Category Archives: Interphases series

Review – Fear

Review – Fear

Fear is one of the most important motivators for any person.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Interphases | Fear
Interphases

Background

Furthermore, in this very short story,  I used this rather particular and unpleasant motivation in order to get two rather disparate people to connect.

Plot

During the E2 timeline and more specifically during the events of The Three of Us, Lili is required to take a shuttle flight test.  Actually, everyone has to do it. While the pretense (on paper, as it were) for this is a need for the characters to cross-train and understand more about the overall workings of the ship, my true motivation was to get Lili alone for a moment and then get her and Jay alone in order to have the Imvari capture them.

As a result, this little scene is absolutely necessary. Travis tests Lili on how to fly a shuttle. And she fails the test. Hence the scene accomplishes its task. But I wanted more, so I ended up making it also about Lili’s fears. Furthermore, I was able to make it about Travis and him missing his family. This also gave me something I was able to use later in Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.  It can be kind of funny how some small, seemingly throwaway scenes can help out a writer at a later date, eh?

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I liked this little scene so much, it became a part of the far bigger book. Lili’s fear is directly used to showcase a certain level of vulnerability. Travis shows the fear his mother had and, by extension, his fear that he will never see her again. For both of them, this powerful (and powerfully negative) motivator rules the scene.

Love may make the world go ’round, but we all share fear.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

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.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

Recurrent Themes – Childcare Workers

Recurrent Themes – Childcare Workers

Background

While regular ships generally don’t have children on them, generational ships most certainly do.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Childcare Workers

For all of those times when someone had to look after a kid, there are some similar threads that run through my fanfiction.

I am not including the Daranaeans here, mainly because their acts of childcare are generally a part of parenthood and not as unrelated professionals.

Appearances

Maria Elena Torres Archer

In Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, Maria Elena, daughter of Lili and José, steps in when Victoria is killed.

Beth Cutler (Mirror Universe only)

When Reversal begins, Beth has the unenviable position of babysitter to the Empress Hoshi Sato‘s lone royal brat, Jun.  Without being able to escape, Rick Daniels eventually reveals Beth would have been the first person killed by Jun.

Victoria Dietrich

Part teacher and part babysitter, Vicki cares for the children during Entanglements and The Three of Us, eventually giving some of the babysitter duties over to others.

Aidan MacKenzie (Mirror Universe only)

After the conclusion of Reversal, Aidan is tasked with siring the Empress’s second son, Kira, and is also made to become the royal babysitter. Embarrassed, catcalled, and humiliated, Aidan lays low for the most part. With Chip, he gets a small degree of revenge in Brown. But in Gilded Cage, the Empress essentially gets him back by placing him under house arrest. In the alternate timelines in Temper, and in the correct timeline in He Stays a Stranger, it’s revealed Aidan stayed on as the sitter although, as the children grew up, he became one of their only de facto parents, along with Susan. Susan is never really a sitter and instead is a skilled teacher, even in the Mirror Universe and even during alternate timelines.

Ethan Shapiro (alternate timeline only)

During Entanglements, after Ethan‘s suicide attempt, he can no longer adequately perform tactical duties. As he recovers, he becomes capable of working with the Quartermaster, Sekar Khan, and also performing some minor babysitter duties. This only happens during The Three of Us and not during Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.

José Torres (alternate timeline only)

As Ethan recovers, José becomes his roommate, and takes on babysitting duties as a means of trying to attract female attention. As with Ethan Shapiro’s connection to childcare, this only happens during The Three of Us and not during Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.

Upshot

Childcare is of course still needed in the future, and I’m pleased and proud that it’s a profession tackled by any gender.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

Focus on the Terran Empire

Focus on the Terran Empire

The Terran Empire is a huge part of my fan fiction.

Focus

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass | Terran Empire

A focus (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.

Of course, all of fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can be used in fan fiction.

Background

A lot of what happens in the Terran Empire absolutely defies logic (Vulcan pun only partly intended). Even in a multiverse with seemingly infinite (or thereabouts) universes with infinite variables, it makes no sense that our heroes’ counterparts would all be serving together.

Okay, so it’s really just a vehicle for tossing a bunch of evil twins onto the screen. Let’s run with that.

In order to make it all work, I decided on a few helper characteristics which would explain things better. Of course the real reason why there are a lot of men in the Mirror Universe is because of who was hired, particularly during the TOS era. For a show and a premise that were touting sex and violence, men would have to be hired in order to up the violence ante. For my fanfiction, I explain this away with the Y Chromosome Skew.

