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David Falkayn

Meet Elizabeth Shelby

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This is the first in a series I want to do where you can get to meet and talk about all of the main characters in this and my other projects.  So...first up to bat...Captain Elizabeth Shelby.

We first met Captain Elizabeth Shelby...Liz to her friends and lovers...and Betts to her close friends and lovers when she was a Lieutenant Commander slated to become first officer of USS Enterprise in the TNG classic episode "Best of Both Worlds" where she was played by Elizabeth Dennehey, the daughter of actor and D-Day veteran Brian Dennehey.  In that episode, Liz was portrayed as a hard driving, hyper-competent, ambitious woman and I've tried to keep that part of her in my portrayal of Liz.  However, I've added another dimension to her that makes her often more than a little controversial--her extreme sexuality and hedonistic pleasure seeking.  One of the most frequently asked questions I get is "Why?"  Well, the answer is that when I first came up with the conception for Liz's character, I felt that such as highly strung and hard driving person would have such a store of pent-up energy that it would have to be expressed in some powerful fashion.  I also patterned her somewhat after the ancient Roman and Napoleonic French generals who were demons on campaign and utter hedonists back in the capital.  But, there's also something else at work with her.  She's also an incredibly lonely person with the expression "all alone in a crowd" most definitely applying to her as she goes from lover to lover...sensation to sensation...pleasure to pleasure...but never really knowing complete satisfaction. 

While it might seem that she's on top of the world, in some ways she's actually a very miserable person as she seeks a replacement for true intimacy in a series of temporary liaisons--only knowing temporary and never complete happiness.  Finally, there is Liz's family problems.  She is estranged from her father, a retired Starfleet captain himself.  A good and decent man, Philip Shelby, however, was distant both physically and emotionally from his daughter.  Much of Shelby's life and her relationships with older males has much to do with her search for a father surrogate.  Admirals Hansen, Glover, and Bateson have all served in that role at one time or another in her life.  Her relationship with Captain Joseph Akinola of the Border Service is an interesting one in that the pair seem to bring out the worst in each other--probably because they each project their family issues on the other.

Liz has developed a strong rapport with her crews in her different commands, inspiring strong loyalty and devotion as her crews often take a very protective and even proud posture concerning their captain and her rather flamboyant personality.  Liz, however, also possesses a wide range of negative qualities: she's proud, stubborn, and her ambition can cause her to be manipulative and even cruel on occasion.  She betrayed her former lover, Erika Benteen, one of the few lovers that she possessed genuinely deep feelings for, to gain a promotion at the expense of her lover.  Her drive and ambition also causes her to take risks and cut corners.  While she keeps her sexual activities off duty, sometimes they can come back to haunt her, and her temper has also created problems for her.

A complex personality, Liz is at different times: fox, minx, snake, and lioness. One never knows on any given occasion whether she will be wearing leather or lace...but then, that's part of her charm.

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Interesting segment and a great look into the Shelby you have created. I do like what you've done with the character, especially the more complicated parts of her nature, such as her loneliness and misery. There is lot you can still do with those aspects in future stories.

I think my issue with Shelby might be that she has become more famous (or infamous) for her hedonistic tendencies than for her hard working attitude, career focus and competency we've seen on the screen. Is it possible that the more hedonistic sides fully emerged only after she became a starship captain? It would make sense that she would have kept those sides of her personalty secret as it might have damaged her ambitious career chances.

In fact even after her promotion it would stand to reason that she would not exactly go around and advertise her promiscuous personal life as it would make it more difficult for her to be taken seriously among her peers and also those above her in the chain of command.

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You bring up some good points, CeJay, and yes there is a lot more I want to do with Liz and the darker parts of her character--a vignette I have planned looking at her early years and how she essentially stabbed Erika Benteen in the back will reveal a not so nice side of Shelby's nature.  I also want to look more into her family life.  You're also right in that most of her hedonistic tendencies came out after she made captain.

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You bring up some good points, CeJay, and yes there is a lot more I want to do with Liz and the darker parts of her character--a vignette I have planned looking at her early years and how she essentially stabbed Erika Benteen in the back will reveal a not so nice side of Shelby's nature.  I also want to look more into her family life.  You're also right in that most of her hedonistic tendencies came out after she made captain.

Do let me know what you've got planned in regards to Shelby and Benteen when you get to that. I still want to work on something to explore the rift between Owens and Shebly and also Owens' relationship with Benteen. Even though Owens and Shelby have never officially met before Messages From Earth it be interesting to work on a project exploring these relationships.

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I actually re-watched Best of Both Worlds parts 1 and 2 enjoyed the stint of Shelby being Riker's acting XO of the Enterprise. Now we all read about the more entertaining side of Elizabeth from her time as a lonely headstrong ensign to becoming a full Captain commanding several starships, and later a Rear Admiral (lower half) CO of Station Bravo in the New Frontier series eventually settling down with her true love Mackenzie Calhoun! Great job David Falkayan and keep up the good work! 8)

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