Category Archives: Fan fiction

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi

Background

Back in 2005, I wrote an initial five Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction stories. They were all intended to be centered around the five senses. More, More, More was about hearing. The Puzzle (which was a more complex and ambitious tale) was about sight. The Adventures of Porthos took on smell. And If You Can’t Stand the Heat was about taste.

Hence There’s Something About Hoshi was about touch and, by extension, feelings.

Plot

The story begins with Hoshi Sato being courted by Ted Stone. But he’s a somewhat inept suitor, and keeps missing his marks. He tries to be romantic but can’t quite get it right. Hoshi fears she is settling, and references the canon E2 episode where she settled for “old what’s his name” (Sekar Khan, the Quartermaster).

The Enterprise is contacted by an unknown species, the Arisians. They notice her on the Bridge and their communications are inept enough that one of them is heard mentioning his astonishment that there is a woman. A pretext is created for Hoshi to come to the surface. She agrees even though everyone that the Enterprise sees on Aris seems to be male.

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi
Hoshi dressed for the evening (Linda Park)

A pair of MACOs accompany Hoshi, and it becomes clear that they are a gay couple. Friends of hers, they compliment her on her choice of attire for the evening. It’s confirmed that Frank Todd will be one of the MACOs going to the surface (Frank also shows up in Shell Shock and in the E2 stories), as will his boss, Major Dawson (Dawson is also a part of Shell Shock and is the replacement for Jay Hayes).

A visit to the planet confirms that everyone is male. Milit, an Arisian, tells the landing party (in addition to Hoshi, Corporal Todd and Major Dawson, Travis Mayweather, Jonathan Archer and Malcolm Reed are present) that, long ago, the men of his species researched how to decrease gestation until eventually they could accomplish all of it without women. Once that was accomplished, they allowed all of the women to die out and only cloned males. Hoshi realizes, uncomfortably, that she is the only woman on the entire planet.

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi
Hieroglyphics at mesa pintada

She asks to see hieroglyphics, which were the pretext for getting her to the surface. Todd and an Arisian, Lio, accompany her to where the hieroglyphics are supposed to be. Todd and Hoshi are overcome and her hormones are extracted via syringe. However, Lio and his cohorts also inject her and Corporal Todd with something else.

By the time Hoshi returns to the ship, she is suddenly irresistible to all of the men on board (and a few women as well), but not Corporal Todd as his preference doesn’t go that way. Harassed and scared, even the captain gets in on bothering her, leering at her on the Bridge as various other male crew members make all sorts of passes at her until the Arisians can make things right again.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I played the story for humor. While it’s still funny, seven years of hindsight give me another perspective. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of creepy, the way that everyone is throwing themselves at her. The character was in very real danger of being sexually assaulted. If I were writing the story today, I would probably amp up the fear more, and downplay more of the humor.

Portrait of a Character – Leah Benson

Portrait of a Character – Leah Benson

Origins

In The Light, I needed a Rabbi character. Because women have fairly recently been admitted to the Rabbinate in all Jewish sects except for Orthodox (and it is highly doubtful that even the most competent Orthodox Jew would go into space during the Star Trek: Enterprise era), I decided on a female Rabbi.

Portrayal

I decided I wanted a Jewish actress and so I selected Mayim Bialik. This actress is of course known not only for her child star work, but also for her more recent work on The Big Bang Theory.

Portrait of a Character – Leah Benson
Rabbi Leah Benson

I also felt that Starfleet would select someone relatively young to fulfill this role, as they would be hoping for someone to stick around for a while and that person would also need to be someone not easily shocked by things like asking to pray over a dying alien or even something as incredible as a Xindi Reptilian potentially asking to convert to Judaism.

Personality

Friendly, approachable and consoling, Rabbi Benson is not only an expert on Judaism, she’s also something of a counselor. For Ethan Shapiro, Andrew Miller, Josh Rosen and Karin Bernstein, the Rabbi may stand in as a parent when difficult decisions need to be made. She is someone they can turn to if they are grieving, or unsure of things, thereby allowing Captain Archer and Doctor Phlox more breathing room.

Relationships

Diana Jones

In Bread, it’s revealed that they married (thereby predicting that gay marriage will be legal in the United Federation of Planets). Their long-term, loving relationship is sorely tested when Diana becomes gravely ill.

