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Subtle Appreciation

Note: This is a Star Trek 2009 Movie fanfiction.

A wet smack could be heard echoing across the abandoned playground in the late afternoon sunset. Two figures held a third, smaller figure up by his arms, his face staring defiantly at large boy. His mop of untidy black hair covered the beginnings of a swelling black eye, and blood trickled slowly down his nose. He showed no sign of pain. The large boy he was staring at twitched a little at his defiance, not expecting it to come so readily.

“Think you’re smarter than us, He-care-oo?” he growled, deliberately butchering the small boy’s name. He hit the boy again, and his head snapped to the side, but still, he uttered no sound. This seemed to unnerve the bully further.

“Let’s just go home, Harvey,” one of his cronies offered nervously. “He’s had enough.”

“Not yet,” Harvey sneered. “I still don’t see the fear in his eyes. Drop him.” The other two boys did, and Hikaru fell to his hands. He smiled.

Kicking his feet out behind him, he hit the two boys hard in the kneecaps and they went down, crying in pain. Getting to his feet, he glared at Harvey. The boy was livid now. “Damn chink!” he shouted, aiming a huge, beefy fist towards Hikaru’s face. The smaller boy ducked with ease, leaning forward to propel the top of his head into Harvey’s chin. The large boy went down hard, cupping his hands to his mouth which was oozing blood. Tears trailed down his face as he moaned and cried loudly. His cronies scampered away quickly.

“I’m Japanese, you idiot.” Hikaru said, leaving the pitiful boy on the blacktop behind him.


With practiced ease, Hikaru gently slid the blunt knife along the alien plant’s seed. The outer shell fell away, exposing the delicate fleshy part underneath. He plucked it out, placing it in a jar that had several already.

The botany lab was nearly abandoned at this time of day. But he had missed a few classes due to a case of stomach flu. He didn’t mind the extra after-hours work. Sure he had had to miss Swordsmanship Club as a result, but at least he was missing it for something with which he had equal passion for.

A soft cry of dismay caught his attention from across the room, and he studied its only other occupant. A young woman, who was also a classmate, seemed to be trying to accomplish the same task he was, but with much less success. A few ruined seed pods were scattered on the desktop around her. He got up, and approached her table. “Can I help you?” he offered.

“No,” she snapped. Then sighed. “Yes.” She pushed her chair back from the table. He picked up her knife, and the seedpod she was about to butcher.

“You can’t cut too deeply, or you’ll ruin it. Try sawing gently until you feel it give,” he explained showing her. The pod popped open.

She laughed lightly. “You make it sound so simple.” Taking it from him, she peeled the outer shell away. “So what are you in for?” she joked.

“Sorry?” He asked.

She shrugged. “You know, what did you do wrong? Like, I stayed up all night having an actual good time, so botched the midterm last week.” She grinned.

“Oh, I was sick.” He said.

“Huh.” She said. Interpreting his disapproving tone correctly, she said “So you actually like this stuff?

“Um, yeah,” he said going back to his desk to continue his work. She followed him there. Before he could ask what she was doing, she hopped up onto it, and he didn’t miss the smoothness of her athletic legs barely contained by her cadet uniform.

“Think you could show me sometime?” she smiled seductively at him.

He grinned back.

“I’d like that.”


“A helmsman? Why would you study to be that? We’re not paying for your education so you can be…be…” his father threw his hands in the air in exasperation. “The daring space pilot, or whatever flight of fancy you have in your head!” His mother sat silent on the couch.

“I was top of my class in astrosciences,” Hikaru started quietly, but his mother interjected.

“And we are very proud of you. But Hikaru, this is…well, you’re just gifted at so many things,” she seemed unsure of how to finish. So many higher-paid things, he thought to himself.

“And a Battleship?” his father asked. “Things that blow up in two seconds after they’re torn apart by Klingons?”

“Hikaru, if piloting is what you really want to do, there are plenty of science and hospital ships-”

He sighed. “This is what I want to do,” he said quietly. His father sat down heavily on the couch next to his mother, defeated.

“We’re just worried,” he said, the anger he had just expressed had seemed to drain out of him like a deflating balloon. “We’d just imagined you’d be on a science expedition, studying new plant forms. Things you love.”

“I do love those things,” he said, his voice almost pleading. “But I also love piloting. I can’t explain it,” he finished quietly. His mother moved off the couch then, over to the chair he was sitting in, and embraced him. Surprised, it took him a moment before he moved to embrace her back.

“As parents we may not like it,” she said into his ear, “But we will always support you.”

“Thanks, Mom,” he whispered back.


They were deep in it now.

“Dammit Jim, breathe!” Sulu couldn’t spare a glance behind him as Dr. McCoy fought to keep their captain alive. She ship rocked and the lights shuddered as another asteroid bounced off the hull. Sweat beaded his brow and he fought to stay in his seat as the ship rolled wildly to the left.

