Category Archives: In Between Days series

Review – Cough

Review – Cough

Cough?

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days Cast | Cough
In Between Days Cast

Background

It seems such an unpromising word. Yet there was a call for a drabble with this word as its title. Hence I decided to revisit Penicillin. And my idea was to write a far shorter version of the same story. So this was to get it in front of a different readership.

Plot

When Lili sees Jay coughing in the hallway of the NX-01, he quickly covers it up. But she realizes he is sick and so she makes some chicken soup to treat his symptoms.

But there’s just one catch for Jay. Lili wants payment. And her payment isn’t in the form of money. Instead, it’s for him to smile more. While he agrees to do so, there is a slight difference between Cough and Penicillin. Unlike in the longer story, Jay briefly turns out his pockets. I feel it’s a nice little touch which gives him some personality, e. g. that he’s in a bit of a joking mood despite them being at war, and foreshadows the relaxed loving relationship they will have.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Drabbles are tiny and they often suffer because of that. And this one is no exception. So while I love the Penicillin story (and it turned out to be a linchin in the E2 storyline), the drabble version just plain isn’t as good. Therefore, there’s just no chicken meat on those bare bones.

However, the readers did like the story. Hayes is an enigma, even to his creators and to his actor. Hence I feel any insight into his character is generally going to be welcome. Otherwise, he is simply a cipher.

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Portrait of a Character – Mark Stone

Portrait of a Character – Mark Stone

Origins

Mark Stone is a part of the shenanigans going on during IntoleranceI wanted someone who would be out of the heterosexual romantic sweepstakes. Mark Stone fit the bill nicely. Furthermore, he is the last of the guest characters (except, I believe, for a Vulcan seen in communications only) from that book.

Portrayal

Mark Stone
Hugh Grant as Mark Stone (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Mark Stone is played by actor Hugh Grant. While I like this seemingly charming, handsome actor, he’s really too old for the role. And I didn’t even necessarily ‘hear’ Mark’s voice with a British accent at first.

Personality

Brittle, privileged, and arrogant, Mark has no time for the likes of Pamela Hudson or even Blair Claymore. However, his studious nature does not get him to the top his class; that honor belongs to An Nguyen (this is established in The Cure is Worse than the Disease). Mark is also the son of Emily Stone. Sharp-eyed readers will recognize her from Achieving Peace, where she works as an ambassador, alongside fellow ambassador, the Xindi sloth, Chara Sika. Furthermore, Emily’s assistant is Laura Hayes. However, let’s get back to Mark.

Relationships

Mark has no known relationships. Because this is a gay character, his options are rather different from heterosexual characters’. Maybe he hooked up with Frank Todd, or Preston Jennings, or Dave Constantine, or Luke Donnelly while he and his class were on board the Enterprise. That’s a pretty good idea and I might pursue it at some point in time.

Mirror Universe

Mark exists in the Mirror Universe and becomes Empress Hoshi’s Chief Medical Officer, succeeding Cyril Morgan (in the Prime Universe, I don’t follow through on Mark’s career, although he loses out on the Columbia CMO job to An). Because Mark is gay, that shields him from the Empress’s advances – for the most part – and often from her wrath. Since she does not see him as a potential sexual partner, she can remain intrigued with a good-looking man without getting tired of him.

Medical care in the Mirror is primitive at best. Hence Mark ends up handling a far more mundane but absolutely necessary task – helping to rid the Defiant of the mice that have bred since the end of Reversal. As a result, he keeps snakes in cages. During the last few HG Wells stories, the cages are opened, and the ensuant chaos helps Mark, Aidan, Susan, and others assert themselves against the Empress.

Quote

“You are not gonna screw up my career.”

Upshot

When I write these blog posts, I often consider new ways to write characters. And this post and this character are not exceptions. After all, this was essentially the ‘odd man out’ character in Intolerance, and he proved a convenient character for the Wells series. However, he might be strong enough for his own novel.

