FEEDBACK by Saavant S/f PG
Summary: Saavant gets some comments on her fanfiction from a reliable source.
Disclaimer: Spock is copyrighted by Paramount/Viacom. Maria Susanne Schmidt is copyrighted by Saavant. Saavant is copyrighted by a higher power of which we know but little. I am not getting paid to write about any of us.
Author's Note: I am still new at writing fanfic, but I've encountered several stories of this kind (though I'm still not sure if "revenge" is a cover term for stories in which the writer meets her characters, or if it describes a particular subgenre of such fiction) and eventually inspiration struck, resulting in this chronicle of my own visit from Spock and our discussion of his surprising bondmate.
Archive: anywhere, as long as you let me know where Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm in the About.com Star Trek Fan Chat Room, but I'm about to leave because no one seems to be there, and besides, it's 10:40 a.m. on a Wednesday, and Spanish class will start in 20 minutes. Time goes so fast. At least between classes. The three weeks since the beginning of sophomore year, in contrast, seem like forever.
But as I'm about to click on the "Home" button, the appearance of a single line of text draws my attention.
*SPOCK has entered the room.*
Well, not only is there now someone else in the room, but he's got excellent taste in screen names. Spock. I could never resist anything with that name in it, so I pull my cursor away from "Home" and type a swift greeting.
*ERNESTINA: Longevity & prosperity.*
The reply is equally swift.
*SPOCK: Peace and long life, Erica Hammerschmidt.*
Erica Hammerschmidt. I sit awhile in puzzlement. I've never used "Ernestina" as a screen name before, and the only people who ever associated it with me were kids I went to Spanish language camp with. Everyone got Spanish pseudonyms there, and Ernestina was always mine. At German camp it was Maren or Elke when I couldn't get my real name. I struggle momentarily as to how to address the information that "Spock" somehow knows what my real name is.
At least, almost.
In the end my response is the obvious one.
*ERNESTINA: Erika... is... spelled... with... a... K!!!*
And the almost instantaneous answer:
*SPOCK: I apologize. The curse of having a German name, I see.*
Straight from page one of "T'Ria and the Rain Man." That narrows it quite a bit. I take the bull by the horns and ask him.
*ERNESTINA: Okay, so you are both somebody who has gone to Spanish camp with me AND somebody who reads my fanfiction...*
*SPOCK: You are not without talent as a fanfiction writer . Except for "Marriage or Challenge." Not only are T'Pring and I an ill-matched couple, even in A/U, but you are quite unskilled at describing the more... intimate... scenes.*
This is when I start being seriously puzzled. Nobody knows about "Marriage or Challenge" but me. It exists only on a single black floppy disk marked "PRIVATE" and carefully hidden in my dorm. I have never attempted to post it anywhere. I have never even finished it. I in fact intend to erase it. All for the exact same reasons Spock just cited. I come to the seemingly impossible but ultimately inevitable conclusion that I am dealing with a telepath. Possibly even...
*ERNESTINA: So you're serious in referring to Spock in the first person.*
*SPOCK: Vulcans are always serious.*
I roll my eyes. I read something like this on ASC...
*ERNESTINA: They call stuff like this "revengefic," don't they?*
*SPOCK: That would be an odd description, as I have no revenge in mind whatsoever.*
*ERNESTINA: And when you appear to people like this, you usually have some kind of advice concerning their stories, don't you?*
*SPOCK: If I have done such things, it has certainly been a version of me from some other universe.*
*ERNESTINA: So did your comment on "Marriage or Challenge" qualify, or are you going to beat up on "T'Ria" as well?*
There is a slight pause.
*SPOCK: "Beat up" is not the terminology I would employ. "T'Ria and the Rain Man" is acceptably well-written and rather insightful. My only complaint concerns the name.*
*ERNESTINA: The name of the story or of the character?*
*SPOCK: The name of the character. "Maria Susanne."*
I grimace in embarrassment, glad he can't see my red face.
*ERNESTINA: Well, I thought as long as I was being so obvious that it was a Mary Sue, I might as well admit it. You don't like the name?*
*SPOCK: I do not find the name unpleasant in itself. Merely the fact that it is inaccurate.*
*ERNESTINA: You mean the rest of it was accurate?*
*SPOCK: The majority of it.*
I can't believe this. Sure, I know that encounters like this always seem to reveal that fanfiction writers have their facts right, but I never thought of MY stuff as divinely inspired.
