All posts by jespah

Shuttlepod pilot, fan fiction writer, sentient marsupial canid.

Review – Hub of the Universe

Review – Hub of the Universe

Hub
Hub of the Universe cover

Background

Hub of the Universe was written as a gift to a Star Trek fan fiction writer who goes by the moniker of funngunner. Boston is often called that. So I played on the title and the imagery. The character was described as being from Boston but little else. He did not even really have a look to me. Seth McClusky was mainly described as barrel chested and nothing more. He was the kind of forgotten third of a love triangle as well. Hence I decided I would shake that up. Seth would get a back story. And he would get a friend and a rough family life. I wanted to give him a personality and a history.

Plot

Just after World War III, Seth McClusky thinks about leaving Southie and hitches a ride with Jennie from the block, AKA Jennie O’Connor. Sharp-eyed readers will pick up on Jennie’s surname. Because she is a consanguineous ancestor of deep future engineer Kevin O’Connor.

And even sharper-eyed readers will notice her widow, Milagros Torres. Because Torres is a consanguineous ancestor of José Torres. Furthermore, in both cases, the characters are linked to future engineers, as is fitting, for Jennie herself is an engineering apprentice when she dies in Brazil in the Xindi attack on Florida and South America. As a result, Jennie’s little story is almost a harbinger of future In Between Days events.

Story Postings

Hub of the Universe on Ad Astra

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I love this title so much, I am more or less reusing it. But this time, for the 2016 NaNoWriMo novel, the circumstances are rather different. Hence that novel is called The Real Hub of the Universe.

However, the accents are admittedly a little difficult and may be hard for some readers to get used to. But I wanted Seth and Jennie to be real Southie people, and that meant more than just the occasionally dropped R.

As for the story, Seth’s original creator loved it.

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Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Hayes

Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Hayes

Origins

Charlotte Hayes – necessary character, and the driver of the Malcolm Reed-centric story, Concord. Malcolm needed a place to sleep and a hostess. Enter Charlotte Lilienne O’Day Hayes. Furthermore, this story responds directly to the canon letters Malcolm writes during the Shuttlepod One episode. I had always felt those letters signified a person who had trouble letting himself go with anyone. Furthermore, Malcolm, I felt (and still feel) begins his dating life attracted to either inappropriate women (such as Ruby Brannagh, and that is a canon relationship) or are unattainable (Talas, and that is a canon flirtation).

As a result, Charlotte is certainly unattainable, but Malcolm’s experiences in Concord change him, even though technically the whole trip is supposed to have been reset.

Portrayal

Charlotte Lilienne O'Day Hayes, Charlotte Hayes
Naomi Watts as Charlotte Lilienne O’Day Hayes (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Charlotte is played by actress Naomi Watts, as yet another connection to Reversal.

In addition, I wanted Charlotte to connect directly to Lili, not only in temperament, but also in looks.

Personality

Dutiful, compassionate, and somewhat intelligent, Charlotte keeps home and hearth while her husband, Jacob, goes off to war. She relies rather heavily on Benjamin, Jim, and Dorcas Warren. However, Charlotte is still very much her own person. Furthermore, while she and Malcolm ponder existence, she holds her own in the conversation.

Relationships

Charlotte’s only known relationship is with her husband, Jacob, although she flirts a bit with Malcolm.

Mirror Universe

Charlotte Hayes
Mirror Charlotte Hayes

Much like Jacob is a necessary component of the Mirror Universe, so is Charlotte, as she is also a direct ancestor of Doug. Furthermore, she is a consanguineous relative of Lili.

In the Mirror, a woman such as Charlotte would be beholden to a man. Due to the existence of their counterpart descendants, Jacob Hayes must be that man. And he could potentially offer her a decent life. Because agriculture is not favored on the other side of the pond, though, they could potentially be somewhat impoverished.  So they would depend on any salary he would get as a soldier.

Quote

“The following summer, I was fifteen and we spent the summer together here, but mainly apart as he realized he needed to begin to understand how the farm truly worked, and how to manage it. That was always the plan, for it to be his, and he attended college in order to be better with finances and the like. But he had little practical experience with actually running the place. His vacation was not much of a vacation. And on his last day at home before he returned for his final year of school, we talked together and we agreed that he would graduate and return in the spring and he would bring a ring then, for me.”

Upshot

I really loved Charlotte’s fiestiness. She is, in a way, a colonial version of Lili. However, I have no idea how these characters could ever possibly return for a sequel.