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Review – Advice from My Universes to Yours

Review – Advice from My Universes to Yours

Advice for all! Well, kinda.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Advice From My Universes to Yours
Advice From My Universes to Yours

Background

As a holiday gift, I decided to put together a number of disparate characters. Since these are characters of my own invention, I could and did have them say nearly anything. The idea would be to act as a kind of helpful team but with the same quirkiness a reader might have come to expect.

Plot

Six characters land in some odd place. And for sharp-eyed readers, they might recognize a similarity to The Puzzle. This was deliberate, as I wanted a storyline similar to Travis‘s. Furthermore, I have far better writing skills than I did then. Hence I felt this would be a better story, and I believe that to be the case.

Background

When Jay and Lili (in the prime timeline), Dratha, Eriecho, Levi, and Branch land, they have no idea what is in store for them.  Because this takes place more or less right after Penicillin, Jay is still rather gruff but he’s trying. For Levi and Branch, this is later in their timelines. Eriecho is already on Mars. And Dratha’s husband, Arnis, is already incarcerated.

Serious Help

The characters then proceed to help out ten characters created by others. The first is kes7’s John Quigley, who gets help (sort of) in his love triangle. Then Bethany Reeves (trekfan’s character) is up, and the characters talk to her about her parents separating in one of the few serious vignettes. The next caller is Jessica St. Peter (Templar Sora’s character), and the so-called experts kind of, sort of, help her with asserting authority.

Not So Serious Help

For Andrew Corrigan (SLWalker’s character), it’s all about how to spend his first date with Abby (I managed to get in a sushi as bait joke).  Aurellan Markalis (Enterprise1981’s character) also has a problem with a date but it was probably, the advisers agree, for the best that it ended early. Srena (CeJay’s character) comes up next. She is told how to create a calming ritual to help her get to sleep at night.

Mysterious Help

Then Jasto Dax (CaptainSarine’s character) calls. While most of the group doesn’t even know what a Trill is, Dratha provides good information about how to essentially pick your battles. She tells him not to answer every single summons. The next caller is Dr. Veronica West (thebluesman’s character); she learns she should become more creative. Then Spock calls (while this is a canon character, the gift was for littleblackdog) about a canon situation, the end of the TOS episode, Requiem for Methuselah. The last caller is Emmylou Galyaski (FalseBill’s character). She talks about mourning her late husband and, in their own odd ways, the so-called experts help, at least a bit.

Departures

Then it’s time to leave. Dratha volunteers to go first as it looks dangerous. Eriecho leaves next. Jay and Lili leave together and she touches his arm. Then Branch and Levi depart, and the following graffiti is shown:

As the last of the reluctant travelers/advisors departs, the room disappears and is swallowed into the vast vacuum of space, leaving but one final thought.

 Happy holidays across all galaxies, all timelines, all universes and all realities.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I liked showing off the weird characters and trying to get them to work together. As a bonus, I was able to cross over just a little bit with others’ works.

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Review – Dear Naurr, Dear Lili

Review – Dear Naurr, Dear Lili

Dear Naurr – Can I help you with cooking? I’m willing to help. Let me know. – Lili

Dear Naurr, Dear Lili Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Dear Naurr Dear Lili
Dear, Naurr/Dear, Lili

After seeing Naurr the Cajun Caitian chef for the first time, I was hooked. The best part about him, to my mind, beyond the fact that he was a walking mass of malapropisms and weird immigrant-style unfounded assumptions, was that he was native to the ENT time frame.

That meant he was alive at the same time as Lili. I hit upon the idea of Lili giving him a little friendly advice. I had already answered the letters from home prompt, but I gave it another go and this one proved to be just as satisfying albeit rather different.

Plot

On February 17, 2158, Lili gives a little advice to a new chef.

Married to Doug and pregnant with Joss, not to mention opening up Reversal on Lafa II, Lili is one busy lady. But she needs to confide a bit in someone. Treve, her business partner, has a friendly ear but he is not a chef. Lili needed someone who could more or less understand about recipes. This person would also understand some of her cooking frustrations.

