Fan fiction

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, 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.

More ideas

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

aging 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 continues 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

aging 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 have to deal 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.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Inspiration-Mechanics, Interphases series, Times of the HG Wells series, 0 comments

Portrait of a Character – Benjamin Warren

Portrait of a Character – Benjamin Warren

Origins

For the Interphases Star Trek: Enterprise Concord story, I needed a wise servant, a former slave. This would be someone for Charlotte to bounce her ideas off. He was also a practical requirement, as she could not possibly run the farm herself. Hence Benjamin was born.

Portrayal

Benjamin is portrayed by Morgan Freeman. He brings, to me, the right mixture of seriousness, humor and intelligence. Benjamin is a former slave but he is no fool.

Personality

Beyond the fact that I enjoy this actor (in particular, his speaking voice), I also love the gravitas he seems to bring to every role.

Morgan Freeman Benjamin WarrenFor Charlotte Hayes, he is her rock and her strength during the Revolutionary War, as her husband, Jacob, has gone off to fight. Without Benjamin – who is far closer to a cherished friend than a servant – the farm would fall apart in Jacob’s absence. She has no children to help her, so she is very reliant on Benjamin and his family.

Benjamin is a former slave but it’s unclear just how or why he was freed. The strong implication is that, when Jacob’s parents and sister died of scarlet fever, he may have been freed. Or perhaps he was freed when Charlotte and Jacob wed. Or the Hayes family weren’t slave owners at all, and he had been freed before his association with them. It’s unclear and it is not, as of the writing of this blog post, likely that I will ever clear up the confusion.

Relationships

Benjamin’s wife is another servant, Dorcas. Dorcas is a name that is appropriate to the time period. A Dorcas Dunlap is buried in Chester, New Hampshire and her husband, Lieutenant James Dunlap, died in 1803.

Portrait of a Character – Benjamin Warren

Dorcas Dunlap’s grave

This is in keeping with the time period. There is no intention that Dorcas Warren be also Dorcas Dunlap (with, perhaps, a second husband). Rather, this is to illustrate the commonality of this old-style name.

Benjamin and Dorcas initially got together as they both survived the scarlet fever which took all of the Hayes family except for Jacob, who was away at Harvard at the time. Charlotte was also spared then. Benjamin and Dorcas have a grown son at the time of the events depicted in Concord, named Jim. Since Charlotte does not ask about any other children when they are taking tea, it’s clear that Jim is an only child, and likely is not yet wed.

Quote

“But you heard, Mister Reed. What I don’t get, is that even before I mentioned them to you, they were, I know they are – they are very real. And not just today, but for years! Sir, my wife and me, we’ve been together for over two decades. That was the case even before you showed up.”

Upshot

Benjamin’s intelligence and patience help Charlotte to survive. Jacob knows that he can go to war with one less thing to worry about with Benjamin Warren around.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Interphases series, Portrait, 3 comments

Spotlight on an Original Nonsentient Alien Species – Elekai

Spotlight on an Original Nonsentient Alien Species – Elekai

Elekai serve some necessary purposes.

Background

The thought of a planetary system much like Australia, where there are all sorts of exotic and beautiful plants and animals, but any one of them can kill you, was an irresistible one. That’s the Lafa System.

Spotlight on an Original Nonsentient Alien Species – Elekai

Elekai

Couple that with the idea of present-day terror birds, and elekai were born.

Characteristics

Elekai are pretty much what you’d expect. They’re huge, mean and dangerous. But they also make good eating. In Together, it’s established the upper half – which is more than enough to feed seven adults and one child – tastes like chicken whereas the lower half, including the legs, tastes more like duck. In Local Flavor, elekai are described as being fattier down below, possibly a bit gamier. There are a few serving suggestions offered in that story. Because all Calafan names are meaningful, Elekai means air bird, so it seems, unlike real terror birds, elekai can fly.

