This months’ first prompt, from SLWalker:

To AU or not to AU, that is the question!

Do you like writing alternate universes? Branching your characters off and seeing where a different path goes? Where do you start, and how do you go about it?

So!  Alternate Universes!  Seems easy enough, right?

Eh…not really so much.  If for no other reason than I’m lazy and I like my characters right where they are, in their own little protected universe…

Except, if you look at things technically…most of us write in alternate universes.  We *claim* they’re in the prime or the AU or the MU or Universe 1729 but, really, we write in separate, alternate takes on what we feel should be explored in Trek.  United Trek would be the largest single universe I’ve seen around here so far, but then again, I’m still pretty new on the scene myself.

Along with that, I write for Star Trek Online’s universe.  This is a video game; it would be the epitome of alternate universes.  Why?  Because every character (so far, until they change the tutorial next week or so) has gone through what Jessica did in Blood Red Dawn.  Every character has stopped the Devidians in Ghost Ship.  There are a finite number of missions, and just about every character has ground their way through those set missions.

Is it feasible to say five million captains all received their commands following a Borg attack?  Not really…

I’m working to do something similar to United Trek, in that at least one other STO writer and myself are going to be syncing our timelines up so that we are writing in, virtually, the same universe.  You’ve been getting a taste of his characters, and they’ll be larger players in my next story to help introduce them properly to the community, and it should hopefully encourage other STO writers to throw their hats in the ring as well.  At least, that’s the goal.  BUT, that is, again, just one more alternate universe to add to the pile.

Now, going back and looking at AU as alternate to my universe…well, that’s a bit different.  Again, I like my characters right where they are, but I have explored this possibility, somewhat off-handedly, in Merrily Merrily Merrily, where I explored the “what if” of Jessica telling her friends what her first posting was.  If you haven’t, go read it before continuing, because there will be spoilers.



Back?  Ok.  So, as I said, Jessica tells her friends where she goes.  Vega still happens; Bridget and Justine’s knowledge of her posting isn’t going to change the fact that the Borg are returning, nor the fact that Rafale gets caught in the middle of the charlie-foxtrot.  I presented the story as a dream to assure people that things were still the same, but I ended it intentionally with a shift back to that reality, in the spirit of the theory that for every decision point in history, a new universe is created.  Somewhere, there is a Bridget who is utterly alone; somewhere else, I’m sure, all three of the girls made it out of that alive.

Other than that foray, I’m not sure I’ll do more of it.  It could be interesting later on, but I have enough ideas for stories to keep me busy for a while.

4 thoughts on “Alts

  1. So for you, what I’ve been referring to as probably pariotric changes (middle of the road; not whether the dinosaurs survive, and not whether you choose a different-colored shirt today) forge new universes. Of course the question is where the line is drawn. How big does the change have to be in order to forge a new universe? Because if the answer is any size, then time travel will have the side effect of creating different universes every single time, and every single nanosecond, as amoebae or even quarks would be shifted ever so slightly if an observer were around who wasn’t beforehand.

    I tend to firmly come down on the side of helfino. I like to think that the really disastrous alternatives can be fixed, but that can often be a bit of a hand wave.

    And if there are no ways to change the universe, if this is the one we’re stuck with (and I think dimensionally, that might not be the case), then observation shouldn’t matter, and that messes with everyone’s concept of free will. It doesn’t just mean time travel is impossible (you know what the Vulcan Science Directorate says about that ….), but also that humans are interchangeable. I suppose my ego can’t handle that, either.

    Hence I take the middle ground, saying that sometimes it matters and can change, and sometimes it just plain doesn’t matter.

    Philosophy for a Sunday morning! Certainly things to think about.

  2. Fascinating to see the Star Trek universe get expanded. I’ve had fun recently trawling through STO images for inspirations, settings and different models of ships for the sake of some story ideas. It’s an intriguing little universe – not so little really.

    Because of an inability to play the game it’s great to see some of it explored through your fan fictions. I’m interested in getting caught up in this slice of Trek via your characters. And I love the ambition of creating something a little collaborative with other STO authors/players and filling out a shared universe. Best of luck with that endeavour. it should prove rewarding and very interesting – to you and to the readers.

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