Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First Leonard, then Grace, and now Bruce...

While I was surfing through the web to check out the dealings of a Star Trek forum group that I'm no longer a part of, I found out about the tragic news of the death of Professor Bruce Hyde, the actor who played one of my favorite characters on Star Trek, Lt. Kevin Riley.  He was 74, and died of throat cancer.

This has, so far, been a very sad year for Star Trek fans of the Original Series.  

First, we lost Leonard early this year, then Grace, and now Bruce follows them.

Now, I don't know about you all, but I've always thought that Bruce Hyde as Kevin Riley should have become a regular on the show! I'll never understand just why the decision to keep him on was never made. To be an actor who can play a character- and a good one at that- so well in only two episodes that he leaves such a strong impression is a real testament to that actor.

I really hate to say this, but I would have preferred it if Gene Roddenberry had kept both Rand and Riley, with the original actors reprising their roles, of course-and canning Chekov.

Or, to put it more accurately, to never have added Chekov in the intergalactic roster in the first place.

Bruce Hyde, as Kevin Riley, brought a charm, charisma and humor to his role that was second to none.  He was funny, boyish, vulnerable, brave, capable, and loyal.  There was also a little bit of an edge to him, however. He did not have the typical bad boy overkill that is all too apparent in too many characters on TV and film these days; it was more subtle, as if a little nudge might get that element of his on its way.  He was both soft and cocky, and it was a great combination.

I understand that he was an actor for only six years before leaving the field to explore other options in his life, later to become a college professor teaching communications and the arts.  How lucky those students must have been! I frankly can't remember having a really cool college professor, can you?

Well, I am going to close this little tribute by saying that, in writing the Riley character in my story 'Tis Charity To Show, I tried to flesh out the character to the best of my ability and I hope that I truly
did him justice.

I also plan to use Kevin Riley in future stories, without question! 

Rest in peace, Professor Bruce Hyde.

Your presence on Star Trek certainly made my life much richer, and I am quite grateful for that.

Bruce Hyde

Godspeed to you, Sir.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Aren't You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare Chapter Three part one

Aren’t You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare     

Chapter Three  
Part One

Rand is jarred from her sleep by a consuming, deathly cold.  She bolts upright in her bed, pulling the flimsy covers up around her shoulders.  The plexiglass walls were blanketed in frost, obscuring her view of the rows of cells that held the other cadets.  It had only been one goddamn day in this fucking program and she’d already had enough! 

But, she wanted Starfleet, and wanted it badly.

She didn’t go through four years of classes, drills, and training to stop now.  She’d simply have to get through this.  Rand felt a panic rise in her when she thought about the sheer length of this ordeal-this program, as they call it. 

It was more like Starfleet sanctioned misery. 

“Shit.  What to do,” she thought.

She had to calm herself down, clear her head, get herself together.

Then, it came to her.

Rand promptly threw the sheet off of her body and situated herself upright, crossing her legs in a lotus position with her hands placed limply on her lap.  She closed her eyes and elongated her spine.  The cold proved to be a bit too punishing, however, so she leaned over, retrieved the sheet and shrouded it around her shoulders like a meditation shawl.  When Rand was fully covered, she again closed her eyes.

“This had better work, or those survival classes aren’t worth a damn,” she thought.

She counted to twenty until her mind and body were still.  Then, Rand conjured up an image of a red, effervescent ball in the middle of her belly and watched it expand and whip around various parts of her body, bringing rescuing heat with each diaphragmatic breath.  Her corporal interior radiated warmth outwards onto her skin, the cold no longer a discomfort.

“I’ve outsmarted you, assholes!” she thought smugly.

Rand sat with glee on her bed, basking in the glow of her ingenuity. 

But then, she began to feel strange.

She felt a heat from outside of herself clashing with the self-induced heat of her body, making her feel almost like she was being baked.  Rand looked at the walls in her cell and noticed beads of water swelling and rolling down, and she realized that the heat had been turned on.  Rand yanked the sheet from her body in disgust and looked up at the ceiling of her cell in utter desperation.


