Paging Doctor Bearrian: His Untold Story


It’s not often I focus on members of the Chronicles crew that aren’t Hank Harrison or Bethany Reeves. I have a habit of zeroing in on those two because of how much I like their dynamic as well as how popular they are. Yes, I’ll admit it, Hank/Bethany is the most popular thing I have going for me.

As such, their popularity usually brings feedback and, as well all know, Feedback=Love. I like feedback so I write them often.

But for this month’s challenge, Hank/Bethany just couldn’t be done. I had written a ton for them in the weekly free writes, but I had already posted most of it to the archives so they couldn’t be used. I had to dig deep into the free write forums and I dug up an oddball post. One that featured a Chronicles character that wasn’t Hank or Bethany, and in a scenario that was never meant to ever be followed up on in any way.

Posted on July 13th, 2011, the story in WFW #35 was about ‘small universe syndrome’ which is basically Trek’s way of getting characters together that, in no way, should really ever be together. Notable examples are littered throughout TNG (Admiral McCoy, Scotty).

My doctor got together with Seven in this prompt. Probably not as ambitious as my first response to the prompt, which was to have McCoy deliver Hank and Bethany’s first child (which is pretty much canon because I love McCoy) but I quite liked the story with Paul.

Paul deserved it frankly because he predated Hank and Bethany. Yes, folks, Paul Bearrian was actually the first of the Chronicles characters to come about. Now, just for recap, the Chronicles characters (and some elements of the story) were derived from an RPG I was trying to get off the ground.

Paul’s origins are virtually the same, he comes from an RPG, but his RPG predates the one I was making myself. His RPG was on a now-defunct Star Trek Online fansite (that sadly went the way of the dodo bird pretty quickly). Paul also has the unfortunate distinction of being author-avatar way before Hank.

Paul was me in this RPG, I’m ashamed of saying. I was young. I was stupid. But he was so blatantly me. How blatant? Well, let’s take a look at the original file I submitted for the RPG (which was accepted for some reason). Be prepared to wince. A lot.

Name:Paul Bearrian
Species: Human
Gender: male
Place of Birth: Alabama(a state in the former US)
Date of Birth: October 13, 2354
Age: 28

(What a coincidence, he has my birthday! *gags*)

Position applying for: Chief Medical Officer

Physical Appearance
Height: 5’8
Eye color: hazel
Hair color: Dark brown
Skin Tone: A tan with a medium hue.
Distinguishing Marks: a 1/4 wide of an inch hole in his left ankle.

(At the time, those physical appearance traits were all me. This was in fall 2007/spring 2008 when this file was written. Those are probably the most accurate measurements of that time of myself, minus the hole in my left ankle. I stole that particular trait from a friend … cause, you know, I’m original like that)

Mother: Silvia Harrison
Father: Theodore Bearrian
Brother: Steven Bearrian
Brother: Maxwell Bearrian
Sister: Victoria Bearrian

(Hmm. Three siblings, two brothers, one sister … just like me. The only one to actual make it into proper canon here for Chronicles is Victoria. But pay attention to the rest of this profile from this point as you’ll also see a number of Hank Harrison traits play out.)
Strengths/Talents/Limitations/Weaknesses: Paul is a guy who doesn’t easily get deterred, and makes sure he expends every possibility in any given situation. He also is a guy who is known to give good advice, although he can never follow his own. Despite the fact he doesn’t get deterred easily, he does think to much sometimes. He also is quite forgetful, and sometimes this leads to unfortunate situations. He’s never had any luck with women, but he does have his fair share of female friends. His biggest enemy is his mind, as it tends to analyze things too much.

(These traits for Paul are, more or less, still pretty close to what he is now. The profile makes him sound like a bit of a godsend to the medical field but he does give out good advice, he doesn’t really get deterred easily, and he has a tendency to get lost in his own thoughts. He’s not really forgetful and he hasn’t had much luck with women because he doesn’t try. But some of this has carried over.)
Hobbies/Interests: Paul is quite the bowler, as he took up the sport when he was young. He loves to read and write form time to time, but never publishes anything. He also likes to fix computers like his father(who works as a federation scientist who builds and programs computers). Paul is known for his vast wealth of knowledge on a variety of subjects.