Hunting

In Together, Doug says it’s a lot of work to bring down an elekai. For the one the characters eat in that story, he admits a total of nine men (eight Calafans and himself) had to bring down the big beast. Therefore, in Temper, when it’s only Melissa and him on a hunting trip, they don’t go after elekai. Instead, they hunt for linfep and perrazin.

In Fortune, and in Equinox, Doug’s death is shown or alluded to. It occurrs during an elekai hunt, but the birds have nothing to do with it. Instead, he suffers a heart attack during running in the forests of the southern hemisphere of Lafa II.

Mirror Universe

A lot of animals are extinct in the mirror. In Temper, I establish giraffes are one extinct species. But elekai are not, possibly because they’re so big and mean. There has to be a way of getting Joss, Tommy, DR, and Marie Patrice off the Defiant. It also has to make it so Lili and Doug can also get off the ship and go to the surface. Hence an elekai hunt is the pretext. Plus there is an accompanying picnic lunch for the Empress Hoshi Sato and her children. For someone like Jun, it’s a chance to really seal the deal in his quest to show he can be a leader.

Upshot

I don’t mean Elekai to be smart. Although they are considerably more intelligent than procul/prako. They are definitely meant to be more aggressive than linfep. Plus they’re good for Thanksgiving dinner, if you’re quite literally feeding an army. But watch out, as they’re a lot more hazardous than turkeys.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Spotlight, 4 comments
Review – Intolerance

Review – Intolerance

Story Origins

Intolerance comes from dark places.

A friend suggested to me as I was first starting to write Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction – get Malcolm Reed to loosen up. I bet, down deep, he’s kinky. And so the gauntlet was thrown down. Challenge accepted.

Intolerance Plot

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Intolerance

Intolerance

It began with a fairly simple premise, to get an intriguing woman on the ship. Then I decided to add interest by adding a few women. And then the idea progressed to one of a kind of a competition.

Hence I decided that it would be a small medical residential rotation. The specialty would be Immunology. In order to minimize complexity, I decided on five students. In order to add a little Shakespearean-style chaos, one (and their instructor) would have an ambiguous enough name that gender could not be readily and immediately known.

Then the fun begins. Travis hears that there are five students coming. Three, he figures, are female. He tells Malcolm and Tripplet’s compete for them. They draw straws in order to determine who they’ll go after. Tripp wins the first draw and selects Pamela Hudson. Travis gets the second draw and decides on Blair Claymore. Malcolm is forced to settle for who he thinks will be An Nguyen. But this is the ambiguity, for An is a guy (this was also intended as a play on Reed often being depicted as gay in fan fiction). The instructor, Bernie Keating-Fong, is really Bernardine. But she’s older, and is wearing a wedding ring. It seems that Malcolm is the odd man out.

But Malcolm has a major trick up his sleeve, and writes Pamela poetry.

However, all is not right, not with Pamela, and not with the ship. Without giving away any more of the plot, suffice it to say that it is a rather odd story. It’s difficult to summarize without giving up all manner of spoilers.

Music

Amy Winehouse

Cover of Amy Winehouse

Chip and Aidan show the film Dirty Dancing and the discussion that ensues is a small plot point. It also introduces some of the music, such as Mickey and Sylvia‘s Love is Strange and The Ronettes Be My Baby. But Pamela herself has her own music – Amy Winehouse‘s You Know I’m No Good.

Story Postings

Rating

There are two versions of this story. The version of Intolerance on Ad Astra is rated M. The version of Intolerance on Fanfiction.net is rated T. The difference is the explicitness of the more intimate scenes.

Upshot

British actor Dominic Keating, DragonCon 2008

British actor Dominic Keating, DragonCon 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This story is a bit of a detour. Of the main books in the In Between Days series, it’s more of a left turn than anything else. It is ostensibly Malcolm’s story in the same way that Reversal is Lili‘s story, Together is Melissa‘s, Temper is Doug‘s and Fortune is Leonora‘s, but it’s also very much Pamela‘s story (as is Saturn Rise). Plus Malcolm is revealed in many other tales that I’ve written since then.

