Barnstorming

Review – Inside Information

Review – Inside Information

A Nostalgic Review of Inside Information

Inside Information brings the In Between Days Series in line with Star Trek: Discovery.

Background

On the Discovery, a young crewman knows something no one else does. His ancestors have visited him in his dreams, and they have told him there’s a way to get home. And this young crewman is Douglas Malcolm Beckett. But he’s changed his name to Hayes.

Inside Information

Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett (Steven Culp) – image is for educational purposes only

Plot

For the ghosts of Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett and Charlotte Lilienne O’Day Beckett, it’s irresistible. Their descendant is in peril and he’s afraid. So they enter his dream state and they comfort him. But they also let him know that he can get home if all else fails.

For one of the great patriarchs and one of the great matriarchs of an enormous dynasty, the chance to help one of their own will always be on the table. And so Doug and Lili arrive, in mists and clouds and mystery.

Family Tree

Doug the younger is the son of Jay Hayes Beckett. Jay is the son of Joss, who is Doug and Lili’s first born. Doug the younger is also of interest because he’s born on December 3, 2229, giving him the same birthday as Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett. The difference, though, is 127 years.

Doug the younger’s sister, Lilienne Melissa Beckett, is born in 2230. In Fortune, Q shows her to Lili.

But the tree goes on and Doug the younger also connects to Barnstorming. In 2265, he marries Penny Webb. Their son, Steven Hayes, is born in 2270. He marries Lucy Kimura. Steven’s daughter, Lilienne Charlotte Hayes, is born in 2309. During Play, Time Out, and Overtime, Lilienne is one of the thirteen living descendants of Doug the elder.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Lili| Naomi Watts | pregnant-Inside Information

Lili (image of Naomi Watts is for educational purposes only)

Their son, Jay Neil Hayes (born 2307) has a daughter, Sheilagh. She marries Don Porter. Their daughter is Tamsin Jennifer Porter, another of the thirteen.

The Thirteen

Doug the elder’s thirteen living descendants in 2379 are:

  1. Douglas Daniels, born in 2305 (also Lili’s descendant via Malcolm Reed)
  2. Michael Daniels, born in 2341 (also Lili’s descendant via Malcolm Reed)
  3. Lilienne Charlotte Hayes, born in 2309 (also Lili’s descendant)
  4. Ariana LaForge, born in 2337 (also Lili’s descendant, via both Doug and Malcolm)
  5. Edward LaForge, born in 2322 (also Lili’s descendant, via both Doug and Malcolm)
  6. Geordi LaForge, born in 2335(also Lili’s descendant, via both Doug and Malcolm)
  7. Misty Dana MacKenzie, born in 2329 (Melissa Madden‘s descendant)
  8. Martin Douglas Madden, born in 2322 (Melissa Madden’s descendant)
  9. Jay Neil Hayes, born in 2307 (also Lili’s descendant)
  10. Sheilagh Hayes Porter, born in 2331 (also Lili’s descendant)
  11. Tamsin Porter, born in 2354 (also Lili’s descendant)
  12. Tina Reed O’Connor, born in 2291 (also Lili’s descendant via Malcolm Reed)
  13. Kevin Reed, born in 2344 (also Lili’s descendant via Malcolm Reed)

Story Postings

Rating

The story has a K rating.

Upshot

Doug the younger even refers to The Human Pioneers of Lafa II, neatly bringing Norri into the fold. It was a quick story, tossed off fast. But it ties the story together even more, and the family lives on, from generation to generation, and from series to series.

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Review, 0 comments
Review – Time Out

Review – Time Out

A Pretty Harsh Review of Time Out

With Time Out, I abandoned the sports theme completely and instead did some personal head canon repairs. That is, I had put characters into an alternate temporal scenario and then I needed to get them back to the prime timeline. And I had to do this without destroying the continuity I was creating in the Barnstorming series.

Background

At the time I first wrote this story, I was even more burned out than before. I was absolutely running out of things to say, and so I shuffled the cards, big time. This also rather neatly plugged a hole in the Times of the HG Wells series. Now, that was a hole that only I could see. But I do like to be consistent.

