Category Archives: Themes

Recurrent Themes – Killers

Recurrent Themes –Killers

Killers drive plots, and even create them. For many victims, someone has responsibility for their ends.

Doug Beckett, one of the killers
Doug Beckett, one of the killers (image of Steven Culp is provided for educational purposes only).

Background

Murdering, of course, appears in canon all the time, from the numerous red shirt deaths in the originalBarking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Killers series to the end of Tripp Tucker‘s life in the execrable and otherwise forgettable These Are the Voyages.

 

Appearances of Killers

Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett

Doug’s crimes have been outlined before in this blog. The Mirror Universe ends up being quite the ruthless place when I write it. And his crimes come to life in Fortune when Q shows them to Lili. The final killing, of Deborah Haddon, is an accident seen in Reversal.

The Empress Hoshi Sato

In order to consolidate her power, Hoshi leave a trail of bodies in her wake in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses. And in the case of Dr. Phlox and Malcolm Reed‘s demises, she uses Crewman Elizabeth Cutler as the agent of destruction.

Verinold

The incident happens quite by accident, when trying to steal a shuttle during the E2 time frame (second kick back in time). Hence the Ikaaran, Verinold, ends up as a killer. He drags Daniel Chang into space without a pressure suit. As a result, Verinold ends up banished to the tiny, dim world which Sandra Sloane has named Speakeasy.

Upshot

While all higher-up Mirror Universe denizens become pretty much murders by definition, I wanted to make it so their actions would have some meaning. And in particular, that makes Doug’s crimes all the more horrific, as so many of them occurred due to some of the flimsiest excuses.

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Recurrent Themes – Commanders

Recurrent Themes – Commanders

Commanders make Star Trek go ‘round.
Commanders Martin Madden.jpg

Background

For every captain, ever since Kirk and Spock, Star Trek has always had a second. Or if you prefer looking at the timeline Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Commandershistorically, then the position dates back at least to Archer and T’Pol. And it continues to Picard and Riker, and Janeway and Tuvok.

 

Appearances

T’Pol

While this character exists in canon, I never really felt I could write her well until the E2 series of stories. T’Pol has competence and intelligence but, like a lot of Vulcan characters, can sometimes present a feeling of superiority.

Malcolm Reed

During the first E2 kick back in time, and then in the In Between Days time period, after Fortune, Malcolm gets the promotion. In E2, he gets it because Jonathan Archer promotes a number of people. In the post-Fortune time frame, he gets it due to Tripp Tucker’s untimely demise.

Travis Mayweather

And then in the Mirror Universe, Travis gets the nod for two reasons: one, because he and the Empress Hoshi Sato are sleeping together (although she makes an effort to sleep with every man on the ship) and two, because he makes a dandy human shield for her. Hoshi gets a measure of safety because people like Doug and Tripp realize Travis would be worse.

Karin Bernstein-Rosen

During the first E2 kick back in time, Karin gets increasing levels of responsibility, eventually rising to a very high level.

Martin Madden

For this canon character, he gets to shine in the Barnstorming series. I feel Martin Madden has a lot of potential as a character.

Daniya

While Mack MacKenzie technically has three people under her who could be second in command (the doctor refuses as she thinks it wouldn’t work), Daniya ends up being more of a second in command than Wesley Crusher or Crita (who would be too timid to really command, anyway).

Upshot

Seconds in command make vital decisions and keep ships running. Without them, the captain would do too much. Furthermore, seconds in command often do the more dangerous work of command – as well as a lot of the more mundane.

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Recurrent Themes – Victims

Recurrent Themes –Victims

Victims exist throughout my fan fiction.

Loomis Victims
Loomis – one of my Star Trek fan fiction victims

Background

Victims. For every conqueror, some gets the short end of the stick. Hence a victim needs to exist, and Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Victimsoften more than one does. Because they can be such great plot drivers, a common trope is to create a superior style of person, organization, or species, and pit it against whoever it has victimized.

Furthermore, look at the subjects and you will understand their rulers.

Victims and Their Appearances

I’ll only go with the highlights here as the list stretches rather long.

Leland Loomis

Dovetailing with canon, Loomis ends up in a psychiatric facility after claiming he saw a bunch of lizard people and a ‘chick with a ray gun’.  While he maintains his sanity to the ancestor of the Dr. Morgan known best in my universe, Morgan still doesn’t see fit to release the guy. Loomis will live and probably die in custody, a prisoner in every way but the name of the holding facility.

