Progress Report – February 2016

Progress Report – February 2016

February 2016 was busy! However, it was a good kind of busy.

February 2016 Posted Works

February 2016 proved to be another busy month. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | February 2016As I continued with schoolwork, I was able to add to more works online but really did not write any new Star Trek fanfiction as I just did not have the time to do so. Helpfully (and through no design of my own), everything I posted was a continuation of a work in progress.

On Wattpad, I finished posting Take Back the Night. I also posted Temptation.

On Fanfiction.net, I continued to post Ohio.  On the G & T Show forums, I kept on posting Reversal.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I worked with beta readers on The Enigman Cave. I am still aiming for a round of querying right around the time I graduate from Quinnipiac University, in late August/early September. So far, it is going rather well, and I am very pleased with the feedback I am getting. My only issue is version control, and so I will most likely use Google Docs the next time I work with so many beta readers. Otherwise, it is far too confusing for me and I can miss subtleties if I am not careful.

Prep Work

I continued working and daydreaming and trying to bring some shape, focus, and above all plot to what is being tentatively called The Real Hub of the Universe. It has the potential to turn into a series and not just be for this year’s NaNoWriMo exercise, so I am eager to work on world building.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

School, more than anything else. I am busy, and I am focused. Plus I need to get ready for my capstone project over the summer. I am having fun but it is also time-consuming work.

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Portrait of a Character – Preece Ti

Portrait of a Character – Preece Ti

Origins

For the first E2 kick back in time, in The Three of Us, Ebrona needed to have a Science Officer. I also wanted to provide a lesbian character to pair up with a preexisting lesbian character.

Portrayal

Preece Ti is ‘played’ by actress Neve Campbell.

Portrait of a Character – Preece Ti
Neve Campbell as Preece Ti (image is provided for educational purposes only)

I like this lovely actress who has aged well on screen – a good choice, I feel, for a species that dies young.

Personality

Smart and kind, Preece Ti might be a little too clever by half. By the time the storyline advances to Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, it is revealed that a powerful source of fuel and the means to capture, refine, and utilize it, were kept from Captain Archer during the first kick back in time. While he rightfully blames Ebrona for the deception, at least some of the blame should be shouldered by Preece Ti.

Relationships

Diana Jones

Preece Ti’s only known relationship is with Diana Jones, who works in Science and eventually becomes a kind of nurse. In Infinite Diversity, it’s revealed that Preece Ti isn’t really Diana’s first choice (Diana feels she is settling), but Preece Ti is definitely attracted to Diana.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Preece Ti
Neve Campbell as Mirror Preece Ti (image is provided for educational purposes only)

There are no impediments to Preece Ti existing in the Mirror Universe. As someone who is already deceptive in our universe, she would likely kick it up several notches, and become truly ruthless.

Quote

“We do not know your dances. Are they man-woman only?”

Upshot

Like a lot of the characters in the E2 timeline, Preece Ti was glossed over at the end there. I’m not sure when I can pick her up again, but I might at some point write that Ikaaran ship’s history before encountering the NX-01.

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Review – Education

Review – Education

Education is the cornerstone of our lives. It was a sweet little piece to write. I enjoyed giving a little unexpected learning to someone who might not have necessarily gotten much if her life had gone the usual way. But life did not turn out that way, and so things were improved. Inta‘s dream starts to come true, but with a slight complication.

Background

For a prompt of the same name, I decided to revisit the Daranaeans. More specifically, I wanted to go back to Inta and to write a direct sequel to Confidence. In that story, she starts at Oxford. But what happens next? Surely something is going to happen to our favorite sentient marsupial canid artist.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta | Education
Baby Inta, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

So on September 10, 2182, Inta’s Oxford education offers many new experiences.

With that as my idea, I decided to provide Inta with quite the memorable experience – she would have to sketch a nude man. For a girl who has led a rather sheltered life, and must, under the rules of her society, remain impeccably virginal until marriage (when she is bought and sold), the circumstances would be strange, exciting, educational, and maybe a little frightening.

I made sure to give her a far more eager classmate, too, who would speak up for Inta’s cultural sensitivities. However, that girl would also be a lot more interested in sketching ‘it’.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

In order to believably bring this visual artist to the fore, she needed to do a few things outside of her comfort zone. This absolutely was, but in the process, she makes a few new friends.

