Category Archives: Fan fiction

Portrait of a Character – Susan Cheshire

Portrait of a Character – Susan Cheshire

Susan Cheshire got a bigger role as I wrote more.

Origins

Susan was originally just an ex-girlfriend of Doug‘s. She was meant to be mentioned quickly and then set aside. But she became even more interesting as I wrote more of Reversal.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Yvonne Nelson as MU Susan Cheshire (image is for educational purposes only)
Yvonne Nelson as MU Susan Cheshire (image is for educational purposes only)

Susan is played by former Miss Ghana, Yvonne Nelson. Beautiful, intelligent and a little naughty, I feel Ms. Nelson evokes that wonderfully well. She is someone who a lot of guys would lament as being “the one that got away”.

Personality

A school teacher, Susan is playful and even rather sexually liberated, according to Jay in the E2 stories and Doug in Together. But all is not right, for in both universes she depends upon synthbeer to get through her days. She has blackouts and, before meeting Lili, it is Doug’s greatest fear and challenge to deal with that. He ends up walking away. Jay, too, cannot take her alcoholism. His departure causes guilt that eats at him at the start of the E2 stories.

Relationships

Doug Beckett

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Yvonne Nelson as Susan Cheshire (image is for educational purposes only)
Yvonne Nelson as Susan Cheshire (image is for educational purposes only)

With Doug, in the Mirror, Susan is a stabilizing influence, at least to start. They meet on Titania, and are together for a few months. But then she begins to experience blackouts. This causes Doug to panic, and he leaves.

But she remembers him, and refers to him as “Soldier Boy”, years later, during the first alternate timeline in Temper.

By the time of Fortune, Doug recognizes that she needed treatment and sympathy, and he feels badly for not doing that for her when he had the chance.

Jay Hayes

Portrait of a Character – Susan Cheshire
Susan when Jay knew her (Yvonne Nelson)

In our universe, a similar situation plays out with Jay. In the E2 stories, he reveals a sexually adventurous side of Susan that I never explore elsewhere.

But he, too, was blindsided by her alcoholism, and unable to cope. Just like Doug, he leaves abruptly. And just like Doug, he is consumed by guilt over that, but more so. Doug is able to get past it and be with Lili. But it takes a lot more for Jay to get past things and, in the prime time period (aligning with canon), he barely does so and, by then, it’s a bit too late.

Aidan MacKenzie

In both universes, Susan eventually ends up with, and marries, Aidan. For Susan, in our universe, she gets acceptance from someone who can handle her episodes and, perhaps, help her to heal.

In the mirror, Aidan protects her, and they team up well, to parent his son with Empress Hoshi, Kira. With Aidan, her life improves dramatically in both universes. With Aidan, it feels like she just might make it.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Yvonne Nelson as MU Susan Cheshire (image is for educational purposes only)
Yvonne Nelson as MU Susan Cheshire (image is for educational purposes only)

Susan exists in both universes, and is mainly defined by her relationships. In Temper, she is past her prime and the effects of years of alcoholism have taken their toll. But in later stories, such as He Stays a Stranger, she is in better control.

Quote

“I’m going to assume you don’t want me dead.”

Upshot

This character seems to have all sorts of strikes against her. But she’s a survivor. And there is a reason why she was important to both Jay and Doug and, eventually, to Aidan.

Review – And the Livin’ is Easy

Review – And the Livin’ is Easy

Background

This story was originally written as a response to a prompt about the seasons. I had already written a story about winter, called A Hazy Shade. That one was somewhat depressing. I wanted something cheerier, so I thought of the summertime, and so And the Livin’ is Easy was born.

Plot Elements

As a missing scene from the canon Star Trek: Enterprise episode Two Days and Two Nights, I wanted to obliquely introduce the Calafans without beating the reader over the head with that. Hence, in this little ficlet, Jonathan Archer is engaging in a little girl watching.

There are two women in his sights. They are chatting together, but are not on Risa together on vacation. Rather, it’s more like they met there and got along so they are doing a little quick touring together.

Review – And the Livin' is Easy
Archer IV fish

In the canon Star Trek: Enterprise episode, Archer refers to a boat ride where fish are caught and cooked for you right there. Since that boat ride is never seen, I seized the opportunity to show it. He is on a bench and the two women are nearby, chatting. One is a Trill, but not named. This is not meant to be a first contact or canon-busting story at all. The other is a Calafan, recognizable from my Star Trek fanfiction as she has silvery scrollwork on her arms and speaks with an Irish brogue.

Jonathan speaks with them and asks them to show him around, but unfortunately they tell him they are leaving the following day.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

The story was just meant to be a gentle summery kind of scene. I think it makes a sweet little prequel tale.

