Hey! We’re back!
Well, to be fair, the G and T Show never really went anywhere. Hosts Nick Minecci, Terry Lynn Shull, and Mike Medeiros kept on keeping on, doing their usual weekly bit of discussing all the various happenings across the “Star Trek Universe.” There was talk of latest movie news and rumors, developments with the ever-evolving Star Trek Online game, and of course some love was thrown toward the Star Trek novels, for which I’m grateful.
Meanwhile, I was busy dealing with wrapping up my employment as well as the manuscript for the latest novel project, so my days and nights were kinda busy there, for a while. Because of that, I asked for the show’s usual “Ask Dayton” segment to take a brief hiatus while I tended to those other items. Now that the decks have been cleared, more or less and for the time being, I was back in the saddle this week with an all new query. What’d we have for our newest question?
When you, Kevin, and Dave were writing the Vanguard series, it seemed that it would be the last time we would be seeing many of the characters aboard the Endeavour and the Sagittarius. Many people died throughout Vanguard as a result of it. Now, with Seekers picking up where Vanguard left off, I wonder if there are any characters you could have saved for use in Seekers?
Why the hell are we talking about Vanguard? Don’t we know we’re not supposed to be talking about Vanguard? What’s the First Rule of Vanguard, kids? That’s right. Say it with me: “You Do Not Talk About Vanguard.”
Admiral Nogura’s gonna be pissed at us if he finds out we’ve been talking about Vanguard. You know that, right?
Eh, fuck it. Let’s talk about Vanguard.
For those of you who aren’t dialed into the finer points of Star Trek novel geekery, Vanguard as created by editor Marco Palmieri and author David Mack is a series of books that served as a “literary spin-off” of the original Star Trek television series. No, not David Mack the Kabuki artist, but hey! He really, really loves it when you make that joke, because he’s never, ever heard it. Like ever, at least not in the last five minutes or so.
Anyway, Vanguard was set aboard a space station in a hotly contested area of space called “the Taurus Reach.” After Dave set events into motion with the series’ first book, Harbinger, Kevin Dilmore and I were invited aboard to help continue the story. Over the course of seven novels and a handful of novellas, the series’ cast of characters (and holy shit, were there a lot of them) dug up all sorts of trouble and generally pissed off some very powerful aliens who didn’t much like being dug up and pissed off.
As the story unfolded over those novels and novellas, several characters met tragic ends, and a couple got what they fuckin’ had comin’ to ‘em. At the time, those of us writing Vanguard stories didn’t think much of this, as we were marching to the endgame we more or less had plotted all along. I say “more or less” because while there was a sort of blueprint Dave set up at the beginning, we ended up adding a lot of additional ideas and whatnot as each new book was developed.
Because sometimes, new shit comes along that you like better than the other shit, that’s why.
Then, once Vanguard was over and done, wrapped and topped with a pretty little bow and with us thinking we all would move on to other things, we got the bright idea to take some of the leftover toys back out of the box and see if we couldn’t come up with a new game to play. The results of this freestyle, caffeine and alcohol-driven brainstorming is a little something we like to call Star Trek: Seekers.
So, now that we have our new little corner of the Star Trek sandbox in which to cavort, do we wish we hadn’t been quite so bloodthirsty in the Vanguard books, and perhaps spared some of our favorite characters who didn’t make it to the end of that series?
Speaking only for myself? Nope.
We did what we wanted to do with Star Trek Vanguard: Craft a sweeping tale with a defined beginning, middle, and ending, and once we were done, we wanted to place it on a proverbial shelf and be able to point to it and say, “Yeah, we did that, and we’re damned proud of it.” The characters who died, and those who survived and yet still paid heavy personal costs, did so in service to the story we wanted to tell. I won’t speak for Dave or Kevin, or Marco or Margaret Clark, but while I might think we could have done this or that thing better, I have no regrets about how it all ended up. As far as I’m concerned, the stories of Vanguard’s core cast have been told. Within the fictional construct of the Star Trek universe, their reward—and penance—for what happened over the course of those novels and novellas is to be consigned to obscurity; footnotes to a history about which few people ever will know the complete truth.
Out here in the real world, and while I certainly could come up with ideas for new stories for each of those characters, I have no immediate desire to do so. I know Dave and Kevin feel the same way, and we’ve all agreed to leave those characters be, while pledging to level basketball-sized stink-eyes on anyone else who dares to give it a go. Our self-imposed compromise for this is the crews of the Endeavour and the Sagittarius, who really were only supporting players in the Vanguard saga and now take center stage in Seekers. Any stories we choose to tell which might pull on a dangling Vanguard plot thread can—we believe—be handled by the characters from those ships, so that’s the way it’s going to be, at least so long as we have anything to say about it.
Okay, we’re done here. No more talking about Vanguard, because while I don’t know about you, I sure as shit don’t want Admiral Nogura coming to punch me in the junk.
This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #160 on September 28th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.
And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to make me a part of the fun.