|Posted on May 9, 2012 at 1:55 PM|
Part 6 of 6 on the “next generation” of space travelers.
In honor of Mother’s Day, May’s blog chain theme is “Nurture,” and in that spirit I present a story of two little boys in science fiction, one of whom is my own invention. This also finishes my series on children in space, so it works out perfectly.
I have indicated throughout this series that children need to be seen in space more often. Contrary to the ideas of some, I believe kids sharing adventures and overcoming obstacles with adults is a good idea. In later years, it would make them bold adults in moments of crisis, just as kids who grow up in wartime are often more solid when they mature.
Take Alexander Rozhenko of The Next Generation, for instance. He’s the son of Worf and K’Ehleyr (pronounced kay•lar). I’d like to think he’s a product of a prior marriage, but the way Trek producers think, not really—unfortunately. This is all I will say about that. Also, their combative form of relaxing is as interesting as it is disturbing.
For the first few years, K’Ehleyr had raised Alexander alone, but by TNG’s “Reunion,” she’s decided to introduce him to his father. Worf is unable to accept the child at first, believing Alexander would have to share his dishonor in “polite” Klingon society. This part of the story I also won’t get into much; Klingon brutality has always turned me off.
Sadly, the Klingon leader Duras murders her for probing too far into the Khitomer Massacre. Because Worf and Alexander share the loss, they find a bond. Due to his Starfleet duties, Worf passes him to Sergey and Helena Rozhenko, essentially his own Earthian parents, so little Alexander could be nurtured under their care.
I think this is the sweetest part of the story. Worf cares so much about the people who had raised him, he trusts them to nurture his son. Such a family commitment is rarely seen in the rest of the Klingon race.
Eventually, Alexander returns to the Enterprise-D, because the Rozhenkos felt they were getting too old to keep up with an active youngster. To me, this is the most interesting part of Alexander’s journey as a character. A handful of episodes in Deep Space Nine look at him as an adult, but here I’m considering only his childhood.
Aside from the chiefly Klingon episodes where Alexander appears, three stand out in my mind to define the character best. “Imaginary Friend” pitted him against the mischievous Isabella, the pretend character who became real for Clara Sutton, as I mentioned last week. In “Rascals,” he helped the diminutive adults dispose of Ferengi invaders; you can read more about this in my blog two weeks ago. Most of all, like any Earthian child, he has a fascination for the Old West—called the Ancient West in “A Fistful of Datas.” Or at least, Hollywood’s typical treatment of the era. I think I’ll cover this one next week.
Now let me introduce you to another little boy who became a space traveler. From the moment I first conceived of a houseship called Saternis and its two-thirds alien crew called a clannet, I knew Baqi Izeni would be the youngest of his family. When I wrote Savage Worlds, I had the clannet’s first contact with him be somewhat less than friendly.
On their first visit to his homeworld Sutar, the crew collects samples, expecting to leave as soon as they had collected enough. Jael and Oliver Friese, Captain Riegel’s daughter and son-in-law, are stooping near a hedge examining leaf structures. Nine-year-old Baqi is the self-appointed protector of his farmer father’s land—a quality that eventually earned him a place on board—and he leaps on Jael’s back.
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Small legs wrapped Jael’s ribs. Arms covered her eyes. Unable to see, her screams of “get it off, get it off” escalated. It rode her like a bucking bronco, hanging on with vicious screeches of its own. Her sisters screamed for Oliver to do something. He rushed the creature to pry it off, but it clung too fast.
“Oliver!” said Fondlo. “Use your enerbeam.”
“Oh … yeah.” He drew it out, chiding himself for not thinking of it sooner. “Jael. Turn your back toward me and hold still.”
“Hold still? Are you kidding?”
Oliver aimed. When the creature’s back moved into his sights, the thin yellow beam cut the night air, hitting the attacker. Both fell together on the loam. The creature rolled off trembling, and lay still.
Jael scrambled away, staring in shock and panting. Oliver knelt beside her to hold her quaking shoulders. Fondlo, Rachel, and Prokta rushed to the unconscious heap.
Training her handlight on it, Rachel let out a startled cry. “Why … it’s just a little boy. Oliver, you killed him!”
Oliver felt confused. “Impossible. Enerbeams don’t kill. Besides, I had mine on mild stun, like Fondlo said.”
“But look at him. He’s all blue!”
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As it turns out, the blueness is his race’s natural pigmentation, just as my drawing above shows. Since Rachel hails from the Millennial Kingdom, she’s never seen death before. But she’s heard dead bodies turn blue, not realizing this is not the right shade.
Like Alexander, Baqi possesses bravery beyond his years. But unlike Alexander, he has a stable home life. Both are aliens to the spaceships they eventually board, and both play important roles in a number of scenes. Did I base Baqi on Alexander? No. Created in 1980, Baqi was already firmly fixed in my mind by the time Alexander first appeared in 1989. In spite of this, the parallels are remarkable.
In my sequel to Savage Worlds, the Izeni family has been inducted as claneteers and go on their first space adventure. In time, Pirates from Gnorlon takes them to the society and planet in the title, and Baqi finds himself alone on the Saternis, for the others have been captured. He’s worried sick about what might be happening to them.
His older sister Trizta manages to contact him, and together they work out a plan to free her and rescue captain and crew from the pirates. It’s one of the few times we see him working bridge controls while he’s still a child.
So, both Baqi and Alexander are brave little boys who serve important roles for their respective crews. Both mature through their experiences, and both are nurtured by family and friends. Alexander has his father and the Rozhenkos to nurture him, and Baqi has his parents, plus two sisters and a brother. Each also has other adults they enjoy being with, who share nurturing duties as the boys grow into competent men.
Ephesians 6 opens with important things to consider: “1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The King James Version interprets verse 4 as “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Nurture suggests taking care of not only physical needs, but emotional ones as well. It includes encouraging and supporting a child as he grows up, thus making sure he can handle life once he’s on his own. Admonition would be gentle correction when the child steps out of line, thereby generating confidence within him.
I don’t mean to imply this is easy; every child has a stubborn streak. But it is necessary. This is how God treats us as His children, gently guiding us in the way we should go. We who resist His guidance cannot expect to feel secure, but we who learn our lessons and go God’s way, we can have success not only in this life, but for Eternity.