(Look, classic trekfan typo there with ‘form’ instead of ‘from’. Aren’t you glad I’m still that consistent nearly six years later? XD Seriously, though, none of these things are Paul now. He doesn’t bowl or get out at all. Doesn’t write. Doesn’t fix computers. I did, and still do, but he’s not this. He loves to read but usually it’s medical papers. His father is not a Federation scientist — I have no idea what his dad does, actually — and Paul has a decent working knowledge of most subjects, but not a ‘vast wealth’ as is described here.)
Ambitions: Paul would like to someday marry. He has already fulfilled his career aspirations in becoming a doctor, but he is always looking for that one special girl(as his mother and sister say). It is a daunting subject for Paul, as he can never quite figure out what to do(in a romantic sense) with women.

(Not Paul. He’s pretty sure he’s a bachelor for life, though Seven may change that, and he’s not looking. At all. For any girl. At all. He’s probably in his office, working, and forgetting to eat. Or drink. Or sleep. Because that’s Paul. But these trails are so me at this time and, in some respects, still are me. Now, I’m going to go invent a time machine real quick to go punch my past self … jeez.)
Education – Before Starfleet Academy:
Attended Alabama central Academy 2358-2366
Attended Alabama Central High school 2366-2370, graduated 16th in his class

(More me.)
Promotion History:
Attended Starfleet academy 2370-2373 (graduated in 3 years due to placement in the advanced program)

(Not me. Or Paul, for that matter … I think. He had a standard four year program but he did graduate with honors. He worked hard.)
Ensign 2375
Lt. Junior grade 2377
Lieutenant 2378
Lt. commander 2381

(I’m actually fairly sure this is somewhat maybe close … promotion histories always give me headaches. My RPG buds are always telling me I promote people too quickly for a paramilitary organization like Starfleet. I tend to disagree, based on canon, but whatever the case maybe, this is probably close to Paul’s actual promotion history.)

Personal History and Origin

Paul Berrian was born in 2354, in AL. His father and mother were pleased to welcome in their oldest son, and Paul later came to feel that title carried far more responsibility than it implied. His little brother Steven was born only a few years after him in January of 2357. After that he was constantly battling for superiority in the family, but eventually the brother to brother rivalry settled down to a friendly competition. That all changed however when their mother gave birth to their youngest son, Maxwell or “Maxxie” in June of 2365. Again another brotherly rivalry erupted, but this time between Steven and young Maxxie. Paul was forced on many occasions to referee the fighting, but yet again another child was born in September of 2367, his only sister Victoria. When she came into the world, Paul was forced to learn a whole new set of rules.

(Um … me. This is getting awkward now.)
When Paul entered High school in 2366 his was looked upon as just another smart kid. His first year in High school was hell, to say the least as he was picked on and had hardly any friends. However he soon learned to adapt to the ways of high school, and by the end of his freshmen year he was considered a cool guy. However, Paul was never quite the ladies man. In fact, he was always the single guy and he could never make any strides with women.

(Not me. Freshmen year was hell but I was never considered a ‘cool guy’. I was projecting wishes here I think. And so couldn’t make any strides with women but that’s another story entirely, lol.)

This sad trend continued after he graduated High school, and for his senior trip he and his buddies went to Risa. Here Paul suffered his greatest defeat as he was tricked into drinking a glass of water, spiked with sleeping pills. When he woke up, he had been robbed, and was left with nothing. He spent the next few weeks getting back to earth, however he suffered an accident on the trip back. he was thrown onto a hot iron pole, and his left ankle fell directly on it, going through and leaving a 1/4 wide hole. The doctors were able to save his ankle, but could not remove the scarring.

(I made this up and it’s not applicable to either Paul or myself.)

Paul entered the academy 2 months later. His goal was to become a doctor, a goal which his father disapproved of, but one which his mother liked. he spent the next 3 years of his life studying, and working hard. He earned his medical degree, and left Starfleet academy for his first assignment.

(Fatherly disapproval of career choice was neither Paul or me. This was transferred over to Hank’s father, who didn’t want his son in Starfleet at all).

Paul was assigned onto a medical hospital in Starbase 134. There he cared for the sick and ill, but mostly those poor souls who fought in the dominion war. He was there when they brought them in, and he became friends with many of them, however few ever left. The depressing nature of the work was beginning to wear on Paul and he put in for a transfer to a starship after he gained his Ensign status.

(This is partly true. Paul did do some time on a medical base as I recall, during the Dominion War, but he was a med student. My canon is a bit murky for him here.)

