AUTHOR'S NOTE AND REFERENCE GUIDE:
Colin is a child of our world, of pop-culture and fandom, but he's also a child of the 1990s and I'm embarrassingly aware of the number of retro multi-fandom references in this story. Thankfully, my friend Tim was awesome enough to prepare the following guide for anything that might have been confusing. The following is all his:
"The Miri Factor"—Referring to an episode from the original Star Trek (Season 1, Episode 8), "Miri", in which the Enterprise discovers an exact duplicate of Earth, where the only survivors of a deadly plague are some of the planet's children.
"The Alternate Factor"—Referring to an episode from the original Star Trek (Season 1, Episode 8), in which the crew of the Enterprise encounters a "reality jumping" madman. This is the first Star Trek episode to deal with parallel universes.
"Dark Forces II"—Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, a game for Windows PC which came out in October of 1997.
"Nintendo"—Since this is 1997, the Creeveys probably had a Nintendo 64.
"Harry Knowles"—Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool , who reported on the Star Wars prequels.Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was at this point, late 1997, more than a year away.
"about the same odds as Voyager going for fifteen seasons"—Star Trek: Voyager was not well-received by Trek fandom. It lasted seven seasons, ending just before the beginning of Enterprise.
"fit new Borg"— Referring to the introduction on Star Trek: Voyager in fall 1997 of 7 of 9, an infamously curvacious Borg played by Jeri Ryan who was rescued from the collective in a skintight silver catsuit.
"Marie Celeste"—The Mary Celeste (or Marie Céleste as it is fictionally referred to by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others after him) is often described as the archetypal ghost ship, since she was discovered derelict without any apparent explanation, and her name has become a synonym for similar occurrences.
"Hellraiser"—1987 British and American horror film based upon the novella The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, who also wrote the screenplay and directed the film. According to Wikipedia, Hellraiser explores themes of sadomasochism and morality under duress and fear.
"Something about a minute with a beautiful woman or a minute on hot coals"—A reference to a quote attributed to Einstein: "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity."
"Don't panic. The familiar, droll instructions made the slightest bit of a smile come to his mouth, and he opened his eyes, squaring his shoulders. No bulldozers, at least. Could be worse."—References to theHitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series (which appeared in various media—it was a radio show long before it was a series of books, for example).
TARDIS—a time machine and spacecraft (shaped like a blue police box, of all things) in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and its associated spin-offs. The craft is a product of the advanced technology of the Time Lords, an extraterrestrial civilization to which the titular Doctor belongs.
"Vulcan, he had to be Vulcan about this"—that is, stoic and unemotional, or at least not allowing oneself to be ruled by one's emotions.
"Green Lantern"—shared primary alias of several fictional characters, superheroes appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Late 1997, the sole holder of the title was Kyle Rayner (long story short—too late—DC hoped to revamp the Green Lantern comic as they had several other of their titles, so they basically destroyed everything that had made up the Green Lantern mythos up to that point and started over. This would later be reversed).
"Wil Wheaton foil card"—Probably a trading card, and a rare one from the sound of it. For those of you who are unaware, Wheaton played the much-reviled Wesley Crusher (named after Gene WesleyRoddenberry and former Trope Namer for Creator's Pet), but has managed to make a career out of being a pop-cultural figure in the years since.
"Stan Lee Spider-Man sketch"—that would be worth a good bit of money. Spidey was co-created by Lee and writer/artist Steve Ditko.
"1701"—The majority of the vessels called Enterprise in the Star Trek 'verse share "NCC-1701" as part of their registry (consisting of a two- or three-letter prefix, a string of digits, and, in some instances, a one-letter suffix), with later ships appending a letter to the registry to differentiate them (the Next Generation Enterprise is NCC-1701-D, for example).
"That Which Survives"- Referring to an episode from the original Star Trek (Season 3, Episode 17) with the same title, in which the crew of the Enterprise visit an abandoned outpost guarded by a mysterious computer.
"Alexander the Great had already founded his first colony by your age"—This is true. Alexander colonized territory taken from the Maedi in Thrace (now part of Bulgaria and Turkey) with Greeks, founding a city called Alexandropolis.
"Aquaman sucks"—Sadly, at that point Aquaman's place in pop culture was pretty much cemented by theSuperfriends cartoon, in which he was basically useless. He's taken a few levels in badass since.
"DS9"—Common fan abbreviation for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
"Morn"—This is true. The character also appeared in the Next Generation episode "Birthright, Part I" and made a cameo in the Voyager episode "Caretaker." Every set of concurrently-running Trek series has maintained connections—for example, Worf joining the DS9 cast for a while.
"Mystique"—Shape-shifting (sometimes across gender lines—there are rumors that Mystique was not supposed to be Nightcrawler's mother but his father) sometimes-foe of the X-Men.
"Jennifer Lien"—known for playing the alien Kes on Voyager. Left the series in 1997, concurrent with Jeri Ryan joining the cast as Seven of Nine.