Frankly, Intolerance doesn’t get a lot of love, too, and its read counts are sometimes lower than those of the others. Some of that may be due to the fact that it’s the shortest of the major books, with the fewest number of chapters. But I have reread it (I reread everything) and don’t think anything could truly be added. I like its tight editing. It does very little meandering, whereas Reversal and Fortune in particular sometimes wander off and away from their main plot lines.

Kaley Cuoco

Kaley Cuoco

A lot of the elements turn out well, I feel, but maybe it was too much of a departure. I don’t know. I have been happy to use it as a jumping-off point for other works, such as Together and The Cure is Worse Than the Disease. Truth be told, it may hold up better than most of what I’ve written.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 54 comments

Portrait of a Character – Eleanor Daniels

Portrait of a Character – Eleanor Daniels

Eleanor Daniels gives canon character Crewman Daniels a heart.

Origins

Richard Daniels didn’t necessarily need to have too much of a contemporary extended family. But I did need someone who could be a bit of an expository mouthpiece. By making his sister, Eleanor, the docent at the Temporal Museum on Lafa II, she can convincingly explain both history and what happened in between, all while pushing the story line along painlessly.

Portrayal

For Eleanor’s portrayal, I chose English actress Cate Blanchett. I love her intelligence, elegance, and versatility.

Personality

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cate Blanchett as Eleanor Daniels (image is for educational purposes)

Cate Blanchett as Eleanor Daniels (image is for educational purposes)

Elegant, refined and intelligent, Eleanor is also incredibly lonely at the beginning of the HG Wells stories and, most likely, during Temper as well, which is something of a prequel to that series and serves as one of the bridges from In Between Days.

In Temper, one of the things I did early on was establish her expertise about both our universe and the mirror, and about the Calafans as well. It isn’t until much later in that story that it’s revealed that she wears the Cuff of Lo, which had been worn by Declan and Malcolm Reed long before her, and by Lili O’Day before them and then Yipran before her.

After Temper, Eleanor takes a bit of a break and does not show up again until A Long, Long Time Ago (the prequel for that story is A Lesson). By the time of Ohio, it’s established that she is hoping for a relationship.

Like Richard, a Mirror Universe version of her is impossible.

Relationships

Thomas Grant

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cate Blanchett as Eleanor Daniels (image is for educational purposes)

Cate Blanchett as Eleanor Daniels (image is for educational purposes)

They meet during Ohio, when the Human Unit at the Temporal Integrity Commission goes out for drinks after work at a dance club called The X Factor. Richard has invited Eleanor along at the insistence of his parents (they mention that they hope she can meet someone, perhaps a friend of his, during A Long, Long Time Ago). While HD Avery is very, very interested, it’s Tom Grant who grabs Eleanor’s attention. They chat and hit it off, and exchange information. But she waits for him to contact her first, as she’s weary of being the instigator.

But things start off a little bumpy between them. In You Mixed-Up Siciliano, Tom asks her out and she accepts, but that’s while the timeline is still wrong. Once team restores the line, his next call confuses her. Terrified that’s she’s forgotten him, and he’s completely blown it, Tom backs off.

A Second Chance

English: Actress Cate Blanchett at the 2011 Sy...

English: Actress Cate Blanchett at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But during Spring Thaw, she gives him another chance, and lets him know that the restoration and resetting of timelines means that there are, more or less, infinite chances to get things right.

When Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain ends, Tom is distraught over what he’s had to restore and, even though he had planned it for a more beautiful moment, he blurts out that he loves her. For two somewhat controlled characters, Tom’s confession is a much more natural way for him to behave. Eleanor can bring this out of him.