Phlox (Mirror Universe only)

For an alien doctor, canon holds some nasty fates in the Enterprise time period. Phlox was earmarked for death anyone. So in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, I show it.

Aidan MacKenzie (Mirror Universe only)

Originally, Aidan‘s comeuppance was supposed to be complete. However, after a while, I realized I had really hurt the character, and I kind of liked him, particularly as a pal to Chip Masterson in both universes. Hence babysitter Aidan, disgraced in Reversal, eventually gets his due in He Stays a Stranger.

Travis Mayweather (AU and MU)

In the nasty AU story, The Black Widow, Travis‘s death occurs off-screen and even before the action starts (spoiler alert: T’Pol has killed him). However, in Temper, MU Travis is fragged by his own troops.

Inta I

While both the original Inta and her son are both victims of Arnis’s wrath, it’s Inta who perhaps suffered more, as she could see what was happening to her. Furthermore, truthfully, all Daranaean women are victims in some fashion.

Anthony Parker

Finally, in the deep future, Anthony loses his life because the Perfectionists no longer have a use for him as an assassin and time traveler.

Upshot

Finally, whether they rise above it or get their revenge, die, or sink into oblivion, victims have their place in the Star Trek universe, too.

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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.

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Recurrent Themes – Administrators

Recurrent Themes – Administrators

It may not amount to a terribly glamorous role, but someone has to run things. Enter the administrators.

Background

This role is, of course, canon, although it is not often shown on screen or in any real depth. After all, it is kind of boring.

Who wants to watch someone checking on rations and preparing reports and signing paperwork?Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Administrators But it is still absolutely necessary for someone to do just that.

Appearances

Commandant Kerig

Seen only briefly, Kerig is the warden for Canamar Prison while Eriecho and Saddik are being held there. The meeting of the three of them hints at more than a little corruption.  Eriecho’s attacks, recalled in Beats and Recessive, assure that something or other happened, and he looked the other way. Or he was a willing participant, like is seen in Eight, where H’Shema trades sexual favors for powdered milk to feed the helpless Vulcan infant. Kerig is the height (depth, perhaps) of corruption in the timeline.

Annette ‘Windy’ Bradley Pollan

Windy attends Kent State during the 1970 massacre and meets Rick (in Ohio). In an alternate timeline, she and her friends fight for social justice, including Alison B. Krause, who is a real-life victim from the shooting. But that timeline has to be altered and, instead, Windy is restored to her original destiny, which is to rise through the ranks at the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles.  She ends up as the epitome of the soulless bureaucrat. Her less than optimal fate prompts Sheilagh to redouble her efforts to allow the new timeline. Not only would it save Alison’s life, it would, in a way, save Windy’s.

But that cannot be, and so the restoration sticks and Windy is back to being a paper pusher.

Arashi Sato

Empress Hoshi‘s child with a mystery father is good with numbers. Arashi doesn’t really want to become Emperor, even though he is certainly smart enough  (and may very well be the smartest of her offspring). Instead, he performs collections, often sending his younger half-brother, Izo, out to do the strong-arming.  But Arashi would never sully his hands with such a task. He’s far too busy counting money.

Colonel Jacob ‘Jack’ Shaw

Shaw is another methodical type of leader. In a way, he is a kind of counterpart to Kerig in that he is also a kind of ‘keeper’ for Saddik and Eriecho. But  if he’s at all corrupt, it’s only minimally (it’s been suggested to me that the gamete trading he engages in with his fellow sanctuary administrators isn’t completely on the up and up).  Shaw is motivated to try to save the Vulcan race.

Upshot

They might not be glamorous, but nothing will ever be properly funded without them. Administrators make things go!

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Recurrent Themes – Jokers

Recurrent Themes – Jokers

Background

I like the idea of lightening up a story with some joking. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | JokersTruly, when I have written comedies, it tends to be prank wars. In particular, there are the pranks shown in Broken Seal and Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before.

Appearances

Aidan MacKenzie

In Gerbil, Aidan is a part of a prank whereby a goat statue is stolen from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and beamed to the front yard of Starfleet Headquarters. While Meredith, Judy, Liz, Michael, and Tripp are all a part of the theft (er, borrowing), it’s Aidan who brings a pistol and heats up the bolts, thereby allowing the statue to be stolen in the first place.

