops, and all sorts of directions that go on to bring something from idea to completion. Because it's not like these things appear fully formed.
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post Feb 2 2008, 11:02 AM
Post #11
[
It was alcohol, wasn't it? Under such circumstances we've ALL slept with "Nausicaans"!


"their is truth in them there word." lol
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