A Snag

In The Point is Probably Moot, the breach in the timeline briefly wipes Eleanor from existence and Tom, of course, is again distraught. He frets that somehow she knows, and is afraid and alone. In Shake Your Body, Eleanor locates a major clue at the Museum, and Rick brings Tom along to investigate.

In part, Rick’s gift is for this assistance. But it’s also because Rick knows that he and Tom will be kept in more. Hence he generously gives them a chance to see each other before the forced separation. Tom tells her that, once they restore the line, he never wants to leave her again. And that it means what she probably thinks it does, an echo of Doug telling Lili that he was committed to her. Essentially, he has proposed to her. Eleanor also has given Tom the Cuff of Lo by now, a symbol of their commitment. As she puts it, she’s supposed to give it to her true love, an echo of Lili giving it to Malcolm.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cate Blanchett as Eleanor Daniels (image is for educational purposes)

Cate Blanchett as Eleanor Daniels (image is for educational purposes)

By the time of He Stays a Stranger, the timeline is so damaged that Eleanor is marrying Troy Scott. Rick runs in, in order to try to stop the wedding. Rick receives protection from a temporal force field, so he is still intact but not known to the regular populace. Otherwise, since Rick is considered wiped from existence, their parents and Eleanor do not recognize him. As a result he is thrown out of the church.

Quote

“There are, we believe, an infinite number of universes. What is most intriguing about the mirror is how very close it is to our own. We have a kinship with the mirror that we simply don’t have with any of the others.”

Upshot

I originally intended this character to mainly be a plot device. However, she has worked overtime – in particular with Tom Grant. And she also works well as a continuing thread in the HG Wells stories, helping to give them more coherence. I like how she turned out.

My thanks again to Joshawott of the Star Trek Photo Manipulation Archive for his terrific photomanipulation of Cate Blanchett.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Portrait, Times of the HG Wells series, 15 comments

Progress Report – September 2012

Progress Report – September 2012

September 2012 was busy.

Posted Works

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

The month was extremely productive.

On Ad Astra, I added the following In Between Days stories to context – Ceremonial; Shell Shock; The Best Things Come in Pairs; To Wish, To Want, To Desire and Tumult.

For the HG Wells collection, I added the following stories to context – A Long, Long Time Ago; Ohio, Fortune and Temper. I also added The Point is Probably Moot. For the Transitions challenge, I wrote the Mirror Universe story, Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses. In order to add context to the many Mirror Universe stories, I also created a cover and a series for them, called Hall of Mirrors. I added Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions, First Born, Reversal, Coveted Commodity, Temper, Fortune and The Point is Probably Moot to that particular context. I also created an actual contextual piece, called Hall of Mirrors and added Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses.

On Fanfiction.net, I added Voracious and its direct sequel, Harvest. I also added Protocols, which is another Lili-centric prequel and The Mess, which also features Jay. I also added the extreme prequel story, A Single Step.

On Star Trek Logs, because they were celebrating the Mirror Universe there, I added A Lesson, which is an HG Wells story featuring Eleanor Daniels, and The High Cost of Dissidence.

WIP Corner

The E2 stories continued to challenge and perplex. So I am working on the fourth book and sometimes it’s not so easy.

Plus I also began working on a new Interphases story starring Commander Tucker. I don’t write him too much so I am learning how to get into that character’s head. This story also briefly brings back HG Wells characters Milena and Noemy Chelenka and their neighbor, Mrs. Klinghofer.

Prep Work

I am beginning to get more than just an inkling of how I want to work on more Interphases stories, as I have been brainstorming quite a bit regarding ways that interphases can actually happen. This has been helpful in terms of getting ideas for more stories in that genre as I am looking to cover not only the entire main canon crew of Enterprise but to potentially branch out into other series (as in Crackerjack).

