Date: 8/4/97 2:01:19 PM
<<As a member of the writing staff, does the job security give you a sense of
leniency or freedom upon writing scripts? Instead of being a freelancer, is
there a sense of satisfaction in not worrying about whether this word is a
five-dollar word and such? I just wondered if the shaping of your scripts
was different because of your status as a staff member.>>
I started TNG as a staff writer on a week to week contract and spent the
first three months of my tenure wondering if I should show up on the
following Monday. On my first day, Michael told me bluntly, "We're going to
give you a try, but if it doesn't work out, don't be too disappointed." With
that in mind, every Friday I would wait to hear some kind of confirmation of
my continued employment on the starship Enterprise, but of course no one
would say a word. I'd just assume that I should continue showing up, and
every Monday morning I'd make the walk through the first floor of the Hart
Building, dreading that I'd hear some secretary say, "Ron? What are you
doing here? Didn't you hear? Oh, my..."
I was finally given a real contract as a Story Editor and so my weekly
employment questions were solved, but for my first four to five years on
staff I was firmly convinced that every time I turned in a script, it
could/would be my last. So the "security" of staff work eluded me for quite
some time even though I was steadily building confidence as a writer with
each passing script. At this point in my career, I would say that I feel
secure enough in my work to take more chances than I did before, but that's
less a factor of being on staff than it is a measure of of my experience
<<Are there any plans for crossover characters in the future for either
show... Maybe an Alternate universe episode?>>
If you mean "Mirror Universe" shows, we have one episode in development right
now. If you mean crossover characters from Voyager to DS9 or vice versa, we
have no plans.
<<Are we going to see more of an abundance of stories outside-of-the-station?
We'll continue to do a mix of station-bound and off the station episodes this
year. However, you can certainly look forward to several storylines at the
beginning of the season centering around the characters who fled to the
Defiant at the end of last year.
<<With the over-saturation of the Birds of Prey since their debut in SFS.
Why was it chosen for the Rotarran? The obvious answer is that you
personally like it. Seriously though, I would love to have seen a new
The Bird of Prey continues to be used primarily for budgetary reasons.
Creating a new Klingon vessel means spending money not only for the model
itself but also means that we can't use any "library" shots to help fill out
the exterior action sequences. Quite often, our VFX guys recomposite
existing shots to provide a little extra bang for the buck during a space
battle or even just for "fly-by" sequences. A new model means having to
create all those shots from scratch. Then there's the cost of designing and
building new interior sets to go along with the new exteriors. Since the
Bird of Prey is still one of the best ship designs in all of Trek, there's
not too much incentive to build another vessel (and we still have the larger
Vor'Cha-class battlecruiser anyway).
<<my question is, can K'Ehleyr be brought back like Kahless, as a clone, and
would Suzi Plakson agree to play her again?>>
Remember that cloning wouldn't bring back K'Ehleyr's personality or her
specific memories and so it wouldn't really *be* K'Ehleyr. Even the Kahless
clone had to have his memories "downloaded" by the clerics and did not
actually have the unique personal experience of the orginal. But putting all
that aside, we still have no plans to reprise the character.
Date: 8/4/97 2:19:03 PM
<<If indeed DS9 should choose not to return after this season will any of the
main characters make the switch over to the Enterprise in the films? Logical
choises such as Worf, Dax and O'Brian must be a concideration though it is
still a year away. And would you want to see them transfered to the
My preference would be not to switch any of the main characters over to the
TNG films. Cameo shots like the Holo-Doc in "First Contact" are fun, but I
wouldn't want to see him as regular part of the TNG cast. I think the series
should remain more or less separate entities and not do too much mixing and
matching. Worf is the exception because he is truly part of two different
<<I'm with those who think the "queen" was a "virtual" entity -- the
personification of the collective. Literally, as well as figuratively. How
about it, Ron?>>
This was not the intention. We saw her as a literal person.
<<I remember the Starlog special that detailed this story... This young man
had written a spec script that brought Khan and Picard face to face (revealed
at the end to actually be a computer simulation), and won an intership at
Paramount, where he worked on "Brooklyn Bridge," then TNG, and then became
one of the first interns for DS9, before the show had even hit the air. As I
remember, the only staffer he showed his spec to was Jeri Taylor, which would
explain why Ron has no recollection. I also remember that this intern was a
black college student from Long Island... does any of this ring any bells,
I remember the intern in question (however his name eludes me at the moment).
It's possible that his spec involved Khan and that Jeri liked it, but I'm
fairly certain that the idea went no further and that Montalban was not
contacted at that time.
