damkianna: A cap of Jinora from The Legend of Korra, giving advice. (Then she jumped into a volcano.)
[personal profile] damkianna
I'm so glad you've signed up for Rarelywritten, anonymous author! I'm thrilled to think we have at least one of these characters in common, and I'm looking forward to reading whatever you write SO HARD. (Though, of course, you may need to default, whether it's because I'm terrible or because of something in RL or just any reason—if that happens, please don't feel bad! YOU ARE STILL GREAT.)

If this past Yuletide is any guide, this letter's going to be literally ten thousand words long, so PLEASE don't feel in any way obligated to read it. If you want to read it and think it will be helpful to your inspirational process, it's here; if letters make you feel limited or hemmed in or tend to dampen your enthusiasm, SKIP IT. For a rare character fest like this, any new fic about any of these people is basically a gift to me in and of itself, and I don't have any triggers to watch out for, so feel free to x out of this window/tab right now and go write whatever glorious idea you had in the back of your mind when you decided to offer whatever character or combination of characters we matched on.

If you DO like reading letters, well, here you go! :D If you like reading letters and also looking around a bit, I've made it easy for you: I'm [archiveofourown.org profile] Damkianna on the AO3 and [tumblr.com profile] damkianna on tumblr (though I haven't posted there in ages), and I crosspost on DW/LJ at [personal profile] damkianna/[livejournal.com profile] damkianna. My movies tag, books tag, and tv shows tag basically have all my opinions about everything not covered in this letter, and if there's something specific you're looking for, you might be able to find it in the full tag list.




In General | Babylon 5 | Constantine (TV)

Maleficent | Star Wars Episode I | Stargate Atlantis





In General

Dislikes first, to get them out of the way. (As I mentioned above, I don't have any actual triggers; these are things I usually avoid/am not thrilled by the idea of, but if you have a totally awesome story concept that you love and really want to write that includes one or more, it's completely safe to kick this list to the curb.) I don't usually like reading stories that include major non-canonical character death, extensive torture scenes, or rape/sexual assault. Violence at pretty much the same general level as a violent canon is totally fine, but gratuitously detailed violence above and beyond canonical levels is something I will probably find actively unpleasant. Dealing emotionally with the aftermath of a traumatic event is totally fine; everyone I like dying in agony alone in the dark is something I'd rather not read.

Completely separately from that, and solely in terms of my own personal taste: wall-to-wall porn doesn't do much for me, and I don't tend to be particularly interested in BDSM/kink/ABO 'verses. If you REALLY ENJOY these things and would love to write one or more of them, ignore this and go ahead! But if you're trying to decide between a few different options and want to know what I'd say, there it is.

ONWARD TO PLEASANTER THINGS. I usually really enjoy:
:: ladyslash, dudeslash, het, gen! Pairings, threesomes, moresomes! Since matching for this fest is OR, I'll mostly be talking about characters individually rather than in pairs or groups, but I multiship in most fandoms, so any ship you want to write about is probably a-okay with me! I'm also interested in all of my requested characters individually and in all kinds of platonic relationships/scenarios having nothing to do with shipping at all, so gen is 100% a good choice here too.
:: stories where good things happen to people! Obviously this is not necessarily feasible for all characters in all fandoms, and I do not need fic to be a guaranteed tear-free zone—but I enjoy endings that are happy or at least hopeful, characters learning to or wanting to or choosing to be kind to one another, and islands of misfit toys/found families banding together to fight evil/save lives/stop apocalypses. People trusting each other even though they shouldn't, things working out all right in the end even when it looked like they wouldn't in the middle, and characters refusing to leave each other behind/being willing to make sacrifices for each other unexpectedly while simultaneously trying to pretend not to like each other much—GOLD. ALL THESE THINGS ARE GOLD.
:: AUs! Every sort of AU is great, I love the ones where somebody turns left instead of right AND the ones where everyone is out west or piloting jaegers or working in the same restaurant. Obviously I love canonical settings and scenarios, too! But if you feel like writing an AU, by all means do so. :D (And I sort of snuck a fusion/crossover AU suggestion in there, so perhaps this is also the place to say: I enjoy fusions and regular crossovers both! Any fandom I'm familiar with is fair game—my tags should give you a pretty good idea of things I might know.) I do think some fandoms lend themselves to this kind of thing more readily than others, but if you're at all inclined to try, you'll get absolutely no objection from me.
:: clichés and tropes! If you've been waiting for an excuse to write a wingfic amnesia soulbonding story where two people have to go undercover in a gay bar, THIS IS YOUR MOMENT. This goes for story structure, too—five things/five times, drabble collections, epistolary, fictional academic papers, script format, anything you might be tempted to dismiss as too gimmicky. As far as I'm concerned, nothing's been done too many times (or undone, for that matter: aversions, subversions, and inversions of tropes are also totally awesome). Zombie apocalypses! Regency AUs! Marriages of convenience! Secret shapeshifters! YES PLEASE. Again, some of these things are easier in some fandoms than others, so don't feel like you have to do any of this—I just want to make it clear that I'm totally open to it if that's where your muse takes you.

I like action stories and plotty stories and domestic stories—I like introspection and casefic and quiet 1001-word slices of life. I like competence and insecurity, I like people who do the right thing and people who make mistakes, I like ambition and vulnerability and manipulation and honesty. I'm on board for OCs, worldbuilding, first-person, second-person, third-person, and past tense, present tense, or even future tense if you feel like experimenting! I want you to enjoy this fest and write something you're happy with about one or more of these extremely awesome characters, and as long as that happens EVERYTHING IS RAINBOWS. Feel free to comment anon here, or send an anon ask to me on tumblr, if you have questions about anything—or you can PM my sister [personal profile] idriya on DW, who knows everything I know, likes everything I like, and won't tell me anything. (She isn't on DW much, but I'll try to make sure she checks her inbox during the span of the exchange.)

And! If we matched on more than one character, feel free to put them all in the same fic OR write about any one of them individually OR write about any combination. I'm going to talk about them mostly individually with reference to any canonical grouping involved (i.e., Amidala's handmaidens, Anne Teldy's gate team), but please don't feel like I'm limiting you or steering you by doing that. It's just that if I tried to talk about each of them AND all combinations, this letter would be six miles long. /o\


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Babylon 5
Susanna Luchenko, Tessa Holloran/Number One, Shaal Mayan, Timov

I love this entire universe and everyone in it SO MUCH that it was a real wrench not to ask for every single character available; but as long as I'm doing a rare character fest, I figured I might as well really commit to rarity. Except for Number One, these women are only in one episode each—which, hey, if you want to do canon review, it'll be really easy! :D I would be equally happy with backstory fic or with a missing scene or two from one of the episodes in question. (And if you'd like to use background information provided in the novels/other sources, go ahead! Likewise, if you prefer to stick to just TV canon, that's totally fine too.) What made Luchenko decide to run for the Senate in the first place? How did she manage to get herself nominated to serve as Acting EA President? (If you enjoy fictional political maneuvering, INDULGE YOURSELF.) What did Number One do before the war started? Did she participate in the founding of the Mars Resistance, or did she join a bit later on and then move up the ranks? What is it like for her once she starts working for the ISA? Tell me pretty much anything about Mayan's travels through the galaxy (five planets she went to! Five poetic forms traditional to other races that she learned to appreciate!)—or anything else about her: we know she earned the title of Shaal by mastering a Minbari poetic form, but how and to whom did she demonstrate that mastery? And Timov—what is her life like back on Centauri Prime? What changes for her after Londo divorces his other two wives, and what is it like for her to become the empress once Londo ascends to the throne?