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Spotlight on Trichronium

Spotlight on Trichronium

Trichronium is a useful (and tasty!) plot device. It serves as one of the oddest ideas I have ever come up with for Star Trek fan fiction.

Yet, in a way, it works.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Trichronium (cantaloupe juice)

During the Times of the HG Wells series, I wanted an odd and different way for the Perfectionists to travel in time. It would be something unique and weird and utterly different from the canon time ships or time portals.

This involved a great deal of brainstorming, as I tried to come up with something that would be, to me, sufficiently wacky.

Eventually it came to me, that it would be a hormone. But instead of being injected, it would be swallowed. That delivery method just struck me as being more practical when traveling in time. Eventually, I decided that it would taste like cantaloupe (Helen Walker says so). Because what the hell. That may have been silly, but it gave me a point of reference I had not had previously. Therefore, that was a rather useful revelation.

How It Works

For the simplest explanation, I decided on a cuff similar to the Cuff of Lo. The temporal enhancer cuff would be useless without trichronium, and  vice versa.  The traveler would swallow a dose, someone (not necessarily the time traveler) would set the controls on the cuff, and the traveler would end up whenever and wherever. Another swallow, and you can stay longer, as digested foods pass through us eventually.  The cuff could override and recall the traveler, as could enough of a drop in trichronium levels. But otherwise the dosages would decide whether a traveler would stay in the past, or not.

Upshot

I like this invention and will probably try to find a way to resurrect this technology at some point.

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Portrait of a Character – Travis Mayweather (Mirror)

Portrait of a Character – Travis Mayweather (Mirror)

Origins

This character is canon, and he is one of the only people unambiguously left standing at the end of In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II (Hoshi is also alive but it’s somewhat unclear about the other main characters).

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Travis Mayweather (Mirror)
Anthony Montgomery as Mirror Travis Mayweather (image is courtesy Memory Alpha)

As in canon, Travis is played by actor Anthony Montgomery.

I think the actor did a bang-up job and, since he’s improved as an actor, I would love to see him pick it up again.

Personality

Ruthless, nasty, irresponsible, and more than a little dumb, Travis is an interesting choice of henchman and lover for Hoshi. She continually corrects him and puts him down in public, but he provides a huge public service for her. Because no one wants him in power, Hoshi remains safe. As for Travis, he remains fairly safe as his relationship with Hoshi is non-exclusive and she actively seeks other fathers for her elder children. As a result, there are few rewards to replacing him, and men like José, Frank, Chip, and Aidan do better to remain more subservient. Travis is the one with a target painted on his back.

Relationships

The Empress Hoshi Sato

The Mirror Travis, while he is dying for some fun times with women like the Mirror versions of Melissa Madden and Shelby Pike, is beholden to the Empress. In Coveted Commodity in particular, he is essentially led around on a leash. His only hope is to pass on his genes to Izo and work to assure his son’s survival. This he does by blackmailing Dr. Morgan into agreeing to help Izo, even after Travis’s death. This Morgan more or less does (although, like most denizens of the Mirror, Morgan’s word isn’t worth much).

Theme Music

Everybody else in Temper seems to have gotten a theme song except for Travis!

Prime Universe

The Prime Universe Travis is a rather different guy and is covered in his own post.

Quote

“Use knives or swords. It’s more fun.”

Upshot

In Temper in particular, I really got a chance to let Travis have it with both barrels. He dies in three separate timelines. Once is by Jun Sato; the other two times, he’s fragged by his own troops. An ignominious end, no matter how you slice it, for an evil man who was ‘only following orders’.

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Review – If I Could See

Review – If I Could See

If I could see … what?

Background

In 2175, Doug tells Declan to follow his dreams and go to art school, and works behind the scenes to make that happen. And this is incredibly important for Doug, as (a) Declan is not his child and (b) Doug has a lot of trouble truly appreciating the arts.

Plot

I had followed some of the other grown or nearly-grown children but Declan, the one who doesn’t quite go with the matched set, had proven a bit elusive.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | If I Could See
Later Days

Plus there was the question of how well he and Doug would fit in together. After all, to raise the child your wife has had with another man, well, that’s got to be odd to Doug at times, if he thinks about it or looks at it too closely.