Mirror Universe

Leah’s only known relationship in the Mirror Universe is with Leonora Digiorno. As ruthless as anyone else in the mirror, Leah is not a woman of God. Instead, she is a pilot, and is meant to be somewhat similar to Melissa Madden, who the Mirror Norri never meets.

Portrait of a Character – Leah Benson
Mirror Leah

The image is brief but indelible, in Fortune, when Leah murders Norri for the most selfish and trivial of reasons. Nasty, brutal and efficient, Leah steals the meager possessions she can carry and leaves Norri’s broken body without looking back.

Quote

“When Starfleet was established, this question was decided, as Talmudic scholars determined that there could be occasions when Kaddish would have to be said but a Jew would be, perhaps alone, or with no means of communicating with other Jews. So, you can pray with a quorum, a minyan partly composed of Jews who are linked via communications – such as we are linked right now. Or you can enlist the help of non-Jewish friends for this specific purpose. Either way will work.”

Upshot

Leah is about as different as anyone can be when you compare her Prime and Mirror Universe counterparts. I wanted her to be that way, whereas Doug and Jay are, for example, a lot closer. Leah represents just how different the two sides of the coin truly can be, and how a few changes in someone’s life can turn them from a gentle, caring person to a ruthless, cold-blooded monster.

Inspiration – Life Events

Background

I don’t write Star Trek fanfiction in a vacuum. Like anyone else, life gets in the way, it meanders around or my writing does, and the two collide. For what is writing without a connection to real life events?

Dating, Love, Wedding and Marriage

My own marriage and wedding are a bit of fiction fodder, Vulcan weddingI admit it, and back into dating, too, of course. These are major life events, and the lead up to them as well. A Kind of Blue absolutely evokes the excitement of my own wedding (I was not pregnant) and also a little bit of the uncertainty about the future. You wonder if everything is going to be all right. So far, so good.

Dating in a lot of ways informs Reversal, as Lili first goes on a disastrous blind date with Brian Delacroix (as Jenny Crossman pushes away a grabby Aidan MacKenzie) and then goes on a number of memorable (literal) dream dates with Doug. Her E2 experiences with Jay Hayes and Malcolm Reed are also very date-centric.

Birth of Nephews

I have no children of my own, Human-Vulcan hybrid babyso my nephews stand in for the kids I write about. Stories such as Tumult give life to the sense of waiting around – seemingly forever – in hospital rooms. Small children are seen there, and in Together, Temper, and Fortune, among other places, including The Facts.

Life at Work

I’ve had any number of work experiences, Striking union workersmuch like anyone of my age does. In particular, the HG Wells stories evoke work and working conditions. I’ve had bosses like Carmen Calavicci. She’s a bit brassy but she gets the job done. In A Long, Long Time Ago, potential employees are put through a group interviewing process – and I have been through such interviews, too. As the series progresses and the time travelers learn to work together, that also evokes various work experiences. People do not immediately have chemistry. Sometimes you need to really try in order to make things work.

Justice and Mercy

I’ve practiced law Tribunal(that was a long, long time ago!), and so I’ve seen trials and I’ve been behind the scenes. I wanted Shell Shock to bring a lot of that knowledge to the fore. A pair of trials are also conducted in the E2 stories. I wanted very much for the concept of people trying to do the right thing, even if they don’t necessarily have the means or knowledge with which to do so, to be understood by the reader.

Medical Care and Crises

I have seen people who were very sickSick Bay and, truly, dying. Of course I don’t just witness such things and take notes for my writing or anything. I am not outside of the moment. But these things do happen, and they are, indeed, remembered. In the E2 stories, and in Shell Shock, characters emerge from comas (in the former, the emergence is overtly included, in the latter, only the aftermath is seen).

Death

For experiences of death, and characters’ reactions thereto, I tend to rely rather heavily on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Her five stages of grief, in particular, informed the Hold Your Dominion/Gina Nolan stories. Mourning is evoked in Fortune, but also in Equinox, A Hazy Shade and Remembrance.

Upshot

For Star Trek to be Star Trek, there are any number of ships, aliens and whiz-bang effects. But, more importantly, there are people. And those people tend to have experiences that are a lot like our own, or at least their experiences should be similar to ours. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of ships whooshing by and a lot of explosions, and not much else. Fine in the moment, but not memorable, and certainly nothing that has survived for over four and a half decades. It’s the stories about people that survive. By placing my own experiences into my writing, I am hoping, if not for immortal stories, then at least for tales with more depth. I hope I’ve achieved a small measure of that.

