Category Archives: Times of the HG Wells series

Review – Paradox

Review – Paradox

Paradox – boy, are we ever in trouble!

Paradox Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Deep Future | Paradox
Deep Future

As a part of a Star Trek fanfiction competition, fellow writer kes7 and I decided to collaborate on this time travel mayhem-style crossover novel. Levi, the most squirrelly and ADHD-addled person in history, nervous and quirky to a fault, would be tasked with saving humanity.

By having to be socially acceptable or at least in the realm of socially competent.

Yeah, I agree.

We’re doomed.

Plot

In which humanity’s survival depends on Levi Cavendish’s social skills. Takes place in 3110.

kes7’s original character, Maren O’Connor (who we decided would be related to Kevin), and canon character Icheb, are an item in her universe. At this stage in their development, they are building their own time traveling device. But this is rather early in the engineering process, and the device is imperfect. It threatens the multiverse and humanity (because why not make the stakes super-high?) and the Temporal Integrity Commission has got to stop them.

Reluctantly, Carmen sends Levi and Otra. However, Otra does not have permission to go to the surface although she can communicate directly through Levi’s implanted communicator. As she feeds him information, he becomes even more confused. It does not help that a girl named Marci is flirting with him, big time. Which is Levi’s mother’s name.

It helps even less that Otra has finally realized that she is in love with him.

Awkward!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

We had a lot of fun writing this one, but we will both admit our resolve sometimes wanes. The story remains unfinished after a few years. We need to finish this one. I want to know what happened. Don’t you?

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Review – Another Piece of the Action

Review – Another Piece of the Action

It’s another piece!

Another Piece of the Action Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Another Piece of the Action
Another Piece of the Action (cover by thebluesman)

During the time period just after You Mixed-Up Siciliano, in January of 3110, Kirko, Spock and the boys join Temporal Agents Richard DanielsSheilagh Bernstein, and Deirdre Katzman in handling Bela Oxmyx and his cronies. This is a collaborative story with the bluesman.

Isn’t the cover just fantastic? Justin made it. I have a copy (signed by him) hanging in my computer room.

Plot

As a means of getting back to the story, we decided on time travel. The Temporal Integrity Commission would have to fix the problems which Kirk and company had compounded at the end of the canon episode, when someone left a communicator behind.

I decided to use Richard Daniels, Sheilagh Bernstein, and Deirdre Katzman as my part of the cast. These characters would have the specialties needed, e. g. a jack of all trades like Rick, a computers person like Sheilagh, and then Deirdre would be the engineer.

Justin (the bluesman) opted to mainly handle the canon characters as we wrote the story. Together, we weaved a story whereby the plot would be fixed, our characters would happily cross over and work together for a common cause, and we even got to throw in a little humor and flirting along the way. Plus Sheilagh tells Spock his computers are primitive.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

We had a blast with this collaboration. I would have loved to have done it again. But sadly, Justin passed on, on December 22, 2016.  He was a dear friend and a kind, talented, patient, and generous collaborator. I miss him.

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Review – Stocking Stuffers 2013

Review – Stocking Stuffers 2013

Stocking Stuffers 2013 Background

Stocking Stuffers 2013! In 2013, Star Trek fanfiction writers got together. Hence we traded a bit of fun in each others’ universes. And this was my contribution.

Plot

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Stocking Stuffers 2013
Stocking Stuffers 2013

In order to follow along with the holiday theme (and Christmas isn’t even my holiday!), I thought outside the proverbial box and tried to pull in various aspects of the holiday, everything from children believing in Santa Claus, to a long distance relationship at that time of year, to decorating a tree or even making it snow.

However, for my own fanfiction, I selected Richard Daniels, right around New Year’s Eve, for the changeover to the new millennium. And Daniels also appears on the cover. This is because his portion of the story predates canon. However, for him, as it is for a lot of real people, the holidays are a time for reflection, for taking stock, and maybe even for some melancholy. And due to the switch from 1999 to 2000, Rick is also feeling the weight of everything changing. Because after all, in canon, World War III is supposed to start soon.

Fortunately, in reality, we are still waiting for that. And hopefully, we will be waiting forever.

Music

Yet only Daniels really has music in his story (apart from Icheb playing and singing ‘Good King Wenceslas’). However, Daniels hears the music of the time, as he often does during his temporal meanderings.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I would really love to do this again, as it was great fun. However, my only problem is, I might have run out of basic holiday premises to cover. Help a gal out, will ya?

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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 – 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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Spotlight on Chi Band Radiation

Spotlight on Chi Band Radiation

Chi Band Radiation Background

Chi Band Radiation can do anything.