*ERNESTINA: So what is her name, accurately?*
*SPOCK: Affirmative. "T'Rika and the Rain Man" would have been a more appropriate title.*
I blush even harder. I used to fantasize about Spock calling me T'Rika.
*ERNESTINA: Erika what?*
*SPOCK: Erika Hammerschmidt.*
Now I seriously can't believe this.
*ERNESTINA: So I'm going to wind up in the New Symmetria colony in the 2270's and design translators and send you a distress call and save the ship and bond with you?*
*SPOCK: You will not. It will be your descendant, thirteen generations from now.*
Somehow, this surprises me more than anything else. For a moment, in fact, I consider the possibility that I am dreaming.
*ERNESTINA: So I have kids? Me? The nerdy autistic socially inept weirdo? Some lunatic actually consents to impregnate me?*
*SPOCK: As the bondmate of your "Mary Sue," I find that insulting.*
*ERNESTINA: So you're not going to tell me who I have kids with.*
*SPOCK: Negative. In the interests of noninterference.*
*ERNESTINA: You mean not messing up the time line?*
*SPOCK: In a sense, but not in the sense of protecting my own interests. Altering your future would have little effect upon me, as I do not believe that I shall ever exist in your universe. In comparison with the immense number of existing parallels, there are relatively few timelines in which I, or the Federation in general, ever appear at all though strangely enough, in the majority of universes in which I exist, I eventually bond with Captain Kirk I have, however, researched the entire history of your universe in detail. *
*ERNESTINA: So you've come all the way back to earth, two centuries into the past and into a parallel universe just to tantalize me about all sorts of events in my future that you're not going to tell me about?*
*SPOCK: You will become a historical figure of some significance. I cannot conscientiously say any more.*
*ERNESTINA: I will? You can't? Hey, where's the noninterference in coming back to comment on "T'Ria"?*
*SPOCK: Feedback supersedes the Prime Directive.*
I sigh in exasperation.
And then I think of something.
*ERNESTINA: You're a touch telepath. How do you know about "Marriage or Challenge"?*
*SPOCK: My bondmate owns the disk.*
*ERNESTINA: You mean, the black floppy disk labeled "Private" and carefully hidden in my dorm?*
*ERNESTINA: But I'm going to erase that. I've already decided that as soon as I get around to it I'll delete it and empty the Recycle bin.*
*SPOCK: Not in my timeline.
*ERNESTINA: Oh. And I suppose she has "T'Ria and the Rain Man too.*
*SPOCK: She has a great deal of your fanfiction. We have much enjoyed looking over it together.*
*ERNESTINA: Hence your intertemporal voyage with the goal of making me correct the name.*
*SPOCK: It is not necessary to me that you alter the story in any way. I merely felt compelled to comment on it.*
And I feel compelled to defend it, as I do all my fiction.
*ERNESTINA: I think the name Maria Susanne is important to the plot. Calling her Erika Hammerschmidt would unduly emphasize the Mary Sue element for readers who know my name, without playfully making fun of myself as I do with the name Maria Susanne. Changing the name wouldn't improve it in the least bit, as a story.*
*SPOCK: I see. I am not a writer, so I bow to your superior knowledge on the subject.*
This isn't a dream. It's a delirious hallucination. Spock is bowing to my superior knowledge.
And then I think of something else.
*ERNESTINA: Okay, so I won't erase the disk. But how did you know it was me, in the chat room, under the name Ernestina?*
*SPOCK: I came to the chat room with the intention of finding you. I entered the specified room, at the specified time, and looked for someone with the specified name.*
*ERNESTINA: Specified room? Specified time?*
*SPOCK: Certainly. The About.com chat room at 10:40 a.m. on a Wednesday three weeks after the beginning of your sophomore year.*
*SPOCK: Affirmative. As stated in the first paragraph of T'Rika's copy of a fanfiction story of yours by the name of "Feedback".*
*ERNESTINA: 10:40 11:00 11:05 Damn, I'm late for Spanish class!*