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Recurrent Themes – Medical Personnel

Recurrent Themes – Medical Personnel

Medical Personnel are a must.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Medical Personnel

Physicians, of course, are Star Trek canon and are absolutely necessary in space. After all, you can’t just grab the nearest ambulance and hotfoot it to a hospital. You have got to have a doctor on board.

I have created quite a few medical characters as I’ve been writing. I think my somewhat ambivalent feelings about medicine often come into play.

Medical Personnel Appearances

There are so many physicians; here they are listed by series.

In Between Days

Baden

Baden is a Calafan doctor seen in Reversal, and is a part of the conspiracy.

Blair Claymore

In Intolerance, Blair comes across as more sympathetic than any of the other visiting physicians who are in the midst of their Immunology rotation. By the time of Fortune, she has become Malcolm‘s CMO on the USS Bluebird. In the Mirror Universe, she is some sort of technician and is no doctor.

Pamela Hudson

Pamela makes her first appearance in Intolerance. By the time of Temper, Malcolm reveals to Lili that Pamela (in an alternate timeline) has become the doctor, if not the person, that she was always meant to be. Pamela has more air time in her eventual relationship with the Calafan Treve, in To Wish, To Want, To Desire and The Best Things Come in Pairs.

Bernardine Keating-Fong

Only seen in Intolerance, Bernie is never shown practicing. Instead, she is the lecturer for the Immunology class, and her name is meant to amp up some more of the early gender confusion in Intolerance.

Keleth

A Klingon doctor, Keleth is instrumental in fixing what’s wrong in Intolerance. Almost as importantly, he has, perhaps, the most normal and loving relationship in that entire book.

Miva

A Calafan, Miva is Lili‘s obstetrician in Together and Fortune. It is she who tells Lili that sex with Doug during pregnancy is not advisable, and it is Miva who performs the O’Day Reversal again after Lili gives birth to Declan.

Cyril Morgan

A kindly retired orthopedic surgeon, Morgan is Pamela’s uncle and is grandfather to Cindy Morgan. In Fortune, Cindy brings her friend, Jia Sulu, with her to Marie Patrice’s birthday party and therefore, at an extremely young age, Joss meets his future bride.

An Nguyen

Brittle and somewhat condescending, An could use some lessons in bedside manner. He backbites with Pamela but does offer her a place to sleep when Will and Blair commandeer her quarters. As a physician, he treats a Daranaean woman, Libba, in The Cure is Worse Than the Disease.

Will Owen

Will never actually gets to practice. In Together, Pamela reveals that he hanged himself a few days after he was expelled, following the events outlined in Intolerance.

Phlox

This Star Trek Enterprise canon physician is the first to prove that Doug is real, in Reversal. He finds the cure in Intolerance and treats Lili as an obstetrics patient in Together.

Mark Stone

As the last of the five classmates in the Intolerance Immunology rotation, Mark is a child of wealth and privilege, son of Emily Stone, the new envoy to the Xindi. About the only other thing revealed about him is that he is a gay man.

T’Par

A Vulcan doctor, she is instrumental in finding a cure for Doctor Keating-Fong during Intolerance.

Times of the HG Wells

Marisol Castillo

A femme fatale, Marisol gets few chances to practice medicine, although she does provide Sheilagh Bernstein with physical enhancements during Ohio.

Kingston (No First Name)

During You Mixed-Up Siciliano, he is baffled by Christopher Donnelly’s condition, not recognizing that the boy, in 1960, has been infected with what would later be identified as the Ebola virus.

Sanchez (No First Name)

He is Malcolm‘s doctor and is never actually seen. Malcolm refers to him in The Point is Probably Moot, as knowing of a traditional Calafan remedy for erectile dysfunction – tofflin root tea.

Boris Yarin

Paranoid, powerful and suspicious, Boris has reason to wonder about Marisol’s intentions. Much like her, he has few chances to practice, although he also works on Sheilagh. In Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain, his past is referenced, where he treated an injured Klingon rugby player, Kriz, which was how he met his wife, Darragh Stratton.

Yimiva

She is the doctor for the Calafan unit, and performs the autopsy on Anthony Parker. The presence of Ebola and stem cell growth accelerator in Parker’s blood reveals that he had been an operative for the Perfectionists.