Chip Masterson

Probably the king of all of my joker characters, Chandler has a flair for the goofy. In Gerbil, while he gets help from Jenny, José, Derek, Josh, and Brooks, Chip is the one who actually steals the stuffed gerbil toy from Tucker’s quarters.

In Broken Seal, he and Aidan are actually innocent, but he’s terrified of losing his rank. In Brown, in the Mirror Universe, he and Aidan passively allow Empress Hoshi‘s ship to be overrun by mice. And finally, in Together, he dreams of doing standup comedy in a little Risian nightclub.

Travis Mayweather

Travis acts as Hoshi’s accomplice during Broken Seal, but he’s never the instigator.

Malcolm Reed

Along with Tripp, Malcolm pranks Hoshi by telling her that there’s been a slight transporter malfunction, and a birthmark has moved. This dovetails well with canon, as the Vanishing Point episode had her fearing that exact issue. Unlike Tucker, though, he apologizes immediately.

Hoshi Sato

Infuriated by the prank, and affected by a small spatial anomaly, Hoshi goes into full-on revenge mode, eventually switching the films at Movie Night.

Tripp Tucker

While others willingly take part in the shenanigans that go on during Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before, Tripp (along with Aidan and Chip) is one of the instigators. A big part of this is because he wants to get his stuffed gerbil, Stella, back. But for him, it’s also fun. He’s also not above giving Hoshi a hard time in Broken Seal.

Upshot

There will always be a place for comedy in my Star Trek fanfiction!

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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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Recurrent Themes – Unintentional Time Travelers

Recurrent Themes – Unintentional Time Travelers

Background

Time travel is such a great trope that I just had to cover it. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Unintentional Time TravelersThe most fun was when time travelers didn’t really want to go, but something or other swept them along anyway.

Appearances

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel |  Times of the HG Wells logo courtesy of TemplarSora
Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Times of the HG Wells logo courtesy of TemplarSora | Unintentional Time Travelers

Unintentional time travelers are such a fun idea to explore that I’ve gone to this well several times.

Concord

Concord is all about unintentional and intentional time travel.

Robert Lenox

Lenox, the real time traveler, is testing out a new device when Reed is accidentally swept along, and Reed’s ancestor is also displaced, as is Lenox’s own ancestor.

Malcolm Reed

Right before the start of the Xindi War, Malcolm is accidentally transported to 1775 Concord, Massachusetts.

Crackerjack

In Crackerjack,  inadvertent time travel occurs because the errant pulse shot from Empress Hoshi (and the Temper story) hits Wesley and Geordi’s shuttle.

Wesley Crusher

For Wesley, the trip to 1941 Washington, DC is a voyage that he would rather not have taken.

Geordi LaForge

For Geordi, the voyage to Washington, DC in 1941 is the occasion to meet Rosemary Parker, although he also feels the effects of the prejudice of the time.

Day of the Dead

The Traveler is to blame for Chuck McBride and Tripp Tucker traveling in time.

Chuck McBride

McBride the jokester is yanked out of Upper Bavaria, but it’s never made clear as to exactly where and when he ends up.

Tripp Tucker

Tucker’s personal temporal displacement gets him to the 1944 liberation of the Dachau concentration camp.

The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

Another pesky anomaly sends Porthos forward in time, in The Continuing Adventures of Porthos.

Porthos

The NX-01‘s resident quadruped takes his  temporal displacement in stride, and makes friends with Data’s cat, Spot, although Porthos does miss Archer.

E2 Timeline

For both kicks back in time, the entire ship unwittingly travels in time.

The Entire NX-01

No one is left behind when the Enterprise is kicked back in time.

Theorizing

In Theorizing, whatever is leaping Sam Beckett around does it to Jonathan Archer, too.

Captain Jonathan Archer

Archer’s mission is to help Sam Beckett’s wife, Donna Elise, move on with her life.

Dr. Sam Beckett

Dr. Beckett’s mission is to convince the Xindi Humanoid, Degra, that the deaths of millions of humans like Lizzie Tucker should be on his conscience.

Upshot

I adore this trope so much that I am continually trying to figure out another way to shoehorn it into my fan fiction.

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Recurrent Themes – Plant Lovers

Recurrent Themes – Plant Lovers

Background

Botanists and plant lovers are canon. In the original Star Trek series, Sulu and Rand both attend to plants. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Plant Lovers In The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, Keiko Ishikawa O’Brien is a Botanist.

