Category Archives: Barnstorming

Review – Eight

Review – Eight

Background

Review – Eight. Aw.

So this is a mixed bag of stories intended to fill in a few small gaps and inconsistencies or untold stories. 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. 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

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

Stories cover In Between Days, the E2 timeline, the Daranaean Emergence series, the Eriecho series, 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.

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. 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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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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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 overture, 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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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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Review – Loss

Review – Loss

Loss happens to all of us eventually. So my idea was about how someone who does not really have emotions would react to it. And for Commander Data, his study of emotions has not exactly been good preparation for this.

Background

Yet again, the prompt and the story have the same name.

Plot

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Loss
How does Data handle the inevitable loss of Spot?

Geordi and his friends help Data deal with a significant loss.

As a result, this little story is for anyone who has ever had to bury a beloved pet. I have, several times. And that feeling never really leaves you. In addition, for many people, it can feel as awful as the death of a child.

So I originally wrote it as more or less on a lark. In addition, I am more of a dog person than a cat person and so the death of the orange tabby had about as much of an effect on me about as much as it did Data in the beginning of the story.

But later, after having written The Continuing Adventures of Porthos, I decided I kind of like Spot after all. As a result, I truly hope this little story gives her her due. Most noteworthy and surprising to me is how people like this little story. In addition, people have had deeper emotional reactions than I had originally thought would happen. To cry, over this short tale? However, if we are to believe readers’ stated reactions, that has happened, and more than once.

Story Postings

Rating

This story is rated K.

Upshot

Finally, the story is pretty well received wherever it goes, although that may  be at least partly due to the inclusion of Data, who a lot of people feel is a beloved character.

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Portrait of a Character – Geordi LaForge

Portrait of a Character – Geordi LaForge

Origins

The character is, of course, canon. In canon, he has a lot of trouble with women and never seems to really find anyone. His  blindness is established and is basically respected, although eventually, in the films, he gets implants. It probably made for easier storytelling.

Portrayal

Geordi La Forge
Geordi La Forge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As in canon, Geordi is played by actor Levar Burton.

This intelligent actor could have usually used better scripts.  I would have liked to have seen him confronting prejudice, for one thing. It’s one of the reasons I wrote Crackerjack in the first place.

Personality

Very smart and responsible, and uber-nerdy, Geordi is an affable guy who always seems to be in the friendzone.

Relationships

Geordi has canon relationships but I won’t enumerate them here.

Rosemary Parker

During the events depicted in Crackerjack, Geordi and Rosemary share a brief romance. He pays enough attention to her life to look her up, and he learns that she was arrested with Martin Luther King, Jr. after she married a man with the surname of Warren (which rather neatly makes her an ancestor of the woman I write as becoming Wesley Crusher‘s wife, Lakeisha Warren).

Theme Music

Crackerjack has a ton of period music, but nothing really speaks to me as a theme for Geordi.

Mirror Universe

It’s hard to say whether a Mirror Universe Geordi could exist at all.

Portrait of a Character – Geordi LaForge
Portrait of a Character – Geordi LaForge

He would be extra-smart, to be sure, but I write the MU as being leery of physical weaknesses and imperfections – and blindness would be right up there as a not so small problem.

If he could easily and seamlessly be fitted with ocular implants, perhaps as an infant, then he could survive and maybe even thrive on the other side of the pond.

Quote

“No, that’s all right. But the young lady who is with us, maybe she would like to do that. I can’t figure these people out. Some of them wouldn’t be caught dead being anywhere near me, while others are going out of their way to be kind or even charitable in their own way.”

Upshot

One great bit of fun I had was, in the Barnstorming series, to find a place for Geordi in the HayesBeckettO’DayReedMaddenDigiorno family. His place is as secure as Richard Daniels‘s. He’ll be back (he has to; he’s canon).