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Review – Hearts in Time

Review – Hearts in Time

Hearts in Time
Take Back the Night cover

Background

Hearts in Time was born from a collaboration between me and trekfan. We decided his character, Hank Harrison, would go on a blind date with one of my characters. Being the silly gal that I am, I paired him up with a Daranaean, Inta II.

Plot

Hank is looking for love and to start a family. Inta is looking mainly for someone ‘to be kind’. She is a secondary Daranaean female, so she has some privileges, but they are just not enough. Since this story ends up taking place before she is admitted to Oxford, her art is a kind of unrequited love in her life.

Hank is taken aback at the look of his blind date. At least she is humanoid, but otherwise he just plain cannot wrap his head around dating her. But they have a good chat and manage to enjoy each other’s brief company. They even give each other a little advice before they part.

Along with determining that Inta is an artist, I also learned, for the first time, what a Daranaean kiss is like. It’s the tiniest of licks, much like we would get from a real live puppy.

Story Postings

Hearts in Time on Ad Astra

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

This was the first time I had ever written Inta II as an adult. And it was also the first time she had revealed herself to me as an artist. It was a great find, and that led directly to her attending Oxford with Declan Reed.

This story was written in a chat, and it all went down rather quickly. If I were writing it again, I would probably spend some time outside of chat. Furthermore, I think we would have done better to have allowed for some time to elapse and for some editing. But it is a decent story, and it is certainly, on balance, a rather sweet one.

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Portrait of a Character – Jacob Hayes

Portrait of a Character – Jacob Hayes

Origins

Jacob Hayes, first of all, is an absolutely necessary character in Concord and even in the overall IBD/HGW timeline. However, Jacob is never ‘seen on camera’ in the story, although his voice comes through in a letter. Furthermore, his wife, Charlotte, talks about him all the time.

Portrayal

Jacob Hayes
Steven Culp as Jacob Hayes (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Jacob Hayes is played by actor Steven Culp and is yet another link to that character. I wanted this actor in order to demonstrate the connection, through time, of Lili and Jay, and Lili and Doug, but also, in general, of the people who would eventually populate the NX-01.

Personality

Most noteworthy, Jacob is one of the few characters I have ever written whose personality is generally unknown. While Charlotte is ever faithful and certainly loves him, she also confides to Malcolm that he (Jacob) does not always help with the dishes. He is one of the first people in Concord to volunteer and join the militia,. His patriotism is never in question. And he is utterly committed to, if necessary, dying for American independence. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to, although he is wounded in action.

And then after the war, when Charlotte finally conceives and their son, Patrick Laurent is born, I see him as a devoted father. However, given the average life expectancy of that era, an older father would not be expected to live to see his only child marry.

Relationships

Jacob’s only known relationship is with his wife, Charlotte. He clearly loves her a great deal and wants very much to return to her as quickly as possible. While he volunteers for the sake of patriotism, he makes it clear that he misses her. Furthermore, he trusts her with Malcolm, even though he does not know Malcolm at all (and Malcolm is ostensibly the enemy, a somewhat neat prefiguring of Harbinger).

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Jacob existing in the Mirror. And in fact, he is a necessary part of both the Mirror and Prime Universe timelines, as he is a direct ancestor of Jay in our universe. And his counterpart is Doug’s direct ancestor.

Because I write so many MU soldiers, Jacob most likely would be one on a regular basis, just as Jeremiah (Doug’s father) is. That is, beyond being a volunteer in the militia, an MU Jacob would most likely take up arms as his formal profession.

Quote

“War is brutal, and I am glad to be done with it. Our cause is just, but too many youth have perished already. I cannot wait to return to your faithful arms, and pray you will be the Sarah to my Abraham.

I remain, as ever,

Your Jacob”

Upshot

While I would love to write a sequel to Concord, I am not so sure there would be too much interest in it. This is because the anchor character (Malcolm Reed) cannot be there. Furthermore, it would not have much of a science fiction bent at all, as the time travel element would already be wrapped up. And that’s a pity, as I love the story and I enjoyed writing that time period.

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Review – Free

Review – Free

Free
Interphases banner

Background

Free is yet another drabble. For a story where the title is the inspiring word, I decided to go with a rather serendipitous find. I have always loved the meaning of names. And I admit I have used names’ meanings in order to further my own writing agendas. The story is started and a name is chosen, and then I look at the meaning. Hence if the meaning helps me out, I will follow it. But if it does not, I am all right with that.