But what about the Terran Empire? First off, the TOS era would have undoubtedly showed a white man in power. Certainly, in canon, the person in charge is a man. But then ENT comes around, and Hoshi Sato declares herself Empress.  To my mind, she would have a need for a successor and she could succeed as Empress if she operated under Machiavellian principles.

Hall of Mirrors and the Succession

A review of the Mirror Universe stories I have written creates a semblance of a decent history of the place. The first story is The High Cost of Dissidence, where Lili‘s counterpart’s family dies. Under Emperor Phillip (tyrant Phillip Green in our universe),  Charlotte’s father is arrested as a dissident for daring to speak his mind.

Next is Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions, where Doug, a mere child, is sent away to a brutal school.

After ENT Canon

After the canon MU episodes comes Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, where Hoshi kills off all rivals (including T’Pol, Ian, and Phlox) and the Emperor, and consolidates her power ruthlessly.

In between, Hoshi and Rick Daniels hook up during The Stranger, and she becomes pregnant. His death is faked and she gives birth to Jun.

In Reversal, the Empress Hoshi is ensconced in power but is bested by Doug as Jennifer, Tripp, and Beth also escape.

Next up is Brown, where Hoshi is pregnant for a second time (by Aidan), and Chip holds back while José and Frank sniff around her.

In Ceremonial, Tripp and Beth have their own child, Charlie, as they become citizens of the MU Lafa System.

By the time of Coveted Commodity, she is pregnant by Travis.

Next is Gilded Cage, where Aidan is further disgraced and is planning to leave. The Conspiracy advances that subplot.

In Temper, when Travis is killed, Hoshi taps Andrew to take his place. When Andy meets Melissa for the first time, it’s shown in The Play at the Plate. He plans his escape when Melissa dies, in Escape, a deed that is seen from another angle in Shake Your Body.

Fortune shows more of the Mirror, including fast-forwarding ahead to not only Melissa’s death, but Norri‘s as well.

At about the same time as The Play at the Plate, Susan is looking to give up drinking, in The Pivot Point.

Much later, in Bread, a Mirror Leah Benson escapes to Andoria and is reunited with Diana Jones.

HG Wells and the Terran Empire

The royal family is reunited in He Stays a Stranger.

The Empress’s less than dignified death is shown in Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown? She is succeeded by Jun and Kira.

During TOS, the Captain’s Woman, Janice Rand, is killed by Marlena Moreau in That’s Not My Name. The crime is investigated as Rand was allegedly the Emperor’s niece, in It Had to be You.

And finally, in Mirror Masquerade, Travis and Hikaru Sulu are switched, and it’s up to the Temporal Integrity Commission to put everyone back where they belong.

Upshot

With my fanfiction, Hoshi’s life reads a lot like Caligula’s or Nero’s, and that was by design. In bits and pieces, it ended up being a somewhat epic saga. It could use more development in later years. In the Barnstorming series, I add a Mirror connection, but the Empire is supposed to be gone by then. But I  like it and will find a way to bring it back.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Colleen Romanov

Portrait of a Character – Colleen Romanov

Origins

I needed to fill the NX-01 with women for the E2 timelines. In order to distinguish this character from the others, I decided to give her some visual artistic talent. This comes in rather handy when, during The Three of Us, Maryam and Azar get married.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Colleen Romanov
Mischa Barton as Colleen Romanov (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Colleen is played by actress Mischa Barton.

This lovely young actress seems to have had some weight issues lately. She seems to have gotten middling roles; not too highbrow, but also not too trashy.

She also has a DUI conviction on her record.

Personality

Friendly and knowledgeable, the skilled pilot is also a bit of a visual artist. For Maryam and Azar’s wedding during The Three of Us, she paints the bride’s hands (and the maid of honor, Tracey Carter) with food coloring as there is no henna. She draws a procul and a malostrea on Maryam’s hands.

Relationships

Ethan Novakovich

Colleen’s only known relationship is with Ethan. They marry during both kicks back in time. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, she reveals that he is rather shy, and she practically had to convince him she had found a new life form in a cargo bay before he would realize that they should be together.

Mirror Universe

Colleen doesn’t have any impediments to existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Colleen Romanov
Mischa Barton as Mirror Colleen (image is presented for educational purposes only)

However, because I created her after writing Fortune, she does not show up there during the In Between Days main storyline.

That does not mean that she does not exist and, given her weight issues (the actress suffers from depression), Empress Hoshi might want her around and not see her as too much of a sexual threat.  But given that women are so scarce in my version of the Mirror Universe, she probably has someone. But if her prospects are poor, then her mate and protector might not be someone who is so nice, perhaps Tristan Curtis or Gary Hodgkins.

