Category Archives: Mixing It Up Collection

Review – Truth

Review – Truth

Truth, of course, matters.

Background

So once again, the prompt is the same as the name of the story. However, I did not realize how the plot would turn out until I was writing it. Bron suddenly spoke to me, and I just took dictation. And that is the most fun when you write.

Plot

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The truth about Bron
The truth about Bron

So a year after Bron and Sophra start going out, he meets her parents. As they fret a bit about the relationship and he gets even more nervous, he suddenly blurts out the truth. And he absolutely did not plan to do that.

Poor Bron! Always so sensitive and sweet. Sophra’s parents are skeptical, and her father in particular is unsure of things. Bron doesn’t even tell or ask Sophra first. Instead, as her father asks for his intentions, Bron blurts out that his intention is marriage. Yet this surprises everyone – in particular, Sophra herself. While she had to have known she was a serious individual, she might have considered that their relationship would have moved a little more slowly. However, she accepts his sudden proposal gladly.

Initially appalled, Sophra’s parents come around when Bron tells them he will have a good engineering job and they will likely adopt children as the chance of having their own probably isn’t there. A little grudgingly, perhaps, they accept him.  I like to think they can look beyond his clearly rather alien appearance.

Story Postings

Rating

This story is rated K.

Upshot

So as is always the case with Bron, a little bit of haplessness creeps in. But he’s kind, smart, and committed, and I think you just can’t help but to root for him. I think those two crazy kids might just make it after all.

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Review – Transported

Review – Transported

Transported makes use of a double meaning.

Background

Hence for a prompt of the same name, I wanted to cover a rather different type of transporting. Instead, it would be the kind which happens when you are overly engrossed in something. In addition, that certain something would be not so safe for work or for children.

Plot

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The truth about Bron | Transported
Transported

Skrol and Tr’Dorna misbehave during a class field trip. The premise is rather simple and has very little description. In fact, the entire story is little more than a sketch.

It is late and the class at Picard High School is heading back from a field trip to … somewhere. Yet it doesn’t matter where.

Because all that matters is that it’s crowded and hot and dark, and Tr’Dorna is wearing a skirt, as she and Skrol have sex in the transport, not ten feet away from their teacher. Because of the nature of this little story, keep children far, far away. I mean it!

Story Postings

Rating

This story is rated M.

Upshot

I liked the idea of a couple getting it on in such a public and dangerous manner. The only other couple I have had, so far, to do such a thing, are Jay Hayes and Susan Cheshire. However, they are never seen in the act; the reference is just one of Jay’s memories of her. Although, does anyone see Skrol and Tr’Dorna? I honestly don’t know. Also, I have no idea if any could see Jay and Susan. However, I feel that adds some mystique. If the real answer is unknown, then you can think whatever you like.

Here, the act and its leadup are covered pretty nicely, I feel.

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Review – Losin’ It

Review – Losin’ It

Losin (Losin’) It? So, what does that mean? Of course, it has to do with sex. However, it also has a lot to do with innocence.  So this means truth and it means lies. And while I can’t recall whether this story came before Truth or the other way around, it does serve as a tidy bookend to the other short tale. For Bron, clearly, it’s all about the truth. And for Skrol, equally as clearly, it is more about the exaggeration.

Background

The prompt for a monthly challenge was, if I recall correctly, about lying. And who better to lie than the semi-silver-tongued reptilian devil himself, Skrol?

Losin the Plot

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Losin' It
Losin’ It

Oh, what has Skrol done now?

Like teenagers from time immemorial, Tr’Dorna, Skrol, Etrina, Bron, and Sophra are all a little obsessed with each others’ lives. So this includes the inevitable question of, are you still a virgin? Because by that time, not everyone is.

Skrol hatches a plan to get Tr’Dorna to flip her tail for him (essentially, for them to have sex or at least get close to that) by lying to her and saying that not only is he a virgin, but that she is the first female he has ever kissed.

Bron calls him out on it and he threatens to tell Tr’Dorna. As a result, Skrol is forced to confess.

Story Postings

Rating

This story is rated T.

Upshot

The story is okay; it’s not great and I would not put it up there with my best work. It’s just a little teenaged humor story more than anything else. However, it told me more about Skrol, and that’s alway a good thing, to know the characters even better.