“Lieutenant Sulu! The rail gun iz activating again! Anuzzer barrage iz incoming!” Chekov shouted from his right. He saw them both on screen and on his radar. Asteroids, each too thick in diameter to be blasted apart without creating dozens more that would pepper the hull like shotgun pellets.

Some damn alien race had contacted them, claiming to want to make an alliance with the federation, but instead had been after their more advanced weapons and warp technology. They had poisoned the captain, with a late acting food that caused him to go into anaphylactic shock once back on the bridge. They had hailed them briefly to say if they did not surrender, they would activate their massive, orbiting rail gun which used magnetism to pull asteroids out of orbit around the planet and launch them at terrifying speeds towards the enemy. The first barrage had hit their vital warp drive systems. Which is now why Sulu was trying to outmaneuver the rest.

Chekov spared Sulu a worried glance. The asteroids were headed right for them, but Sulu hadn’t moved the ship out of their path yet. “Sulu,” he said with a quiet alarm.

“Spock! Get the anti-histamines out of the med kit! Hurry!” Sulu could just hear McCoy performing rescue breathing on their captain. The loud hiss of a needle being applied could be heard. The other medical staff hadn’t been able to arrive yet because of the wild piloting. The asteroids were almost on them.

“Sulu!” Chekov shouted.

With a guttural growl, Sulu pitched the ship forward into a steep dive. Loose articles on the bridge flew forward in the artificial gravity of the ship, and there was a loud, angry “Holy Christ man, we’re tryin’ to treat a patient here!” from behind him.

Sulu couldn’t help himself before snapping back “I’m trying to keep us all from being patients, Doc!” Or worse.

“Engineering to Bridge,” Scotty’s frenzied voice sounded over the comm. “I’ve fixed the Warp well enough to get us outta here!”

“Do it now!” Spock shouted from behind them. Sulu didn’t have to be told twice. Swiveling the ship into a patch of clear space, he engaged the warp engines. The stars on the view screen lengthened, and the Enterprise made the smooth jump to hyperspace. Sulu sagged backwards in his chair, breathing heavily. He hadn’t noticed before, but wet coughs were sounding from behind him.

“Did we win?” a shaky voice asked. He swiveled his chair just in time to see the doctor give a very disapproving look to Kirk who was struggling to sit up.

“We are alive, Captain.” Spock said, his voice back to its normal, unshakable tone. “Due to some masterful engineering by Mr. Scott, and amazing piloting work through an asteroid storm by Lieutenant Sulu.

“Really?” Kirk wheezed. “I missed Sulu flying the ship through asteroids?” The doctor gently pushed him back down on the floor before he said quietly “I hope someone recorded that.”

“Sorry, I was too busy saving your ungrateful life,” McCoy said sarcastically.

“It’s ok, I forgive you,” Kirk said. “Now help me back into my chair.”

Before McCoy could utter his angry disapproval, Spock stepped in, hoping to diffuse the situation. “Captain, I believe it would be in everyone’s best interest if you allowed Dr. McCoy to accompany you to Medical Bay.” Kirk, for once, reluctantly agreed. As the doctor was ushering him out, he turned quickly in the doorway.

“Hey Sulu! Nice flyin’! Glad to have you on the team.”

Sulu gave a genuine, though tired, smile. “Thank you, Sir. Glad to be here.”

A/N: Sorry to the people expecting more chapters in my other fic, “Revenge is a Dish Best Served Freeze Dried.” I’m still working on that, but this is a plot bunny I had stuck in my head, and since it was a one-shot, I let it have its way. In case you were wondering, the girl in the second part is not a Mary-Sue. You will never see her again. Ever. So you don’t have to worry about that. Reviews much appreciated.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Freeze Dried- Chapters 1,2 and 3.

Post Star Trek 2009 movie. Multi-chapter installment. Khaiel Tovan watched from a small shuttle along with a handful of other Romulan survivors as their last hope was decimated. Silence permeated the small craft, other than the lou...

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Growing Hollywood Trends, and What They Mean For Otaku

Star Trek is responsible for a lot of things we Otaku can really appreciate. After all, some of the first fan conventions were centered on the television series. Trekkies (though as I understand it, like to be called Trekkers) were some of the first people to be known for making their own costumes and dressing like the characters in public. Star Trek’s even responsible for the rise of pre-internet fanfiction, and it was a Star Trek fic that created the original Mary Sue, a term still known to all fanfiction readers and writers today.

So now, the series is getting a reboot from J.J. Abrams, a man most well known for producing the shows Alias and LOST. Paramount, the studio funding the product and owner of the franchise practically threw money at the man with only one request: Make it for everyone.

Indeed, it seems to be just that. A thrilling, character-driven action-adventure movie that just happens to be set in space, the movie has people talking. And not just geeks. Newsweek recently featured a series of articles centered on the movie. Be honest, when was the last time you read Newsweek? That’s what I thought.