Quote

“Yes, that’s supposed to be a procul, but I didn’t get in all fourteen legs. And here, is a malostrea.”

Upshot

Like a lot of characters in my overall storyline, Colleen is meant for support and not much more. But she’s a decent utility infielder type of player, and may be back. To write her as a part of the Mirror Universe could prove to be a fruitful exercise.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Noemy Chelenska

Portrait of a Character – Noemy Chelenska

Noemy Chelenska started off as just a sounding board for Milena.

Origins

As a part of Rick Daniels meeting Milena Chelenska, he is originally hit by a car. Milena, a doctor, thinks she needs to treat him, but that’s unnecessary, given that his blood is spiked with stem cell growth accelerator. As she watches him rapidly heal without any intervention on her part, someone had to take pictures and be the person who she would bounce ideas off. Enter Noemy, who gets her name from a family friend.

Noemy is also seen in Day of the Dead; she’s only fourteen when Tripp Tucker and others liberate Dachau.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Klara Issova
Klara Issova as Noemy Chelenska (image is for educational purposes only)

Noemy is played by Czech actress Klara Issova.

I like to try to get actors of the same or a close ethnicity and Issova certainly fits the bill. It’s a bonus that she was in Anne Frank: The Whole Story, and plays a Holocaust survivor.

Personality

Brittle and damaged, Noemy and Pawel are constitutionally incapable of getting together, or so it seems. Even in the late 1960s, after having known each other for over twenty years, she still can’t call him first. They are at a stalemate until Rick arrives and turns their lives upside-down.

Relationships

Pawel Balcescu

Noemy’s only known relationship is with Pawel. They meet after their liberation from Dachau when they are waiting, with Milena and Mrs. Klinghofer, at a transit camp. This puts their meeting after the end of Day of the Dead.

Mirror Universe

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

Portrait of a Character - Noemy Chelenska
Klara Issova as Mirror Noemy (image is for educational purposes)

As an artist (she is a portrait photographer), she would be in an elite class and could be rather wealthy indeed.

Quote

“What do you mean to do? We do not; I will not have you speed her along.”

Upshot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Prague Spring | Noemy Chelenska
Prague Spring

For a character who started off as little more than a sounding board, she lives through the Velvet Revolution and even captures it in pictures.

Not bad for the ol’ gal, eh?

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Monisha Padir

Portrait of a Character – Monisha Padir

Origins

As I wrote Concord, there needed to be a way to get Malcolm back from 1776. There had to be a reason he was there in the first place.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Monisha Padir
Aarti Mann as Monisha Padir (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Monisha is played by actress Aarti Mann.

As is often the case with non-white characters who I write, it is important to me that they be ‘played’ by people of the correct ethnicity. I also like this lovely actress, who has good comic timing and seems to be very intelligent. I have ‘cast’ her in some of my original fiction, too.

Personality

Smart and creative, Moni is a historian. In 2285, as a way of testing the potential of time travel, she and Makan Sinthasomphone attempt to send Agent Robert Lennox to the April 1775 Battle of Lexington. But things don’t go according to plan. In part, it is her creativity that helps to put things right.

Relationships

Monisha has no known relationships, and she is not seen long enough to establish any.

Mirror Universe

There don’t seem to be significant impediments to Monisha existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Monisha Padir
Aarti Mann as Mirror Monisha (image is presented for educational purposes)

A beautiful woman in that rough place probably wouldn’t be a historian, though.

Unfortunately, the way I write Mirror Universe women is that they are often overly sexualized. Monisha probably would be, too, particularly as the study of history isn’t exactly valued there, except in the context of conferring greater glory on despots.

Quote

“I wonder what they would have seen. I hope it wasn’t just poor Agent Lennox being jettisoned into deep space with neither a ship nor an EV suit.”

Upshot

I would love to be able to pull in her and Sinthasomphone again some time, although I am unsure of when and how I would do it. But the development of reliable time travel has the potential to be a rather interesting story.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Novakovich

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Novakovich

Origins

The character is canon. The truth is, I forgot about him for a while. Sorry! But this was a character who was seen exactly once, and very early in the show’s lifetime. And so I created a character named Ethan, and completely forgot about this character until the E2 timeline.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Novakovich
Henri Lubatti as Ethan Novakovich (image is courtesy of Memory Alpha and is provided for educational purposes only)

As in canon, Ethan is played by actor Henri Lubatti.

The actor has found work since Enterprise, including some recurring work on 24.

Personality

Shy and a bit studious, Ethan is a bit of a plant nerd. Given the chain of command, he should be working for, first, Naomi Curtis, and then Shelby Pike, in the Botany Department. The truth is, I barely wrote him and so he is a bit of a mystery to me, too. His quote isn’t even that interesting.