Portrait of a Character – Hoshi Sato

Portrait of a Character – Hoshi Sato

Origins

Portrait of a Character – Hoshi Sato
Hoshi Sato

This is a canon character, of course. Hoshi Sato (her name, literally, means “at home in the stars”) is the Communications Officer on the NX-01, with the rank of Ensign, which she retains throughout the entire run of the series. Also according to canon, she eventually  rises to the rank of Lieutenant Commander (a rank that I, semi-incorrectly, use interchangeably with the rank of Lieutenant), and also marries a man named Takashi Kimura. In the canon E2 story, her two children are named Toru and Yoshiko. I go with those as being the names of her prime timeline children as well.

Hoshi is also, in canon, extremely intelligent (probably a linguistic genius) but, at least in the first two seasons in particular, is a bit insecure. She is the most likely to jump if the ship is attacked or bumped. She is also likely to doubt her own obvious abilities.

Portrayal

As in canon, this character is portrayed by actress Linda Park.

Personality

In addition to her canon quirks, I tend to write her as still being a bit more tentative, even after the Xindi War. In There’s Something About Hoshi, she is encouraged by the captain to stretch a bit. However, the reaction there proves to be far too much for her, and she balks a bit.

In Together, she reveals a playful and sexy side but, in the end, chooses career over romance, failing to realize that Tripp is truly passionate about her.

Portrait of a Character – Hoshi Sato
Hoshi on the Bluebird

She’s also caring. As Malcolm‘s First Officer on the Bluebird, she’s comforting when he receives the news in Equinox. She also defiantly says she will take the fall if there’s any real flak from the diverting of the ship to Lafa II instead of heading straight to the Klingon Neutral Zone, as planned. However, her retirement is planned, at a young age, as she is seeing her children grow up without her, and fears she is missing out.

Relationships

As I write her, she has four main relationships, including her canon marriage, which is acknowledged in Equinox, Flight of the BluebirdA Hazy Shade and There’s Something Else About Hoshi.

Sekar Khan

In the E2 scenario, she ends up, in both iterations, with the Quartermaster, Chandrasekar Khan. In canon, her husband is not named, so there is room to be creative in this area. Sekar is gentle and giving, but also keeps her from some of the worst of what’s out there. While he is no warrior, he intercepts problems and does his best to make her life easier.

Takashi Kimura

Hoshi’s canon husband is never seen on screen. I have really only written them as long-term marrieds, and never at the start of their courting.  That could potentially develop into a later project.

Ted Stone

In There’s Something About Hoshi, she laments about having settled during the E2 situation. For her, Ted seems to be another form of settling, as she sees him as being almost, but not quite, romantic. It’s as if he keeps missing his marks. When she is injected with a compound intended to make her irresistible, he is one of the few men who does not bother her, and is the only one who is heterosexual. He explains that the compound didn’t seem to work on him, as he was already there.

Tripp Tucker

Portrait of a Character – Hoshi Sato
Later Hoshi

They are forcibly paired up in Together, but they are the only couple who, truly, start off  in a non-hostile manner. Instead, they vow to “make the most of it”. The dance – literally – between them moves from fooling around to, eventually, a declaration of love on Tripp’s part, which Hoshi does not reciprocate. Unknowingly and unintentionally, she breaks his heart in her efforts to stay on the ship and remain able to work with everyone, including him and, presumably, T’Pol, his ex. She is thoroughly unaware that he is still interested, even as they are heading into the time of the canon These Are the Voyages episode and, instead, agrees to a date with José Torres. However, she might have a little residual jealousy, as is depicted in Broken Seal. An anomaly hit briefly impairs her judgment, and she stages an elaborate prank against Commander Tucker – but it’s possible that some of that stems from Tucker’s attempt to reconcile with T’Pol, an attempt that, in keeping with canon, fails.

Theme Music

In Together, she has a theme of her own, Bette Midler’s Do You Wanna Dance? and one which she shares with Tripp,  Joe Jackson’s Kinda Kute.

Mirror Universe

Because I write so much about the Empress Hoshi Sato, her mirror counterpart will be written about separately.

Quote

“Well, I suppose if I had a dinosaur, I’d sleep better, too.”

Upshot

The quintessential young career woman, Hoshi, in some ways, was not taken far enough in the series, I feel. In part this is because this character lost screen time, in favor of Tucker and T’Pol. But there were ways that the character could have stretched more. I hope to get a chance to write some more about Hoshi, and stretch her in my own way.

Inspiration – Literature

Background

Literature and books, of course, are canon. Even paper books are a part of some sets.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed, reading

But what are people really reading? In the canon Shuttlepod One episode, Malcolm reveals that he’s brought along a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses for diversion. But I’m with Tripp Tucker on that one – it’s just too dense for my tastes.

Jane Eyre

For my characters, one of the most important works of literature is Jane Eyre. It crops up in all sorts of places. In Together, the paper book is given as a belated wedding gift to Lili and Doug, by Hoshi and Chip. The book even has an inscription – “One good love story deserves another.” – Hoshi and Chandler. This is also the first time the reader sees Chip’s full name. Doug reveals that the work most likely does not exist in the mirror.