But Doug has embraced Declan as more or less one of his own. The unspoken assumption is that, if Malcolm dies in action, that no one will have to worry about Declan.

When Declan thinks he needs to sacrifice his dreams for what feels like an impending war effort, it’s Doug who steers him back to the right path.

Music

This story was inspired by the Crash Test Dummies’ song, “When I Go Out With Artists”.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

For a small story that wasn’t really planned, I like how this one says perhaps more about Doug and Declan’s relationship (and, by extension, Doug and Malcolm’s, and even Doug and Lili‘s) than anything else I have ever written.

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Portrait of a Character – Inta II

Portrait of a Character – Inta II

Inta II almost didn’t survive her introduction story.

Origins

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta II
Baby Inta II, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

As I wrote Take Back the Night, I was torn between having Mistra’s pouchling live, or not.

Then, as I followed up with Temptation in particular, Inta showed so much spunky personality that I now cannot imagine the story going any other way. Not have Inta survive? Unthinkable!

What also helped to bring it all together was that this Inta is named for Arnis’s victim. The original Inta was a third caste wife, but Inta II is Mistra’s and, by definition, belongs to the second caste.

Portrayal

Like all other Daranaeans (except for Crita’s parents), I don’t really have anyone to ‘play’ Inta II. Images of flying foxes mainly stand in for an actress. For one thing, she’d need to be fitted with pretty large prosthetic ears.

Personality

Smart and creative, Inta is a survivor and is a reminder of just what Arnis almost got away with. Her mother reports on occasion that she is a bit naughty, whereas we would see that as the stirrings of independence. Some of that is fostered by Lili, Captain Reed‘s wife, sending books to the Daranaean girls that included not only Jane Eyre, but also the Lysistrata.

Inta is the one (unlike Seppa, who is more of a timid sort, as is befitting her third caste status) who sees that life for a female Daranaean can mean more than marriage and endless children. In a lot of ways, she’s a precursor character to Crita, but not an ancestor (Crita, from the Barnstorming series, is in the third caste).

Relationships

I have no known relationships for Inta, although she might have a small crush on Declan or even nude model Jake. I’m not sure, and sometimes I toy with the idea of making her a lesbian. A gay Daranaean would have to be deeply embedded within the closet. It’s a thought.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Inta existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Inta II
Mirror Inta (image of flying fox is provided for educational purposes only)

She would have to be considerably tougher. But as an artist, she has a chance to be an elite member of society.

Quote

“Oh, yes. I presume you are referring to Captain Reed. He and his wife have been most generous to me. I have, ever since I learned that their son, Declan, was to study art here, I wished to do so as well.”

Upshot

Every time I write about Inta, I learn something new about her. I’ll have to write some more!

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Review – About Nine Months

Review – About Nine Months

About Nine Months captures a lost cause. From October of 2176 to June of 2177, the short life of Kevin Madden-Beckett.

Background

So after writing Fortune, I had wanted to expand on Kevin Madden-Beckett‘s story for a while, but the opportunity kept failing to present itself. It did scream out for some more detail, not only about his existence, but also about how the family felt about him. At the end of Fortune, the siblings make it clear they love him. And in Seven Women, Tommy sees Kevin as a kind of spiritual guide to the other side in his (Tommy’s) last living moments.  As a result, Kevin matters a great deal, even though Q dismisses Kevin’s tragic and short existence as being somewhat like a mayfly’s short life (mayflies live for twenty-four hours). But the family sees more; I felt the need to honor and express that.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | About Nine Months
Later Days

It is later in everyone’s life. The kids are nearly all grown. Doug and Lili have settled into comfortable married life. Malcolm is busy fighting a cold war, but otherwise things have fallen into an established pattern. Norri is writing her book. Melissa gets some small piloting assignments, as their nest isn’t quite empty yet. Joss is already at Cornell.

Then comes Kevin.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Kevin is a child with no chance, but he has a place, as both Lili’s spirit guide in Fortune and Tommy’s in Seven Women. For someone with such a short time among the living, Kevin proved to have what I feel is a compelling story.

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