I also created an HTML version of Shake Your Body, in anticipation of spinning it out in October.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

I started off the month by turning 50! All of my celebratory stuff was early, so I was past that and well into production afterwards. The Adult Trek Anthology continues to be a lot of work, but very rewarding. A lot of it is finished or close to being finished, but cover art will likely prove to be a lot more time-consuming. Plus I am still looking for work, and am doing SEO work for a friend.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Progress, 0 comments

Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan

Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan

Cyril Morgan evolved as I wrote him.

Origins

Originally, I was looking for an evil Mirror Universe doctor, to be Phlox‘s successor. But then I made a decision to give the man a Prime Universe counterpart, and he got, to me, even more interesting, as the dichotomy grew between the two versions.

Portrayal

Doctor Cyril Morgan

Doctor Morgan

I see and hear Michael Caine for this role. I like his gravitas, his gentle-sounding voice and the fact that he can also, at times, seem to be utterly evil. Morgan in our universe is kindly, highly skilled, meticulous, thoughtful  and somewhat grandfatherly.

He is far different in the mirror.

Personality

As a healer, Cyril Morgan brings intelligence but also shrewdness. In our universe, he is a retired orthopedic surgeon (Fortune). But he comes out of retirement and is brought in as a fill-in doctor on Jonathan Archer’s second ship, the USS Zefram Cochrane, as Phlox has returned to Denobula (We Meet Again). He retires again, afterwards, and Blair Claymore becomes the CMO on the USS Bluebird (Fortune).

In an alternate timeline, he is brought out of retirement a lot longer, and serves as Malcolm‘s CMO, again on the Bluebird, but in a lost cause (Temper).

Relationships

So I haven’t shown any romantic relationships for him yet, but he’s Pamela Hudson‘s uncle, and is Cindy Morgan’s grandfather. Hence he at least has one son.

Mirror Universe Cyril Morgan

Portrait of a Character – Cyril Morgan

Mirror Cyril Morgan

Hence the Mirror Doctor Morgan fulfills the promise of the Mirror Phlox. Ruthless and ambitious, he has no qualms about getting rid of anyone in his way.

In Coveted Commodity, he gives Travis a choice, as the Empress Hoshi Sato is vulnerable. Will Travis let him kill (or at least not resuscitate) Hoshi on the operating table?

And in Reversal (and in other stories), there are rumors that he was the one to kill Ian Reed, although that’s somewhat unclear (it’s possible that it was Phlox. It is cleared up in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses). This is part of the chain of events that makes Doug Hayes‘s rise possible.

In Temper, he ends up caring for Blair, and the implication is that it might be for a reason other than medical treatment.

Quote

This is my granddaughter, Cindy Morgan. And this is her friend, Jia Sulu. Oh, and this is Fenway.”

Upshot

For a guy who started out as a vile denizen of the Mirror Universe, he got a bit of a soul as I went along. The kindly old grandfather here is a ruthless killer over there.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Portrait, 16 comments

Portrait of a Character – Julie McKenzie

Portrait of a Character – Julie McKenzie

Julie McKenzie needs more depth!

There were plenty of tough women on Star Trek: Enterprise.

Origins

This Star Trek: Enterprise canon character is a MACO, a part of the third season only. In the canon E2 episode, she became Travis Mayweather‘s wife. Major Jay Hayes also mentioned her on his deathbed, and asked that she be placed in charge of the MACOs. She held a Corporal’s rank. The character only has a first initial in canon; I have named her Julie.

Portrayal

As in the show, she is played by actress Julia Rose.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Julie McKenzie

Julie McKenzie (Julia Rose)

There was virtually nothing on her in canon, so I have had to fill in the blanks. She’s mainly enthusiastic about the mission. In the E2 stories I am writing, she and Travis begin their romance with fun, although it quickly turns serious. While she is an eager mother, she is also career-driven and goes back to working full-time in the MACOs after their son, Paul, is born.

In Shell Shock, she is expecting a promotion. This is a disappointment for her. But she rises to the occasion when others ask her to help out. So she deflects the possibility of conflict with Hayes’s replacement, Strong Bear Dawson, when she realizes her fellow crew members need her.