Jane Eyre (2006 miniseries) | Literature
Jane Eyre (2006 miniseries) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, in Temper, it is Malcolm and Lili who are reading the book together, and are discussing it. It’s probably not a terribly scholarly discussion, but it is more than just “I liked the book. Did you?

A Family Heirloom

In Fortune, the book passes as a cherished inheritance. First, Lili mentions it to Q, as evidence of being civilized. Then it passes from Malcolm to Neil when Malcolm passes. But that’s just the electronic version. When Leonora passes, the paper book is again transferred, and it is given to Marie Patrice, in recognition of Empy as being “… the strong, independent heroine of [her] own life.”

The book is also mentioned, along with its companion updating, Wide Sargasso Sea, in the Gina Nolan Hold Your Dominion universe story, Wider Than the Sargasso Sea. Gabrielle and Desh read it, but they are also acting in a staged version of it. The lines that they read are from the Toby Stephens-Ruth Wilson staging.

Shakespeare

Trek mentionings of Shakespeare are canon; the movies are littered with them.

Literature
Color pencil portrait of Julius Caesar

Mainly, I mention Julius Caesar and MacBeth.   Lili recalls to Q that she had to memorize Portia’s speech to Brutus from Julius Caesar, about the relationship between a true husband and a true wife. She uses this memory to bring Doug full circle and receive his confession.

References to MacBeth are more fleeting, except as regards to the meaning of Malcolm Reed’s first name. Names are important to Calafans and to the Empress Hoshi Sato, so Malcolm’s name’s meaning crops up from time to time. Since Malcolm is a character from “the Scottish play”, there’s the oblique reference. Furthermore, in The Mess, Lili briefly thinks of the line, “Out, out, damned spot!”

There is also the writing of original Shakespearean sonnets, written by both Malcolm (in Intolerance, Fortune and the E2 stories) and Bron (in The Reptile Speaks).

The Bible

KJV Bible | Literature
KJV Bible (Photo credit: knowhimonline)

Biblical references abound in the E2 stories in particular. Many of the wedding ceremonies involve short sermons with passages from various Bible stories. The stories of Solomon choosing not to slice an infant in half (to illustrate the choice that the Muslim bride Maryam Haroun made between two suitors, with the help of Doctor Phlox), Adam and Eve (used in Andrew and Shelby‘s wedding), and Ruth (to illustrate a point about the bride, Karin Bernstein, following the groom, Joshua Rosen) are all a part of various ceremonies.

Furthermore, when Jay and Lili wed, Jay refers to a biblical admonition to marry a dead brother’s widow, as this is right after Malcolm’s death.

In Concord, because Charlotte and Jacob are getting on in years and have not had any children, Jacob writes to her, expressing the hope that she could “be the Sarah to my Abraham“. That is, that she would have their first child far later than expected.

Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass

To be sure, the mirror universe is an obvious analog to Through the Looking Glass. In particular, in Reversal, when Doug passes from the mirror to our universe, he is passing through the looking glass and life is, in many ways, reversed for him.

Alice in Wonderland is evoked more by the HG Wells stories and, in The Point is Probably Moot, Richard Daniels even says to Alice Trent, “Down the rabbit hole.”

Furthermore, in the old Interphases story, The Puzzle, Travis Mayweather has an experience that involves a bottle with “Drink me” written on it and unchecked growth and a pool of water (although it is water, and not tears) around a table. When that adventure is over, he locates the book and sends electronic copies  to two people he has met, hoping they’ll enjoy the gifts.

Upshot

Intelligent characters enjoy reading just about as much as real people do. I’m sure I’ll revisit this topic as my characters crack open and read more books.

Progress Report – July 2012

July 2012 Posted Works

July 2012 began with creating a context topic for the various HG Wells stories, called
Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | July 2012
Clockworks: The Times of the HG Wells Collection. The first story I placed into that context was First Born, which is also in the In Between Days context as it’s a bridge story. Also, I added Desperation and Recruitment and then The Honky Tonk Angel.

I then began adding an HG Wells story, Spring Thaw.

In addition, I also responded to a weekly challenge about new things with difficult consequences with a story called Tumult. I also contributed to a Round Round story (still in the works) called Storm Clouds, contributing (so far) sections called Go Badgers, Diplomacy, The Cold-Blooded Blues and Chaos and Control. And I added a drabble called Barely Tolerable, meant to be a missing scene from Intolerance. I added the story of Kevin and Josie (Jhasi)’s first date, The Honky Tonk Angel.

The monthly challenge was called “A Page from the Past”. Hence this was an opportunity to finally create and complete a new Interphases story, Concord. I also placed it into context (the story is in the Interphases series but it also works as an In Between Days prequel).  Also, I put An Announcement, Barely Tolerable and We Meet Again into similar context.

On Star Trek Logs, I responded to a prompt about experiencing loss with a TNG story, Loss. I also added Broken Seal. In response to a prompt about rituals, I added Ceremonial.

On Trek United, I added A Single Step. And on Fanfiction.net, I added And the Livin’ is Easy and Cobbled Together.