Plot

The human name Charles means ‘free man’ (in fact, when Lili and Doug marry in A Kind of Blue, and she has to reveal the meaning of her name, she says ‘free woman’, as her true first name is Charlotte).  Because the idea proved irresistible, I decided to go with T’Pol and Tripp talking about how to name their as-yet unborn child.

As I wrote this drabble, I was already working on Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. Hence this very short story was folded into that much larger one.

For sharp-eyed readers, the three-book E2 series, Reflections Down a Corridor, Entanglements, and The Three of Us allows for one set of circumstances to unfold. In Everybody, another set of circumstances arises. While some situations work out as almost an instant replay, others differ.

Hence for this particular scene, the storyline allows for a scene missing from the original trilogy. In the original trilogy, there is no naming scene. But I wanted there to be a reason the name Lorian was chosen.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Like a lot of drabbles, this one suffers from being too short. However, I was able to convert it rather neatly into a scene in Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.

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Progress Report – April 2017

Progress Report – April 2017

April 2017 turned out as yet another quiet month for Star Trek fanfiction writing.

Posted Works

April 2017

First of all, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing. Because at that site, the forums were removed a few months ago, due to the influx of spammers. And at this moment in time, the replacement blogs have not yet been created or started. Hence, still nada!

However, at this time, I still have no replacement, and neither do they. Therefore, I posted very few stories and, as a result, the read counts did not advance too much.

And on Fanfiction.net, during April 2017, I finished posting The Point is Probably Moot. And then I started Shake Your Body. Because I had finished a book, I decided to update Fictionpad. As a result, I added A Long, Long Time Ago; Ohio; You Mixed-Up Siciliano; Spring Thaw; Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain; and The Point is Probably Moot to that site. While I receive nearly no read counts from that site, they still seem better than nothing.

Finally, on Wattpad, I finished You Mixed-Up Siciliano and added Souvenirs. Also, I started to post the next fanfiction piece from The Times of the HG Wells. And that turned out to be Spring Thaw.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

Because I finished and won NaNoWriMo in 2016, I sent The Real Hub of the Universe our for beta reading. And that has proven more difficult as usual, as people are just plain busy. Furthermore, this wholly original science fiction work takes place in Victorian Boston. As a result, I have mainly outlined the first sequel and as I have tried to get it started (and I even wrote a few chapters, but now I’m stuck again). However, I would like to put off writing the second book until I get at least a modicum of feedback on the first one, and that has proven elusive.

Also, the editing for The Enigman Cave is finished and it is ready for querying. However, it has proven hard to get psyched up to do that. It can sometimes be difficult to be able to mentally handle what can often be a lot of rejection.

I also wrote a short story (which currently has no place for posting) called The Escape Violinist. And I have a pretty well-formed idea for another one which will probably end up the length of a novella.

Prep Work

I next created a Wattpad draft for the following fanfiction piece from The Times of the HG Wells. And that turned out to be Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

As always, sometimes the muse just takes a vacation. And that can be extremely frustrating! I ended up working for five separate companies and that, of course, made me rather busy indeed. Furthermore, I wanted to take something of a break. The Real Hub needs editing and beta reading. Hence that means I need to take any changes into consideration before I can really start  the sequel. In addition, I must get psyched up to query The Enigman Cave as it is ready and all I just need to pull the trigger.

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Review – Fear

Review – Fear

Fear
Interphases banner

Background

Fear is one of the most important motivators for any person. Furthermore, in this very short story, it is used to get two rather disparate people to connect.

Plot

During the E2 timeline and more specifically during the events of The Three of Us, Lili is required to take a shuttle flight test. While the pretense for this is a need for the characters to cross-train, my true motivation was to get Lili alone for a moment and then get her and Jay alone in order to have the Imvari capture them.

As a result, this little scene is necessary. Travis tests Lili on how to fly a shuttle. And she fails. Hence the scene accomplishes its task. But I wanted more, so I made it about Lili’s fears. Furthermore, I was able to make it about Travis and him missing his family.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I liked this little scene so much, it became a part of the far bigger book. Love may make the world go ’round, but we all share fear.

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Spotlight on Coulamine

Spotlight on Coulamine

Coulamine exists because of a back-formation from my own original drug, tricoulamine.

Coulamine
Spotlight – Coulamine

Furthermore, it also exists because I screwed up the start of a round robin story.

Background

First of all, in order to get soldiers to fight (in real life, even!), ordinary people need training and discipline. However, World War III was supposed to be a time period without even those sorts of niceties. Hence, for Multiverse II, the concept changed and the soldiers would be ordinary people with no training. Hence, like opium addicts and the like before them, they had to be hooked on something or other.