The hole in the Wells timeline had to do with Dana, who hooks up with Rick. Once I realized I would rather she was Marty’s great love, she would have to somehow not fall prey to Rick’s charms.

Plot

Time Out stepped outside of the sports theme entirely for a very new story line. Instead of being a coach, Mack MacKenzie, is now called Dana, and she is the Tactical Officer on the Enterprise-E. As before, Martin Madden is still the First Officer. However, other players are in new places. And it’s all because of the accidental firing of a pulse shot.

At the same time, Marty is investigating an odd phenomenon which seems to directly relate to the O’Day-Hayes-Beckett-Digiorno-Madden-Reed family. New relatives show up, including the exceptionally annoying Tamsin Porter. Much like in the prime timeline for this series, Porter has the hots for Madden, and the radiation band cycling phenomenon still exists. It is one of the drivers of the plot.

Story Postings

Rating

The story has a K rating.

Upshot

One thing this story did well was show just how hit and miss so many of the time travel missions should have been during the Wells series. It was also a chance to showcase an earlier Rick, one who hasn’t yet met the Becketts. Hence for him, the time frame for the story is pre-Temper.

In addition, it brings up one interesting point. For the temporal and spatial dislocation in Crackerjack, it’s due to the remnants of a pulse shot. Originally, I had wanted it to be a post-Temper leftover of Empress Hoshi‘s doings. But what if it was due to experiments by Szish, the Gorn who built Mack’s ship, the Cookie? With the other references to the Crackerjack dislocation, this could be a way to wrap that up as well. I am currently trying to wrap up the final book in the series, so I might use this insight.

But I was flagging, and it shows.

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, In Between Days series, Times of the HG Wells series, 0 comments
Review – Play

Review – Play

A Brutal Review of Play

With Play, I continued the Barnstorming saga. However, I started to run out of things to say.

Background

To continue the Barnstorming series, I had to give Dana and the rest of the gang something to do. The main invention was a fake Tellarite game called Kreesta. I wanted the most ridiculous kind of a sport imaginable. Hence Kreesta is a cross between competitive eating and table tennis. And yes, it is just as messy and undignified as you are probably thinking.

Plot

Play is the second story in the Star Trek TNG/ENT Crossover series, Barnstorming. The story follows Dana MacKenzie and her traveling sports team, as Martin Madden investigates a mysterious phenomenon. The story, at its end, sets up a crossover with ENT and with the Times of the HG Wells series.

Music

The story does not have any major music or musical themes.

Story Postings

Rating

The story has a K rating.

Upshot

The real problem with this story is the one for the entire series. I was horribly burned out and so the ideas did not come as freely as before. In addition, I was ready to write a lot more wholly original works, full-time. This meant taking time away from truly developing this story line. And then at the end, I copped out in a lot of ways, and dovetailed into the old family.

That is because I essentially grabbed the first canon character I could think of who could work, and I made him the anchor character. Martin Madden is the initial anchor character, but then Rick Daniels becomes the secondary. As a result, the story line got increasingly muddled and weird. And then it took a left turn into time travel, but that did work to fix a hole in the Wells series. So, yay? Maybe?

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Review, Times of the HG Wells series, 1 comment

Review – The All-Stars

Review – The All-Stars

The All-Stars introduces the Barnstorming series.
The All-Stars

Background

First of all, the All-Stars was intended as the kickoff for the Barnstorming series. And that series would also hold Crackerjack and The Future Cat under its umbrella. Hence, I plotted it as a sprawling series. Except it suffered from an excess of plot and subplots and complications, even worse than the Times of the HG Wells series. And I should have known better! Seriously. Because the middle of the Wells series was hard for me to write, and some it drags a bit. Stories I had really thought about got short shrift. And the same ended up being true for Barnstorming.