WIP Corner

I continued working on the E2 stories, polishing the third and adding to the fourth one.

Prep Work

I created an HTML version of Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain, in anticipation of the next Times of the HG Wells story for Ad Astra. Also, I worked a bit on jespah.com and streamlined the footers.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

The search for work continues to be a productivity killer. I am also in the midst of working on a project for a site where I am a Marketing Associate, so that took up some of my time.

Review – Waiting

Review – Waiting

Background

I wanted to follow up on The Light, and continue to follow the original characters who had been introduced in that work. Hence, Waiting was born. It was also a response to a prompt of the same name.

Characters

At the end of The Light, Ethan Shapiro has just seen his friend, Andrew Miller, get the girl – Karin Bernstein. By all accounts, Ethan approves of the match and, certainly, has taken no steps to prevent it and has raised no objections. But all is not as it seems.

In addition, their friend Azar Hamidi has watched the exchange, a kind of little dance among the participants.

Together with Shelby Pike, they wait on the chow line as Lili O’Day serves dinner. Shelby notices Andy and Karin acting strange and, perhaps, overly anxiously. She sits down with Hoshi Sato and Maryam Haroun. Shelby comments knowingly that it’s likely Karin and Andrew’s third date. Hoshi agrees. Maryam doesn’t know what that means, so one of her friends whispers to her. Maryam, a little shocked, mentions that she won’t do that until she’s married. That is, this is going to be the date where Andrew and Karin go all the way.

When they have departed, Azar and Ethan commiserate. Azar notices that Ethan is bothered by this, but vows to keep the secret, so long as Ethan keeps his (Azar’s) own secret about harboring a bit of a crush on Maryam. For Azar, it would not be proper to go on dates until he was introduced to her family.

woman_in_hijab
woman_in_hijab (Photo credit: xgthox)

As Shiite Muslims, Azar Hamidi and Maryam Haroun are of one sect. Another Muslim character, Ramih Azar, is Sunni (he is not in this story). But Maryam and Azar are the more religious two of the three Muslim crew members. The question of which sect is more observant is a complicated one, and I don’t pretend to answer it. All I go with is that Maryam has lived in a Western city (Winnipeg) whereas Azar is from Iran. Ramih, on the other hand, is Indonesian. I settle the matter by making it so that Maryam wears a hijab and is very strict about who to marry and how far to go before marriage. In the E2 stories, it’s revealed that she was only kissed twice before marriage, whereas Azar has had some sexual relationships. But for Azar during Waiting, all he wants to do is get closer. He may be thinking of other things, but is not prepared to push them at that moment in time.

As for Ethan, he is finding that he is very interested in Karin and, having allowed Andrew to get there first, he’s kicking himself. He’ll have to wait for everything to play out over time.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I think the story came out pretty well. I didn’t want to make it too clichéd in terms of who retains their virginity, who is shocked, who is aggressive, etc. However, I also wanted to handle the diverse religious elements respectfully.


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Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day

Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day

Charlotte Lilienne O’Day is a fantastic creation.

Every author needs a character surrogate. I have a few – Sheilagh Bernstein, Eriecho, Gina Nolan, Ethan Shapiro, Seppa, and HD Avery come to mind. But none are as attuned to me, or as similar to me, as Charlotte Lilienne O’Day. Lili.

Origins

I was thinking about writing Reversal for a while before I started, and I needed a name for my heroine.  So I decided on her full name for a few reasons. First, the name flows and is pretty. But – bringing her down to earth – her initials are CLO’D. Did her parents really mean to refer to her as a clod? Perhaps, but not in a negative manner. Lili reveals, in Fortune, that her mother was a potter, so perhaps the backhanded reference to clod refers to a moldable clod of earth.

I also liked the short name, Lili, as it’s casual yet feminine, but also feels more youthful than Lili really is. Lili started off, in Reversal, as being 48 years old, just like I was at the time.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day

It took me several months to come up with a real face for Lili, who I describe as having eyes that are the lightest blue – nearly white in appearance, although she is not blind – and hair that is straight and platinum blonde. Her body is a little chunky although not too much, with a decent albeit not a knockout figure. Her lower teeth are a little crooked. She is self-conscious about her belly.

A Face

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Naomi Watts as Lili O'Day (image is for educational purposes)
Naomi Watts as Lili O’Day (image is for educational purposes)

After kicking around and, ultimately, rejecting the idea of the actress Jessica Tuck, I went with actress Naomi Watts.

Watts is lovely, to be sure, but is also fighting some signs of aging like parentheses lines around her mouth, much like Lili is. Her eyes aren’t light enough; contact lenses would have to fix that. But she also, to my mind, carries some emotional heft. I like it that she’s not an Angelina Jolie.

Personality and Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Young Lili O'Day with her mother, Marie Helêne Ducasse O'Day
Young Lili O’Day with her mother, Marie Helêne Ducasse O’Day (image is for educational and references purposes only)

Smart yet not overly so, Lili’s talent is in cooking. But she never would have known that if not for some seemingly unrelated events, plus sheer determination. At age nine, her parents die in a house fire at their home on Titan, in New France. Lili, at the time, was visiting her mother’s parents, the Ducasses.