If the movie proves successful, and it’s looking like it might, what does that mean for us, as fans of Japanese animation? Star Trek is certainly not the first successful sci-fi movie, certainly. But as Hollywood branches out more and more into already existing source material, it’s only a matter of time before studios start going after anime full force. In the meantime, what can we do to establish the credibility of our fandom, ensure our voices are heard, and show to people that we don’t just watch “toons” all day?

Before I cover some of the indications we’ve already seen of this happening, let’s examine the patterns of other geek culture swept up by the Hollywood machine.

Comic book movies are probably the biggest, and the most well known. Comic book movies first kicked off in 1978 with Superman, followed later by Tim Burton’ Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. Batman was, at the time, the largest grossing movie for Warner Brothers ever. A few other movies featuring caped crusaders did arrive in the 90s, but many were catered towards small audiences, or terrible, badly-written sequels not worth mentioning here. Computer graphics however, seemed to catch up finally with the visions directors had of their favorite heroes, and starting in 2002 with Spider-Man, we saw an explosion of superhero movies. Even the lesser-known guys like John Constantine were grossing over a hundred million dollars.

We saw this same pattern at the same time in a different genre. The success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy had Hollywood inhaling fantasy titles. It didn’t last long however, as people decided to spend their money on things other than dragons, children with magical powers, and talking lions.

So now it seems Hollywood is turning back to sci-fi. Just so we’re clear, I will only be talking about sci-fi films from the past decade or so. The history of sci-fi films themselves is long, filled with ups and downs, and in order to give them any kind of justice, I’d have to talk about history and national psychology as well. But for now, let’s just say that great Sci-Fi movies of the past decade number very few. The Matrix could be included, certainly, for its revolutionary ideas and contributions to the arts of cinematography and computer graphics. The Matrix was truly something no one had ever seen before. But there wasn’t a lot more. Other sci-fi movies were hated by critics and audiences alike. The Star Wars prequels had the name-power, certainly, but most film experts would agree they could not be classified as “great” film.

The result of all these genres becoming popular enough is that aspects of nerd culture are gaining mainstream popularity. The best example is probably San Diego Comic Con. In recent years, ComicCon has become one of THE places Hollywood goes to push its media and drum up hype. Fifteen years ago, it was hard to explain to someone who didn’t go what a fan convention was. Now it’s common knowledge.

As far as geek culture goes, otaku still have kind of a bad rap. In general, the population is more open to things like Sci-Fi and Comic Book movies, because they see that many of these movies have characters they can identify with. But when they see otaku fandom watching cartoons, they can’t really identify with that. Sure, you could show them live-action Death Note all you want, but they probably won’t pay much attention because they’re not a fan, and to them it looks like Mean Girls with a guy from a Tim Burton film floating around in the background. They don’t have a reason to identify with high school kids having a go at each other, even if they are homicidal psychopaths.

Which brings me back to my point. It is hard to guess where Hollywood might go next, but we’ve already seen some indications. Hollywood will probably grab up more sci-fi scripts if Star Trek proves to be successful, but we’ve now started to see them grabbing up sci-fi scripts that also overlap with anime.

Let’s face it, no one was impressed with Dragonball: Evolution. Not critics, movie-goers, or even fans of the original series. Next on the list of anime adaptations is a CGI version of Astro Boy, and we as a community can only wait apprehensively for this to grace our movie screens, and what a general audience will think.

Unfortunately, the general audience will probably think it’s just an imported kids show, like Pokémon, and they’ll have no knowledge of the incredible history behind the boy robot all otaku love.

What can we do as fans of the genre to help ensure that anime has credibility?

1. Be vocal: The anime industry is floundering in our failing economy as people have less money to spend on hobbies. As a result, companies seem to be generally interested in what we, as fans are interested in, and what sells. E-mailing, commenting, and asking questions at industry panels at conventions are all good (and acceptable) ways of letting your thoughts be known. Just remember to be polite and use spell check.

2. Support what’s good: I’m not talking about just buying the DVDs, though you should definitely do that too. If you can’t afford them, ask for them as gifts. But also spend money on movies in theaters if they’re good. Didn’t like Dragonball? There’s a shocker. If it doesn’t look good, don’t spend ten bucks to go see it. That’s one of the only ways that Hollywood will listen, is if the money doesn’t come rolling in.

3. Share: And I’m not just talking about running up to people going “Naruto is the best!” That frightens people off. I have another guide here about introducing people to anime gradually if you’re looking for tips. Bottom line is, don’t be childish and fanboy/girly about stuff you like. If people ask you about your hobbies, speak to them about it intellectually, they’ll be much more interested and more inclined to try it themselves.

I would like to hope that there’s at least one person in Hollywood that can see anime as an art form, and not just more material to be snatched up and made into a live-action adaptation. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon. So in the meantime, I’ll just keep buying my special event tickets to cram into a movie theater at eight on a Tuesday night with every other local otaku to watch movies I’ve already seen on the big screen.