If we matched on more than one of these women, I'd be delighted by any scenario you can come up with where they interact: Luchenko on a state visit to Mars after the war, meeting with Number One to start hashing out the political fallout; or Timov traveling through B5 again at a time when Number One is there doing ISA intelligence work; or Mayan meeting absolutely any of them, in her travels or on B5. Luchenko meets Timov when Timov's empress! Mayan visits Centauri Prime and Timov invites her to perform a few poem-songs at Londo's estate! ANYTHING.


THIS SHOW. I've been into this show since it aired on TNT, which is A REALLY LONG TIME, and I finally got my hands on the box sets and have been rewatching the whole thing, which a) is very rewarding and b) has allowed me to fall in fannish love with it all over again. Like, there's the objective rational part of my brain over here going "oh god ow the sfx, oh god ow the acting", and then there's the other 90% of me all NO OTHER TV SHOW WILL EVER HAVE AN ARC PLOT THIS SATISFYING. EVER. ♥ Whatever the flaws of having JMS write 80% of the show singlehandedly, the dude had a vision and he (mostly) was able to execute it, and there isn't anything else out there quite like it.

ANYWAY. One of the things I love the absolute most about this show is its willingness to not be perfectly neat. Yes, some things got tied off with a pretty obvious bow in places, but it mostly refused to divide its cast into white hats and black hats. Pettiness and generosity, cruelty and kindness, righteousness and error—none of them are mutually exclusive, they can all coexist inside a single person, and B5 knew that! It still suffered the occasional bout of protagonist-centered morality, but by and large it was willing to sketch characters in varying shades of gray. And without letting them be ruined by it—normally "gray" in TV seems to mean, like, Breaking Bad or The Shield or something, the long slow descent of decent people as they do increasingly awful stuff while telling themselves they have good reasons; but on B5 it just meant good people fucked up sometimes and did good things other times, and fucking up didn't damn you but doing good didn't save you either, and I LOVE THAT. /totally excessive meta


Susanna Luchenko

Luchenko appears at the end of S4 in 4.21, Rising Star (though she is technically mentioned in the Call to Arms movie). And in that episode, in my opinion, she gets the wrong end of one of those bouts of protagonist-centered morality I mentioned—she makes some really reasonable points during her conversation with Sheridan, but because she's a ~politician (B5 did tend to hate politicians) and is frank with Sheridan but bullshits the press, the show seemed to me as though it expected me to dislike her. WRONG. :D I've got a definite soft spot for clear-eyed, ambitious, political-minded women who've achieved power they don't want to let go of, and the glimpse I got of Luchenko only made me want more. It's not that I want to see Luchenko be nice, or that I need her to have a secret soft side or something—just that the show got me used to assessing the truths, flaws, and reasoning behind four or five different POVs at once, and then suddenly didn't seem to want me to find any merit in Luchenko's. WELL, TOO BAD, SHOW. She can be practical, unsentimental, an excellent liar, and unapologetically manipulative, and still be right about things!

SO. Basically anything that gives me a window into Susanna Luchenko would be great. As I mentioned, if fictional politicking is something you enjoy rolling around in, I would love a story about that emergency meeting of the Senate from which Luchenko emerged as Acting EA President—did Luchenko have a plan going in about how to pull together enough political support for herself? Someone nominated her for it; did she pull strings immediately before the session to ensure that, or did somebody do it as a countermove against someone else (hoping to divide support for another nominee between that nominee and Luchenko to ensure a third nominee's success?) and Luchenko took advantage of the opportunity? She didn't spend all the time after she was appointed standing around waiting for Sheridan—what other matters was she immediately faced with upon assumption of the position? What did she do with herself in between the talk with Sheridan and the press conference? Going back pre-canon: when and how did her political career in the Russian Consortium start? Why did she decide to run for the Senate in the first place? Or anything post-canon about her term in office—a diplomatic incident that means she has to go to B5, or her perspective on any of the major events in S5. (Keeping it within the tagset, I didn't request Lochley but would LOVE any conversation between them, whether you'd like to do a set of communications between them during Call to Arms or just have them interacting temporarily due to their relative positions. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.)


Tessa Holloran/Number One

We don't learn her name until S5, but Tessa Holloran's in ... I think it's five episodes of S4, and then there's a pair in S5. Basically the second she appeared on screen in Racing Mars I was delighted by her, and it's safe to say that sentiment didn't diminish over time. She's no-nonsense and she's tough and she doesn't take anybody's shit—and yet she's running a political resistance movement that she staunchly refuses to allow to descend into terrorism, even though she seems like the last person in the world you'd expect to be dying for the sake of upholding ideals. (Not that we know for sure that it is idealism—maybe she's just angry, except in that case you'd think she'd be willing to blow a lot more stuff up.) I find this FASCINATING, and despite the fact that she more than doubles up on the number of episodes the rest of these women appear in, there's a lot of space left open for coming up with an explanation. Who is she? Who was she before the war, and what relationship does that person have with who she is afterward? Was she already part of the movement for an independent Mars, such that joining (or founding) the resistance was simply the next logical step? Did she stumble into it somehow and end up staying because the things she heard there rang true to her in a way nothing else had before that?

And during canon—man, if you don't like or care about politics you probably hate me, but there is SO MUCH I would love to see about the resistance and its aftermath, about trying to find a way to transition from being a revolutionary to being part of the Mars Provisional Government and learning how to deal with people who aren't shooting at you but are still trying to destroy you. Absolutely anything delving into the issues raised in those two S5 episodes, the ways in which the provisional government is struggling and some Earth factions are trying to help and some are trying to hurt, and Holloran's stuck trying to figure out which is which and almost wishing somebody would start dropping bombs on her again because then at least she'd know exactly who her enemies were—I WOULD EAT THAT UP WITH A SPOON. (If you'd like to give me some complicated interactions with Luchenko full of secret mutual respect and overt mutual dislike, I would ADORE that.) Also anything post-canon about her navigating the ISA—especially given that Covert Intelligence, which she became head of, may still have been making use of telepaths during that time period. Does Holloran hate that but grudgingly accept the utility of it? Does she learn to value it, or find herself accidentally making friends with one of the telepathic operatives? (Stepping outside the tagset—if you'd like to write me the story where a Minbari-trained and disarmingly easygoing Alisa Beldon is recruited by Covert Intelligence, comes to B5 to meet with Holloran, and maybe hugs Ivanova on the way, BY ALL MEANS PLEASE DO.)