"Chris O'Donnell's Robin"—Chris O'Donnell played Dick Grayson/Robin in the Joel Shumacher-directedBatman Forever and Batman and Robin. The part was fairly obviously written for a younger actor, and it shows.
"Ivanova"—Susan Ivanova of Babylon 5, played by Claudia Christian.
"Jerry Siegel"—Co-creator of Superman (along with Joe Shuster). Died January 1996.
"like watching Lal before the emotions had kicked in"—Lal is Data's "daughter" on Next Generation- a featureless humanoid android based on his structural design and recent Federation cybernetics technology—who only appeared in one episode, the season-three episode "The Offspring".
"Charlie X"— Referring to an episode from the original Star Trek (Season 1, Episode 2), in which theEnterprise picks up an unstable seventeen-year-old boy with dangerous mental powers.
"The Asian stock markets were having a crisis, there was some kind of coup or rebellion in Nigeria, Man U was slipping badly in the league, the new Spice Girls song was flying up the charts…"—Setting this rather firmly in December 1997.
"…an away mission right now, but hailing frequencies are open…"—More Trek jargon. Have I mentioned the elder Creeveys were geeks?
"go all Charlie McGee"—Referring to the main character of the book Firestarter by Stephen King, played in the movie of the same name by Drew Barrymore.
"Warbird"—a class of large warship in Star Trek. This is iffy, since both the Klingons and the Romulans called their large battle cruisers warbirds.
"A Taste of Armageddon"—Referring to an episode from the original Star Trek (Season 1, Episode 23), in which the crew of the Enterprise visits a planet whose people fight a computer simulated war with a neighboring enemy planet. The crew finds that although the war is fought via computer simulation, the citizens of each planet have to submit to real executions inside 'disintegration booths' based on the results of simulated attacks. The crew of the Enterprise is caught in the middle and are told to submit themselves voluntarily for execution after being 'killed' in an 'enemy attack'.
"Willy Wonka's tunnel, except this was no magic chocolate factory"—Referring to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; the original 1971 film. Considering what High Octane Nightmare Fuel that tunnel was…
"Lawful Good Fighters"—Dungeons & Dragons Character Alignment jargon. The Lawful Good alignment is often thought of as the most blatantly good of the good guys, and is commonly stereotyped as such. Think "Knight In Shining Armor" or "Superman" and you've got the basic idea. Fighter is a character class (pretty fitting, since the DA aren't Squishy Wizards by any stretch of the imagination, though Fighters tend not to use magic).
"Brundlefly"—The malformed hybrid of human and fly created in a scientific accident in the 1986 horror movie The Fly.
"monkeycats"—Referring to an infamous deleted scene from the 1986 version of The Fly in which a desperate Brundle (in a transitional makeup stage that appears only in this scene), uses the Telepods to merge an alley cat and a baboon (the same baboon that Brundle successfully teleported earlier in the film) together in an attempt to find a cure for his condition. However, the resulting "monkey-cat" creature comes out of the receiving Telepod terribly deformed and in unendurable pain, and attacks Brundle, who ends up beating the two-headed creature to death with a metal pipe to end its misery.
"Toxic Avenger…Troma movie"—a 1984 comedy horror film released by Troma Entertainment, known for producing low budget B-movies with campy concepts. Troma films are B-movies known for their use of shocking imagery; some would categorize them as "shock exploitation films". They typically contain overt sexuality, graphic violence, gore and nudity, so much that the term "Troma film" has become synonymous with these characteristics.
"burn baby burn"—"Disco Inferno", a 1976 song by The Trammps from the album of the same name. It became a success in 1978 after being included on the soundtrack to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. The title alludes to the 1974 film The Towering Inferno, and the "Burn, baby, burn" chorus references a saying attributed to activist Bill Epton.
"Bag End"—home to Bilbo Baggins (and later Frodo) in The Lord of the Rings.
"Bajor"—homeworld to the Bajorans, a fictional species from the Star Trek 'verse.
"Devil in the Dark"—Referring to an episode from the original Star Trek (Season 1, Episode 25), in which the Enterprise arrives at Janus VI, where an unknown monster is destroying machinery and killing the miners, threatening the entire mining operation.
"Did I make it… to Rivendell?"—referring to Frodo's injury at the hands of the Nazgul (specifically, he was stabbed by an enchanted sword, a wound that, if allowed to fester, would end with Frodo becoming a Nazgul himself), after which he was ferried to Rivendell, where the Elves managed to heal him.
"like a Tribble at a Klingon bachelor party"—Klingons consider tribbles to be "mortal enemies" of the Klingon Empire, as stated in the Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". Most races in Star Trek, however, find the little creatures quite endearing. While appearing in only four episodes and briefly in three of the Star Trek movies, they are one of the most popular and well-known species featured in theStar Trek universe, fairly well known even to casual followers of the series. The expression "multiplying like tribbles" has also become commonplace in the context of science fiction or technology.