<<A few folders back, you confirmed the existence of other Defiant-class
vessels in the "Call to Arms" task force. Is it safe to assume that these
vessels, at the very least, have cloaking devices?>>
We haven't assumed that either. The cloak on the Defiant was obtained from
and installed by the Romulans, and wasn't a piece of standard Federation
equipment (unlike the anti-temporal lock brakes or the power windows), so the
other Defiant-class ships probably don't have cloaks.
<<Particularly interesting is the business about Kira choosing to bear Keiko
and Miles' child. Given what we saw onscreen, Bashir made that decision;
Kira made no decisions at all. >>
There is nothing in "Body Parts" that suggests or hints that the decision for
Kira to carry the baby was made over her objections or that she even
hesitated. The implication is clearly that Kira made the decision of her own
free will, even if there's no dialog that specifically says it.
<< I still think that the worst thing you folks did to her character was to
have her move in with the O'Briens. She looked terrible, they looked
terrible. She was so incredibly passive it made me sick. >>
Well, this is flat-out baffling. The surrogate mother moves in with the
natural parents because they can help her through her first pregnancy and so
the natural mother can be closer to the baby that was quite literally ripped
from her womb. I don't see anything "terrible" about that, nor do I see
anything passive. Kira was asked to move in and she agreed. She had a
choice and she made it, there's nothing passive about that.
Date: 8/4/97 2:33:48 PM
<<Having [Kira] meet her replacement -- Worf -- who certainly looked like her
replacement fourth season -- while being humiliated -- just made me sick. >>
Well, now you're just taking pot shots. We never even implied that Worf was
her replacement and it's fairly clear that *all* the regular characters got
less screen time for a while as we made the integration of Worf into the life
of the station. As far as Kira being "humiliated" that's just so much bunk.
Yes, Kira was embarrassed, so what? She's a big girl she can handle a
little embarrassment now and again, just like all the other characters who
have all had scenes where we've played humor at their expense (just think of
how many jokes have been made at *Worf's* expense over the years!)
<<Your message makes me wonder if you actually WATCHED the shows you
scripted. I know you did, but your recollection of how Kira looked differs
radically from mine, almost everyone in Nanites (Nana's club), and Nana's,
that I am simply astounded. >>
I think is it fairly clear just from reading the postings on this board that
there is no unanimity of opinion on this subject, and I see no reason to
believe that yours is the more correct take.
<<The ONLY problem [in "Starship Down"] is that Kira seemed to have forgotten
that she also had a duty to keep the crew alive. She abandoned her post not
for her captain but for her Emissary. Not a very good quality for an officer.
There was literally nothing more important for Kira to do in this scenario
than keep Sisko alive. Worf was second in command and was in charge of
repairing the Defiant and Kira's task was to stay with Sisko. I doubt that
you would've found it more satisfying if Kira had been repairing plasma
conduits under Worf's direction. And yes, we made a choice to make Worf the
Defiant XO over Kira, but it seemed that he would be better used in that
position than Kira since commanding a starship is not really what her
position was supposed to entail, being first and foremost the Bajoran liason
officer on the station. Kira is still the First Officer of the station,
which is a bigger and more prestigious position than anything having to do
with the Defiant.
Date: 8/4/97 2:59:01 PM
<<Let me ask you this, Ron: if you don't get and don't agree that what many
of us have complained about really was happening with the character, how do
you explain her getting her personality back this season? >>
Very simply -- I maintain that she never lost it. The writing staff never
saw Kira as being a wimp or a "sex kitten" in the fourth season, so we
weren't trying to "salvage" her in the fifth. Kira dropped from view in the
later half of year four and the first half of year five because of Nana's
pregnancy, not from any nefarious agenda of ours. The only concession I'll
make to this argument is that I went out of my way to be sure that Kira was
presented as a strong and capable character in "The Darkness and the Light"
because I saw some complaining about the way she'd been portrayed up until
then. But I didn't have to change my thinking about her or re-invent the
character, I just wrote her the way I had seen her all along -- as a very
strong woman with complex and sometimes contradictory impulses.
If you saw her as "soft" during season four, why can't you see it as a
rounding out of her character -- an opportunity to show a different (and
positive) aspect of Kira rather than an assassination? Writing Kira the same
way every show and in every situation is boring and ultimately a disservice
to the character. Indeed, one of the stongest criticisms that is made about
Worf is that we've played the same note with him a little too often over the
years. There's no reason that we shouldn't be allowed to show the sexuality,
the vulnerability, and yes, even the "weak" moments in a character like Major
Kira. We do the same thing with all the characters -- tell me that we
haven't show O'Brien looking silly now and again, or that Bashir's sexuality
hasn't been played up or that Sisko hasn't come dangerously close to
dereliction of duty for a woman he was involved with ("For the Cause"). The
point is that a character has to have several different aspects to their
personality and we shouldn't be penalized for trying different angles from
time to time as long as the central thrust of the character remains the same
(which is exactly what I've contended all along).