Chi Band Radiation
Image of background radiation

I needed a garden variety phenomenon. Chi Band Radiation  would have to be able to stand in for a lot of almost magical properties. It had to be a kind of technobabble thing. Hence I needed for it to sound just mysterious enough.

The idea would cover all sorts of issues. This would include crossing people over from one universe to another. Or it would be the kinds of temporal switches and shenanigans shown in Concord and Crackerjack. However, for both of those stories there were other explanations for their issues.

Chi Band Radiation particularly comes to fore in the Barnstorming series. I used it to show how and why the Mirror Universe was attempting to cross over and potentially invade our own. The Emperor would have been deposed and fallen on hard times. The radiation would be, to him, a  godsend, a means of regaining his past glories. Therefore, he would be itching to use it.

Instead of living the high life, he’s living in a shack. He depends upon the kind charity of the native Calafan people. This would be quite the harsh reality for a proud man.

The radiation would also be a means of almost communicating. It would be a way of knocking on the door of another universe, as it were. This would attract the attention of weird ADHD-addled temporal engineer Levi Cavendish. Giving Levi a means of investigating all possible universes was a fun idea. The way to fulfill his mission to find the ultimate pumpkin pie (spoiler alert: it’s in the universe with a 49 centimeter radiation band on the hydrogen line) proved irresistible.

Upshot

This Swiss Army knife has stood me in good stead. I am sure I will be using it again in the future.

Chi Band Radiation
Chi Band Radiation

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Spotlight on the Zetal in Fan Fiction

Spotlight on the Zetal

The Zetal: in order to try to finally wrap up the HG Wells storyline, I needed a sort of garden variety villain. That was the Var-gi-yeh. They would come from outside our solar system, and therefore it would help if we had an early warning of some sort.

I reached back into my older work and found the Zetal.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Zetal
The Zetal

Back in Together, the Witannen and the Imvari capture ten humans for war games on a grand scale. But they are actually working for a third party, a species in the Andromeda Galaxy, the Zetal.

This species was meant to be more or less incorporeal. However, I did not have much on them. In Together, it was considerably easier to just work with the Imvari and the Witannen. Species which are more or less our basic body type are just easier to deal with. The reader or viewer can relate to them better. And, truly, so can the writer. After all, I needed to get the story down on pixels.

If a character is hard for even the writer to relate to, then the character is just not going to be written. That is unfortunate, as they are kind of interesting on paper. But I have very little on them. They are a piece of bringing Trek out of our galaxy and into our galactic neighbor. That is not enough, though. There just is not enough ‘there’, there.

Upshot

If I need to pull in an Andromeda Galaxy species, then they might be it, and I would do more with them. They certainly could use an overhaul and some love from their creator! Right now, though, they remain a semi-useful curiosity and not much more.

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Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden

Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden

Martin Madden should be canon, dammit!

Origins

The character is technically canon although the scene of his introduction ended up on the cutting room floor. In the ‘lost’ footage, William Riker plays a nasty, passive-aggressive prank and Madden is the butt of the joke. I disliked the scene so much that I felt Madden needed a measure of justice. He is the reason that Melissa has her last name, as she is his forebear, via her middle son, Neil.

Because Marty is also Doug‘s descendant, his radiation band is slightly less than it should be, betraying a partial origin in the Mirror Universe. As the Barnstorming series unfolds, the family’s importance increases. Doug’s descendants hold a key in their DNA that could alter the fate of both universes.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Martin Madden
Martin Madden

As in canon, Madden is played by actor Steven Culp. I like this actor a great deal. He was also exceptionally gracious when I wrote to him, asking for an autographed photograph and the answer to a few questions as I was writing The Three of Us and looking to add some verisimilitude to my details about Jay Hayes.

Culp wrote back, said my questions were interesting (I asked things like what is his favorite story to read to a child) but whatever I came up with would be fine. He also wished me luck with my writing. His framed picture is hanging in the room where I do my writing and it helps provide some inspiration.

Personality

Lonely, brilliant, and bored, Marty is near the top of his profession but wants something more. He is only close to one person, and that is not only hurting him in his career, it’s also, in general, making him miserable. Furthermore, the incident with Riker got him off on the wrong foot with Captain Picard. A bit of a perfectionist, Martin is appalled by what happened and scrambling to make it right.

Relationships

Tamsin Porter

With one disastrous date, this is really not a relationship. Tamsin likes him, but he can’t stand her; he had only asked her out in order to get his mind off Dana. Tamsin takes it the wrong way and tries to get him to sleep with her.