As a result, I created coulamine. When Otra turns evil for the story, I accidentally landed her in Maine. However, the action was supposed to take place in Montana. Therefore, I decided that a drug distribution trail would get her from point A to point B. Furthermore, because the other writers were stretching the story out in some ways, this allows for character development and some truly wicked scene settings.

The common people, therefore, would be coulamine addicts, and the drug would be referred to as ‘candy’. And that proved to be a fascinating and horrific idea.

Hence Otra kills a trucker in one of her first acts in the story, and then takes his truck.  The truck’s built-in GPS system contains presets to get her to various fueling stations.  And as the trip takes her farther and farther west, the food gets scarcer and poorer, the radiation levels climb, the rubble gets worse, and the addicts become more and more desperate.

When Rita finally arrives, she comes across as a tough soldier type, a kind of a survivalist. However, her arms are loaded with track marks. She’s an ex-candy addict.

Upshot

Coulamine worked so well that it got an even deadlier version: bicoulamine.

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Review – Cough

Review – Cough

Cough
In Between Days banner

Background

Cough? It seems such an unpromising word. Yet there was a call for a drabble with this word as its title. Hence I decided to revisit Penicillin. And my idea was to write a far shorter version of the same story. So this was to get it in front of a different readership.

Plot

When Lili sees Jay coughing in the hallway of the NX-01, he quickly covers it up. But she realizes he is sick and so she makes some chicken soup to treat his symptoms.

But there’s just one catch for Jay. Lili wants payment. And her payment isn’t in the form of money. Instead, it’s for him to smile more. While he agrees to do so, there is a slight difference between Cough and Penicillin. Unlike in the longer story, Jay briefly turns out his pockets. I feel it’s a nice little touch which gives him some personality, e. g. that he’s in a bit of a joking mood despite them being at war, and foreshadows the relaxed loving relationship they will have.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Drabbles are tiny and they often suffer because of that. And this one is no exception. So while I love the Penicillin story (and it turned out to be a linchin in the E2 storyline), the drabble version just plain isn’t as good. Therefore, there’s just no chicken meat on those bare bones.

However, the readers did like the story. Hayes is an enigma, even to his creators and to his actor. Hence I feel any insight into his character is generally going to be welcome. Otherwise, he is simply a cipher.

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Portrait of a Character – Freela

Portrait of a Character – Freela

Origins

Because Gina and Gabrielle Nolan were alone, and the seven stages of grief were finished, I decided I wanted their lives to go on in a somewhat unexpected manner. As a result, Kittriss and Freela were born. Freela was a linchpin character in the story line. Without her, Gabby and Gina never hear a crying child, and Gina and Kit never meet. So Freela is important to the series.

Portrayal

Freela
Saoirse Ronan as Freela (image is provided for educational purposes)

Freela is played by actress Saoirse Ronan. And this talented Irish-American actress is a two-time Academy Award nominee, as of the writing of this blog post. Much like is the case with Kittriss, I wanted Freela to not be the big, dominating warrior-type Klingon.

Personality

When we first meet Freela, she is an artistically talented first grader who commemorates her mother’s death in the Dominion War with an eerily accurate painting. And this eventually leads her (presumably) to drafting and then eventually to study engineering. So this talented and sensitive Klingon will not become a warrior; instead, she will become a builder and a designer.

However, she also expresses some anti-Breen prejudice, even as she fully accepts Gina and Gabby as new members of her family.

Relationships

Freela has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

A Mirror version of Freela is impossible, as the Dominion War does not seem to have happened on the other side of the pond.

Quote

“You know, capital buildings and bridges, but also public monuments. There’s, um, there’s a monument to the honored dead from the Breen Attack on Earth. It’s being built on Keto-Enol. We’ve been studying it; it’s a steel and glass structure made to look like thousands of birds flying up into the sky.

The bottom is tall and wide enough for a class to fit underneath. Under it, the names of the honored dead are to be etched, and they can be highlighted either randomly or as the observer wants to see. So, if you wanted to only read human names, you could, or the victims who were in Paris or the like. And the whole thing is to be made of debris from San Francisco and Beijing and even from ships that crashed that day, that sort of thing. Mother’s name will be etched underneath, as will that of Michael Nolan, Gabby’s Dad.”

Upshot

Although she demonstrates some anti-Breen prejudice in Wider Than the Sargasso Sea, Freela is essentially a decent person. Furthermore, she is the only sister Gabby really has. And the two women love each other as much as biological sisters often do.

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