Plot

It was a time for new beginnings, for a woman who had over half of her adult life stolen and for her cousin, a new job and new challenges. And this promised a new life for a young man with few plans and no real direction. Furthermore, it was a chance for three women to change their lives, and for fifty athletes to do something new. And there was a secret project by Section 31 that threatened to break a treaty and had the potential to open up a portal to another universe while someone out there – whose intentions were unknown – was trying to get in.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

While the story resolves itself pretty well and the characters make sense, the story leads to a series which ends up going nowhere. Although I did write the immediate sequel, Play, that story has never been posted anywhere (if I end up really scraping the bottom of the barrel at Wattpad, then maybe I will haul it out; the same might end up as true for Fanfiction.net). And then the following stories never really get off the ground at all. A pity; the concept is a decent one but I just ran out of gas there.

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Review, 2 comments

Portrait of a Character – The Traveler

Portrait of a Character – The Traveler

The Traveler got me out of some time travel jams.

The Traveler

Eric Menyuk as The Traveler (with Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher). Image is provided for educational purposes only.

Origins

While the character exists in canon, the best part about him is he can be a kind of deus ex machina plot device. And unlike Q, the Traveler at least ends up being a fairly nice guy.

Portrayal

As in canon, The Traveler is played by actor Eric Menyuk.

Personality

Wildly intelligent, but a little stiff, the Traveler recognizes that Wesley Crusher has exceptional potential. However, as I write him, he and Wesley are friends and almost collegial. Furthermore, when the Traveler sees Wesley misses his fellow humans, Wesley isn’t forced to stay.

Relationships

The Traveler has no known relationships, and may not even be capable of one.

Mirror Universe

Because this particular character does not seem to be 100% from our universe, I suspect he flits between the two all the time. And he may even go to other universes, such as the 49 centimeter radiation band (home of the best pumpkin pie in the multiverse!).

Quote

“All three of you have learned something. And for that, I am only grateful that I was the catalyst. Your species has much to learn about pain and conflict. You must never forget its horrors. You must never escape into pretend horrors as if they were thrills for your own amusement.  [and] You must, sometimes, rise up from your comfortable lives and bring suffering to the forefront. You must remember it so that you do not commit it. [and] You must not forget its true costs.”

Upshot

Finally, this character proved useful for Day of the Dead and Imprecision. I can’t recall, but I may have been planning on adding him to the Barnstorming series as well.

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Review – Staying

Review – Staying

Staying came about because I wanted to showcase the Barnstorming series.

Staying

Background

First of all, Staying arose directly out of The All Stars and served as a prompt response. This happened in an effort to get readers interested in the longer story.

Plot

Because I never intended Staying as a stand alone story, the plot ends up being rather thin. Instead, it showcases Mack MacKenzie and Kent Hoberman in an intimate moment which perhaps never should have happened. Since I liked the idea of a traumatized woman crying after sex (I suppose I have a heart of stone; of course I just mean a character), I reused the idea in the wholly original novel, The Polymer Beat.

Furthermore, the intention pushed the narrative along so that Mack would not have trauma with her true love (still not written yet!), canon character Martin Madden.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

While the story could have served as a decent introduction to the series, the readers really did not pick up on it. Read counts stayed low. And it can be tough to try to maintain and reinvent and continue a series where few if any people bother to read it. Hence the series is on hold and there are stories never even posted anywhere. If I pick it up again, I will need to finish those stories and that seems highly unlikely, given my schedule, my interest, and my desire to save my creativity for wholly original pursuits.

A pity, as I like Mack, Hobie, and Martin and their cohorts. They just came into my universe at the wrong time. Hence they may stay, forever (ish) in limbo. Sorry, characters!

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Review – Eight

Review – Eight

Review – Eight

Eight was a labor of love.

Background

So this is a mixed bag of stories intended to fill in a few small gaps and inconsistencies or untold stories. And the truth is, I was most likely the only person who ever noticed or gave a damn about these little untold moments or inconsistent bits. No problem. Because it is always important to keep writing. Hence I was able to do so with this small set of exercises. Furthermore, it may serve as an introduction to my work for some people.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Eight

Eight

As a gift for the Chanukah holiday (to myself), I decided to write eight little family-centric stories taking place within my various universes. The various characters would interact, or not, but the main idea was for each story to be related to family somehow.

Plot

So even in the future, and regardless of species, it is all about family. Home and hearth abide, even in space.

