Aidan MacKenzie

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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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Themes, 0 comments

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie

Origins

While writing about Richard Daniels‘s conquests, one name that came up a few times was Dana MacKenzie. I liked the idea of a descendant for Aidan and Susan, who get together fairly late in life. As I started to write her, I also decided that she would be actually named Misty, thereby cementing another pair of her ancestors as being Doug and Melissa. Continuing along with this idea, I hit upon the notion of having her be related to canon character Martin Madden. When I started to put together the Barnstorming series, I decided to include her, and make her the star.

Portrayal

Mack is played by actress Catherine Bell.

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie

Catherine Bell as Misty Dana (Mack) MacKenzie

I picture Mack as being pretty toughened by her life, but also feminine, which Bell can certainly pull off convincingly.

There are a lot of bikini images of Bell online, but the truth is, I don’t see Mack that way at all. Rather, she is someone damaged by her earlier life.

Personality

Mack’s background is in sports; she played second base and shortstop professionally for the perpetual cellar dwelling team, the Titan Bluebirds. But a visit to Keto-Enol results in Etrotherium being placed into her bag while the team is visiting an open-air market. She’s arrested and thrown into Canamar Prison. She’s been framed for drug-running.

Her appeal takes nearly two decades, with her parents dying during the interim. The only person who sticks by her is Martin Madden.

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie

Steven Culp as Martin Madden

They have cared for each other since childhood, referring to themselves as ‘The MDM Twins‘. But the law says that they cannot marry.

Relationships

Emmett Kent (Hobie) Hoberman

Mack and Hobie meet at the end of The All-Stars, and are actually coaches on opposing teams in ice hockey. The long distance relationship isn’t really what Mack needs, but they part amicably after Play when Hobie decides to try to reconcile with his ex-wife for the sake of their two young daughters.

Richard Daniels

At the end of Play, time is altered, and Rick is sent to investigate. In Time Out, they get together. I have an idea of the circumstances but have not written them yet.

Martin Madden

The sketchy idea is to finally get them together during the fourth, as yet unnamed, book in the series. They will have a descendant who will connect them even more intimately with the Times of the HG Wells, but I haven’t decided on that yet. It’s possible that that person would be Tom Grant.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie

Mirror Misty (maybe) (Catherine Bell)

I have not yet decided whether Mack exists in the Mirror Universe.

If she does, then I doubt she would call herself Mack. She might go by her first name. She might not have a sports background. I don’t honestly know, but I probably won’t explore this until I finish the series.

Quote

“I’m going to tell you who I am. And what I’m thinking of doing. And then you can decide if you want to work with me. And if you do, then I’m happy to have our friend below decks spill his guts in front of you. But if not, it stays a mystery to you. I gotta protect myself. Fair enough?”

Upshot

Because this series is on hold as I work on wholly original fiction, Mystic (only Marty calls her that) has had to take a back seat. A pity, as I like this character and her journey. I will get to her at some point!

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Fan fiction, Portrait, 5 comments

Review – The Pivot Point

Review – The Pivot Point

Pivot point – like for a ballerina. And for a life. A turning point.

Background

So the initial prompt was about a pivotal moment in a character’s life. This got me thinking of a ballerina, pivoting on her toes. And that immediately led me to Shelby Pike, but then I decided I would rather go with Susan Cheshire. Because she would need a change a lot more.

Plot

Review – The Pivot Point

Shifting between the Star Trek: Enterprise Prime Universe and the Mirror Universe, both Susans weigh the same question. And it is whether to quit drinking. Both are with Aidan MacKenzie.

In the Prime Universe, Aidan is supportive, offering to talk to Captain Reed about taking some time off to help Susan with her struggles.

Except in the Mirror, Aidan can’t take any time, as he has to be at Empress Hoshi‘s beck and call. Ultimately, the decision that is made differs, this depends upon the universe in question.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Yvonne Nelson as Susan Cheshire (image is for educational purposes only)

Yvonne Nelson as Susan Cheshire (image is for educational purposes only)

The decision to quit or continue drinking is, of course, Susan’s alone. But her circumstances certainly define and dictate which way the dice are going to roll.

Story Postings

Rating

The story has a K+ rating.

Upshot

So I like the juxtapositions. I think they work pretty well.

Broken Dreams

Although I probably could have done more to differentiate the two situations. If this could have been done without having to rely on font formatting, I think it could have, overall, been a stronger piece. As it is now, it’s okay. It’s adequate. but I feel it has got room for improvement.


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Posted by jespah in Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Review, 6 comments

Review – Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before

Review – Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before

Gerbil? Yeah. Really.

Background

In response to a prompt about comedy, the idea of fraternity-style hijinks and an all-out prank war gave rise to this silly story.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before

Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before

Adding to the fun is the fact that the cover comes from a screenshot of Tripp Tucker‘s quarters in the final episode of the series.

These really are his Star Trek: Enterprise canon belongings. Hence the cover and the image mesh perfectly with the action on the page (although that’s actually an armadillo).

Plot

Deb and Chip are alone in his quarters. This is her first time staying overnight. Aidan is in Sick Bay, but it’s nothing serious. Chip has a romantic evening in mind, when Deb finds … Stella.

Stella is a stuffed toy. And so Chip needs to come clean about how and why he’s got Stella (who does not belong to him). Therefore, he begins to tell a story about the early days of the NX program. This was when there was an engineering competition to perfect an incredibly dull but necessary piece of canon equipment, inertial dampers. So a big part of the plot hinges on silly things happening when people are supposed to be ultra-serious.

Story Postings

Rating

The Story is Rated K.