Shaal Mayan

Mayan! Mayan is only in one episode, 1.07 (War Prayer), though it's mentioned that she'll be returning to the station soon in 1.16, and she might very well continue to pass through B5 now and then afterward. The most noticeable thing about Mayan, I think, is how calm she is—she's attacked on the station and Delenn is REALLY upset about it, but Mayan herself is pretty composed for somebody who got cut up in an ambush by a bunch of space racists. That she refuses to have the mark they left removed—that she evidently didn't ask whether it was possible before Franklin offered, and that when he does offer, she turns him down—was always one of the most memorable parts of that episode for me, and even after years and years, I still find it really interesting. She describes the kind of poem-songs she specializes in as attempts to recall old memories, and then tells Franklin that the lesson represented by the mark shouldn't be forgotten, and I like the idea that those two things are related: that Mayan puts so much thought and time and effort into these poems that try to keep memories alive, to learn from the past rather than let it fade away, and so it seems natural and fitting to her to keep the marks her experience has left rather than trying to erase them. She's just so thoughtful, no kneejerk reactions. It's the same later in the ep, in the medlab with Londo; she doesn't get annoyed with Londo for his derisiveness, she just finishes explaining her perspective and then, not unkindly, pokes a hole in his bluster ("As you did?"). I DON'T KNOW, I THINK THAT'S BADASS. /o\ I just—I want to know how she got from "too young to know anything about anything", "poor and groping for meaning", to someone so self-aware and comfortable in her skin! I think she's AWESOME.

And considering the amount of screentime she gets, we actually know a lot about her: she's been friends with Delenn since they were both much younger, she's been a poet at least that long, and she's traveled through the galaxy pretty extensively, even though she seemingly isn't much older than Delenn is. (I also always sort of thought her dialogue could be read as implying that she and Delenn were once tiny wide-eyed Minbari girlfriends, and I would be 1000% okay if you chose to run with that in a backstory fic!) I would enjoy basically anything about her early years, her time as a young religious-caste woman studying alongside Delenn in temple, how poetry and the study of poetry has influenced her (or one of those "discussons of some heat" about poem-songs that she's participated in), some of the places she's been and people she's met (like I mentioned above, five planets she's been to! five poetic forms traditional to other races that she's learned to appreciate!)—or something during her time on the station, what it feels like to see Delenn again, or her observations of Kiron and Aria, or the experience of walking around with that mark on her face after she gets out of Medlab. Or, of course, something set after: does she still continue on to her performance on Earth, even knowing that the goons who attacked her were part of a movement that's gaining momentum there? If she does, what's it like—where is it, and does it go well or badly? (Or both, during different portions of the event?) Where does she go next? Does she ever take a break from her travels to return to Minbar, and if she does what is that like? SO MANY POSSIBILITIES.


Timov

TIMOV. I'll be kind of surprised if there's anybody in this fandom who's forgotten 2.07, aka the episode with Londo's wives, because it was pretty magical. I love love love Timov and everything she chooses to be—so often we're shown Centauri women being treated as charming, shiny decorations, but Timov's SO OVER bothering to play that game. If she feels like being unpleasant, she'll damn well be unpleasant! LOVE. And her relationship with Londo is PERFECT, like, I have never seen anything as romantic in my life as two bitter people who aren't particularly interested in loving or in being loved making sacrifices for and learning to appreciate each other. COME ON. THAT IS SO GREAT. I also really love the contrast between how much she overtly doesn't care about other people's opinions and how insistent she is that Londo not find out about the transfusion—like, she explains why she wants to save his life in the first place, but not why she makes Franklin promise not to say anything to Londo about it. It's possible to read that decision about five different ways, and I can't decide which I like best! Does she want to make absolutely sure that Londo can't have any reason to believe she's manipulating him? Is it just about maintaining the image she's cultivated of not caring about him? Does she want to keep up the lack of communication/connection between them so badly that even the idea of him owing her a debt bothers her? I sort of like the idea that it really is just another angle on honesty—that she wants Londo to make his decision based not on the fact that she did him a single massive favor one time but rather on who she is all the rest of the time, and how he feels about that person without any life-debts muddying the waters. TIMOV.

As with all the rest of these women, there's a whole lot of ground the show doesn't cover. What was Timov's childhood like? What is the rest of her family like? What did she think about being married to Londo when it first happened? Did she dislike his other two wives pretty much immediately, or did it take time for them to reach their current levels of vitriolic hatred for each other? Do they all live on a single piece of property, or do they maintain separate estates? What does Timov do with her time—she must have hobbies, right? Does she have to interact with Daggair and Mariel regularly, or do they settle for sending each other politely poisonous notes and refusing each other's invitations to parties? Anything about what she's doing when she's not onscreen during the episode would be marvelous, as would her interacting with basically anyone on B5 or any of the other wives during a moment where they're in the same place that we didn't see. And post-canon, or, well, still during canon but after her appearance on the show: what is it like for her once Londo's divorced his other wives? If they kept separate households, does Timov have to make new arrangements? Where was she and what was it like for her during Cartagia's reign? What is it like for her to become empress? (Is there anything like the arrangement of telepathic aides to the emperor for the empress?) What does she think about Londo taking the throne, and what does she do with her own newfound position—does she become politically active, or does she hate the petty gameplaying at court just as much as the petty gameplaying of marriage, and go off to live in a nice imperial palace somewhere in the Centauri countryside? TELL ME EVERYTHING.


Combinations

As I mentioned, basically any scenario you can come up with where any of these women have to interact with a) each other, b) other rare characters from the tagset in this fandom that I didn't request directly, or c) any of your favorite characters from B5 who aren't in the tagset at all would be TOTALLY AWESOME. (Obviously if you pick c), the emphasis/focus should still be on the rare character as much as possible! But any kind of cameo you want to include is completely fine with me.) I'm 100% okay with canonical pairings—Holloran/Franklin, Timov/Londo in its own romantically unromantic way—and what I would call quasi-canonical or at least not counter-canonical Mayan/Delenn. You'd probably have to do some extra work to set up anything else, given how briefly most of these women are shown interacting with anybody else, and you really shouldn't feel the need to write some kind of epic; but if you wanted to try (vaguely antagonistic Holloran/Lyta! Timov meets Adira Tyree once Adira makes it back to Centauri Prime, and finds her unfeigned sweetness just as appealing as Londo found it!) I would be DELIGHTED to read just about anything. Anything where Holloran's role in the provisional government brings her into contact with Luchenko; or Mayan's continued travels lead to her meeting Luchenko before or after her performance on Earth or visiting Mars or Centauri Prime; or Timov, as empress, ends up on B5 again and Holloran, as ISA intelligence, has to handle some kind of threat against her person—YES. YES PLEASE.