A wall of cool air hit Rand like a sledgehammer and she turned in the direction where it was coming from.  An Amazonian sized female guard with short-cropped hair and severe features had entered her cell.  Rand started to say something, but before she could the guard reached over and grabbed her unceremoniously by the neckline of her prison garb and pulled her off the cot and out of her cell like a ragdoll. 

“The fuck…?!

Rand was escorted through the black-tinted halls into an interrogation room with walls and floors painted so white they were almost blinding, making the waiting room where she was at yesterday seem muted and pacifying by comparison.

The only furniture in the room were two iron chairs on either side of an iron table, all three of these items being Spartan in style and painted in the darkest of black. 
For Rand, the whole setting had the effect of seeing stars after a head injury, or an unfortunate examination by a gynecologist in a big hurry.  The woman guard pulled Rand into the room and guided her not too gently to the desk and chairs, pulling out the front chair from under the table. 

“Sit,” the guard said.

Rand simply looked at the chair, then turned to the guard.

“What am I, a cockerspaniel?”

With that, the guard tightened her grip on Rand’s forearm and forced her down on the chair.  Rand struggled, her teeth gritting from the pain of the guard’s fingers digging into her.

“Jesus Christ, what’s your problem?!”

The guard propped her arm on the table and leaned into Rand menacingly.

“Listen, you want things hard, I can make them as hard as you force my hand.  Want things easy, I can do that too.”

Rand looked up at the guard and smirked.

“In what category would you place this treatment thus far?” asked Rand with sarcasm dripping from her voice.

God, she was tired.  

She needed sleep.

And food…

When the hell did they feed you around here?  And what did they feed you…

Rand could hear the familiar sound of a sliding door, but it didn’t come from the same direction where she and the guard had entered.  It came from behind the wall a few feet away from the desk from where she sat, echoes of footsteps getting louder with each step.  Then, a small part of the wall opened up from the bottom and revealed a very formidable figure; a Vulcan male dressed in the same style of black fatigues as the female guard.  He was tall, which was a common trait among Vulcan men.  What really struck Rand about this man was his dark red hair, a trait that was not only uncommon among Vulcans, it was unheard of.  The modern Vulcan was not known to artificially ornament their physical appearance in any way, unlike their ancient ancestors who donned themselves with war paint, jewelry, and body mutations like piercings and tattoos in order to appear warlike to their foes.  The Vulcan’s hair was cut in prickly formation at the crown of his head while the sides were shaved nearly clean off.  Rand noted how the green undertone of his skin, along with the whitewash interior and the harsh fluorescent lighting, clashed in a most uncomplimentary way to the pigment of his hair.  The image that popped into her mind was that of a Frankenstein monster, replete with narrow slits for eyes, hollow plains under high cheekbones, a reed-thin mouth and nose shaped like a hawk’s beak.  He is followed by a male guard who positions himself at the Vulcan’s side, close enough to be of needed assistance but far enough to avoid being intrusive to the superior’s personal space.

When the Vulcan reaches the desk, he pulls the chair back from under the table and sits down right across from Rand.  He looks squarely at her, in that unwavering gaze that Vulcans look at people, before addressing her in a deep, startling voice.

“My name is Commander Glok,” he said.

Rand barely stifled a snicker, but it escaped her.

“Glok?!  Talk about appropriate!” she thought.  Feeling like a target was like a running theme in this fucking program for her.

The Commander’s gaze sharpened, but only slightly.  “Is there anything that you find particularly amusing, prisoner?” he asked as a document was handed to him by his male guard.

Rand discreetly positioned her fingers over her mouth and audibly cleared her throat.  She shook her head for the benefit of the Vulcan. 

“That is good.  It is encouraging to know that you are interested in assisting us so that business can run as smoothly as possible.  He paused as a slight smile formed on his lips. 

“Easy does it, as they say,” he said seemingly proud of himself for coming up with such a witty line.

Rand sighed.  There goes that word again.


Fuck easy.

“Let’s just get this crap over and done with,” she thought.

Commander Glok positions the document in front of him and flips it open.  He eyes Rand before lowering his head to read the information before him.