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Review – Insecurity

Review – Insecurity

Insecurity can happen to any of us. So who better to illustrate that than my favorite Gorn?

Background

Therefore, in response to a prompt of the same name, I decided to revisit one of my favorite non-human interspecies couples. For these mixed-alien lovers, who also just so happen to be teenagers, a short separation is a cause for concern. And like so many teens throughout history, it hurts to be apart. Even someone who is not jealous can wonder just what is going on. And slow or missing communications make that even worse.

Plot

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The truth about Bron | Insecurity
Insecurity

A few weeks after Bron and Sophra start going out, they are separated due to the school’s vacation schedule.

Bron, as always, is the somewhat nerdy and very shy and perhaps overly sensitive. Hence it’s a somewhat banal thing, for a teenaged couple to be separated for some reason or another, and for one of them to be freaking out.

And of all the people to come to Bron’s rescue, it’s Tr’Dorna who tells him to hang in there, and that it’s all going to be okay. Bron even gets in an aside to Skrol, telling him that Tr’Dorna is a good person and he should better appreciate her. As a result, this story also represents me getting to know and better appreciate Tr’Dorna! And when she becomes Bron’s comforter (and, in a way, something of a confessor for him), she suddenly had a dimension and a character. She had not had those before.

Story Postings

Rating

This story is rated K.

Upshot

I love my poor little sensitive New Aged-Gorn. And – spoiler alert – it will be okay.  Because Sophra understands. Long live Bron!

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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.

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Recurrent Themes – Soldiers

Recurrent Themes –Soldiers

Background

For Reversal in particular to work, there had a to be a number of people ready and able to go to war.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | SoldiersIn particular, as the Mirror Universe is so different from the prime universe, a lot of people would be soldiers there who wouldn’t be so here. Or they would be more violent and less disciplined than in our universe. As it is explained to Lili, the percentage of military personnel is deliberately kept very high over there.

There are more MACOs in particular than the group listed here, but these people are seen the most.

Appearances of Soldiers

Aliwev

This Calafan recruit drills directly under Doug and, in the Mirror, in one of the alternate timelines, assassinates the Empress Hoshi Sato during Temper.

Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett

Doug, a trained killer, spends much of Reversal trying to leave the practice of making war. When he can’t find anything else to do with himself in Together, he eventually becomes the captain of a defense unit on Lafa II, and instructs recruits.

Daniel Chang

Chang, a canon character, defends the Enterprise but, in the E2 timeline, commits crimes.

Tristan Curtis

Curtis is another E2 timeline criminal. In the Temper alternate timelines, he’s named Craig.

Brian Delacroix

In the prime universe, Delacroix is a security guard who becomes a chef. In the Mirror, he nearly kills Doug.

Tommy Digiorno-Madden

Unlike the other five kids, Tommy joins Starfleet and goes into Tactical.

Thomas Grant

In the deep future, Tom is assigned to the Breen homeworld before he joins the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Deborah Hadden

Deb works in Security in both universes. In the Mirror, she kills Brian before he has a chance to off Doug. But her victory is short-lived, and she perishes when he leaves that universe.

Jay Hayes

The consummate soldier, Major J. Hayes is so committed to defending the ship that he has nearly no time for people.

Gary Hodgkins

Yet another E2 criminal, Hodgkins often pairs with Curtis, particularly in the Mirror.

Chandler Masterson

Chip is wasted in Security and moves over to Communications. This isn’t possible in the Mirror, so he stays in  Tactical. In the prime timeline, he escapes the Empress, but in one of the alternates, he rises to become captain of the Defiant.

Travis Mayweather

Travis is a soldier in the Mirror Universe only. He’s a poor soldier, though, and an even worse leader. In the alternate timelines, and in the prime timeline, he is fragged by his own troops.

Andrew Miller

Like Travis, Andy is only a soldier in the Mirror. When the Empress taps him for somewhat earthy duties, he manages to get himself reassigned to Science.

Malcolm Reed

The other consummate canon career soldier, Malcolm is more ambitious and tries for a command as soon as he can get one.

José Torres

José is another person who is only a soldier in the Mirror. He is not cut out for command at all and, in an alternate timeline, destroys his ship, the Luna, and everyone on board is killed.

Upshot

Star Trek fanfiction will always have a place for men and women (and other genders) in uniform.