"Ascot"—Ascot Racecourse is a famous English racecourse, located in the small town of Ascot, Berkshire, used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting 9 of the UK's 32 annual Group 1 races. The course is closely associated with the British Royal Family, being approximately six miles from Windsor Castle, and owned by Ascot Racecourse Ltd.
"Kobayashi Maru"—the infamous no-win scenario, a Starfleet training exercise designed to test the character of cadets in the command track at Starfleet Academy. The Kobayashi Maru test was first depicted in the opening scene of the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and also appears in the 2009 reboot. The test's name is occasionally used among Star Trek fans—or those familiar with the series—to describe a no-win scenario, or a solution that involves redefining the problem.
"sandstorm that would send a Jawa into hiding"—Jawas are from the Star Wars universe, indigenous to the desert planet Tatooine.
"go to Professor X's school"—a reference to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngers, Charles Xaver's converted mansion, where the X-Men live and train.
"making the inside of the wardrobe snow"—probably a Chronicles of Narnia reference, specifically The Lon, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; when the Pevensies journeyed through the titular wardrobe, they discovered a snow-covered forest on the other side.
"horta sweat"—the Horta is the beast from "The Devil in the Dark"; Horta tunnel through rock like most humanoids walk through air, moving with the aid of an extremely corrosive acid. They leave perfectly round tunnels in their wake. This acid is so corrosive that it only leaves fragments of bone and teeth if used on a human.
"Alien spit"—the creatures from the Aliens franchise, sometimes called Xenomorphs. Their blood is an extremely potent acid and is capable of corroding on contact almost any substance with alarming speed.
"a deep-tissue massage from Edward Scissorhands"—referring to the titular character from the 1990 romantic fantasy Edward Scissorhands, centering around an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has… well, scissors for hands.
"Court Martial"—Referring to an episode from the original Star Trek (Season 1, Episode 14), in which Kirk is accused of criminal negligence causing the death of one of his subordinates, Lt. Commander Benjamin Finney, and is put on trial for his murder.
"how Bilbo had felt writing it all down after he was back in his own snug hole under the hill"—Referring toThere and Back Again (which we know as Tolkien's The Hobbit), an account by Bilbo Baggins, follows the home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins on his quest to win a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug. It's implied in Lord of the Rings—though never outright stated—that Bilbo was something of an Unreliable Narrator.
"something that usually sent most people backpedaling faster than a Wookiee on a losing streak":
Han Solo: "It's not wise to upset a Wookiee."
C-3PO: "But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid."
Han Solo: "That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that."
"some random Clockwork Orange madness"—A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 novella by Anthony Burgess, later adapted into a 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick. In a dystopic future where street crime is rampant and youths are uncontrollable, teenage sociopath Alex and his friends prowl the night spreading random terror and destruction wherever they go, apparently just for fun.
"Measure of a Man"- Referring to a TNG (The Next Generation) episode (Season 2, Episode 9), in which Commander Data must argue for his right of self-determination in order not be declared the property of Starfleet and deconstructed in the name of science.
"Ed Henty… Bishopsgate"—The Bishopsgate bombing—an April 24, 1993 Provisional Irish Republican Army truck bombing, which killed journalist Ed Henty, injured 44 others, and caused £1 billion worth of damage, including the destruction of St Ethelburga's church, and serious damage to Liverpool St. Tube Station. Police had received a coded warning, but were still evacuating the area at the time of the explosion. The insurance payments required were so enormous, that Lloyd's of London almost went bankrupt under the strain, and there was a crisis in the London insurance market. The area had already suffered damage from the Baltic Exchange bombing the year before. Incidentally, "the Met" are the Metropolitan Police, the London police.
"…manage a newsgroup and edit a 'zine…"—Remember those? A usenet newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users in different locations. The term may be confusing to some, because it is usually a discussion group. Newsgroups are technically distinct from, but functionally similar to, discussion forums on the World Wide Web. Newsreader software is used to read newsgroups. Despite the advent of file-sharing technologies such as BitTorrent, as well as the increased use of blogs, formal discussion forums, and social networking sites, coupled with a growing number of service providers blocking access to Usenet (see main article), newsgroups continue to be widely used. A fan magazine is… well, pretty self-explanatory.
"A nice pickle we have landed ourselves in, Mr. Frodo."—Colin is either quoting or paraphrasing (I'm not sure which) Samwise Gamgee, Frodo's ever-present friend and companion in Lord of the Rings.
"We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats…"—Quoting Captain Picard in Star Trek: First Contact, specifically Picard's famous "Captain Ahab" tirade, during which he realizes what he's let his lust for vengeance against the Borg turn him into—he even (mis)quotes Moby-Dick afterward. The interesting thing is that Picard then decides to take the Bard's advice about discretion being the better part of valor and self-destruct the Enterprise, destroying the Borg onboard. (To make a long story short, Colin is arguably missing the point.)