He served on board the U.S.S Gettysburg, an old excelsior class vessel for her last years of service, and left in 2379, due to the ship’s retirement. He signed onto the U.S.S Blackhawk, nova class ship, as the assistant medical officer. The Blackhawk was called back to dock in late 2381 due to a malfunction in her warp core. Paul decided to leave the Blackhawk, and put in for a transfer onto the U.S.S Endeavor for Chief Medical Officer. He awaits the response to his request.

(Paul was never aboard the Gettysburg but he was aboard the Blackhawk.)


And that’s it. The RPG profile is pretty simple and, as you see, Paul as we know him doesn’t actually have much from here. His name, however, remains the same and is an homage to a very famous person who coached the University of Alabama’s football team, Paul Bear Bryant. I got a kick out of it then.

Now, it’s somewhat ironic as Paul Bearrian and Paul Bear Bryant are two vastly different people in terms of personality and approach.

Paul was very much author-avatar at the time, as you can also see. But he quickly developed into his own person in the writing of the Chronicles series. He doesn’t like social functions. He’s not big into places with a lot of people. He’s a small eater, a nervous person, and likes to bury himself in his work.

It takes a certain type of person to draw Paul out and, as ludicrous as it sounds, Seven is that type of person. Which is is why when the challenge came about, I was leaning towards the Paul/Seven date. And it won out, thankfully.

Now, Paul has a lot of potential, especially if this thing with Seven plays out well. I don’t know for sure if these two are a lifetime item but they date for a while at least. Paul is a good piece to play with and has a lot to contribute. There is a big plot I want to tackle with both Paul and Seven, but certain things have to play out with them on a personal level before I even consider it a realistic option (yes, I know, I’m a tease).

Paul was always a tough one to write romance for anyway. Every attempt I made ended up failing. A lot of people have told me they thought Paul and T’Kel would end up together, but I will confirm here that doesn’t happen. T’Kel gets her own happy ending but does not end up with Paul. Paul was slated to be a lifelong bachelor … he may end up that way. He may not. We’ll see.

While I’m here, I’ll also go ahead and talk about Paul and Vicky.

Because Vicky is based off someone I knew in high school, a girl who was very much like the one in the story, but one I had a bit of a crush on (and by a bit, I mean a lot). Vicky was short, blonde, very pretty, and quite bouncy. The real one. Which is just like Paul’s sister, which the real Vicky basically became to me after I struck out hard on her.

In the story, Vicky sets Paul up on a blind date, because Paul has no social life and is completely devoid of any motivation to develop one. He really would rather not. He feels super-nervous in social situations. But Vicky is determined to find her brother a suitable partner because, frankly, she’s really obsessed with the idea of ‘great romances’. Vicky is a sucker for romances. Reads them/plays them all the time.

She’s about 11 years younger than Paul, so during his time in high school he had a little sister that was that cute age that always wanted to play with him. He played with her, sometimes, but a lot of the times he missed out on playing with her because he was involved with something else. He carries some guilt over this and feels like he was an absent brother for much of her younger life, which he kinda was. The Academy and Starfleet took him away from Earth and he didn’t mind it much.

He missed her though. The two share a close relationship, though, and that’s due in no small part to how tiny Paul’s social circle is. He communicates with so very few people that aren’t colleagues that his ability to reach out and bend an ear is limited. Vicky uses this to get him out from time to time. She’s really the driving force behind any social function he goes on in a lot of cases.

Vicky is Paul’s only sibling and his parents jokingly refer to her as the ‘accidental child’ because they had only planned to have one. But they got two and Vicky was, from moment one, a bundle of energy that is hard to say no to. It’s damned near impossible. Which is why, in the story, Paul can’t really say no to his sister.

… and that’s it. I don’t think there’s anything else I have to add other than that Paul’s nickname, Saint Paul, has its own story … a bit unflattering of one but that’s a gem to be revealed in a story. Hopefully with Seven, if the two manage to get to the point where they start sharing personal details like that.

Thanks for reading folks.

On AUs and Original Characters/Settings

jespah posted the prompt here and I’m in the mood to address the questions, for the questions spoken of are good ones. So, let’s explore them one by one and see where I fall.

  • What’s the best setting for an original character? Is it as a lone figure, thrust into a canon ship or situation? In a group of original characters but still in a canon ship, situation or series? Or as a stand-alone crew, group, political party or other agglomeration of individuals?