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Constantine (TV)
Mary "Zed" Martin

I've watched all thirteen episodes of this—hopefully you have, too, but just in case you're still catching up, I'll try to keep major spoilers confined to my Dear Author letter so you can avoid them if necessary! I'm still a little bitter about the unceremonious removal of Liv, because I do like Lucy Griffiths a lot, but ZED IS SO INCREDIBLY GREAT (and also admittedly less of a retread of the 2005 movie). I love her guardedness and her defensiveness, her struggles with her faith and her desire to do good, how much she cares and tries not to care, or at least tries to pretend not to care, and the way that works for her sometimes and fails her at other times. The tug-of-war between how hard she's trying to not share anything about her past or who she is and the closeness that fighting the rising dark and saving each other's lives is forging between her and John and Chas is FASCINATING to me. I love her powers, I love the things she's learning to do with them, and I love her sense of wonder—like, obviously shit gets creepy sometimes and ends badly sometimes, but the things that happen in this show are still fundamentally pretty AMAZING, you know? And Zed's willing to let herself be moved by that, instead of always trying to keep herself from giving a shit. ZED.

So! Basically anything about any part of Zed's life would be really great. If you haven't already hit this part in the show, the tag kind of gives away that "Zed" isn't her birth name—how and why did she choose it? How long has she been drawing? What were some of the other visions she had before she started getting swamped by nothing but John's face? What was the first vision she ever had like? Any sort of missing scene or episode tag from her POV during the show would be absolutely fantastic (does she have visions of the cases John and/or Chas have taken on without her? How much of the millhouse has she explored during the times she's there by herself? "Five things/rooms Zed found in the millhouse" is a story I would SO TOTALLY READ), as would any sort of futurefic looking at what Zed might be like later on (maybe even MUCH later on) in the war, or even just a snippet of Zed-POV casefic. Whatever you like, as long as it's about Zed one way or another!


To be perfectly frank, I have mixed feelings about this show—I'm one of those people who is only casually familiar with Hellblazer and really enjoyed the 2005 movie, and some of the episodes I can seriously take or leave. I watched the pilot mostly for the lulz (already knowing they were going to clumsily write out Liv by the end, having clumsily written her in, and the last five minutes—JESUS, JOHN. You seriously need Liv to tell you the demon's lying about the kid??? IT'S A DEMON, JOHN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME). And then I watched the next episode—and the next, and the next, and sometimes it was ridiculous and sometimes it was thoughtless and sometimes it was racist (in a crapsack universe like this one, there's "nothing blacker than [Rroma] magic"? STFU, JOHN), but there were just enough moments that didn't suck that I kept going and ended up watching the whole thing. Oops?

I'm interested in this show for the island of misfit toys thing, John and Zed and Chas each not quite in step with anybody else for their own reasons but discovering that they might still fit somewhere; and for this particular variation on good old Dogma-esque Supernatural-esque cosmology, since I have a soft spot for handwavy occult rituals and angels who are still angels (like, discernably not as awful as demons, and discernably not human) but also can be assholes in their own way. Also sometimes the dialogue was actually genuinely funny! That was nice.


Mary "Zed" Martin

I do NOT have mixed feelings about Zed: I think she is FANTASTIC. I like John and Chas just fine, and am even interested in John when he has those bouts of sudden exhausted John-specific vulnerability—but when he's not having those bouts he's the same knowledgeable jaded snarky white dude magical PI I've seen like a dozen times already. But Zed! Zed doesn't know everything already, which means we get to see her struggle with the learning process and with all the wonderful-but-terrible things she's being introduced to, and yet she has these powers John doesn't have, and at critical moments gets to know things John doesn't know, which means she isn't just tagging along uselessly for no good reason. I'm a little leery of where they're planning to go with her raised-in-a-locked-room creepy-cultist-family backstory—like, if she gets kidnapped again so she can be carried off and forced to go through a magical pregnancy of world-saving/world-dooming import, I quit. (I'm really hoping the show will ignore comics canon and come up with a different reason she's important. I enjoyed the 2005 movie despite that plotline, not because of it.) BUT I like that she has her own messed-up past and her own issues that have nothing to do with John (unlike Chas), and she's pretty thoroughly acquainted with a different kind of occult fuckery that John and Chas may not even necessarily know that much about.

ANYWAY. I love Zed for the way she navigates this new side of the world—for the contrast between the defense mechanisms she's learned as somebody who's on the run and doesn't trust very many people, and her innate sense of curiosity and interest and just plain awe. The LOOK ON HER FACE when she first realizes she's talking to an angel is just—ZED. MY HEART. And that she tries so hard to be guarded and has obviously had some really terrible experiences, but then wants so badly to be reassured that her powers are a good thing that comes from a good place, that she herself is capable of doing good UGH MY FEELINGS. /o\ I love that she's still not 100% sure about herself or her powers but still does things like trying to reach Chas's daughter's soul—when she doesn't even know whether she can, just because she wants to help that badly. And of course she's not perfect, she gets angry and she maybe has erred on the side of being a bit TOO secretive, but all in all I basically like her a lot. So! Pretty much anything about her past, how she kept herself sane in that locked room, how she got out, when she started drawing, some of the places she traveled through and/or visions she had before she tuned in to the John Constantine channel—any of that would be wonderful. Any portion of an episode through her eyes or with a missing scene or tag about her, her visions, her reactions, or her interacting with any other rare non-cis-dudes: a creepy conversation with Imogen before anyone's found out she's fallen, or her in that hospital room talking to Renee, or anything at all with her and Anne Marie—or even something where she gets curious and ends up getting in touch with Liv! Or any sort of fic set in the show's nebulous future, the first case Zed takes on by herself or your take on one way they might win the war against the "rising darkness". Basically anything you're interested in writing that is about Zed is something I want to read! :D

I'm totally okay with Zed/John in the hefty doses of snarky UST + brief vulnerable moments of genuine caring mode of the show, or with any kind of background Zed/John/Chas or Zed&John&Chas vibe, though obviously the focus in either case should be on Zed (and I like Renee and Anne Marie, so please no hating on them/killing them). I would LOVE a 1000-word snippet from an AU where Zed and Liv find each other instead of John and solve Liv's Furcifer problem together somehow—maybe with the resources in the millhouse, which they manage to find by themselves because: psychics? Or, as I mentioned, Zed interacting with any other non-cis-dudes from the show a little more extensively—getting to have a longer conversation with Imogen (I also love fallen angels who are bitter about human free will), or talking to Anne Marie about something other than John, or being contacted by Lily after Lily discovers that her time in Jacob Shaw's pet dimension gave her some kind of psychic ability of her own ... GO WILD.