Emergence

An Nguyen

By the time of The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, An has been hired as the CMO on Erika Hernandez’s ship, the USS Columbia (NX-02), which is where he loses his youthful enthusiasm. This theme is taken up some more in Take Back the Night, as An reveals that he would really rather avoid the Daranaeans.

Rechal

First seen during Take Back the Night, Rechal examines the fetus that the murdered Inta was carrying. Finding that it was a male, Rechal informs Arnis that an investigation must be conducted. In Flight of the Bluebird, it is revealed that he is in the Daranaean prison, but is still helping to try to find a cure for thylacine paramyxovirus.

Trinning

First seen as a teenaged boy in Take Back the Night, and then as a slightly older boy in Temptation, Trinning doesn’t start to practice medicine until Flight of the Bluebird, when he works as a medical researcher with his unofficial assistant, Trava.

Varelle

Another Daranaean doctor, Varelle is first seen as a doctor refusing to treat Libba in The Cure is Worse Than the Disease.

Interphases

Andrew Miller

Andy starts off as a science Ensign. However, in the E2 stories, it becomes obvious very quickly that Phlox will need help delivering babies. Andrew studies and, eventually, can be called Doctor Miller.

Pamela Reed-Hayes (Née Reed)

During the first kick back in time, Lili has three children. Pamela is her daughter with Malcolm, and she succeeds Phlox as the ship’s CMO.

The Mirror Universe

Baden

This Calafan doctor shows, in Reversal, that he mainly just follows orders, even if they are, ultimately, immoral. Unlike his Prime Universe counterpart, he actually ends up committing murder.

Miva

Seen only briefly in Reversal, the mirror Miva is really only known as the Prime Universe Baden’s nighttime lover. They met when they made psychic contact and she was, instead of meditating, trying to remember the bones of the hand as she was getting ready for her examinations. Seen again in Fortune, Miva helps by setting Lucy Stone‘s broken leg and offers Chip, Tripp and Beth various odd jobs so that they can pay her.

Cyril Morgan

Morgan is brought on as a replacement for the canon doctor, the Denobulan Phlox.

The Mirror Morgan is ruthless and probably barely competent. In Reversal, Doug reveals that there is a lot of complicated equipment on the Defiant, but Morgan doesn’t seem to know how to use any of it. It is unclear whether he or Phlox kills Ian Reed, and the ambiguity is carried through Paving Stones Made from Good Intentions and Coveted Commodity. It isn’t until Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses that it is revealed just how Morgan got onto the Defiant, and exactly who ordered, and who caused, Ian’s death.

Mark Stone

Some time after Morgan’s death, in The Point is Probably Moot, it is revealed that Mark is the Empress’s new CMO. For him, his homosexuality is something of a lifesaver, for it frees him from being tempted by her wiles. Even so, he spends some of his time fending off the overly aggressive sexual advances of the Empress Hoshi Sato.

Upshot

I seem to write a lot of monstrous physicians, but also a number of heroes. For every nasty Marisol Castillo, there is a romantic Keleth. For every paranoid Boris Yarin, there is  a sympathetic Blair Claymore. And for each prejudiced Varelle, there is an open-minded Trinning.

Spotlight on an Original Species – Imvari

Background

Imvari (the same word is used for both the singular and the plural) were originally brought into Together as a kind of beefy muscle. They were meant to be very tall (over two meters, which is more than six and a half feet) and ruthless in my Star Trek fanfiction.

Imagery

I realized after a while – after I had written Dennis Ott as a horned alienThe Reptile Speaks and had decided that the Imvari did not keep their genitals where most of us do – that this concept had been covered before, in the Star Trek: Original Series film, The Undiscovered Country. It took a while to find the image, but I did.

Hence, this unnamed alien male is – tada! – an Imvari.

Language and Culture

Unlike the Calafans, I didn’t bother writing a language for these folks. However, I did need writing, as a plot point in Together is an escape on an Imvari ship. Hence the Imvari (like the Daranaeans would also get) were given pictograph writing.

Pictographs were meant to be somewhat similar to European road signs, with basic circles, arrows, triangles, squares, rectangles and squiggles denoting things like warp factors, weapons, clothing storage, etc.

As a species that’s considerably taller than most others, Imvari tend to stay away from the rest of us. In Together, Lili and Deb learn that the Imvari are not a threat when it comes to sexual assault as they are simply incapable of pairing with human women.