<<Is it possible that the domminion could have replaced Dukat as a
While possible, it's not something we're considering.
<<How many ships does the Domminion have?>>
A whole bunch.
<<could we see the Borg teaming up with/going against the Domminion?>>
<<My question is, in terms of specifics (Tribbles, the original three
Klingons, dialog references, etc.) and generalities (see above) how much of
this was planned and how much grows out of a natural affection for the
Most of the TOS references are signs of the writers' affection for the old
show. There are a few plot points that had to be tied to the original Trek,
but the vast majority are signs of our own respect of and love for the first
<<If DS9 could continue with a 7th season but without some of the main cast
still in it, would you introduce new characters? Or would you "promote" some
of the recurring guest stars? Or would you just settle for a smaller main
These are all options, but we've made no decision at this time.
<<Okay, you listen to music. So my next question is pretty simple. What music
do you listen to?
I asked these questions because, a writer myself, I sometimes find it helps
during the creative process. Especially when the music you're listening to
works along with what you're writing.>>
I don't try to do too much matching of music to the content of the script,
(i.e. battle music for action scripts, soft music for romances, etc.) I tend
to play classical music or movie soundtracks, primarily because I find lyrics
to be distracting while I'm writing and prefer just to let the music play in
the background rather than give it any real attention.
Date: 8/4/97 3:25:24 PM
<<Something that was never answered in the episode, "Dr Bashir, I Presume".
Are they going to continue to use Bashir as the template for the LMH??>>
O'Brien told Bashir that Dr. Zimmerman was going to be sending a report to
Starfleet Medical saying that Bashir was unsuitable for modeling because of
suspicions regarding his genetically enhanced background. Presumably, that
opinion was only reinforced when the suspicions turned out to be true and so
Bashir will not be the model for the LMH.
<<as long as we're discussing Kira, what about any Kira eps? Any planned,
Kira has strong roles and storylines in several of the early episodes of next
<<Will we get to see any Kira and Dax interaction this season? Maybe even an
entire episode that resolves primarily around the two of them?>>
This is certainly possible, but we're still working on getting everyone back
on the station for now.
<<You stated that during season six, the exterior of the station may change.
I know that this will not happen now, but what did you have in mind?>>
I had nothing specifically in mind for the exterior or the interior, I just
thought that having the Dominion occupy DS9 for a time gave us an opportunity
to make changes and that we should take advantage of it. As it worked out,
we had many other issues to deal with during hiatus and had to scramble to
find money just to do the necessary stories we wanted to tell, so the subject
of station modifications was quietly shelved.
<<I don't know when development for Voyager began, but can we really say that
[the Maquis] were *created* with Voyager in mind? Since they'd already been
established on the show(s) for almost a year?>>
The Maquis were definitely created for Voyager. When I was working on
"Journey's End", Michael told me quite explicitly about their plans for the
role of the Maquis on Voyager and that he wanted "Journey" to show the roots
of the Maquis even though they would later be named on DS9.
<<What happened to Mr. Crocker [former DS9 writer/producer] anyway? What is
he working on now?>>
I think Jim was freelancing for a time on "Outer Limits" and some other
shows, and I believe he's now on staff somewhere, but I'm not sure where.
<<I just saw the DS9 episodes (On Videotape) "In Purgatory Shadow" and "By
Infernos Light" and I have a question: How did Worf, Bashir, Garak, etc. get
transported since they didn't had their communicators with them, so the
runabout could get a lock on them?>>
I think the transporter had been ordered to beam aboard all Klingon, Human,
Romulan, and Cardassian lifeforms from certain areas of the prison.
<<Ron, have you seen or been influenced by ["I, Claudius"] at all? >>
I have the series on videotape and think it's wonderful. I absolutely love
the character of Livia (Augustus Caesar's wife) and the actress who plays her
and I definitely see her as a great example of how to play a manipulative and
cunning character. But the entire series is a remarkable piece of television
and I highly recommend it.
<< I read somewhere that the phased cloaking device basically did to the
enterprise what the transporters did to Ro and Geordi when they were knocked
"out of phase" and no one could see them(forget the name of the ep). Is this
true? Also, if it is, would ships that are phase-cloaked be prevented from
flying through other ships because the crew on the cloaked ship would find
their feet not going through floors and their butts not going through
The phasing cloak was supposed to be based on the same technology in both
"The Next Phase" and "The Pegasus". I think the notion was that if you were
"phased" on a ship that had been also "phased" that the matter of your vessel
would seem solid *to you* but would pass through other "unphased" matter.
<< did you know Tracey [Torme], Ron, or was he gone by the time you got
He was gone by the time I came aboard, but I have met him once or twice.