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Maleficent (2014)
Aurora, Maleficent

Oh my gosh, I really adored this movie and everything it chose to be, and whether you ship Aurora/Maleficent or not, I am right there with you, because I love the story of them caring about each other platonically so hard that it still counts as true love just as much as the story of Maleficent learning to let herself fall in love with a human all over again. I love Aurora's generosity and kindness, her steady bright openheartedness, her inability to hold a grudge; and I love Maleficent's anger and bitterness, her sideways fairy prank-playing, her vengefulness and her regret. I think they're both super awesome and I loved this movie, is where I'm going with this, and basically anything about either or both of these characters would be a total delight. If we matched on either or both of them, I would be as happy with a story about either individually or both of them, so no need to a) limit yourself to just one or just the other, or b) force yourself to fit both of them into a piece you would rather have focused on just one! Any choice of emphasis is completely okay.

For Aurora, I would enjoy anything about pretty much any part of her life. Are there other hilarious/ridiculous incidents from her childhood with the fairies besides the "tried to feed me spiders" one? What is she told the first time she asks about the wall around the Moors, and does she believe it or not? What is she thinking when she first meets Stefan? What does the compulsion to touch the spindle feel like from her perspective? Does anyone ever tell her about her mother? What is it like being queen of two kingdoms that are so different from each other—does the human kingdom start becoming more magical, or does the old border hold? If you want to do some worldbuilding, feel free: what other human kingdoms are nearby besides Phillip's? Are there other magical kingdoms besides the Moors? For Maleficent, also, there's plenty of room to explore: why is she so much larger and stronger than the other fairies we see? Did she have parents in any sense, or is it simply that the Moors always have a guardian, and if one dies another blooms in the branches of that tree? After it's all over, does she spend time in the human kingdom getting to know anybody who isn't part of the royal family? For both of them together, I will love anything that dwells iddily on Maleficent's reluctant but increasingly strong affection for Aurora, whether platonic or otherwise, and anything about how differently they each see themselves and each other, Aurora's heartfelt admiration for her tall, lovely, queenly fairy godmother and Maleficent's awareness that Aurora is Stefan's daughter but also an awesome human being and in no way deserving of Maleficent's anger. ♥


A lot of this is going to be me pretty much repeating myself from the Maleficent section of my Yuletide letter, because my feelings about this movie haven't changed since then. So, idk, if you want even more of me blathering on, you can totally go look there? :D (Or at my reaction post here, more like.) Basically the bottom line is that I love how neatly this movie slots itself into the background of the 1959 movie, AND it also did me the favor of rewriting the 1959 movie into a treatise on betrayal, revenge, and forgiveness, which are all things I'm incredibly interested in, narratively speaking, and which, put together, form a character arc I'm completely unable to resist. All the reasons why I ever loved Xena: Warrior Princess + fairytale + Angelina Jolie = AUTOMATIC FAVORITE. INSTANTLY.


Aurora

Is it even possible to dislike Aurora? I don't see how. I've never had much truck with the perspective that to be good is to be inherently simpler or more foolish or more boring—there's something so incredible and awesome about people who manage to find the capacity to be kind and forgiving and generous when it would be SO MUCH EASIER to be a petty jackass! How is that not badass? ANYWAY. I think Aurora is great, and I love her patience and her smile and her sense of wonder just as much as the shades of teenage angst in her reaction to finding out about the curse and Maleficent (being upset is totally valid! Riding off alone to the castle without actually finding out any additional information that would let her know that was a bad idea? OH AURORA NO. MAKE GOOD CHOICES.) I love love love how open and accepting she is of everything about the Moors, the pretty dancing water-fairies and the mud-throwing pig guys and everything in between—she's so utterly nonjudgmental, which is really charming. And her sheer enthusiasm at the prospect of moving in with Maleficent, oh, my heart! (Although after sixteen years with the three pixies, I'd probably be overjoyed to move out, too.)

Basically Aurora is just wonderful, and I'd be as thrilled by a fic about her darling toddler self as by a story about the legendary golden queen she became in the end. What does she think of her three "aunts" when she's young—does she think all the strange things that happen around them are normal (assuming Maleficent makes it rain or snow inside more than once, that sort of thing), and then realize otherwise later? Is there a story circulating about the hidden princess that Aurora hears? (Does she have to visit a town outside the forest for supplies of various kinds, or do Maleficent's magical gifts like the flower-milk bottle keep coming? Are those gifts the reason Aurora starts to believe in her fairy godmother?) Does she suspect her "aunts" of being magical—is that why she starts poking around the border of the Moors as she gets older, trying to figure out whether maybe that's where they're from? What does she think after the first time Maleficent takes her in through the wall? Did she decide she must have been dreaming? What happens the next time she goes back? Can she feel the curse starting to work on her, when she's shut up in that room in the castle—is she trapped in her own head watching herself find that spinning wheel, or does she find herself wanting to walk that way, seemingly of her own free will? Is she nervous about being crowned, given that she hasn't learned much in the way of statecraft? What do the existing noble families think of her—does she have trouble dealing with them, given that most of them presumably shared Stefan and King Henry's attitude toward the Moors? (I realize this prompt could easily lead to a fic about how Aurora drives the kingdom into the ground, but I'd prefer something where she makes a few mistakes and then learns from those mistakes and gets the political upper hand.)


Maleficent

There's absolutely no part of Maleficent's emotional journey in this story that isn't exactly what my deepest id wanted out of this movie. She's an adorable child saddled with unusual amounts of responsibility! She's the badass winged shieldmaiden of the Moors! She falls in love and gets hurt by it, and expects to never love again! She's angry and hurt and incredibly powerful! And then she realizes she shouldn't have done the thing AND that she can't undo the thing at basically the same time, which is twice as awful a feeling as either one alone, and after that it's just one punch to the heartfeelings after another: her face when Aurora figures it out, and when she feels the curse fulfill itself, and that she keeps going into the palace anyway even though she doesn't think the curse can be broken—except she does hope, you can tell that she does, just for a moment. And then Phillip's kiss doesn't work and she thinks Aurora's never going to wake up again and still apologizes to her, and then HER kiss does the thing even though she thought true love was outside her grasp forever, and MY HEART. HELP ME. /o\ Also she has WINGS and does MAGIC and she's ANGELINA JOLIE. What more could I possibly ask for?

Seriously, anything goes, I don't think there's any fic you could write about Maleficent that I wouldn't love (except maybe a really really dark AU, and even then I might love it anyway through my tears). Want to roll around in how weird and amazing it must have been to grow up in the Moors? Want to write about little Maleficent solving magical problems with her adorable straightforward young fairy logic? Or a slightly older Maleficent, worried about Stefan at first when he stops coming back, and then slowly becoming resigned to it, a little quieter and a little sadder and a little more grown up? Or Maleficent's perspective on the battle with King Henry—a little before, how she knew he was there at all (did the trees tell her? The wind? One of the border-guarding creatures?), and a little after, watching them leave (did she guess that it wouldn't be over with that easily? Or did she think the humans wouldn't be foolish enough to come back after that?)? Or anything about the gap between the kiss and Aurora's coronation, what it felt like to finally let her hair down and fly again (does she struggle with the returned wings briefly, having to learn to rebalance all over again, or is it easy to remember all her old habits?) or the moment she first decided to give Aurora the Moors (did she think about it for a while before telling Aurora, or was the decision spur of the moment, occurring to her and almost immediately feeling right?). And of course anything post-canon you wanted to explore, an older Maleficent deciding to get to know the human kingdom as well as she knows the Moors, or going flying with Diaval, or—just anything. HONEST.