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Portrait of a Character – Yi’imspi

Portrait of a Character – Yi’imspi

Origins

When I first began to write Yi’imspi (spoiler alert!!!), I did not picture her as being the villain of the piece. She was just another Calafan, although she was a part of the Barnstorming series. The idea was to give this beloved original species a future. But then things took a turn.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Yi’imspi
Portrait of a Character – Yi’imspi

Yi’imspi is played by actress Tilda Swinton.  I really love this actress’s exotic look, which I feel shows off the Calafans well. I also feel she could convincingly be both an athlete and a model.

And a double-crossing spy.

Personality

Secretive, intelligent, and seductive, Yi’imspi is out for only one thing – to promote and improve the life of Yi’imspi. But for Section 31 and other factions trying to use her, she cares little. It doesn’t matter to her who wins this political tug of war.

Relationships

Tag Shaw

A quick hookup and nothing more, Yi’imspi and her fellow team member meet unintentionally while the team is on break and he is taking a spiritual pilgrimage to see the Great Plume of Agasoria.

But Tag (Darren) has been hitting on other female team members, including the Caitian, M’Belle. He isn’t looking for anything, and neither is she.

The third sex team member, the Imvari named Grosk, is interested, but they are sexually incompatible. She is kind to him, though. I had not conceived of her as the villain yet, so she’s pleasant there.

By the time the alternate timeline is created by her own actions, the Emperor of the Terran Empire takes a shine. Then again, he is in dire straits at the time. She only wants one thing from him, and that’s information. She doesn’t want to sleep with him.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Yi’imspi existing in the Mirror.

Tilda Swinton, arrival for press conference of...
Tilda Swinton, arrival for press conference of “Derek” at the Hyatt Hotel, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I write Mirror Universe women as being as ruthless as the men, but often needing protection. After all, the percentage of women is smaller than that of men. But that’s really only true for Terrans. Is it true for Calafans?

Not necessarily.

As a double-crossing spy, she is already a lot like a Mirror Universe denizen. There might not be too much of a difference.

Quote

“I thought I saw you hitting on M’Belle. I believe I have also seen you hitting on Cilla and maybe also Adeel.”

Upshot

Villain characters are always fun to write, but this series was not well thought out when it was started. Hence her behavior has to change, almost in the middle of things. I am sure there are better ways I could have handled this character.

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Portrait of a Character – Emmet Kent Hoberman

Portrait of a Character – Emmet Kent Hoberman

Origins

Portrait of a Character – Emmet Kent Hoberman
English: Ed Norton at the 2009 premiere of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Photographer’s blog post about event and photograph. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the first-ever game played by The Black Sheep barnstorming team, the idea was that the team would play hockey with a team composed of members of a military unit on Andoria. It was to be the place where, if the O’DayBeckett marriage had ended at the end of Together, Doug would have ended up. Instead, it’s more like a footnote until this story.

Portrayal

Hobie is played by actor Edward Norton. I had used this actor for the HG Wells series and liked him and wanted to revisit him. But instead of being ADHD-addled Levi Cavendish, he would be a decent military guy.

Personality

Affable, a little shy, and very formal, Kent is a divorced guy who rarely goes out. Then he meets Dana MacKenzie, and his interest is piqued as she is more aggressive and sporting than he’s used to. But then things go too far, too fast.

Relationships

Sandy Hoberman

Kent’s estranged wife left while still pregnant with their second daughter. I had nothing on her and she is only mentioned, never seen. The idea is that it was a painful, messy divorce. All Hobie cares about is being able to see Katie and Nichole, his children.

Dana MacKenzie

With Dana, there isn’t too much of a relationship. They enjoy each other’s company and communicate a little, but that’s it. Neither of them try very hard as she is hung up on Martin Madden and Kent, regardless of what he says, is still mourning his broken marriage.

Darragh Masterson

In an alternate timeline, MU Kent is attached to Darragh, who is an Augment descendant (and is probably an ancestor of both Darragh Stratton and Rick Daniels’s mother, Chloe Masterson). Is Kent also an Augment descendant? I don’t know.

Mirror Universe

Seen briefly during an iteration where Rick is still trying to repair the timeline, Kent is a survivalist and stuck on a planet in the old Delphic Expanse.