Weaponry and Duties

In the E2 stories, and in Together, it’s established that they keep prisoners in line with what I’m calling shocking sticks. These types of implements are somewhat akin to the canon Klingon pain sticks.

Image of Adromeda Galaxy in infrared.
Image of Adromeda Galaxy in infrared. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In both the E2 stories and in Together, the Imvari work as guards, slave catchers and the like but are generally not seen to be the brains of any operation. That honor belongs to, respectively, the Orion Syndicate and the non-humanoid Andromeda galaxy species, the Zetal.

In the HG Wells stories, the Imvari are a part of the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Appearances

Apart from Together, Imvari are mentioned a bit in the HG Wells stories, but really only in passing as being yet another galactic species that is at peace with and a part of the successor entity to the Federation.

In the E2 stories, they get a lot more air time, as I needed a villain species that would not be the Xindi. In the E2 stories, the Imvari are responsible for gathering up vulnerable individuals for sale to the Orion Syndicate and processing into slavery. Many of these processed individuals are Ikaarans, and it is on an Imvari slaver ship that Lili and Jay first spend any real time with Ikaarans (although there is an earlier communication which is more formal, but the Ikaaran captain, Jeris, declines Captain Archer‘s offer to share in their Christmas dinner).

Upshot

Before you judge the Imvari as being mere brutes, the species has a writing that is intended to be almost like a modern, stylized version of Egyptian hieroglyphics. By the time of Richard Daniels (31st and 32nd centuries), the species is at peace with nearly all the others in the galaxy. Not bad for a bunch of interstellar thugs.

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Portrait of a Character – T’Pol

Portrait of a Character – T’Pol

Origins

The character, of course, is Star Trek: Enterprise canon.

Portrayal

As in the show, the character is played by actress Jolene Blalock.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – T'Pol
Starfleet Commander T’Pol (Jolene Blalock)

As a main character, a great deal of T’Pol‘s journey has already been seen on the small screen. Because there is limited time for television programs, T’Pol, Archer and Tucker all received significantly greater shares of airtime. This was virtually always at the expense of Reed, Sato, Mayweather and Phlox. Frankly, by the time I started writing fanfiction, I’d gotten sick of her.

Complicating matters was the fact that I have always found it extremely difficult to write wholly unemotional Vulcans (this is a large part of why Eriecho wears her heart on her sleeve so much).

Relationships

Charles Tucker III

The relationship, naturally, is canon. And in canon, it just plain doesn’t work out, despite what fan fiction writers often want. Them’s the breaks! However, it is also canon that they marry in the E2 scenario. Therefore, I follow canon and have them do just that. Because my E2 scenario contains two kicks back in time, Tripp and T’Pol are given two separate chances for love and marriage.

In the first scenario, their wedding is far more traditional, and they later have twins. Pregnancy causes T’Pol to lose her emotional control – a fact that, conveniently for me, makes it easier to write her.

In the second scenario, T’Pol puts the brakes on their relationship. When pressed by Tucker, she reveals that she was widowed for a very long time. He correctly deduces that she was horribly hurt by this. She eventually comes around and they wed, but the ceremony is less conventional. In keeping with canon, their only child is their canon son, Lorian. As in the other scenario, she loses her emotional control, but it happens later.

Travis Mayweather

It can scarcely be called a relationship as it is more of a needs fulfillment gone horribly wrong. In the alternative timeline “what if” scenario story, The Black Widow, T’Pol attempts to satisfy pon farr with Doctor Phlox (that’s canon). When he proves inadequate in her eyes, she goes after Travis, and the encounter kills him. Still unsated, she attempts to seduce Malcolm as well (that’s also canon).

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – T'Pol
Mirror Universe T’Pol (Jolene Blalock)

This version of the character is also canon. In Reversal, T’Pol is already dead – an easy way for me to avoid writing a character who I’ve always found difficult. But for the transitional story, Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, T’Pol is very much alive, although in the Brig and clearly not for long. In that story, the new Empress Hoshi Sato the First personally dispatches T’Pol as a means of continuing to cement her grip on the crew of the Defiant and, eventually, the Terran Empire.

Quote

“I surmised as much. Petty tyrants are predictable. True leaders are the only ones of interest. If you had remembered Captain Forrest or Soval as well as you seem to remember how to manipulate the weak-minded, I’d say you’d have a chance at a truly great rule. But as it is, you’ll only be remembered as a tin pot dictator.” 