Both of them

As I mentioned, I'd be equally happy with Maleficent/Aurora or Maleficent&Aurora. (Or basically any combination of Maleficent, Aurora, Diaval, and Phillip that you want to try—I love Diaval as the perceptive, mouthy companion and Phillip as the adorably earnest and good-natured prince. Just as long as the story's mostly about Maleficent, Aurora, or both.) Any missing scenes with the two of them or interactions you wish they'd had would be a delight: more of Maleficent's encounters with Aurora when Aurora is a child, Maleficent trying to be all ~grim and ~terrible and getting hugged instead; or a time when Maleficent takes Aurora flying, either with her own wings or magically bringing her along; or some more of the two of them in the Moors, Maleficent showing Aurora its wonders and by proxy seeing it all with new eyes herself; or Maleficent telling Aurora the little she remembers about Aurora's mother; or post-canon where Maleficent intends to go back to the Moors alone but kind of accidentally becomes Aurora's advisor, helping her deal with whatever administrative/political/interpersonal messes Stefan left behind. If you do want to write it as a pairing, please nothing where Aurora's underage and please nothing creepy—I ship it in earnest, and it's true love! I would also be happy with any sort of AU where Princess Leila lives, or a more dramatic AU: Maleficent/Aurora arranged marriage as part of a peace treaty! Aurora grows up hidden away in the castle instead of the woods, and one day happens upon Maleficent's wings! Some sort of ridiculous amazing tropey Beauty and the Beast AU where Maleficent demands Aurora as a price for Stefan's behavior much more directly (someone MUST have written this already, right?)! ANYTHING YOU WANT.


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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Eirtaé, Rabé, Sabé, Saché, Yané

My absolute favorite thing about this movie—about Eps I-III combined, to be brutally honest—always has been and always will be Padmé and her handmaidens, even though most of the girls have zero dialogue and the movie itself doesn't actually care about them that much. I CARE, OKAY. I CARE A LOT. Feel free to draw on background information from the EU or ignore it and make up your own answers for anything that isn't movie canon—I'm completely okay with either choice. Even using the EU still leaves a LOT of blanks to fill in, and I'm all ears for any story you feel like telling about absolutely any one of these girls. There's so much that's interesting about them! They're so young and yet so highly-trained—so calm, so composed, so incredibly capable, but still fourteen years old, or thereabouts; I would love anything that addresses the contrast there, that lets me see both the responsibility/dedication/devotion AND the girls, who must sometimes feel tired and afraid and uncertain. How did these five girls in particular become Padmé's main group of bodyguards? Did they volunteer or were they selected, or was it a combination (selected as the five best out of a pool of existing volunteers)? How does each one or any of them feel about their service to Amidala, and if they do each have different attitudes toward it, how does that affect their relationships? Were they friends before they became handmaidens, or did they not know one another/dislike one another at first, and only gradually became friends as they got to know one another better? (I'm delighted by the idea that they didn't care for each other much at first but become a deeply close and tight-knit group after facing danger multiple times together—but honestly it would be just as interesting if they still don't like each other all that well sometimes and yet are expected to die for one another if necessary.)

Any combination of these girls would be a delight, and I won't complain in the least if you want to include Padmé herself (though obviously the focus shouldn't be on her, as I don't believe she's rare), or any of the other handmaidens—Fé or Dané, or ones from the later movies like Cordé, Versé, Dormé, Ellé, etc. I'm easy for Sabé/Padmé, though I'd rather keep it inexplicit unless they're more in the sixteen-to-eighteen range than fourteen, but honestly just about any pairing or grouping can easily make sense in a group of people who spend as much of their time together as these girls do. Basically anything that dwells on the relationships between them, whether friendships or rivals-who-care-about-each-other or tender little romances against the dark backdrop of war, will make me explode with happiness. And please feel free to incorporate any headcanons you have or worldbuilding you'd like to do when it comes to the handmaidens, the queen, Naboo itself, or the larger Star Wars universe.


Star Wars is one of those fandoms where objective quality or lack thereof just means absolutely nothing to me at this point—it's Star Wars, okay, and whether I love or hate any given piece of its canon or near-canon (which I am given to understand basically all of the EU will become once Episode VII comes out), I still CARE about it, I still look it up and pay attention to it and have an opinion about it. IT'S STAR WARS. THE END. But! I'm totally flexible about canonicity, because at this point the universe is so sprawlingly enormous and there's so many different sources of information about it that it's almost impossible to keep track of everything. So whatever you want to incorporate, ignore, make up, or revise is absolutely fine with me. I have strong feelings about the heart of Star Wars, but not so much about its trappings. I'll bring up some of the information from the EU in case you want to use it as a jumping-off point, but if you want to stick solely to movie canon (which means you can do almost anything with these girls, let's face it, because some of them don't even speak at all), do that instead! I'm interested in the potential of these characters, the fact that they must have their own personalities and stories even if the movie didn't show us what those personalities were like or tell us those stories.


The Handmaidens

I'm going to talk about them as a group because a) their duties as handmaidens are central to their lives and everything we know about them, and b) in the movie alone, we know basically nothing about some of them EXCEPT that they're handmaidens. The whole concept of a girl-queen served by a group of utterly dedicated blaster-wielding other girls is like CATNIP and could not have been better designed to suit my interests if it had been trying. Basically anything that takes the opportunity to roll around in imagining what that must be like and how it came to be the case will undoubtedly be something I enjoy. Obvious avenues to explore for all of them include where they came from, how they were chosen to be handmaidens, what their training was like, and how they feel about it all. And anything from any one of their POVs about any part of the movie, or anything later in the prequels—it's entirely possible that some of them have died and been replaced, which is why they don't appear in II and III, but any alternate explanation you'd like to pursue for where they are instead and what they're doing would be totally welcome. Can handmaidens retire after a certain number of years or certain number of life-threatening situations? How does the rest of Naboo regard them—are past handmaidens (for queens) and, idk, men-at-arms (for Nabooian kings) highly respected? Do any of them end up running for political office themselves, or do the things they deal with in Padmé's service, the Trade Federation's scheming and the Senate's inaction, make them glad to leave that kind of thing behind in the end?

