A reviewer on agonybooth.com said: "[Gene Roddenberry's] Star Trek, at its best, is an invigorating combination of solid sci-fi, philosophy, and strong characterization, with a little bit of humor sprinkled in, and some occasional well-done bits of action." I tried to do that here. GR's Trek was great in showing us issues on other worlds as a way of pointing out what's in our own backyard.
I also had to do what writing teachers taught me: do my research! Get it right, because even a fantasy world has to feel real. So to flesh out my Hellguard survivors and everything around them, good and bad, I studied the life experiences of:
The abandoned Vietnamese/American hybrid children, as explained by war veterans and the Vietnamese/Americans themselves.
People who grew up with foster homes, orphanages, and institutions, plus the experiences from those born from assault in our country, represented in Jennifer Bowman's Forgotten Victims of Rape.
Even in doing this, I tried to do what the writers I admire do: keep the aliens as aliens, diversify them, and diversify the humans. As one professional told me, "Don't be suburban in your writing" even when it's not cozy or pretty, but has teeth to it.
I have a lot of other people to acknowledge. First, of course is: Star Trek is copyrighted by Paramount/Viacom.
Archernar and some story elements come from The Pandora Principle, written by Carolyn Clowes.
Sorel, Daniel Corrigan, and their wives come from Jean Lorrah's novel The Vulcan Science Academy Murders.
The Spock and Valeris subplot also has some roots in that novel, but more importantly in the canon set by TNG's Violations, Nemesis, and more. I kept the violence of it, not only because it's set, but because of Leonard Nimoy stating he fought for the scene to be that way. He wanted to show that good people can do horrible things.
Rrelthiz, her people, and her friendship with Saavik come from A.C. Crispin's Just A Little Training Cruise. Captain Hunter, her relationship with Kirk, and the Aerfen were created by Vonda McIntrye. Dannan Stuart is McIntrye's and DC Comics'. The Twilight Eagle belongs to Barbara J. Yanosko in the fanfic "Time in Two". I modified it slightly.
Cain is broken into phases of the disease. Each one begins with lyrics from "Stranger to the Rain" by Stephen Schwartz.
Saavik's first/secret/self-name in this story, what I have termed the ahtía name, came from the fanfic "Something Great and Mighty" by J. Richard Laredo.
The Spock/Saavik relationship has its roots from the Classic Trek movies, including Nimoy's, Harve Bennett's, GR's, and Paramount's input; A.C. Crispin's Just A Little Training Cruise; and Vulcan's Heart and Vulcan's Soul by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz.
Last, the tender gesture of Sarek touching his paired fingers to Amanda's lips was inspired by Joanna Bordelon's fan art piece "Vulcan Kiss".
Cain is 146,614 words. It is 37 chapters and an epilogue. It has seven subplots as well as the main plot. It has 48 original characters, many who play a major role. And all of it, all of it, began with one question: where was Saavik in ST VI: The Undiscovered Country? I thought it'd be a few chapters. And then I began to think...
Cain is thirteen-years-old now at the time I write this, if you count from when it started vs when it was finished. Once in a while, it still gets a new reader who favorites it and sometimes even leaves a review. So I guess I did something right; I hope so. Although to tell the truth, I read it over recently and I actually forgot I wrote it at one point, because I didn't remember creating what I was reading. My muse does that; it/he/she shows up, has a grand old time if I'm lucky, and then goes off, sometimes taking away the memory that it was ever there. I started to ask a friend, "Hey, why haven't we heard more about this?" You got to love me.
That's compared to while I was writing it and would email them with, "It sucks! It blows! I HATE IT!" You can see my friends put up with a lot.
And now I dusted it off, cleaned up some things, and here's a copy of it in your hands. Fingers crossed that you enjoy it. (The updated version is available as a free PDF or ebook here. The link takes you to the PDF; you'll see the ebook in the lower right corner. You can also get a paperback book of it here.)
Thank you to Marla, Maria, Joe, Martha, and the people who followed this story and encouraged me to write more. I'd serve on their starship any time.
And two more people I want to thank: Martha gave a copy to Robin Curtis who said so many wonderful things. I hope I get to talk to her myself about it. Second to S.; we've never met face to face, but thank you to the power of a million for all your advice, comments, and amazing review.