This photograph is from a few weeks before. Lili describes it as one of her best and most enduring memories of her mother. Ironically, this picture first shows up in the Mirror Universe. Lili remembers the events leading up to the fire in her dreams, in the E2 stories, and then her subconscious supplies additional, unseen information, such as her father, Peter, shoving her mother to the floor and laying on top of her, one last act of protection.

Master of Fire

Initially afraid of fire, her maternal grandmother, Lilienne, makes her cook. Lili explains to Malcolm, in Together, that she was a difficult teenager, getting into minor trouble such as joyriding. She loses her virginity to her High School boyfriend, Paul Mayer – that act is also recalled in a dream. She is close to leading a dull life when she gets a chance to cook for the head of the Mars Culinary Institute. Lili makes lobster en croute, which is a kind of strained bisque in puff pastry. On the strength of that dish, she is admitted to the MCI and graduates. Her first job out of school is at the Tethys Tavern, where she not only cooks, but also tends bar on occasion.

Voracious

Eventually, Lili becomes skilled enough, and is in enough demand, that she opens her own restaurant, Voracious, in San Mateo. She describes the restaurant during Reversal (again, this is a memory seen through the prism of dreaming). It also shows up in Voracious, where the NX-01‘s Chef, William Slocum, goes to dinner. He enjoys her Harvest Salad so much that he talks to her about joining up. The Xindi war is raging, and Lili remembers the attack.

The city is still in aftershock mode. Slocum brings in Archer (I have not written that part yet) and Lili sells Voracious and comes aboard the NX-01. Her first day is chronicled in Harvest. She has been hired to act as sous-chef, pastry chef and saucier. Her duties include making desserts and birthday cakes, such as is shown in Protocols, plus she cleans up quite a bit. It isn’t until the E2 stories that she gets any help.

Relationships

Depending upon the story or the series, Lili experiences deep and abiding love, in a way that most of us can only dream of. While she has had boyfriends and lovers, at least twelve before the start of Reversal, she doesn’t really begin to have love until then.

Doug Beckett

Charlotte Lilienne meets Doug as a part of shared dreaming with the Mirror Universe, as is shown in Reversal. Her relationship with Doug is earthy and very physical, but she essentially tames him. When it comes time to exchange I love yous, they are both indirect. He tells her, “It would be really stupid if we were to fall in love.” And she replies, “It’s too late.”

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

With Doug, her life settles into a domestic routine quickly. In A Kind of Blue, she finds out she’s pregnant, and they quickly wed. Then in Pacing, andThe Gift, she receives a truly meaningful gift from Doug, meant to sustain her for their life together. In Local Flavor and Friday Visit, their relationships with friends are shown.

Then in Together, their relationship is challenged, and it finally comes to an understanding in Temper and then in Fortune. Doug and Lili have two children, Jeremiah Logan (known as Joss) and Marie Patrice (often called Empy).

Doug’s death is outlined in Equinox.

Malcolm Reed

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

With Malcolm, Charlotte Lilienne is different. Their relationship is somewhat freer, but that’s at least partly because, not until much later in life, they don’t live together.

Their meeting in Harvest is meant to be a foreshadowing of things to come, as they shake hands for too long, he looks her squarely in the eye and she drops a teacup. Because they are not together (Malcolm is her other fellow in her open marriage with Doug; Melissa Madden is Doug’s side girl in that same arrangement), there are a lot of good-byes and hellos.

So the homecoming in Temper is meant to be particularly sweet, and their time together at a hotel for a few days after that is meant to almost feel like a honeymoon, as is a shared dream during Fortune. With Malcolm, who is also a factor in the E2 stories, she can trade intellectual quips and insights. They read and talk about Jane Eyre. They play Scrabble and chess together. There is more highbrow business going on than with Doug, who often has trouble expressing himself.

Jay Hayes

Jay is only a factor in the E2 stories, but the events of Harvest, Penicillin and Demotion foreshadow some of that.

Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day

In Harvest, she notices Jay’s eyes when they are introduced, and he tells her that he likes blueberries when she asks about a favorite.

Then in Penicillin, he is coughing and so she makes him (and the rest of the crew) a little Jewish Penicillin, chicken soup with matzoh balls. In Demotion, Hayes disciplines Daniel Chang in front of Lili and her roommate, Jennifer Crossman. He looks and nods at them but doesn’t address them, a prelude to the E2 stories.

In the E2 stories, Jay and Lili circle each other warily (she also circles Malcolm) and do not get together for a few years. He needs to get over Susan Cheshire, she needs to see him as a potential mate. Things are good between them. He is a bit better at expressing himself than Doug, and develops a meaningful pet name for her – Sparrow. In Equinox, after his death, he accidentally refers to her that way, which alarms her. This is because, in Equinox, she doesn’t know about the first iteration in the E2 stories. She only knows about the second E2 iteration.