For an older ship like the NX-01, I felt like there absolutely had to be a Botanist.

Appearances

Naomi Curtis

Only seen during If You Can’t Stand the Heat, I’ve retconned her and now consider her to be the first Botanist on the NX-01 Enterprise. Much like Preston Jennings is shifted over to Navigation and Lili O’Day is hired for the Xindi War, Naomi is thrown over for the better skilled and more versatile Shelby. A pity for Chef Will Slocum, as she’s an early love interest for him. But they do get to fight off the Darvellians together.

Shelby Pike

Pike is the best-realized of my botany and plant-loving characters. Her talents range from growing food crops to keeping everyone sane with flowers, colorful fruits, and other pleasant reminders of home.

Eriecho

A true gardener and homebody at heart, Eriecho grows yellow peppers. It’s at her garden patch that she and Sollastek first scandalously hold hands.

Von

Recurrent Themes – Plant LoversA Ferengi engineer at the Temporal Integrity Commission, Von is also an amateur gardener, and gives Sheilagh Bernstein a yellow tulip while she’s deciding whether to join the commission.

Michael Nolan

Gina Nolan‘s late husband is in his Beijing lab, studying Bajoran dicotyledons, when he’s killed during the Breen attack on Earth.

Other Characters

The Hayes family and the Warren family farm during Concord, but that’s more a matter of survival and economics rather than study. Many of the Daranaean women also garden, and in particular they will grow Krivian weed, which is shaped into a type of boxwood-style hedge. But that’s not just for beauty’s sake; Krivian weed can be chewed in order to determine the gender of a fetus a pregnant woman is carrying. In the E2 timeline, Esilia and the other Ikaaran women farm as a part of their obligation to their government.

Upshot

They may have their heads in the stars, but their feet are on the ground; they’re the gardeners, Botanists, farmers, and plant lovers of Star Trek.

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Recurrent Themes – Criminals and Prisoners

Recurrent Themes – Criminals and Prisoners

Background

Criminals and prisoners matter. They creep into all of my series, except for Mixing It Up (and D’Storlin is possibly telling his story from custody, anyway). Their fates have varied rather dramatically.
Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Criminals and Prisoners

Appearances

Eriecho, Saddik, and H’Shema

In the Eriecho series,  as is explained in Release, she is born on a prison transport as Saddik and her parents (who are both killed on that transport) are framed for crimes they did not commit. In Double Helix, H’Shema’s mother, L’Culturra, reveals that her daughter was a drug addict and likely was in Canamar Prison for good reason.

Daniel Chang, Tristan Curtis, Neil Kemper, Victor Brown, Brooks Haynem, Gary Hodgkins, and Sandra Sloane

During the E2 timeline, all sorts of bad behavior occurs. During The Three of Us, the men are responsible for an attack on Patti Socorro as Sandra takes note of the law of supply and demand and rents herself out for cheap.

Polloria, Baden, and Chawev

In Reversal, the former two conspire to kill High Priestess Yipran. Chawev is the only one who hesitates, and Polloria chides him for being too squeamish.

Jeff Paxton

The real perpetrator is not revealed until just about the end of Shell Shock.

Marisol Castillo, Anthony Parker, Von, Helen Walker, and Milton Walker

Of the villains in The Times of the HG Wells series, only Anthony Parker is at all decent, and that’s only in an alternate timeline, when he has a chance to help Otra get out of Milton Walker’s prison. As for Marisol, she’s a psychopath, eager to kill whoever she can.

Arnis and Rechal

In Take Back the Night, Arnis blames Mistra for the death of the elder Inta. Rechal, a physician, takes a bribe and helps him frame her in exchange for research funding. In Flight of the Bluebird, because Rechal’s ideas have assisted Trinning and the other researchers find a cure for thylacine paramyxovirus, he is allowed out of jail and is released into Trinning’s observational custody. Arnis (who I wasn’t sure whether I wanted him to be alive or not) complains to his second son, Trinning, and is told that it’s a good thing he’s staying in prison as Daranaea is changing and he won’t fit in anymore.

Mack MacKenzie

Planted with Etrotherium against her will while on Keto-Enol, Mack is framed for the drug problem on that planet.

Upshot

Without villains and criminals, stories have few drivers and little to recommend them. Prisons provide great fodder for storytelling and drama. I know that I will go back to these themes again.

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