Relationships

Colleen Romanov

They get together in both iterations. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Colleen reports that he is shy and she had to attract him by claiming to have found a new life form in one of the cargo bays.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Ethan existing in the Mirror Universe, although the character is not present in the canon MU episodes.

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Novakovich
Henri Lubatti as the Mirror Ethan (image is presented for educational purposes)

Shyness practically equals death in the Mirror, so he would have to be considerably more assertive. If he is with Colleen, then the circumstances of their relationship starting would be far different.

Quote

“One of the orange trees seems to be dead.”

Upshot

Should this character return? The truth is, I just can’t see it.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Victoria Dietrich

Portrait of a Character – Victoria Dietrich

Origins

During the E2 timeline, I wanted to showcase a bad marriage, where the husband would be cuckolded and it would not be discovered until the birth of what he thinks would be his child. But instead, the child would be of a different race. At the same time, I also needed a teacher character to handle the children. And so Victoria was born.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Victoria Dietrich
Rooney Mara as Victoria Dietrich (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Vicki is played by actress Rooney Mara.

I like a chameleon-like actress, and Mara certainly fits the bill.

Personality

A bit gossipy and maybe a little haughty, Vicki seems like a standard crew member. Until she gets caught up in the drama of the Slaters’ divorce.

Relationships

Walter Woods

During The Three of Us, they start going out. All seems well, until Mara Brodsky’s baby is found out to be Walter’s and not her husband, Robert Slater’s. Humiliated, Vicki kicks Walter out.

Robert Slater

After the divorce, the two of them find mutual comfort, although the captain warns them against rebound relationships. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Robert and Vicki get together and Walter is bypassed in her affections completely. They are both killed in an Insectoid-Imvari raid on the ship.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Victoria existing in the Mirror.

Portrait of a Character – Victoria Dietrich
Rooney Mara as Mirror Victoria (image is presented for educational purposes only)

However, with Empress Hoshi having Aidan hire Susan, Vicki is not needed for teaching. Hence she would remain in Tactical, most likely, and might not be plain or competent enough for Hoshi to not consider her a threat and/or want her around. Perhaps she would serve on a different ship entirely.

Quote

“But it was possible. And you just figured you wouldn’t tell me that you had slept with a married woman?”

Upshot

I think this character could be rather striking in the Mirror. Perhaps I’ll revisit her, and write that someday.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Rex Ryan

Portrait of a Character – Rex Ryan

Origins

The character is canon, although he did not have a first name. I’m not even so sure this was a speaking part. I named the character, as yet another reference to actor Steven Culp, after the Desperate Housewives character he played, Rex Van de Camp. Rex is not named after the coach of the New York Jets.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Rex Ryan
Jason Collins as R. Ryan (Rex Ryan) (image is provided for educational purposes)

As in canon, Rex is played by actor Jason Collins. I do not know too much about the actor. It appears that he has gotten some work since the show went off the air. Good for him.

Personality

Shy and reserved, Rex is not the kind of guy who will ever be a leader or really promoted, although I can see him as getting commendations. I don’t send him on the failed missions, either.

Relationships

Meredith Porter

As The Three of Us opens, Rex is one of the men who, it seems, is going to be left out of the gene pool. But he gets an idea, and hauls out his guitar, once he learns that Meredith can sing.  She is older than him, but that doesn’t matter. They also marry during Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

Do they get together outside of the kicks back in time? It is certainly possible, as they look at each other during the reception at the end of Everybody Knows. I like to think that, just as with Frank and Dave, the strange experience gives them the kind of mental permission they need to go ahead.

Theme Music

Rex’s first number with Meredith is Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land.

Mirror Universe

While the character does not appear in the canon Mirror Universe episodes, there is no reason why he can’t exist there.

Portrait of a Character – Rex Ryan
Jason Collins as Mirror (sort of) Rex (image is provided for educational purposes)

There is even the possibility that he could get together with Meredith. After all, Empress Hoshi doesn’t like competition from the female members of her crew, but she might be all right with the older engineer, and might not see Porter as a threat.

Quote

“Look, I’m gonna bring my guitar to the Observation Lounge every day this week. And you can listen or sing along or just give me the stink eye, whatever you want. Or you can get up and leave the room. And except for you up and leaving, I figure, it’ll be a positive sign. I’ll play, and you’ll do whatever you’re gonna do. And, well, please don’t go.”

Upshot

I like the idea of a shy, reserved tough guy who gets the girl in the end. I think Meredith and Rex will both be back at some point.

Like this page? Tweet it!


You can find me on .