For many years I stayed away from having my original characters meet and interact significantly with canon characters. When I first began fan fiction, I was a noob. A total, complete, noob. My main character was very much author-avatar but I knew better than to try and force canon characters on the story — at least in any significant way. I didn’t feel ready then to write them at all. It was too easy to fall into the trap of writing a canon character poorly … being ‘one of those’ authors who couldn’t separate their own desires for the canon character for what the character actually was.

I didn’t want to be that new author. So, I set my crew and my ship in a mostly standalone setting. That crew, of course, would be the crew of the USS Pearl. They were my first and, as such, they were all original. The setting they were in was original and that style of writing pretty much became my go-to.

Only recently have I begun experimenting writing original characters with canon characters in a significant way. It’s different in a lot of ways, more difficult in some, but very fulfilling when I get the voices/movements right for the canon character.

  • When do original characters and scenarios tip the scale from new spins on familiar works to out and out non-Trek? Is there a bright line between Star Trek and not-Star Trek?

This is a tough one for me. I don’t think there’s been a story I’ve read that exclusively had original characters and an original scenario that went into non-Trek territory. Most of the time I feel that way, original characters are being written with canon characters … and those canon characters are being written just plain wrong and have some sort of fixation on one or more of the original characters.

The divide, I feel, between Star Trek and not-Star Trek isn’t based on scenarios or settings — Trek is grand in that respect, as anyone can go anywhere and do anything in that expansive universe — but rather based on the characters. Like any episode of any Trek series, if the characters are well-written (or at least decently written) then I’ll buy just about any scenario they throw at me. If the characters are poorly written, then I won’t buy it at all — and I’ll likely spend the bulk of the story compiling a mental list of things I dislike about it.

Star Trek is well-written characters. Not-Star Trek is poorly written characters. My simplistic view.

  • How can original character love interests be integrated into a more canon scenario? What about original character leaders?

To be honest, I’m not sure. I’ve only just begun to write an original character love interest for a canon character (this month’s challenge entry, I Don’t Want It To End, featuring my OC Paul Bearrian and Seven of Nine). I have seen it done and the way it is done, frankly, is to not make it that special.

What I mean to say is, the author shouldn’t go out of their way to do it. I suppose I violated that thought with my own story but I think it should come about naturally. In defense of myself, neither Paul or Seven go out on dates so going out of my way to set them up wasn’t really so extravagant. But, as a general rule of thumb, I think letting it occur naturally is the way to go.

As for OC leaders being integrated into a canon ship … say, someone trying to take over after Picard leaves the Enterprise … I honestly don’t know. I’ve never tried to have an OC take over a canon ship. It seems wrong on some level, as the canon ship is usually tied to the captain and crew of that ship pretty tightly. I suppose the same rule of thumb applies: let it happen naturally and don’t force it.

  • For canon characters who have very little back story or screen (or authorized book) time, what’s the tipping point between when canon converts into what is, for all intents and purposes, an original character?

The tipping point is when the author begins to add to, and flesh out, what limited story is done on the canon character. I tackled this particular thing with Barash, the little grey alien from “Future Imperfect” that was quickly forgotten about after his episode. His species, his life after, his thoughts … I expanded on them all.

‘What about Barash?’ was really one of the driving questions of the Chronicles series. What happened to him? His mother? His species? I took to expanding on Barash and he became a solid supporting player in the Chronicles series, one which I hope to feature more in his own way down the road.

I gave him a story after the episode, I gave him a species name, I gave them backstory … all these things I put into him. I think that’s when a canon characters becomes an OC, when the author puts in the work to expand them into more than just a one-off character or an occasional guest star. When they put in the work to fill in the gaps, to make them a person, that makes that canon character an OC.

To be Original is to be a person in my view.

  • For representations of canon characters in fan fiction that are not well-portrayed (e. g. the author misses the mark and does not accurately represent the canon character’s language, ideals, vision, etc.), can the situation be salvaged by rewriting the story with an original character?

I’m going to say, for most cases, no. The reason a canon character was cast in the first place was to bring their established history, mannerisms, and self into the story. To aid the story. If you write the canon character poorly and the story’s wrong, substituting in an OC during the rewrite requires, really, a completely different story.

So if we’re saying that the author is going to substitute out the canon characters and replace it with an OC and try to keep the story the same, more or less, than I’m saying the story still suffers and can’t really be right.