Upshot

It continues to be a challenge for me to write T’Pol. and her lines are often a stumbling block in my E2 stories especially. However, I’m finding her easier and easier to write as time elapses and, I suppose, we get further and further away from the actual original broadcast of the series. I know I don’t do her enough justice.

Progress Report – October 2012

Progress Report – October 2012

October 2012 was a very creative time.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | October 2012

It was another highly productive month. The Mirror Universe contextual collection, Hall of Mirrors, saw the following additions – The High Cost of Dissidence, Paving Stones Made from Good Intentions, First Born, Reversal, Brown, Coveted Commodity, Temper and Fortune.

I also answered a prompt about rituals with the Times of the HG Wells prequel, Candy. Also, I spun out Shake Your Body, the penultimate HG Wells book. I responded to the “hold on” prompt with Souvenirs, an HG Wells story taking place right after Spring Thaw. Then I added Detroit Rock City and A Single Step to In Between Days context. In response to the Burdens of Command challenge, I wrote Day of the Dead, to be posted on Halloween itself.

I had not added anything whatsoever to The Delphic Expanse in a long time, so I decided to float a drabble about Tripp and T’Pol and her pregnancy with Lorian, so I answered a year-old prompt for the word “free”, and wrote Free.

I also had not contributed anything to Trek United in months, so I added Voracious and Harvest.

Fanfiction.net

Progress Report – October 2012

On Fanfiction.net, I added The High Cost of DissidenceOnions, Penicillin, Letters from Home, First Born, Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, Detroit Rock City and Concord.

Concord and Letters from Home got particularly good receptions, so I decided to see if I can post there every Monday and Thursday (I had been posting only on Mondays), schedule permitting.

On Star Trek Logs, because there was a Vulcan/Romulan week, I added Achieving Peace. I also spun out Concord there, as that story had gotten raves on Fanfiction.net. It was also well-received there.
Plus I added stories to the Archer’s Angels board, where they created an official fan fiction forum, Alien Encounter and The Black Widow. Hence I added both of these because of Halloween. Then I added A Single Step, and started a challenge there, called A Thousand Words. My response was an In Between Days extreme prequel story called Detroit Rock City.
For the Trek BBS Nightmares challenge, I added a Wesley Crusher story, Imprecision.

Milestones

On October 15th, Reversal on Ad Astra rang up 10,000 views, the most I have ever had on any given story. That story has been out there since August of 2011, which is part of the reason for the high numbers. I am particularly pleased that there are over 260 views for each chapter, telling me that a lot of people hung in with it until the end.

For overall totals (e. g. adding up view totals for everywhere a story is posted online, Reversal is still the big winner, with over 15,000 views. Next highest is Together with over 12,000 views and then Intolerance with over 8,000 overall views. These are all understandable, as I originally wrote them back in 2010. More interesting is that Take Back the Night has an overall total approaching 4,000 views, and that story is only from late 2011 and is only on Ad Astra.

WIP Corner

I continued working on the E2 stories when I could. My plan is to begin spinning them out in January, so I am trying to get a full draft of the fourth story done before then.

Prep Work

I created an HTML version of He Stays a Stranger, in anticipation of spinning it out in November. I created a somewhat bowdlerized version of Fortune for eventual posting on Fanfiction.net.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

I worked on the Trek United Adult Trek Anthology. Plus I also attended five job interviews – more than I had for several months, combined. I am doing a lot of the distribution of work in anticipation of going back to work soon. Furthermore, I continued working on the Adult Anthology, and made a great deal of progress with it.

Portrait of a Character – William Slocum

Portrait of a Character – William Slocum

Origins

Portrait of a Character – William Slocum

The character is canon, but rarely seen until the abysmal finale to ENT. He is seen extremely briefly in an episode called The Catwalk and that’s about it, although he’s mentioned a few times. The character has neither a first nor a last name in canon. I selected William Slocum as the first name is homage to Jonathan Frakes‘s Will Riker character (in a much older story, If You Can’t Stand the Heat, the character is named Paul Miller, and he has a nascent romance with another abandoned character, Botanist Naomi Curtis). The surname was just one that I liked.

 

Portrayal

As in canon, Chef is played by Jonathan Frakes.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – William Slocum
Chef Slocum (Jonathan Frakes)

While I despised TATV (like any good ENT fan, I suppose), I did like the idea of Frakes as Chef. Or, at least, of someone like him. I had always figured that the Chef character would be an older man and, up until the series finale, I had thought of Chef Emeril Lagasse in that role.

