Review – Bread

Review – Bread

Bread is yet another story where the title has multiple meanings.

Background

In February and March of 2013, a challenge came from the Trek BBS – write about independence.

And while I suppose I could have written about a planet or a nation or a people gaining their independence, or of a young person striking out on their own, I decided to zig where others might zag. Hence I wrote about elderly people losing theirs.

The concept and its execution were appreciated well enough that I won that month’s challenge.

Plot

Following both the prime universe and the Mirror Universe, these are two parallel but not quite parallel stories about Leah Benson and Diana Jones.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Bread
Bread

In the mirror, Leah furtively looks around as she begins a meal. It’s made clear, very quickly (and hearkens back to the same conditions in Reveral and Temper in particular), that MU food is bad. So the fact that there is bread is a minor miracle. Quietly, and to herself, she says the Hebrew blessing over the bread, confirming something Josh Rosen mentions in Temper, that faith abides in the mirror, or at least some form of Judaism does. The way I write the Mirror Universe, the practicing of any faith, and not just Judaism, is done mainly in secret, much like the crypto-Jews and conversos of Spain during the Inquisition.

Prime Universe

In our universe, Leah is the official Starfleet Rabbi. So the story begins with her attending a banquet and weeklong set of official meetings regarding admitting three new worlds to the new United Federation of Planets. These are the Caitian home world, Denobula and the Xyrillian home world. This is the culmination of earlier contacts with Caitians, in A Single Step and The Further Adventures of Porthos – The Stilton Fulfillment. Furthermore, it is a natural progression for that species (in canon, there is no first contact date for Caitians, whereas first contact for Xyrillians occurs during ENT and first contact for Denobulans takes place before ENT’s pilot episode) and the two others.

The idea behind the banquet and set of meetings is not only to welcome the new member worlds but to also demonstrate to other worlds that the Federation is tolerant of differences. Religious and spiritual leaders, including Leah, say a few words about religious tolerance and intolerance on Earth throughout history. In addition, all admit they have been on both the giving and the receiving ends of persecution and bigotry. The Daranaeans, in particular, pay attention.

Back to the MU

Back in the mirror, Leah is looking to leave the ISS Defiant. Izo Sato decides he is going to seduce her. And never mind that’s she’s over seventy and a lesbian, to boot. Josh offers a small measure of protection and he, Shelby and Frank start to hatch a plan to get Leah away. For Frank and Shelby, this is a dress rehearsal for what they hope will be their own endgame. The plan is to fake a shuttle crash, and strand Leah on Andoria.

Back to Our Side of the Pond

In our universe, Leah is married to Diana, but things are not right, and Diana’s memory is failing. It’s an early sign of Irumodic Syndrome, the canon malady suffered by Captain Picard at the end of the running of TNG. Diana’s caregiver is an Andorian, and Diana is beginning to not recognize even her.

Leah makes up her mind; she needs to be at home and become Diana’s primary caregiver. She confides this to Jonathan Archer, and he commiserates, telling her a bit about his father’s own battle with Clarke’s Disease. He offers her a part-time solution, and encourages her to try to be able to work at least a little bit, because otherwise she will lose herself in Diana’s incurable illness.

Review – Bread

As the denizens of the mirror plot and plan, Leah remembers there is one person on Andoria who she knows. And it turns out to be the mirror version of Diana. Leah also remembers her own part in the death of Leonora Digiorno, from Fortune. And so that further connects the two halves of the story.

Will the mirror Leah get out? Will either version of Diana remember? Do faith, love and family abide, no matter what they look like, and no matter what the conditions and odds? Find out by reading the story.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I really love this one, as it continues the Reversal not-quite parallelism and the meditations on aging. I also feel it helps to fulfill the promise of femme-slash. E. g. same-sex relationships (and marriages) exist in the future, of course. However, I feel that writing them just as sex and angst isn’t enough. All relationships, particularly longer-term ones, have chambers that aren’t bedrooms. Leah and Diana are dealing with the very real problem of aging and losing independence, and no longer being who you were. This story, I feel, gets across that idea well, and I love how it turned out.

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