If, however, we’re saying the author does the above but sets out to write a completely new story, one that is going to be different from the first attempt, than I’ll say that the story can be saved. In fact, it’ll probably be better. It depends on which way the author takes it. I would hope they rewrite it without the preconceived notion that it has to be like the first attempt but I don’t know.

  • For original settings, what makes them unique? Can an original setting be so extraordinary that it, in a way, almost becomes a nonliving type of Mary Sue?

I feel that, for original settings, what makes them unique is the twists on the common settings that the original inevitably draws from. Everything has been done, we all know this, but it’s the details that make the original settings standout, at least to me.

Examples: For Steff’s Scotty stories, I don’t remember every ship he was on or what his job there was. I don’t remember every time he saved the ship from utter disaster. But I do remember Scotty sailing on the water, on a ship. That was unique, that was memorable to me … that detail. I remember his little penlight. I remember those things.

For kes7’s Tesseract series, I don’t remember what the ship looks like. I always imagine it as kind of a long cube looking thing. I see the quantum slipstream drive and the ability to launch smaller vessels from the larger ship, and I remember those things … but the detail that stands out most about that series is the kind of governing board the captain (whom I’m not a fan of — that’s right, Adele, I’m calling you out over cyberspace. Eat me, Betazoid) has to report to for the major, big decisions. I’ve never seen that done before. QSD, smaller ships launching from big ones, yeah … but a captain having a board of people she has to report to for big decisions was new to me.

May I also point out that the settings in both these two examples are also significantly made better by the wonderful writing of these two. I could probably go on all day, author by author on Ad Astra, but those two are the first to come to mind.

As to the secondary question, I think an original setting can be kinda Mary Sue if it doesn’t grow. Change. Evolve. Mary Sue type characters are always, more or less, perfectly amazing. They have no flaws and are awesome at pretty much everything. A setting can be that if it doesn’t change over time in story. I think.


  • Who are some of your favorite original characters that you have created? Do you feel they fulfill their purposes?

My favorite original characters … well, that would probably be just about everyone in the Chronicles series. They were my first. My favorites from those are, without a doubt, Hank and Bethany because both of them have evolved beyond their original (very limited) purposes. Hank was the nice guy captain who was basically an avatar of myself. Bethany was the girl next door designed to be Hank’s (and by extension my) romantic interest.

That was it for them and they’ve become so much more since then. They’ve both evolved and grown, despite me in some cases, and have more than fulfilled their purposes.

My characters fail it. Hard. Which I’m proud of. When I first came into fan fiction, I was very weary of the Mary Sue characters. I had read a lot, a lot, of bad fan fiction before I stumbled upon the Omega Sector and Terilynn’s wonderful writing. When I read her stuff, I saw people and I modeled what I was doing after her in a lot of ways.

It can be said that I might give my characters too many flaws and this might be valid, but I feel like I got a pretty decent balance on things.

  • What are some of your favorite original settings that you have created? Did they work?

My favorite one, oddly enough, is not related to Chronicles at all. It’s my Paths Not Taken universe, where the Borg have overrun and taken over everything. It’s a very dark, depressing, and sad setting but one that has such atmosphere. Ships are beat up, people are beat up, hope is virtually nonexistent, and there is a group trying to fight back. It’s really a fun setting to explore, both in past and present, and I quite like it.

  • Who else’s original characters do you enjoy reading the most, and why?

The Tesseract crew. Love them to death (this is nearly literal, I kid you not). Every one of kes7’s characters have their strengths and weaknesses and all of them feel like they could easily be main characters. Not all of them are, but the fact that I can see each one getting their own main story and I like the idea speaks of how deep they’re written. The dynamics between them all don’t feel forced but rather feel normal, for them anyway, and it’s just fun for me. I like to read it and, when the occasion presents itself, write it (with the author’s permission of course).

  • Are there others’ original settings that you like reading the most? What makes those original settings your favorites?

Captain Sarine’s Retribution universe is probably the setting I like to read the most. Sarine has a way of capturing so much about the setting itself, an intricate character in any story, that I’m quite jealous of. If you have the chance, read his stuff and pay special attention to the space battles (which are really more like paintings). The way he describes the things in space (some of them quite living) are brilliant and the setting of the universe itself is one of the most unique you’ll find in some ways.