Further, the story provided an opportunity to revisit a favorite time period, where Doug and Lili are newlyweds and it is before Malcolm and the beginning of the open marriage and what they, along with Melissa and Norri, refer to as the arrangement. Sometimes, it’s good to just write a far simpler relationship scheme.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I really enjoyed getting them together, at least virtually by means of an essentially epistolary novel. This led to Bomb(e) as a sequel.
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Review – Bombe(e)

Review – Bombe(e)

Bombe! Oh, no! Relax; it’s a bombee glacee.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Bombe
Bomb(e)

As a follow up to Dear Naurr, Dear Lili and to provide a holiday gift for Naurr’s creator, False Bill, I wrote this trifling bit of silliness.

The Cajun Caitian chef would be a hero, fighting off Romulan invaders in a boarding party. Therefore, in keeping with canon, Naurr could not see them, so I have him hit over the head. Hence he will not have much of a memory of, well, anything afterwards.

This works fine for my purposes and adds to the fun. Also, given the head injury and Naurr’s propensity for malapropisms, no one can figure out where the bomb supposedly is. Naurr is going to get a medal for this, for sure.

So long as the ship, the Ariane, isn’t blown to smithereens.

Oops. That would be bad.

Plot

On June 3rd, 2158, Naurr makes a bombe glacee and fools a mysterious boarding party into believing it’s an actual bomb.

A big part of the joke is just waiting for the joke to happen. I also had some fun adding two characters of my own to the story. One is the doctor, Bernardine Keating-Fong. Sharp-eyed readers will recall her as the instructor in Intolerance. Plus there is a guy set to defuse the so-called ‘bomb’, Tim Randall. Think back, alert readers! Tim, in the Mirror Universe, is one of Doug’s kills.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is cute and silly. Also, the fun part is not so much the punchline as that is rather obvious. It’s more that the reader does not know just when the punch line is going to happen. So I enjoyed writing this one very much! Viva Naurr!

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Review – Mirror Masquerade

Review – Mirror Masquerade

Mirror Masquerade?

Mirror Masquerade Background

The idea was to cross over, and I am pretty sure that was the original prompt. And so I decided to cross over between the Original Series and Enterprise. However, the twist would be to add the Mirror Universe in for some spice.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mirror Masquerade
Mirror Masquerade

So much like in Concord and Crackerjack, and The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat, a temporal situation is encountered. And a lot more like Theorizing and Day of the Dead, two people switch places. Although in this instance, it is Travis Mayweather and Hikaru Sulu. So for the purposes of this story, it was the TOS Hikaru Sulu, although it could just as easily have been the Hikaru Sulu from the Kelvin timeline.

For both men, so long as the switcheroo holds up, their lives improve, although Sulu ends up doing better. In the Mirror Universe, any advantage is a good one. Sulu finds someone who interests him – Preston Jennings. This establishes, in my fanfiction universe, that Hikaru Sulu is bisexual is not gay, which was a deliberate call out to Takei’s well-known homosexuality. Travis sees an immediate improvement in his life as he gets away from Empress Hoshi. It feels like it is going to be a win-win all around. But we just can’t have that. There has to be some reason it all happened.

And then, of course, it’s time to undo it all and pull the rug out from under them. Sorry, fellas.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

The idea of shifting bodies in time is always a fun one, although I confess it isn’t always so easy to figure out a plausible explanation for the trade. I am running out of ideas here!

Uh, help?

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Portrait of a Character – Kaitaama

Portrait of a Character – Kaitaama

Kaitaama Origins

Kaitaama (Padma Lakshmi)
Kaitaama (Padma Lakshmi)

Kaitaama. The character is, of course, canon.

It is a fairly classic trope, the Precious Cargo episode. Beautiful alien woman, crash landing, all alone on a planet? Not the best ever Enterprise episode. Not by a long shot.

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is played by actress Padma Lakshmi. While Lakshmi is certainly stunning, the portrayal was, let’s just say, less than stellar.

Personality

Imperious, spoiled, and kind of bratty, this character is more than a little bit difficult. In fact, I disliked her so much, I had Otra see an alternate universe vision of this character being beheaded as a kind of space Marie Antoinette. Maybe that’s what being the First Monarch of Krios Prime does to a gal. Who knows?