José Torres

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Naomi Watts as Lili O'Day (image is for educational purposes)
Naomi Watts as Lili O’Day (image is for educational purposes)

In Together, Lili reveals to Malcolm that, when they met an NX-01 manned by their descendants, she learned that she had married José Torres. Malcolm reveals that he had not had anyone. His revelation is canon, so this, the second E2 iteration, is the one currently being written so as to dovetail with Star Trek: Enterprise canon.

As an Engineering crewman, José is far from being a romantic guy, which is what Lili craves. But he’s practical, and he cares for her a great deal. Her feelings about him are a lot more mixed, and there is less of the deep and abiding love as is seen with the others. Lili is settling, and she and the reader know it, but there is no one else.

Ian Reed

Ian is Malcolm’s Mirror Universe counterpart.

Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day

They never actually meet in life. But, as he explains in a dream in Equinox, counterpart to counterpart, he cannot help but be taken by her. In the third of the E2 stories, he meets her on the last night of her life, in a dream, and they dance. And in the fourth, Ian reveals that he has been tasked with guiding her and keeping her company, comforting her in her darkest hours.

She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Naomi Watts as Lili O'Day (image is for educational purposes)
Naomi Watts as Lili O’Day (image is for educational purposes)

This is not only the name of the Xindi Insectoid that Lili kills during an episode of Fortune and feels the aftermath of in The Mess. It is also, in a way, what you could call Lili herself. But she has a total of (as of the time of this writing) seven children, depending upon which stories and series you read.

Joss Beckett and Joss Reed-Hayes

These sons are meant to be nearly identical, with Beckett as the son of the Mirror Universe husband and Reed-Hayes the son of the Prime Universe E2 first iteration husband. Joss is the one she depends upon to keep things together.

Marie Patrice Beckett and Madeline Reed-Hayes

Much like the two versions of Joss, these daughters are, respectively, children of the Mirror or the Prime Universe. However, their personalities diverge more. Marie Patrice is a bit of a materialistic person whereas Madeline grows up to become a Tactical Officer.

Declan Reed and Pamela Reed-Hayes

Both the children of Malcolm Reed, they are in the Prime Universe timeline and the E2 first iteration timeline, respectively. These children diverge the most. Declan is one of my visual artist characters whereas Pamela becomes a doctor, much like Pamela Hudson, who she is meant to evoke but not be named after, as the E2 denizens could not possibly have known about Dr. Hudson.

Maria Elena Torres

As Lili’s only child during the E2 second iteration, Maria Elena (named for Marie Helêne) is a bit of a wild card. As of the writing of this post, I have not yet determined how I want her to be. But the second iteration is more somber. Maria Elena will be one of the  few bright spots in that version of Lili’s life.

Dreams

Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day
Dreamy Lili

Lili is more defined by her subconscious than any of my characters, even the Calafans.

When I first wrote her, that first moment, she is in the middle of a dream, and it turns out to be a dream she shares with Doug, in Reversal. Her ability to share dreams gets enhancements from being in Calafan space. Eventually, she gets dream amplifier alloy to put on her person, in the form of her wedding ring from Doug (A Kind of Blue) and the key charm from Malcolm (Temper). In addition, the Calafans paint her with calloo-like tattoos made from the same material, callidium (Reversal). She is a dream collector and a dream projector in a lot of ways. Lili interacts in her dreams and utterly believes them.

In the E2 stories, she has no such amplifications. But Ian explains to her that she has some psionic abilities. She’s just not able to really focus them well. Hence, when he is with her in her dreams, she can hear him, and can feel him to hold her while they dance, but she generally can’t see him.

Elements

The main characters in In Between Days, except for Pamela Hudson, are all related to some sort of ancient element. Doug is air, Malcolm is water, Melissa is the earth, and Leonora is communication. Lili, because of how her parents died, and because of her skills at cooking, is fire. Doug and Malcolm both refer to her, at various times, as “the white-hot flame”. Jay even mentions that, while on his deathbed.

Theme Music

In Reversal, Lili (Charlotte Lilienne) begins with Roy Orbison’s Sweet Dreams Baby and then segues into Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes with Doug. Her next music is in Together, starting with O Pato by Emilie-Claire Barlow, to showcase her love for her family – the duck (Joss), the goose (Doug) and the swan (her). Then she is represented by Crowded House’s Something So Strong and then, with Malcolm, Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) by A Flock of Seagulls. That story continues with her and Doug’s Joe Jackson’s Breaking Us In Two but is ended on a much more positive note with her, Malcolm and Doug’s The Cure’s Love Song.

In Temper, she’s represented by Blind Melon’s Tones of Home. In Fortune, she is represented by Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams and then all of them are covered by Sister Hazel’s All For You.