Portrait of a Character – Emmet Kent Hoberman
Portrait of a Character – Emmet Kent Hoberman

He is also with Darragh Masterson but, when they are in communications with the Enterprise-E, he checks out Dana, much to Darragh’s chagrin.

Quote

“I don’t normally go to bed with women so quickly. You can tell I don’t exactly have the smoothest moves out there. But, um, please don’t get dressed and please don’t leave, okay? ‘Cause I, uh, nobody’s stayed here in, God, she left before Nichole was even born. I swear I won’t touch anything or do anything that you don’t wanna do. I just, I want your company. I hope you want mine a little, too.”

Upshot

For a character I wa originally going to quickly kill off or at least dismiss, Hobie ended up with a fairly complicated and interesting life, I feel.

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Portrait of a Character – Daniya

Portrait of a Character – Daniya

Origins

For Mack MacKenzie‘s pilot, I wanted a character who could not only strongly or subtly suggest emotions or maybe just sense them, I wanted that character to also be able to manipulate them. Enter Daniya, who is part-Orion and part-Betazoid.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Daniya
Portrait of a Character – Daniya

Daniya is played by actress Diora Baird, who was briefly seen as an Orion in the 2009 JJ Abrams film.

I don’t see it as a big stretch to see her a hybrid, particularly with the curly red hair.

Personality

Outgoing and friendly, Daniya is a good pilot but also a bit of a flirt.

Relationships

Daniya is desired by many (the guy who sells the Cookie to Dana leers right at her, ignoring Dana and Crita), but I have not yet written any relationships for her.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Daniya existing in the Mirror. The image is of course of the actress out of makeup, so the reader is encouraged to use some imagination.

Portrait of a Character – Daniya
Portrait of a Character – Daniya

Like any halfway-decent-looking Mirror Universe female, Daniya would have to live and die by her looks.

Would she be a pilot? Possibly, as the MU Shelby Pike certainly is. But she might end up supplementing her income the same way Shelby does, by hooking.

Quote

“Pilot talk says it’s no good for maintaining your license. It’s too strange. Not like regular shuttle or freighter runs, where you stay in practice with standard Federation designs. But all the same, I like the idea of something different. Regular freighter runs can be pretty run of the mill. Don’t get me wrong; I like to make a few credits as much as anyone else. But the standard fare isn’t too challenging. That ship, though, I bet it would pose a challenge.”

Upshot

This character has potential, but I know I haven’t done enough with her. In particular, she doesn’t even show up in the alternate timeline, a sure sign that I am a bit stumped as to how to feature her properly.

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Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan Yarin

Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan Yarin

Origins

I needed for Mack MacKenzie to have an attorney to help with the technical issues of owning and running a barnstorming sports team. The idea of marrying the future Boris Yarin and the past Cyril Morgan was one I could not pass up.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan Yarin
Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan Yarin

Yarin is played by actor Michael Caine.

I love this actor’s accent, his pleasantness, and that he seems to be an intelligent person. I can absolutely see him playing Dana MacKenzie’s lawyer.

Personality

Intelligent, down to earth and highly skilled, Cyril is a cross between the older Cyril and Boris.  That is, he is kindly like the elder Cyril but also, maybe just a little, nervous like Boris.

Relationships

Cyril has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to his existence in the Mirror.

Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan Yarin
Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan Yarin

Just like any other intelligent person, he would be ruthless and would probably rise up in the ranks pretty quickly. He could even, potentially, be a lower or even mid-level politician on the other side of the pond.

Quote

“All right. Now, you and I have full attorney-client confidentiality. I am not going to go to the authorities if you tell me something illegal is afoot, unless you or anyone else is in relatively immediate physical peril…. So if your engineer finds something that is, shall we say, off the grid, you can tell me. In fact, I would prefer it if you did, so I’d have an idea of what to expect.”

Upshot

Misty, like every other team owner, needs a lawyer to handle the messy business of player contracts. For her, an ex-convict with a ship that barely skirts legality at times, the need is even greater, and Cyril fits the bill rather neatly.

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