If you do feel like making use of EU quasi-canon, there's some FASCINATING stuff in there. For Eirtaé (the blond one), it's EU canon that she ran against Padmé in the election for queen, which I think is awesome—did she volunteer to become one of Padmé's handmaidens after that, or was she asked and she decided to accept? Why? What matters of policy did they disagree on that led Eirtaé to run against Padmé, and what made her willing to set that aside and become Padmé's bodyguard? What do the other four girls think about it? Rabé is apparently responsible for the incredible towering constructions of Padmé's (and Sabé's) hair—why is that so? Did she have to be specially trained for it? If you feel like worldbuilding—how are those hairstyles chosen and/or designed in the first place, and does Rabé have any input? Does the time it must take for her to put them into place become important to her relationship with Padmé or Sabé (or both), a time when they're alone and can talk about anything, Padmé and Sabé not having had to put the full queenly armor in place yet? Or is that time used by Padmé and Sabé to sort of gird themselves for whatever public appearance is about to happen, and Rabé respects that and is as quiet and careful and unobtrusive as possible? Sabé, of course, is Padmé's decoy/body double even just in movie canon—how does she feel about that? How much work did it take to get good at that, and—ugh, god, you can tell how much I ship it, but do they just have a ridiculously good understanding of each other's thoughts and opinions or do they have a system by which Padmé can tell Sabé what she should say even when Sabé is the one who's queen at the moment? (Like, either they are so MFEO or they are constantly paying attention to each other's slightest movements and LEARNING to understand each other super well, and so either way I'M FULL OF FEELINGS.) Saché and Yané are the two handmaidens who get left behind on Naboo when Padmé flees the planet with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan—ANYTHING you would like to tell me about that, about what it was like for them if they were captured or them escaping the palace together and doing their best to thwart the Trade Federation by running an on-planet resistance/trying to set up a smuggling route through the blockade, whether they were friends beforehand or only became friends during ... UGH MY GOD I WOULD LOVE IT.

Obviously you can tell if you've gotten this far that I'm on board for Padmé/Sabé—and for the possibility of Saché/Yané just about any way you'd like to play it, since (I can admit it) they're basically blank slates in the movie: as friends who had to lean on each other even harder during the occupation or as rivals who've never previously gotten along well but have to learn to work together to keep each other alive (though, again, I'd rather keep it inexplicit until everybody involved is a bit older). I also will admit to a real soft spot for all the handmaidens together as a platonic or mostly-unspoken OT5 centered around the lodestone of Padmé and their duty to her—and feel free to explain that duty any way you like, as personal or political or religious, or some of each in different ratios for each handmaiden. If there are any other possibilities you want to explore for any of them that make sense to you—they've probably met Sola Naberrie? They probably know Asha, the palace servant from the Obi-Wan video game? They may have met the girl who becomes Queen Apailana before she was elected and chose a regnal name, or the girl who becomes Queen Jamillia?—you should feel totally free to do so. One of the best things about Star Wars is how enormous its universe is, even if it can also be incredibly fucking byzantine, so honestly you can do just about anything you want.


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Stargate Atlantis
Alicia Vega, Alison Porter, Anne Teldy, Dusty Mehra, Shen Xiaoyi

I'll fess up: I was the person who nominated SGA this year, and if you happened to read my letter last year, you may have guessed that, because I'm easy for Teldy's gate team and for Shen Xiaoyi. NO REGRETS. (What is it with me and women who are in a single episode of their show this year?) If you feel like brushing up, all you really need to watch is 5.07, Whispers, and 5.15, Remnants—the first is the ep with Teldy's team and the second is the ep where Shen visits Atlantis to evaluate Woolsey. Whispers is not what I would consider a particularly remarkable episode, but it might be my favorite episode of S5 JUST because of Teldy's gate team: I love watching them interact with each other, I love Teldy telling people what to do and Vega shooting things, Porter doing science and Mehra blowing stuff up. (Basically the whole concept of gate teams is designed to appeal to me, because it's all about people with different skills and specialties, who start out as strangers, being assigned to figure out how to work together to save lives and defeat intergalactic evil, and—because this is Stargate—becoming really good friends and getting hurt for each other and stopping bad guys.) And Shen! I would adore anything that manages to treat her a little more fairly than the show. She's ambitious and controlling and she maneuvers people as she sees fit, she's not nice; but she insists on excellence and she wants to be in charge of things and make decisions, and I'm okay with that!

I would love basically any thousand words about Anne Teldy and her gate team, whether it's a snippet about the process she went through to choose them, her going through the files she's given and picking Porter and Mehra and Vega out of the crowd; or what the first day in Atlantis was like for each of them; or their first gate mission together. Or a straight-up episode fix-it fic where Teldy insists on going back to the planet to retrieve Vega's body and then they find her injured but totally alive and spend the next six weeks annoying her while she recovers in the infirmary. For Shen, likewise, I'll take just about anything you can think of—what she's briefed on before she makes the trip by the IOA, and how that compares to the reality of Atlantis; her interacting with nearly anyone, asking probing questions of Teyla during lunch in the mess or being assigned Amelia Banks as a tour guide or taking a look around the infirmary and running into Keller; or anything pre- or post-canon (by which I mean pre- or post- her appearance in canon) about her work for the IOA and how she feels about it. If you wanted to write me a thousand words of the AU where she beat out Woolsey in the running to replace Sam Carter and ends up in charge of Atlantis, doing some things right and other things wrong and slowly earning people's respect even when they don't actually like her—I WOULD LOVE THAT. :D


Oh, this show! I love the fundamentals that underpin this show almost as much as I facepalm over some of the actual episodes—at its heart, the Stargate franchise is so adorably good-natured and optimistic, even though sometimes the writers didn't seem to be paying attention to what the episodes were actually saying about the characters, or thinking through the implications of the characters' actions. But! At its best, Stargate Atlantis was about people being brave and reaching out and taking care of one another, trying their utmost to do good in the face of fear and uncertainty. I always loved it a little bit for that, even when it was busy killing off my favorite characters, ignoring others, and pretending none of the rest had ever done anything that could reasonably be considered wrong. /o\ OH SHOW.

One of my OTHER favorite things about it was how big its world was, even though the show didn't always use that in the way I would have liked. The main gate team on the show is just one gate team—there are a whole bunch of others, too, all carrying out their own missions, all saving totally different planets or meeting totally different new people or forging totally separate alliances, all the time. Of course the show only ever really focused on the consequences of the main gate team's actions, mostly (which, to be fair, makes perfect sense for Doylist reasons). But! The potential was there, and every now and then it showed. That's also the reason why I like the IOA, even though the show mostly didn't—it hints at the broader effects of the Stargate program, and it brings in a perspective that's neither American nor military, even if it's only for a quarter of an episode at a time. Those kinds of glimpses at the larger context that surrounds the usual bubble of the show were always a thrill for me, because THAT'S THE KIND OF DWEEB I AM.