Mirror Universe

The Mirror Lili (called Charlotte) is at home during the house fire at the O’Day home on June 12th, 2118. She and her younger brother, Declan, die along with their parents. Jay does refer to seeing her in the afterlife during a dream in Equinox, just after Doug’s death. He reports one of the pleasant things about heaven is you can be any age you like, even ones you never were in life. It comforts the grieving Lili to know her counterpart can be old enough for real love, and can experience it. Since Ian says the counterparts are also taken with each other, he could very well be a part of the love that Charlotte might be finally experiencing.

Quote

“I figured I didn’t deserve to have survived, like I wasn’t good enough and I hadn’t done anything to be allowed to be the sole repository of my family’s memories and their love and their talents and everything else. [and] I got into trouble and I didn’t face it much. I know now what a difficult child I must have been. It wasn’t until I became a master of fire that I began to process it. I began to have a handle on what had destroyed my family, and I could turn it to something that was almost good. And I began to slowly realize that my hopelessly old-fashioned, ancient and unhip grandparents were doing the very best they could for me, and that I should try and, and make it so that things wouldn’t be so hard for them.”

Upshot

Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day
Lili Upshot

I love this character. I cannot describe quite how much I do. But that makes sense, as so much of me is in her. Of course I know where the lines are. I have no children; I have a conventional marriage.

And I am not a professional chef; my parents (as of the writing of this post) are alive and well. But there is something about Lili. From her vulnerability to her superficial fretting about her less than perfect stomach to her sass to her whacking the hell out of She Who Almost Didn’t Breed In Time to how she sings to Joss to how she brings Jay out of his shell and gets Malcolm to loosen up and feel that even he can cry sometimes. All of this, and more, make her, to me, an utterly irresistible character who I cannot stop writing about. I am all characters, and all characters are me, but Charlotte Lilienne hits the most marks.

Spotlight on an Original Food – Vegetable Paste Tube Food

Spotlight on an Original Food – Vegetable Paste Tube Food

Background

In Reversal, I establish that the food in the Mirror Universe is, for the most part, pretty lousy. Doug even comments on it, and notes that he and his men will often go hunting if game animals are available. It almost doesn’t matter what they taste like; they are still assumed to be far better than normal fare.

By the time of the alternate timeline recounted in Temper, the food on the ISS Defiant is little better than slop. And in the history as described by Doug in Fortune, there is a rationing system. Cards with various letters have differing values. But the cards only refer to the number of times per week that a crew member is promised (this promise is often broken) a day with at least one meal containing meat. The cards say nothing about vegetables.

Necessity

Because fruits and vegetables are necessary for good health and for a fit fighting force, the  nutrients need to, somehow, be supplied. Enter the paste tubes.

Spotlight on an Original Food – Vegetable Paste Tube Food
Vegetable paste tube

As should be obvious, these are meant to look and feel like toothpaste tubes. There is no information on whether the contents are any color other than white.

The diner should not be tempted by them at all, and they probably don’t have much of a taste, either. Lili gets them to taste like something by squeezing out their innards and frying the mess with salt and linfep fat or some other fat in order to make a somewhat squishy version of potato chips, meant to be consumed with synthbeer.

Upshot

As another reminder of the difference between the Mirror side of the pond and ours, I think the tubes succeed pretty well. A society that values women, or cooking or taste or agriculture would not stand for them. But in the Mirror Universe, they don’t care, so Vitamin C, fiber and other nutrients are only supplied in this manner.

Portrait of a Character – Jay Douglas Hayes

Portrait of a Character – Jay Douglas Hayes

Many – although not all – roads lead to Jay Douglas Hayes.

Origins

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jay Hayes's Service Record | Steven Culp | Jay Douglas Hayes
Jay Hayes’s Service Record | Steven Culp

This character is, of course, Star Trek: Enterprise canon. He is a Major in the MACOs and loses his life during the ENT Countdown episode.

In canon, he only has a first initial, and not even a middle initial. I have gone with Jay (a suggestion by the actor who played him) and Douglas in order to dovetail with Doug Beckett. Hence, Jay Douglas Hayes.

The main origination point for me was that I enjoyed the character very much, and wish he had been shown more. A rather earthy dream about him was the basis and initial kernel of an idea for Reversal, a story where he is referred to, and is seen in this photograph. However, by the time of Reversal (2157), Jay is already long dead.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Steven Culp as Major Jay Douglas Hayes
Steven Culp as Major Hayes

As in canon, Jay is portrayed by veteran actor Steven Culp. Culp has said about the character that he is essentially a David Mamet character, in that he is more action than talk much of the time. In canon, he rarely smiles. In fact, I think one of the few times he even comes close to smiling is in this image.

Personality

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Steven Culp as Major Jay Douglas Hayes with Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
Steven Culp as Major Hayes with Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed

All business, Jay is surprised and genuinely hurt that Malcolm Reed would think that he was attempting to undermine the Tactical Officer’s authority. For Jay, it’s about getting the job done. However, he does so with few niceties. For Malcolm, this is unacceptable, and there is a need for communications and for protocols to be followed. In canon, Jay eventually admits that blindly following the chain of command isn’t as easy as it may seem, nor is it always the right thing to do. For him, the excuse of “I was only following orders” could have rung true, until that moment.