Hence the stories cover In Between Days, the E2 timeline, the Daranaean Emergence series, the Eriecho series, The Times of the HG Wells, Hold Your Dominion, and there is also a second HG Wells story which focuses on Levi Cavendish and Otra D’Angelo. Hence this story brought together a number of somewhat disparate timelines and casts in order to give a reader some perspective on what I write.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Unfortunately, I am not so sure if anyone can relate to this series of stories as well as I can. Hence maybe they’re more like inside jokes? I don’t know.

These stories. And these worlds. Plus these timelines. And the same number of universes. And in all of them, home and hearth abide.

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Emergence series, Eriecho series, Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Review, Times of the HG Wells series, 0 comments

Spotlight on Chi Band Radiation

Spotlight on Chi Band Radiation

Chi Band Radiation Background

Chi Band Radiation can do anything.

Chi Band Radiation

Image of background radiation

I needed a garden variety phenomenon. Chi Band Radiation  would have to be able to stand in for a lot of almost magical properties. It had to be a kind of technobabble thing. Hence I needed for it to sound just mysterious enough.

The idea would cover all sorts of issues. This would include crossing people over from one universe to another. Or it would be the kinds of temporal switches and shenanigans shown in Concord and Crackerjack. However, for both of those stories there were other explanations for their issues.

Chi Band Radiation particularly comes to fore in the Barnstorming series. I used it to show how and why the Mirror Universe was attempting to cross over and potentially invade our own. The Emperor would have been deposed and fallen on hard times. The radiation would be, to him, a  godsend, a means of regaining his past glories. Therefore, he would be itching to use it.

Instead of living the high life, he’s living in a shack. He depends upon the kind charity of the native Calafan people. This would be quite the harsh reality for a proud man.

The radiation would also be a means of almost communicating. It would be a way of knocking on the door of another universe, as it were. This would attract the attention of weird ADHD-addled temporal engineer Levi Cavendish. Giving Levi a means of investigating all possible universes was a fun idea. The way to fulfill his mission to find the ultimate pumpkin pie (spoiler alert: it’s in the universe with a 49 centimeter radiation band on the hydrogen line) proved irresistible.

Upshot

This Swiss Army knife has stood me in good stead. I am sure I will be using it again in the future.

Chi Band Radiation

Chi Band Radiation

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Fan fiction, Spotlight, Times of the HG Wells series, 0 comments

Review – Overture

Review – Overture

Background

Overture came about from a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about new beginnings.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Overture

Overture

I could not get the idea out of my head about the start of a classical concert. So that led me to Lakeisha Warren. Then the story and the prompt gave me the prequel (more or less) to Crackerjack. It also serves as a prequel to The All-Stars. So this little story wears a lot of metaphorical hats.

Young love is often a good idea for a story, and this was no exception. I had already shown (in Imprecision) how they had met. At this point in time, I wanted to show them beginning their commitment. Lakeisha and Wes would get really serious, really quickly. But that’s okay. Because sometimes, you just know.

Plot

Therefore, I sent Wesley Crusher out to visit Lakeisha, not too long after they had first met. As a direct sequel to Imprecision, and as a prequel to The All-Stars, Wesley would be very interested in this amusing musically gifted girl. And all he would want to do is show it.

A classical concert, for her, could easily encompass music from The Who’s Tommy rock opera.

As Lakeisha practices, Wesley listens in a little, and then he proceeds to knock on her door. He tells her that he does not believe in holding back. He wants her to know she already means something to him. She already matters.

Music

The story’s music is The Who’s Overture.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Just like a regular start of a play, the story hints at great things to come. I hope it whets readers’ appetites for more Wes and Lakeisha. They certainly deserve an exploration!

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Fan fiction, Review, 0 comments

Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden

Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden

Martin Madden should be canon, dammit!

Origins

The character is technically canon although the scene of his introduction ended up on the cutting room floor. In the ‘lost’ footage, William Riker plays a nasty, passive-aggressive prank and Madden is the butt of the joke. I disliked the scene so much that I felt Madden needed a measure of justice. He is the reason that Melissa has her last name, as she is his forebear, via her middle son, Neil.