Relationships

So the only relationship I have for her is with Travis. With Travis, things are fun but also playfully affectionate. They enjoy each other’s company a great deal.

Mirror Universe

So far, I have not written a Mirror Universe counterpart for her.

Quote

“Our people are pouring off the ship, and they’re scattering. They want to see their families while we’re here, that sort of thing. I can’t make anyone – not even my MACOs – stay in San Francisco without pulling rank. Some of them are probably gone already and can only be brought back by communicator.”

Upshot

A mostly quiet character, Julie McKenzie probably needs more depth than I have given her so far.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Portrait, 4 comments

Inspiration – Names

Background

I take names seriously, and that’s actually Star Trek canon. A lot of the named characters, particularly the ones who do not have English-style names, have meaningful appellations.

Nyota Uhura names

Nyota Uhura

Take Hoshi Sato, for example. The first name means “star”. The surname means “at home”. Hence, she is “at home in the stars”.

There is a similar situation with Nyota Uhura. Nyota means “star” and Uhura means “freedom”. Are all communications officers required to be named Star?

Canon to Fanfiction

For my characters, names have meanings that draw from heritage, repeat in order to show familial relationships, and have meanings unto themselves.

In Between Days

Doug Beckett is so named because Douglas means “dark stranger”, which is exactly what he is – a stranger from the Mirror Universe, first experienced in pitch darkness.

Lili O’Day‘s full name – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day – evokes several themes. Her first name means “free woman” and her middle name is of course a flower. And Malcolm refers to her, in the prime timeline, as Lili-Flower. Her surname sets up the contrast to Doug, for she is quite literally “of the day”.

Malcolm

Malcolm Reed (alternate timeline) names

Malcolm Reed (alternate timeline)

Because the name Malcolm means “a devotee of Saint Columba“, and that is the patron saint of poets and bookbinders, I make Malcolm a gifted poet. The reed (which of course is the lower, non-flowering part of a plant), is evoked as he and Lili, in Together, talk about the flower and the reed, and she assures him that the flower is pretty and all, but the flower can’t live without the reed.

For Melissa Madden, in part it’s a shout-out to future canon character Martin Madden.

Melissa means “honey bee” and she is a rather earthy individual. As for Leonora Digiorno, Leonora means “light” (Malcolm incorrectly refers to her as the Lioness) and Digiorno is the same as O’Day, “of the day”. Her relationships are purely in the day, hence she is solely a daylight character.

Times of the HG Wells

The Wells characters were less name-driven but there are some highlights. Sheilagh and Darragh are both Irish-type spellings, meant to impart a somewhat exotic flavor. HD Avery is really Henry Desmond, with the middle name being a shout-out to Dominic Keating’s first real role, in a British sitcom called Desmond’s. Carmen means “garden”, an offhand joke as the character is a sophisticated urbanite. The characters Tom and Kevin hearken back to the In Between Days series and are meant to show a relationship to that earlier series.

Alien Names

Otra, the half-Witannen character, has a name meaning a small animal, like a mouse. I also used Glyph as the name of a Ferengi, as short nouns are canon for Ferengi names (e. g. Quark and Nog). Von is another Ferengi name, but I grabbed that one from baseball – Von Hayes (yet another shout-out to Steven Culp).

Interphases

For this series, character names have to evoke a time period properly. Rosemary Parker’s name fits in with her birth in the 1920s, whereas Jacob, Benjamin and Dorcas all evoke the 1700s. Jim, the son of Benjamin and Dorcas, is a shout-out to Mark Twain’s Jim character in Huckleberry Finn.

Emergence and Mixing it Up

For both of these series, since there are several aliens, I had to make up names. I meant Skrol to sound a bit like Slar, the only known Gorn name. Etrina, Tr’Dorna and Sophra are all made-up names. I mean for them to sound feminine. Bron is intended to evoke a feeling of brawn.