E2

In the E2 stories I am currently writing, Jay is in a state of melancholy, but so are many of the other people, as clinical depression runs rampant, at least at the beginning of those stories. For Jay, it takes the form of regrets about an old relationship with a woman he identifies as his most important ex-girlfriend, Susan Cheshire, and he even writes her a letter that he knows she will never read. But Jay is also unexpectedly kind, such as when he carves a walking stick for an injured crewman but doesn’t make it public knowledge.

His conflict with Malcolm is shown in any number of stories. In Harvest and in Protocols, which both take place during the Xindi war, he and Malcolm bicker a bit. It’s pretty much just about their ideas about dealing with the Xindi threat. It isn’t until the E2 stories that their arguments become about something else entirely, their rivalry over a woman.

Relationships

In canon, he has no known relationships. I follow on that and, in Together, when Lili and Doug meet with his sister, the attorney Laura Hayes, she confides that he had no one, not even a girlfriend and was “not the marrying kind”.

In my fanfiction, he has three important earlier relationships which eventually lead up to his great love, in the E2 stories. The first of these is with Darareaksmey Preap, a Cambodian bar girl that he knew when he was young and in Basic Training, near Phnom Penh. Much like Doug, he lies to Darareaksmey and tells her he loves her, and buys her gifts, in order to be able to lose his virginity to her.

The second is Christine Chalmers, possibly known during an assignment. He considers telling her that he loves her until he learns that she’s been cheating on him. The third is the aforementioned Susan Cheshire, who tells him she loves him nearly constantly. But he can’t bring himself to say it in return, and he doesn’t quite understand why until later.

In the E2 stories, he learns to let go of Susan’s memory and embrace the woman who will be his great love, the woman he calls Sparrow. This is evoked in Equinox as well when, even after his death, he communicates with her and accidentally calls her Sparrow.

Theme Music

Jay Douglas Hayes doesn’t have official theme music, but the Beatles’ Blue Jay Way works rather nicely.

Mirror Universe

Jay’s Mirror Universe counterpart is Doug Beckett. Any discussion of Jay/Doug in the Mirror can be found in that post.

Quote

“I was a big kid. {and} I was probably gonna be fat if I didn’t do something. I was an ox, a lummox, my dad would call me. My father, he ordered me to ride my bike every day…. He was military, too. And, well, so I did it. ‘Cause you didn’t argue with Jeremiah Hayes. So I used to ride around the reservoir area. It was nice, and there were birds. They would all chatter away, like they were having arguments or telling each other the news or something like that…. Anyway, it was a good place to go, and it was a bit cooler than most places, so I went every day. And then one day, I saw the Ganymede Police there. They had a skiff boat and there were divers. And they were, well … they were dredging for a body.”

Upshot

Beyond being, perhaps, a bit of a jarhead, Jay Douglas Hayes has a heart and a soul. You just need to be quiet and listen for them.

Review – Protocols

ReviewProtocols 

Protocols was written in response to a prompt about arts and crafts, and covers a small missing scene from the third season of ENT. Namely, it’s the celebration of Captain

Review – Protocols
Scott Bakula

Archer‘s birthday. As a result, it was meant to be a bit of a contrast to the ENT canon Silent Enemy episode, wherein the executive staff celebrates Malcolm Reed‘s birthday. Because the Xindi war is raging, I wanted it to be different.

Preparations

For Lili to ply her trade as a combination sous-chef, pastry chef and saucier, she needs to be able to expertly handle a pastry bag and tip. Although art runs in her family (in Fortune, she reveals that her mother was a potter), Lili isn’t meant to be a fine artist. Therefore, she traces the image of a shuttle, and of Captain Archer, onto the top of the cake by projecting an image with her PADD and then following along with icing.

Mistake

Review – Protocols

Lili makes one big error by writing out Happy Birthday, Jonathan! instead of Happy Birthday, Captain Archer! Chef Slocum points this out to her, but it’s too late to fix it. Slocum tells her that Archer has been in a foul mood ever since the Loque’eque virus (from the canon Star Trek: Enterprise episode Extinction). A little apprehensive, she serves the birthday dinner, and then the dessert, which is a strawberry shortcake. She has chosen strawberry because, unlike in Silent Enemy, she has been taking note of the food preferences of the executive staff. If strawberry isn’t Jonathan Archer‘s favorite, it’s probably close enough. In Local Flavor, Travis comments that he’s going to miss her strawberry shortcake.

Redemption

After the cake is cut and the dinner is over, the captain approaches her. Lili immediately apologizes for being overly familiar and not following proper protocols. But the captain sees things differently, and urges her to make the same cake, with the same greeting on it, the following year, assuming they make it out of the Xindi war alive.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I like how the story flowed, from Lili’s task to Will Slocum scolding her, to the dinner (which includes referencing to the canon conflict between Malcolm Reed and Jay Hayes) to the short post-dinner conversation. I’m very happy with how this ficlet turned out.


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