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Review – Report Card

Review – Report Card

Report Card does not work well as a story at all. I take full responsibility for that. I should have taken a lot more time to write it and try to perfect it. Instead, it comes across as the rushed collection of half-jokes that it is. This was a poor idea on my part, and it really shows.

Background

I had enjoyed writing Freak School, the original adventures of Klingon-human hybrid teenager Rayna Montgomery. As a result, I was looking to write a sequel.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Archer Academy at Oberon (which Rayna Montgomery calls the Freak School) | Report Card
The Archer Academy at Oberon (which Rayna Montgomery calls the Freak School)

Plot

So as a sequel and a bit of a complement to Freak School, Rayna’s report card and her class reports are shown. In addition, her parents receive a general communication from the Archer Academy at Oberon which includes a month’s worth of menus. Since this is a boarding school, and it quite literally caters to aliens, the foods on offer are canon and fanfiction alien foods in a mix with human specialties.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

The idea was a decent one, albeit without much of a plot. I think execution could have been considerably better. Rayna is a fun character, but the observations of her are dry.  Stories about her do considerably better if her Valley Girl-style voice can be heard distinctly, and that simply is not the case with Report Card. Rayna deserves a far better sequel than this one.

In addition, the story, such as it is, suffers from how long it took to get it to go live. If the time period had been shorter, the jokes would have made a lot more sense. Instead, it’s just plain confusing.

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Review – D’Storlin

Review – D’Storlin

D’Storlin is a story where people ask if it has a basis in true events. Except, it does not. Yet it certainly could be. The events are (in my opinion) realistic and downright frightening. Many people lash out exactly like this. And kids can’t always bounce back or have someone wipe their records. Some things are just plain permanent. Like the scarlet letter or the mark of Cain.

Background

So I recall discussions about Xindi Reptilians, and how we had never seen any younger ones in canon. At the same time, there were also discussions about how well Spock and other hybrids seemed to get along in canon Star Trek society. And all I could think of was – that’s unrealistic.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | D'Storlin | DStorlin
D’Storlin

Plot

For a hybrid child, teenaged life is even more fraught with embarrassment, mood swings, and bullying. This put-upon human-Xindi Reptilian hybrid, attends a primarily human school on Earth. Much like Rayna Montgomery,  he has to try to get along with the human majority. However, in Rayna’s case, she acted out by sleeping around at a young age, and occasionally growling. But for the most part, Rayna’s actions are peaceful ones.

Not so with the title character, when this friendless, bullied child is pushed too far one day. And the results are not pretty. Plus, they are all too permanent for both him and one of his tormentors.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K+.

Upshot

When this story was originally posted on Ad Astra, readers asked me whether it was taken from real life. I consider that to be an exceptionally generous compliment. It was not.

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Focus – Vulcans in Star Trek Fan Fiction

Focus on Vulcans

Vulcans are the backbone aliens of Star Trek.

Focus

A focus Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass | Vulcans (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.

Vulcans – Background

Because the series that speaks to me the most is Enterprise, I have had to deal with Vulcans all along. The truth is that I always found T’Pol to be wooden. As for Spock in the Original Series, I have read far too much of him in fan fiction. I never got into Voyager, so my experience with writing Vulcans was limited and difficult. That is, until Eriecho and the Alternate Original Series. Thank you, JJ Abrams.

Occurrences

Aviri

Focus – Vulcans
Joanna Cassidy as Aviri (actually an image of the actress as T’Pol’s mother, T’Les, courtesy of Memory Alpha)

Lili is admitted to the Mars Culinary Institute based upon the strength of a meal prepared for Admissions Director Aviri.

Charles Tucker IV

Focus – Vulcans
Charles Tucker IV (actually an image of an infant Spock, from a deleted scene in Star Trek 2009)

In the E2 timeline, during the first kick back in time, Tripp and T’Pol have twins. Charlie becomes captain after Jonathan Archer’s death.

Eriecho

Focus – Vulcans
Mariel Hemingway as Eriecho

My favorite Vulcan, Eriecho never learned true emotional suppression while at Canamar Prison, and only tries it in a mistaken effort to please Sollastek.

Kefris

Focus – Vulcans
Kefris (this image is from the Star Trek Online wiki)

This character is named but rarely seen, and is often paired with T’Pau when I write Mirror Universe Vulcans. In the prime universe, he is T’Pol’s eventual husband.