SGA-♀
I'm treating Teldy's team as a unit here because otherwise this letter will be THOUSANDS OF WORDS LONGER than it already is. In the briefest terms I'm capable of: I love Anne Teldy for her no-nonsense attitude, for her confidence and trust in herself and in her own decisions (I believe her when she tells John she chose this team because she was told to choose the best, and that she made that set of choices so confidently and refuses to back down from it or let anyone make her feel bad about it is just—SO GREAT, OKAY). I love Alison Porter for how sweet and smart and brave she is—like, all the science staff on Atlantis are pretty goddamn brave, right, to choose pursuing scientific inquiry in their fields over their own personal safety in such an immediate way, but being on a gate team is A WHOLE 'NOTHER LEVEL. I love Alicia Vega for her patience and her straightforwardness and yes, all right, for her incredibly badass sharpshooting—she brought down a Wraith dart with an ASSAULT RIFLE, goddamn. And I love Dusty Mehra for her completely unapologetic desire to kick ass and kill bad guys (and for what she doesn't say but is clearly equally true: that, by extension, she wants to protect people who need protection and save lives. And blow shit up). I would definitely like to avoid paying any attention whatsoever to Vega's death, whether you prefer to do that by writing a fic set earlier in canon or by writing an AU; the thought of these women traveling around Pegasus saving each other and making friends with each other and saving lives/doing science/blowing shit up sustained me through everything I didn't enjoy about S5, and anything you want to write me about any one of them, all four of them, or any combination will absolutely make my day.

SO. Anything about how each of them or any of them ended up coming to Atlantis—about how each or any of them got involved in the Stargate program at all, for that matter, and why each or any of them chose to or was selected to go to Atlantis itself—would be wonderful, as would anything about the early days of the gate team itself. If you like creating fictional documentation, I would ADORE a Teldy's-eye-view of their files as she went through the process of putting together her team. Any angle at all on their early days as a gate team is also totally welcome: did they slot together surprisingly well even in the beginning? Or did they struggle to get along with each other, at the start, and then learn to work together better after a few rough missions? (Did Teldy force them to go through annoying team-building exercises? Did each of them like her or dislike her, to start with, and if they disliked her when did they learn to respect her anyway, since seemingly they all pretty much do by the time the Whispers mission takes place?) Anything during the actual episode from any of their POVs would also be awesome, though, again, I'd really like to avoid paying any attention to Vega's death UNLESS you're willing to handwave the death into severe injuries. (Even just a post-ep tag where Teldy tells Mehra and Porter they're going to go back, that Vega's not dead until they find her body, qualifies as fix-it for me if it lets me imagine they went back and found Vega alive.)


Shen Xiaoyi

I actually honestly didn't like Remnants all that much, but I was DELIGHTED to see Shen Xiaoyi, and the idea that she could have been Woolsey's replacement or could have been assigned to Atlantis right after Sam Carter instead of Woolsey has been taunting me ever since. (Much as I love Robert Picardo—and I do, as weird as it was to see Voyager's EMH on Atlantis!) It's always really easy to get me interested in and invested in a woman who has clear goals for herself and who is willing to do just about anything she considers necessary to achieve those goals. And Shen is so gloriously tactical about it, keeping what she's there for to herself and smiling in Woolsey's face UNTIL that no longer serves her purpose, at which point she switches tracks like flipping a switch. LOVE IT. As I said in last year's version of this letter, I often really love women who are playing kind of a chess game with everybody around them, and Shen Xiaoyi fits into that category for me. She is obviously not especially kind nor especially forthright by nature, but I don't think of her as automatically a terrible person as a result; she thinks things need to get done right and she thinks she deserves to be the one who gets to decide what the right way is, and who says she's wrong? I mean, authorial fiat, obviously, in the actual episode—but despite her maybe not being the nicest person, there's no reason to think she would do a genuinely worse job than Woolsey, necessarily. Sometimes you NEED that chess-game perspective (how would she have handled the Genii?). And the show treats "procedure" as something IOA tries to inflict on the gate program because civilians just ~don't understand~ what it's like in the field, but I can't help feeling like someone who insisted on following it might have ended up being right some of the time ...

Absolutely any piece of any AU where she ends up on Atlantis earlier and/or more permanently would be completely awesome—whether she gets assigned by the IOA to supervise Elizabeth early on, or is in fact Sam Carter's replacement instead of Woolsey, or does get Woolsey removed by the end of Remnants and is installed in his place. I would love to see any snippet of her going through her own version of the arc the show gave just about everyone who ended up in charge of Atlantis, where they struggled a little bit to start with but also made a few genuinely good decisions, and managed to get the hang of it after a false start or two. Sticking solely with canon, I would love anything that delved a little bit more into her time on Atlantis on the show, as brief as it was—what was she doing during pretty much any of the times she wasn't onscreen? What was she told before she left the SGC for Atlantis—what was the gate trip like, what did she think when she first stepped out the other side? Did she do any exploring of Atlantis on her own, and if she did who might she have run into? If you'd like to combine my requests and have her run into Teldy, Vega, Porter, or Mehra, I WOULD BE INTO THAT. And just about any sort of backstory with her would also be great—how she came to be part of the IOA in the first place, what she thought when she first learned about the Stargate program, anything. Did she participate in any way in the effort to fund, build, and assign crew to the Sun Tzu?


Combinations

Any sort of friendship fic between any two or three or all four members of Teldy's team would be solid gold-plated awesome, as far as I'm concerned; and any excuse you feel like using to get any one of them in the same place as Shen Xiaoyi will be eagerly accepted by me. (Any sort of overtly polite and covertly barbed conversation between her and Teldy, or between her and Mehra with Shen trying to get Mehra to say something she could use against Woolsey and Mehra playing the fool—!) As far as shipping options go, I'm totally okay with the canonical Porter/clone!Beckett exchanges of doe-eyed fond looks, and with so-very-nearly-canonical Vega/Keller—if you would like to write me an extended edition of that deleted scene from Search and Rescue where Vega asks Keller out, where Keller DOES get out of surgery/get that paperwork extension and lets Vega buy her that drink, I would be SO THERE. And honestly you couldn't go wrong with any combination from Teldy's team at all: any sort of stoic I'm-your-CO understated angst with Teldy, or Vega and Mehra initially bonding over weaponry and then turning to each other after a rough mission, or either Vega or Mehra taking the safety of their team scientist REALLY personally—or both of them, for that matter, or even something embracing the us-against-the-world OT4 that any canonical gate team so readily lends itself to. NONE OF THESE THINGS ARE A BAD IDEA. There's no really obvious shipping options for Shen, but mostly-antagonistic and largely unspoken Shen/anybody vibes would be a-okay with me. :D


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Honestly I sort of hope you DIDN'T read that entire completely ridiculous 10k of me blathering (although if you did I should probably give you some kind of medal), but whatever parts you did or didn't read, I hope it was helpful instead of annoying! Thank you again so much for signing up for Rarelywritten and for offering one or more of these awesome characters. I'm sure I'll love whatever you give me whether you read this letter or not, and I hope whatever gift you receive is just as great. ♥

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