For Daranaeans, female names end with vowels whereas as male names often (but not always) end with an -s. Prime Wife females, being superior, get names with a soft th- sound in them, such as Thessa, Dratha and Kathalia. This is the th- sound in thistle, rather than in the. The sound, anywhere in the word, means “smell”, with a positive connotation.

Secondaries have somewhat pretty names, often with m- sounds, like Morza and Mistra, but sometimes not, like Cria and Inta. But the younger Inta, a secondary, is named for a last caste female. Third caste females tend to have shorter names, like Darri and Fyra and Cama. The men’s names are all over the place, from Elemus and Arnis to Craethe and Trinning.

Calafans

Calafans love names and meanings so much that it’s a standard greeting to a new person. “What is your name, and what does it mean?” The first time Lili hears this, in Local Flavor, she is a bit appalled. This is because it is a part of a come-on.

Men often get the -wev ending, which means “master of”. Whereas women often get the yi- prefix, meaning “student of”. But the differences are not sexist. With no middle names and no last names, a lot hinges on a name. Plus there can be no repetitions. Therefore, names come from the government. So parents often petition for a name for their baby while the child is still in utero. Names then release upon death. Names without either prefix include Treve (messenger) and Miva (clay).

Upshot

For me, the naming of characters is a deeply person act. Alien names are a great deal of fun to come up with. So I put together sounds I like or that seem to harmonize, and then attach meanings to them. Sometimes a character doesn’t really “click” until he or she gets a name. Then suddenly it all falls into place.

Posted by jespah in Emergence series, Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Inspiration-Mechanics, Interphases series, Mixing It Up Collection, Times of the HG Wells series, 0 comments

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales

Femme fatales can really make a story take off.
Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Femmes Fatales

A lot of my Star Trek fanfiction writing contains recurrent themes, characters and situations. Here is an effort to put some of that together and make some sense of it all.

Background for Femmes Fatales

Femme fatales are a fairly classic archetype. It’s the bad girl, the sexy girl and, often, the dangerous one.

Appearances

Empress Hoshi Sato

The Empress is, of course, canon. But the second mirror universe Enterprise story ends with the beginning of her power grab. It doesn’t tell you whether she was successful and, if she was, what happened next.

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales

Empress Hoshi

In Reversal, the Empress’s power is well-established and has been consolidated. Doug offhandedly tells Lili that the Empress took about a year or so to get it all together and, in the meantime, had a child as well. That child turns out to be Jun Daniels Sato.

But the Empress is dissatisfied (and sexually voracious). She is looking for younger siblings for Jun. She understands Machiavelli enough to know that she needs a multitude of potential successors in order to keep herself in power (and healthy) as long as possible. Plus she needs to keep producing heirs as long as possible for, if a faction prefers her youngest child, that faction might just wait until the youngest one’s age of majority before becoming a physical threat to her. It’s a chance, but she’s got to take it.

Pamela Hudson

The second femme fatale I wrote was Pamela.

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales

Pamela Hudson

Pamela is as intelligent as Hoshi (if not more so) but, ultimately, she turns out to not be ruthless. Instead, her motivations are her own damaged past and her hopes for the future. For Pamela, finding love brings her full circle and gives her what she truly needs. She is able to hang up the femme fatale act and enjoy life.

Marisol Castillo

Marisol, on the other hand, is not motivated by anything positive whatsoever. As a much more classic femme fatale, Marisol is downright hazardous.

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales

Marisol Castillo

She is an assassin and a blackmailer, and treats Borin Yarin badly enough that she pays the ultimate price for her ruthlessness.

Upshot

Two of my main femme fatales are doctors. Perhaps there is something to that, the feeling that, when other characters are vulnerable, a femme fatale can do the most damage. The trick, I feel, is to write the archetype without writing a cliché.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Themes, Times of the HG Wells series, 3 comments