In Voracious, he recruits Lili O’Day to come to the NX-01 and work in Food Service. They share some New York style cheesecake which she provides as a professional courtesy. They banter together fairly well, and the feeling should be collegial. In Harvest, he introduces her to the senior staff, including Hoshi Sato, Jay Hayes (it’s also his first day) and Malcolm Reed.

Protocols shows him as being a bit passive-aggressive in his dealings with Lili. And in The Mess, he scolds her a bit when she tries to discard the cast iron skillet, until he figures out why it’s dirty. By the time of Onions, though, Will has shown that he can sometimes be truly insensitive.

Portrait of a Character – William Slocum
Will kicked back in time (Jonathan Frakes)

In the first three E2 stories (the first of two kicks back in time), Will is somewhat arrogant and pushy. He makes a play for Lili and she rejects him. He is stunned by this and tells her that no one will love her (he’s wrong, of course). He ends up with Patti Socorro, the only other unclaimed woman, but he’s dissatisfied. By the time of the fourth E2 story, he’s looking for an upgrade. But he remains arrogant, and suffers a terrible end which particularly shocks Lili and, to a lesser extent, Patti.

 

Relationships

Patti Socorro

This is not really a love match despite Will’s best efforts. But Will’s best isn’t much. He simply does not want to try too hard. They never have children, and the Will of the second kick back in time never marries so, for him, both instances of E2 are reproductive dead ends.

Quote

“Now you wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute! For the most part, you’ve done nothing but act like a spoiled brat! It makes me wonder how or why they even bothered to take you in the MACOs!”

Upshot

Perhaps it’s residual resentment about TATV, but I suppose I’ve given this character more than his fair share of bad times and poor decisions.

Review – A Kind of Blue

Review – A Kind of Blue

Blue does not have to mean sadness.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Lili| Naomi Watts | pregnant
Lili (image of Naomi Watts is for educational purposes only)

In Reversal, I establish that Lili O’Day‘s favorite color is blue. Reversal also, happily, ends up with Doug and Lili more or less riding off into the sunset.

At least, that was the original idea.

But then came the fanfiction prequels and the sequels.

Bridge Stories and Prequels

Reversal is a prequel to A Kind of Blue, but so is Local Flavor, which begins Doug and Lili’s life on Lafa II and begins to establish some of the background. That is, they are new on Lafa II, their only friends are Treve and his family, and they barely have two nickels to rub together. All of this is played out against the backdrop of being the only humans in the entire Lafa System. Plus the Calafans all seem to be on the make.

Plot

Review – A Kind of Blue
Positive Pregnancy Test

This story came about in response to a challenge to write a happy story. So I went with the color as an indicator of sadness but, also, of far different things. For Lili, the first indicator is this one. And it works with the stories. This is because one of the bits of information from Reversal is that Doug is powerful enough that he’s probably going to be able to get by her birth control.

What is also established is that she’d need to have surgery, and have the operation known as The O’Day Reversal put back in order to be able to successfully carry a fetus to term. With Lili pregnant (and experiencing wicked morning sickness), the first stop is Doctor Miva‘s office, but before they can go anywhere, Doug drops the stick on the floor of their apartment. He suddenly realizes he’s on bended knee, so he proposes.

The remainder of the story is the surgery and then their wedding, which includes Calafan wedding vows and surprise rings purchased by Doug.

Rating

The story is rated K.

Sequels

Review – A Kind of Blue
Pregnant Naomi Watts as Lili

With a wedding and a baby come other responsibilities. But there’s still time to visit friends in Friday Visit, and Pacing and The Gift both advance the Becketts’ lives together even more.

In addition, the new restaurant, Reversal, opens up. Lili and Doug can barely look up, and there is no time to do renovations and put in a bigger and more modern stove until the couple depart for a vacation to Oberon for Jenny and Frank‘s wedding, which Lili will cater (Together).

Story Postings

Upshot

The color blue does not have to mean sadness. And in this case, that’s the last thing from anyone’s mind.

Inspiration – Aging

The Mechanics of Creation and Destruction

For every one of us (except, perhaps, for canon characters like Q and Trelane), aging is inevitable. So why is it so hard to confront and accept sometimes?