Yeah, I’m not a fan.

Relationships

Tripp Tucker

In canon, she and Tripp hook up briefly.

James T. Kirk

As I write her, Kaitaama and Jim might or might not hook up.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Kaitaama existing in the Mirror Universe.

Mirror Kaitaama (Padma Lakshmi)
Mirror Kaitaama (Padma Lakshmi)

As with most Mirror Universe women, she would be on the make. As a very good-looking one, she could potentially have status.

She might even be kind, although I see her instead as being a lot more ruthless. She would need to be. Can’t blame her for that.

Quote

“Why should that matter? Your job is to cut ropes, not be flattered and cosseted.”

Upshot

This bratty and difficult character is, I suppose, easy to put into nasty situations. Maybe I will resurrect her if I need to write something harsh. An annoying character might be needed for, I don’t know, something or other.

I am so mean.

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Review – It’s a Small Universe After All

Review – It’s a Small Universe After All

Small Universe Background

Small Universe Syndrome.  It seems to be everyone in Star Trek, and more particularly in Star Trek fanfiction. This story was written in response to a challenge to put together two characters who really should not go together, or would not normally be seen together. Both of these are canon characters; it’s based on who one of the characters reminded me of when I first saw her.

Plot

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | It's A Small Universe After All | Small Universe Syndrome
It’s A Small Universe After All

The first time I saw Krios Prime’s Kaitaama in Star Trek: Enterprise, I couldn’t help but to realize she was actually a tired retread of Elaan of Troilus from the Original Series.

The whole episode is one big, fat trope. It was yet another beautiful, haughty princess who looked human enough that looking at her sexually would not make the audience feel too weird about things. A red-blooded spacefaring guy would not be able to help being attracted to her.

Of course, assuming she was still youthful, Kirk would hit on her. But how to get them together?

I decided to lift the plot of Two Days, Two Nights. Risa would still have a crime problem. But instead of Malcolm and Tripp being tied up in a basement, it would be Captain James T. Kirk and Kaitaama.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I am not so sure I would ever write a story like this again. I have enough problems keeping my own creations from suffering from coincidences and small universe syndrome. It would be far worse if I did that deliberately with more canon characters!

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Review – Eight

Review – Eight

Background

Review – Eight. Aw.

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

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

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

Plot

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

Stories cover In Between Days, the E2 timeline, the Daranaean Emergence series, the Eriecho series, Times of the HG Wells, Hold Your Dominion, and there is also a second HG Wells story which focuses on Levi Cavendish and Otra D’Angelo.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

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

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

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Portrait of a Character – Soval

Portrait of a Character – Soval

Soval Origins

Soval
Soval

Soval. The character is, of course, canon.

A lot of fans are not too impressed with the portrayal of Vulcans in Enterprise. For me, I loved it. I always found them to be far too perfect, and when the Original Series was running, I was a lot more likely to side with McCoy or Kirk than Spock. This may have carried over a bit, but either way, it was a refreshing change, to me, to see Vulcans with feet of clay and less than stellar motives.

Hallelujah!

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is played by actor Gary Graham. The actor embodies the character well and it is difficult to think of another inhabiting him so well.

Personality

Standoffish like most Vulcans, he seems to be genuinely moved when Admiral Forrest sacrifices his own life to save a, perhaps, friend.

Relationships

His relationships are not really known. In Biases, I bring a human woman into his household, but Bridie Kelly is not intended to be a love interest at all. I really hope nobody ‘ships them.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Universe Soval is canon. Intelligent and resourceful, he is one of many Mirror Universe characters who is just plain stuck. As I write the Mirror, it boasts a violent military dictatorship.  Not an easy place for an unemotional person.

There isn’t a lot on him in canon except that Archer became xenophobic.  This would make life even more difficult even if Jonathan Archer had lived (the way I write the Mirror Universe, Hoshi Sato is successful in murdering Archer).

Mirror Universe Soval
Mirror Universe Soval

Quote

“I am one hundred and forty-two years old. That is almost a logical observation.”

Upshot

I have never written Mirror Universe Soval, and maybe it’s time I should.

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