Lorian

Canon character Lorian is seen during the second E2 kick back in time.

Focus – Vulcans
Lorian

Saddik

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Saddik
Saddik

Eriecho’s foster/adoptive father cares for her as if she were his own.

Sarek

Spock’s father is overwhelmed by the changes wrought by Nero in the JJ Abrams timeline, but he rises to the occasion and accepts his new child.

Focus – Vulcans
Ben Cross as Sarek

Sollastek

Focus – Vulcans
Sollastek (this image is from the Star Trek Online wiki)

Eriecho’s mate is a lot younger than she is and was not a good student. Leaving class early saved his life during Nero’s attack on Vulcan. He witnessed the death of Amanda Grayson.

Soval

Focus – Vulcans
Gary Graham as Soval

When Soval is a lot older, he experiences difficulty in maintaining emotional control, as I show him in Biases.

Spock

Iconic and sometimes hard to pin down, I do better with this classic character in the JJ Abrams universe than in the prime timeline.

Focus – Vulcans
Spock

Sybok

Focus – Vulcans
Sybok

Spock’s canon half-brother is redeemed in the Eriecho universe.

T’Les Elizabeth

Focus – Vulcans
T’Les Elizabeth (this is actually an image of Elizabeth Tucker from Star Trek: Enterprise)

In the E2 timeline, during the first kick back in time, Tripp and T’Pol have twins. T’Les is Charlie’s twin.

T’Pau

Often paired with Kefris in the Mirror Universe, T’Pau is brought aboard Empress Hoshi‘s ship when she proves she is a genius in mathematics and physics.

Focus – Vulcans
Kara Zedicker as T’Pau

T’Pol

Focus – Vulcans
T’Pol

This canon character is easiest for me to write when I remove her emotional control.

Valeris

Saddik’s love interest also catches Sybok’s eye. In the JJ Abrams timeline, Valeris acts as a Pon Farr comforter, a kind of Vulcan sex worker.

Focus – Vulcans
Valeris

Others

E2 timeline

  • Jolene Tucker Hodgkins
  • T’Mir Ryan
  • Daphne Tucker

All of these characters are on the older version of the NX-01.

Freak School

  • Stellak – Rayna Montgomery’s love interest.
  • T’Bek – one of Rayna’s teachers (I’ve used this name in a few other places).
  • T’Mia – one of Rayna’s classmates.

Eriecho universe (JJ Abrams timeline)

  • T’Moona – in canon, Spock is the child of Sarek and a Vulcan princess. Her name is  the Hebrew word for picture.

Upshot

For a species that I often have difficulty writing, I’ve sure got a lot of instances. Maybe I’ll get this species right someday, without having to strip them of their emotional control.

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Portrait of a Character – D’Storlin

Portrait of a Character – D’Storlin

D’Storlin has troubles.

Origins

Spock was always such an incredibly well-adjusted person, given his circumstances and birth. And I always felt that that made little sense. Even with a genius IQ and half-Vulcan blood, I always figured it would make infinitely more sense for him to have been more unhinged. Enter D’Storlin.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | D’Storlin | DStorlin
D’Storlin

I see the actor Vincent Kartheiser in this role.

He’s got somewhat interesting credentials, including Mad Men and time on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff, Angel.

I like that he’s got a background of playing weaselly characters. Because D’Storlin has major issues.

Personality

Penitent, but with a hot temper and a lack of patience, D’Storlin is angry at the world. And it is for how a dead baby crocodile is treated in his Biology class (the animal is a subject for dissection).

Relationships

D’Storlin has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

I don’t have a Mirror Universe counterpart for D’Storlin, but there are no impediments to his existence.

Portrait of a Character – D’Storlin
Vincent Kartheiser as Mirror D’Storlin

For what he did to John, he wouldn’t be sent to a school for troubled children. Instead, he’d get a promotion.

Quote

“I see the egg tooth, you know, the one you use to get outta the shell? I don’t remember coming out of the shell, of course, but I remember seeing my little sister – she and I weren’t in the same clutch. {and} I remember seeing her struggle and struggle but she finally made it and my parents and my clutch brothers and sisters, we all cheered. And then we had hamburgers, I remember. Funny, the things you remember.”

Upshot

I like this creepy character, but I do not know where to put him next.

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