Story Ideas

When I first started writing Reversal, Aged McCoy from the Deadly Years I was a bit upset at the prospect of aging. Of course, the alternative is far worse. Hence I decided to confront aging head on with certain elements of that story.

  1. The main aliens I created (Calafans) would exhibit signs of aging that would be the reverse of our own (a play on the story’s title). Hence they would start off bald and sprout hair, they would begin with heavy pigmentation on their extremities that would change to a pattern (somewhat like wrinkles or spider veins) and then to perfect clarity and they would also move from detailed dreams to, eventually, simpler ones.
  2. The heroine (Lili O’Day) would be the same age as me (I was 48 years old at the time). Hence she would show normal signs of aging – parentheses lines around her mouth, hair going white and a bit of sagging. But her age bespeaks of not only wisdom but also that she is a bit underestimated in the looks department, and by many people (e. g. Daniel Chang in Demotion, for one). She still gets her men, Doug Beckett, Malcolm Reed, Jay Hayes, Ian Reed and José Torres, depending upon which stories you read.
  3. The hero, Doug Hayes Beckett, would also be aging, so as to reflect the age of Steven Culp at the time the story was written (55). Doug is, in the Mirror, referred to as the old man, and the reference is a pejorative one.
  4. Beauty and youth would not necessarily be punished, but they wouldn’t necessarily be rewarded, either. Hence Aidan MacKenzie and Jennifer Crossman don’t fare so well in the mirror. Aidan, in particular, fares rather poorly, but he gets some redemption in Brown, Temper and, eventually, He Stays a Stranger.
  5. Richard Daniels in Temper would also be no spring chicken, and the same would be true of two of his love interests, Sheilagh Bernstein and Milena Chelenska. Kevin O’Connor would be over seventy, and Polly Porter would also be over sixty. Older people were absolutely, under no circumstances, to be discarded.

Stories with Aging Characters

Dealing with aging has crept into my writing. Here are some notable examples.

Fortune

Photo of an open fortune cookie
Photo of an open fortune cookie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Fortune, Doug, Lili, Malcolm, Melissa Madden and Leonora Digiorno all, eventually, meet their ends. By showing a pivotal moment in later life, and then their last days, I hoped to give the reader some closure and some understanding of the direction in which each of these characters was going.

Biases

Biases is a story of an aging health care worker who ends up caring for an even more aged canon character. In this story, I wanted to touch upon the themes of losing control and compromising.

Equinox

The major characters in Equinox are coming to grips with a major life change. However, the peripheral characters are also dealing with doing whatever they can in order to change their lives. Most have gotten to an age where Starfleet service is more of a burden than a joy.

The Rite

Malcolm and Lili, in later life, prove in The Rite that just because there’s snow on the roof, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a fire in the furnace.

Escape

Escape pulls together older Mirror Universe stories and drags them into the future. The future is never good there, and aging is, inevitably, a sign of weakness. This story is taken up in The Point is Probably Moot.

The Medal

Back in our universe, Neil Digiorno-Madden copes with his own aging body by pushing his physical limits, in The Medal.

A Hazy Shade

Deeper into the future, Jonathan Archer and his wife pay homage to the honored dead from the NX-01, and A Hazy Shade reminds them that it is the winter of their lives as well.

Remembrance

Pamela Hudson‘s eulogy is delivered at Remembrance, reminding the reader that she is the last of the main characters in the In Between Days series to go.

The Point is Probably Moot

The Empress Hoshi Sato is first seen in later years in The Point is Probably Moot.

Shake Your Body

Shake Your Body continues the background theme of Empress Hoshi aging, and not too gracefully.

He Stays a Stranger

Malcolm Reed
Malcolm Reed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The specter of not only Empress Hoshi’s aging but also Richard Daniels being wiped from existence fuels He Stays a Stranger. Furthermore, Lili and Malcolm are shown dealing with a very particular side effect of aging.

Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?

When the Empress passes, the family is surprisingly calm, even as they ask, Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?

Crackerjack

Wesley Crusher’s aging, and his telling a story to his eager grandchildren, punctuates Crackerjack.

Upshot

It’s inevitable. Of course, with writing and with characters, they need never age. But I think that misses the point of creativity. Anyone can make a beautiful 24-year-old woman sail through life and get whatever she wants. I think the trick is when she’s 48 and isn’t so beautiful. For that is a much realer depiction of the human condition.

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