Because Marty is also Doug‘s descendant, his radiation band is slightly less than it should be, betraying a partial origin in the Mirror Universe. As the Barnstorming series unfolds, the family’s importance increases. Doug’s descendants hold a key in their DNA that could alter the fate of both universes.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Martin Madden

Martin Madden

As in canon, Madden is played by actor Steven Culp. I like this actor a great deal. He was also exceptionally gracious when I wrote to him, asking for an autographed photograph and the answer to a few questions as I was writing The Three of Us and looking to add some verisimilitude to my details about Jay Hayes.

Culp wrote back, said my questions were interesting (I asked things like what is his favorite story to read to a child) but whatever I came up with would be fine. He also wished me luck with my writing. His framed picture is hanging in the room where I do my writing and it helps provide some inspiration.

Personality

Lonely, brilliant, and bored, Marty is near the top of his profession but wants something more. He is only close to one person, and that is not only hurting him in his career, it’s also, in general, making him miserable. Furthermore, the incident with Riker got him off on the wrong foot with Captain Picard. A bit of a perfectionist, Martin is appalled by what happened and scrambling to make it right.

Relationships

Tamsin Porter

With one disastrous date, this is really not a relationship. Tamsin likes him, but he can’t stand her; he had only asked her out in order to get his mind off Dana. Tamsin takes it the wrong way and tries to get him to sleep with her.

When he refuses, she stretches the truth to its breaking point, and files a sexual harassment charge against him. The charge is groundless and is quickly dropped. But it gets worse, as she is distantly related to him. As a part of the family (through Joss), Tamsin is not so close to Martin Madden to prevent a relationship, plus she’s somewhat aggressive. It’s a complete turnoff to him, but she is family and so, in some ways, he’s stuck with her. But he doesn’t have to date her.

Dana MacKenzie

With a language all their own, Martin Douglas Madden and Misty Dana MacKenzie – the MDM Twins – are made for each other. There’s just one small problem. She’s his second cousin.

That would not seem like much of an issue, but I write an unjust Second Cousin Marriage law, forbidding such marriages where the parties share at least one great-grandparent. The purpose behind the law is to prevent too much Daranaean inbreeding and the introduction of younger and younger child brides. But the law fails miserably as it is mainly just a bad political compromise.

When Dana is imprisoned at Canamar, it is only Marty who continues writing to her after her parents die. With the letters kept from her as a part of her unjust punishment, her reading of those letters is one of her first acts after getting out.

His love for her is one of the few things that sustains him. It is one of the underlying themes of the series, along with the concept that the Digiorno-Madden-Hayes-Beckett-O’DayReed family endures forever. There is power in this love, and it cannot be denied.

Mirror Universe

I’m not so sure that Marty can exist in the Mirror Universe.

As a descendant of Doug, who left the Mirror and had never fathered a child on that side before he did, then Marty’s existence in the Mirror is technically impossible. However, I write a Mirror Tamsin (called Jennifer), explaining that the analogue is imperfect but very close. After all, if most other forebears fall into place, or close relatives such as siblings or first or even second cousins take the place of the originals, after a time span of a few centuries, the differences become negligible. This isn’t a bad theory for why there are so many MU counterparts, and I might explore it at some time.

But if the same incident occurs, he wouldn’t just be miffed at Riker and embarrassed by him – Marty would have knifed the man.

Quote

“I can’t exactly get away when everyone else can. Understand something, all right? Whatever Riker did, whatever he could do, whatever he tried or got away with and however he acted, that was him, all right? He probably got himself here for lunch somewhere between 1200 and 1330 hours nearly every day, am I right? … But that’s not me. But, uh, I get the feeling there’s one more item on your list of Things Keeping Martin Madden from Making Friends on the Enterprise-E. Am I right? Care to share it with me if I am?”

Upshot

I am really enjoying writing this character, a kind of combination of Jay’s discipline and Doug’s zest for life, with a bit of Malcolm’s pre-Lili tortured loneliness. The Barnstorming series is not done yet, and Martin Madden is a huge part of it.

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Fan fiction, Portrait, Times of the HG Wells series, 3 comments