Stahma Tarr from Syfy’s not-praised-enough Defiance is one of my favorite TV characters ever, which is why I’m maybe the only person on the internet who’s as excited about the third season of the space western landing today as I am about the third season of Orange Is the New Black. Do you know Stahma? In two seasons, she’s undergone one of the most remarkable patriarchy-smashing story arcs I’ve ever seen, just a straight up Squib-to-Slytherin transformation that actually all started when she fell in love with another woman (who may or may not still be alive as a cloned version of her original self? It’s complicated). (Also, don’t get weird about Jenny Schecter when you look at these two; Mia Kirshner is a singular talent in this world!)
Stahma is complexly queer, but Defiance also boasts a(nother Slytherin) lesbian alien named Doc Yewll, who is kind of like April Ludgate’s post-apocalyptic fever dream of her own future. It’s good stuff!
Anyway, below are 8 femslashy Defiance fics, but I’d really love it if you could tell me where to find at least a hundred more.
Pairing: Myka Bering/Stahma Tarr and Myka Bering/HG Wells and Kenya/Stahma
Plot: It’s kind of a Warehouse 13/Defiance crossover. Kind of.
“That’s H.G. Wells.”
Amanda shakes her head. “No.”
“She is. The H.G. Wells the world knew was actually her brother Charles, and —”
Rafe cuts him off. “That can’t be H.G. Wells.”
“Lemme explain first!”
“No, no.” Amanda says. “That can’t be.”
“Won’t you please just listen to me? Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean that —”
“It’s not because of her being a woman,” Nolan says. “Though you’re gonna have to elaborate on that later.”
“Then what the hell is this about?”
It is Irisa who tells him, “That can’t be your H.G. Wells because that woman… she’s Stahma Tarr.”
Plot: Defiance AU, in which Amanda is attending law school in what’s left of New York while Kenya enrolls in high school.
Length: 46,000 words
When the bell rang at last, Kenya was stopped by a hesitant tap on the shoulder and a troubled white smile.
“Will you spend your fuavano with me?” Stahma asked, her voice songlike on the one word of her mother tongue. “Datak is not here today, and I- I cannot bathe alone.” Her smile deepened and her eyes fell lower as she finished her sentence in a manner that made Kenya think she was actually ashamed of asking the question.
Kenya nodded slowly. Then, as realization hit, she began to shake her head vigorously and wave her hands.
“Woah there, you want me to bathe with you? I don’t think-”
Stahma cut her off with a laugh. A laugh. A laugh that trembled and danced and faded quickly, but a laugh nonetheless. Kenya’s heart leapt. “No, I understand. I just wanted to know if you’d eat your lunch with me?”
“Oh.” A vivid red swept over Kenya’s cheeks. “I’m sorry. Maybe that was a bit rude. Yeah, I’d… I’d love to have lunch with you.”
Plot: Just a glorious little missing moments drabble.
Length: 1,500 words
The dimness of the lights gives the patrons of the NeedWant only the illusion of privacy, but Stahma has little fear as she passes through the room. With her cowl up, few humans will be able to tell her from her Castithan sisters. Those that can are not the type who concern her. She enters Kenya’s quarters unnoticed, but only then does she let her cowl fall.
“Stahma, hello.” Kenya greets her with a cup of tea and a kiss, just brushing the corner of her mouth, promising greater delights to come. The heat of the cup and Kenya’s touch tingles through Stahma and she smiles back with real affection.
Kenya is composed of vibrant colours, even more so than her brothel. Her hair is unbound; it frames her face and the soft swell of her breasts where her robe gapes open. Her dark brows and the bold, artificial red of her lips make her skin look pale for a human, but against Stahma’s whiteness she is pink and gold. Stahma studies her eyes – such a different blue than the light outside! Framed with thick lashes and outlined in shades that match her robe, they watch Stahma guilelessly.
“You look very… pretty… today,” Stahma says, setting the tea aside. She draws her fingers through the dark fall of Kenya’s hair, marvelling at the contrast. Kenya’s skin is warm; her cheeks flush pinker at Stahma’s words.
“Pretty for a human?” Kenya asks.
Plot: A fantastic 4,000-word character study of the inside of Stahma Tarr’s magnificent mind.
Length: 4,000 words
Kenya. Kenya is something more like the Castithans in her easy sexuality, not like the Humans who hide their sex and bodies, as if they were things of shame, not given by Reyatso.
Kenya is nothing at all like a Castithan. She burns too brightly, wants and takes and builds and meets everyone’s eyes. She is clever without being smart about it, smooth and polished but without a hint of subtlety or restraint. She demands and expects the world to fall into line. She makes Stahma – she makes Stahma want.
And her husband – she loves her husband, loves his strength and his assertion, but Datak is such a waste, because he has the potential to be so much more, so much greater. He is all intelligence and grand ideas; his aspirations hobbled not by only by himself, by his own ambition and desire to dominate a world that no longer exists. Datak could rule this world, but he is too busy trying to dominate one that’s gone, that he never lived in and never truly existed as he thought it did, a liro he saw only from a distance. He could yet be brilliant if he would but bend to her hand…
The gutter has never been bred out of him, and he sprawls atop his blue cast throne in the Hollows with a sneer unique to someone looking down upon those who were once their betters. She wishes he would understand that she loved him just as well when he had nothing.
Kenya is making her own world with her own rules, but she cannot seem to weave her pieces amongst the existing thread.
Stahma could sing poems about her.