When he refuses, she stretches the truth to its breaking point, and files a sexual harassment charge against him. The charge is groundless and is quickly dropped. But it gets worse, as she is distantly related to him. As a part of the family (through Joss), Tamsin is not so close to Martin Madden to prevent a relationship, plus she’s somewhat aggressive. It’s a complete turnoff to him, but she is family and so, in some ways, he’s stuck with her. But he doesn’t have to date her.

Dana MacKenzie

With a language all their own, Martin Douglas Madden and Misty Dana MacKenzie – the MDM Twins – are made for each other. There’s just one small problem. She’s his second cousin.

That would not seem like much of an issue, but I write an unjust Second Cousin Marriage law, forbidding such marriages where the parties share at least one great-grandparent. The purpose behind the law is to prevent too much Daranaean inbreeding and the introduction of younger and younger child brides. But the law fails miserably as it is mainly just a bad political compromise.

When Dana is imprisoned at Canamar, it is only Marty who continues writing to her after her parents die. With the letters kept from her as a part of her unjust punishment, her reading of those letters is one of her first acts after getting out.

His love for her is one of the few things that sustains him. It is one of the underlying themes of the series, along with the concept that the Digiorno-Madden-Hayes-Beckett-O’DayReed family endures forever. There is power in this love, and it cannot be denied.

Mirror Universe

I’m not so sure that Marty can exist in the Mirror Universe.

As a descendant of Doug, who left the Mirror and had never fathered a child on that side before he did, then Marty’s existence in the Mirror is technically impossible. However, I write a Mirror Tamsin (called Jennifer), explaining that the analogue is imperfect but very close. After all, if most other forebears fall into place, or close relatives such as siblings or first or even second cousins take the place of the originals, after a time span of a few centuries, the differences become negligible. This isn’t a bad theory for why there are so many MU counterparts, and I might explore it at some time.

But if the same incident occurs, he wouldn’t just be miffed at Riker and embarrassed by him – Marty would have knifed the man.

Quote

“I can’t exactly get away when everyone else can. Understand something, all right? Whatever Riker did, whatever he could do, whatever he tried or got away with and however he acted, that was him, all right? He probably got himself here for lunch somewhere between 1200 and 1330 hours nearly every day, am I right? … But that’s not me. But, uh, I get the feeling there’s one more item on your list of Things Keeping Martin Madden from Making Friends on the Enterprise-E. Am I right? Care to share it with me if I am?”

Upshot

I am really enjoying writing this character, a kind of combination of Jay’s discipline and Doug’s zest for life, with a bit of Malcolm’s pre-Lili tortured loneliness. The Barnstorming series is not done yet, and Martin Madden is a huge part of it.

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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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Portrait of a Character – Geordi LaForge

Portrait of a Character – Geordi LaForge

Origins

The character is, of course, canon. In canon, he has a lot of trouble with women and never seems to really find anyone. His  blindness is established and is basically respected, although eventually, in the films, he gets implants. It probably made for easier storytelling.

Portrayal

Geordi La Forge
Geordi La Forge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As in canon, Geordi is played by actor Levar Burton.

This intelligent actor could have usually used better scripts.  I would have liked to have seen him confronting prejudice, for one thing. It’s one of the reasons I wrote Crackerjack in the first place.

Personality

Very smart and responsible, and uber-nerdy, Geordi is an affable guy who always seems to be in the friendzone.

Relationships

Geordi has canon relationships but I won’t enumerate them here.

Rosemary Parker

During the events depicted in Crackerjack, Geordi and Rosemary share a brief romance. He pays enough attention to her life to look her up, and he learns that she was arrested with Martin Luther King, Jr. after she married a man with the surname of Warren (which rather neatly makes her an ancestor of the woman I write as becoming Wesley Crusher‘s wife, Lakeisha Warren).

Theme Music

Crackerjack has a ton of period music, but nothing really speaks to me as a theme for Geordi.

Mirror Universe

It’s hard to say whether a Mirror Universe Geordi could exist at all.

Portrait of a Character – Geordi LaForge
Portrait of a Character – Geordi LaForge

He would be extra-smart, to be sure, but I write the MU as being leery of physical weaknesses and imperfections – and blindness would be right up there as a not so small problem.

If he could easily and seamlessly be fitted with ocular implants, perhaps as an infant, then he could survive and maybe even thrive on the other side of the pond.

Quote

“No, that’s all right. But the young lady who is with us, maybe she would like to do that. I can’t figure these people out. Some of them wouldn’t be caught dead being anywhere near me, while others are going out of their way to be kind or even charitable in their own way.”

Upshot

One great bit of fun I had was, in the Barnstorming series, to find a place for Geordi in the HayesBeckettO’DayReedMaddenDigiorno family. His place is as secure as Richard Daniels‘s. He’ll be back (he has to; he’s canon).

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