(Kenya is good at knowing exactly what people need. She makes Stahma wonder if she herself is as astute in that way as she has always thought.)
Plot: Post-season one finale, Kenya wakes up alive.
Length: 6,000 words
Kenya opened her eyes.
A light shone overhead, bright enough to pierce through her skull. She turned her head to the side, squinting, fluttering her eyelashes. It wasn’t just the light. Her head throbbed in time with her heartbeat, in time with the beeping of a nearby vitals monitor.
Trees. That was the last thing she remembered. A forest floor the color of blood. Dappled light falling through the pine needles. Over her clothes, over the silver flask, over Stahma’s skin—
Oh God. Stahma.
“Where am I?” Kenya shouted. There was no answer. She tried to prop herself up, but her muscles were weak and she could only hold herself for a few seconds before collapsing down, exhausted. She looked off to the side. There wasn’t much to see. A wooden wall. Shelves sagging with plants—healing plants, most of them.
“Doc?” Kenya rolled over onto her back. The light didn’t hurt her as badly now. “I’m up, if that’s what you’re waiting for.”
Still no answer. Kenya took a deep breath and gathered up all her strength and pushed herself up. Immediately she swooned, her head spinning. The beeping off to the side went crazy, beepbeepbeepbeeeeeeeeeeeep.
“Keep your head down!” The voice was unfamiliar. Definitely not Doc Yewll’s. “Good lord, girl, don’t you know what you’ve been through?”
Plot: A drabble of Irisa drawing Stahma. Like drawing-drawing her. Not drawing her a bath.
Length: 1,000 words
Irisa had felt as though she and the Castithan had stared at each other for hours, forming a connection that took root within her chest and spread out to suffuse her body with a strange warmth. However it had, in reality, been but a few seconds before the Castithan’s attention had been drawn away.
Irisa now focused on the man addressing the Castithan, Stahma. Her heart nearly stopped at the sight of his face – Datak Tarr. She watched as Stahma took his arm and allowed him to lead her away before Irisa glanced down at what she assumed would be a blank page. Instead she found a rough sketch of Stahma’s face, her head tilted to the side and a small smile tugging at the edge of her lips. But those eyes, eyes Irisa was sure she could lose herself in if she so wished.
Gazing at the drawing Irisa felt a smirk of her own adorning her face. This woman was the wife of Datak Tarr, the king of the crime world in Defiance. Stahma was his queen. They were tough, living in a world where few would dare to tread; the city’s equivalent of the Badlands. Not only did they demand respect, but they earned it. Stahma was dangerous, Stahma was respected, and Stahma was off-limits. Stahma was everything that Irisa wanted.
Plot: Post-season one finale, Kenya is mad as hell, but still super into Stahma
s sexy Slytherin deal.
Length: 5,000 words
Stahma. Stahma fucking Tarr.
Because of course it was Stahma. It was always Stahma pulling this sneaky shtako.
It was coming back now, the memory of entering the forest, then the memory of blackness rapidly closing in on Kenya, then her very last memory, which felt more like a bizarre fever dream, of hearing Stahma sing one of her poems, the poems she refused to ever perform for Kenya before that moment, before she poisoned Kenya.
Kenya gritted her teeth, felt her hands shake with all the suppressed rage in her body. It wasn’t suppressed out of choice. Kenya had no other option, because doing what she wanted to do to Stahma in that moment would have caused excruciating pain far beyond anything Kenya would have been capable of inflicting upon Stahma.
Kenya could, however, glare into the darkness in the general direction of Stahma’s voice. Stahma moved out of the shadow to stand at the foot of Kenya’s bed, which as far as alien prison mattresses went, was actually quite comfortable and felt unaccountably clean.
“What,” Kenya started, her voice weak and rough. She paused to swallow, and forced out the next words. “The fuck do you want?”
Stahma smiled in that infuriating way she had when she was amused by Kenya’s humanness. She moved to kneel by Kenya and took a small vile out of one of those hidden pockets the Casti dresses always seemed to have.
Plot: Inside the head of Clone!Kenya after she leaves Defiance.
Length: 3,000 words
She stumbles out of Defiance, a patchwork creature dressed in a dead girl’s skin with someone else’s memories rattling around in her head. She is breaking apart at the seams, failing to encompass the identity, the being, of Kenya Rosewater, a specter haunting a deserted name and face. Caught in the horror of existing in this non-existence, she flees without a backward glance.
These days, the world is a freakshow, torn apart and patched jaggedly together, alien technology rushing in to fill the holes appearing as the Earth was ripped asunder. Defiance was supposed to be an escape from all that, a place where humans and Votans could meet not in a collision, but in understanding. It, too, was a place with rough edges, but it had been a work in progress, a beacon of hope, a new start. They had passed through war and strife to get there, the small, teetering town in the middle of nowhere, but with Amanda by her side it had seemed a haven, a shot at happiness. A place to build a future.
She grits her teeth at the memories, the way they invade her alien mind and fills it with shreds of artificial humanity. She is not Kenya. Kenya was a woman of warmth and kindness, a survivor against impossible odds, a loving sister.
She, whatever she is, is something else, something that carries silver beneath her human facade, that can crack bone as easily as twigs; something that Amanda Rosewater has bled into and merged with. There are too many layers – Kenya, Amanda, newly created memories upon implanted ones. She fears that beneath it all, where who she really is should be, there is nothing but a void.
I really, really enjoyed talking to so many of you about fan fiction at camp. I’ve created a list of all the pairings/shows you want me to explore in this column, and will begin checking them off next week!