Upshot

I enjoyed writing this story a great deal, and apparently my peers enjoyed reading it. Because I won the monthly challenge! I really like it. This includes how it dovetails with canon personnel, its shout outs to Worcester Polytechnical Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts (a place I have visited several times), and its neat fit into my own fan fiction. Because the story is silly, it covers up a few more difficult issues. These include Aidan being in sickbay, and Emory Erickson reminiscing about Quinn. However, it also works as a means of getting people onto the ship who do not originally belong there. Chip in particular gets a good explanation of why he’s there in the first place.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 10 comments

Inspiration – Life Events

Life Events

Life events shape our existence.

Background

I don’t write Star Trek fanfiction in a vacuum. Like anyone else, life gets in the way, it meanders around or my writing does, and the two collide. For what is writing without a connection to real life events?

Dating, Love, Wedding and Marriage

My own marriage and wedding are a bit of fiction fodder, Vulcan wedding life eventsI admit it, and back into dating, too, of course. These are major life events, and the lead up to them as well. A Kind of Blue absolutely evokes the excitement of my own wedding (I was not pregnant) and also a little bit of the uncertainty about the future. You wonder if everything is going to be all right. So far, so good.

Dating in a lot of ways informs Reversal, as Lili first goes on a disastrous blind date with Brian Delacroix (as Jenny Crossman pushes away a grabby Aidan MacKenzie) and then goes on a number of memorable (literal) dream dates with Doug. Her E2 experiences with Jay Hayes and Malcolm Reed are also very date-centric.

Birth of Nephews

I have no children of my own, Human-Vulcan hybrid baby life eventsso my nephews stand in for the kids I write about. Stories such as Tumult give life to the sense of waiting around – seemingly forever – in hospital rooms. Small children are seen there, and in Together, Temper, and Fortune, among other places, including The Facts.

Life at Work

I’ve had any number of work experiences, Striking union workers life eventsmuch like anyone of my age does. In particular, the HG Wells stories evoke work and working conditions. I’ve had bosses like Carmen Calavicci. She’s a bit brassy but she gets the job done. In A Long, Long Time Ago, potential employees are put through a group interviewing process – and I have been through such interviews, too. As the series progresses and the time travelers learn to work together, that also evokes various work experiences. People do not immediately have chemistry. Sometimes you need to really try in order to make things work.

Justice and Mercy

I’ve practiced law Tribunal life events(that was a long, long time ago!), and so I’ve seen trials and I’ve been behind the scenes. I wanted Shell Shock to bring a lot of that knowledge to the fore. A pair of trials are also conducted in the E2 stories. I wanted very much for the concept of people trying to do the right thing, even if they don’t necessarily have the means or knowledge with which to do so, to be understood by the reader.

Medical Care and Crises

I have seen people who were very sickSick Bay life events and, truly, dying. Of course I don’t just witness such things and take notes for my writing or anything. I am not outside of the moment. But these things do happen, and they are, indeed, remembered. In the E2 stories, and in Shell Shock, characters emerge from comas. In the former, I overtly included the emergence. However, in the latter, I only show the aftermath.

Death

For experiences of death, and characters’ reactions thereto, I tend to rely rather heavily on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Her five stages of grief. In particular, these informed the Hold Your Dominion/Gina Nolan stories. Mourning is a part of Fortune, but also in Equinox, A Hazy Shade and Remembrance.

Upshot

For Star Trek to be Star Trek, there are any number of ships, aliens and whiz-bang effects. But, more importantly, there are people. And those people tend to have experiences that are a lot like our own, or at least their experiences should be similar to ours. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of ships whooshing by and a lot of explosions, and not much else. Fine in the moment, but not memorable, and certainly nothing that has survived for over four and a half decades. It’s the stories about people that survive. By placing my own experiences into my writing, I am hoping, if not for immortal stories, then at least for tales with more depth. I hope I’ve achieved a small measure of that.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Inspiration-Mechanics, 0 comments

Review – Broken Seal

Broken Seal Background

Broken seal?

So Broken Seal was written in response to a monthly challenge about silence. It takes place in the In Between Days time period and the Prime Universe, after Together and before The Cure is Worse than the Disease.

Premise

So I knew that my competition would be mainly writing sad stories, as silence tends to lead one in that direction. Hence I decided to zig instead of zag, and went for a comedy.

The Seventh Seal broken seal

The Seventh Seal

It’s Movie Night, and Chip Masterson has been touting The Seventh Seal  all week. It’s going to be a celebration of highbrow culture. He’s excited as he’s the biggest film buff on the ship. He’s going to have a discussion and everything.

Meanwhile, Tripp Tucker is trying to reconcile with T’Pol. So he’s using the occasion of the film as a means to get back into her good graces. Hence he figures that an intellectual date will really appeal to her.

Malcolm is excited about the film as he wants to watch it and compare notes with his girl afterwards. But she is at home, so this is a kind of date for them as well, and she assures him that she will dress up and everything.

It All Goes Haywire

However, all is not right, for Hoshi Sato has been hit with a tiny spatial anomaly. And so she makes plans to derail the film’s showing. She enlists Travis‘s help, and she splices a very different film onto The Seventh Seal. And this changes its ending dramatically.

Bambi Woods - not the star of The Seventh Seal broken seal

Bambi Woods – not the star of The Seventh Seal

But the projectionist, Aidan MacKenzie, doesn’t suspect a thing. So he just loads the film and then more or less dozes off, bored by the Bergman film. And the MACOs are watching; Jonathan Archer is watching; Jenny from Engineering is watching, and suddenly the film’s plot is changed considerably. Jonathan calls off the evening and yells for Masterson and MacKenzie to join him in his Ready Room. And they are in big, big trouble.

Hence Malcolm confirms with his girl – this isn’t the ending of The Seventh Seal at all.

So – whodunit? Who messed up the film? Will Hoshi confess? Stay tuned.

Story Postings

Rating

While the story is rated K, it does refer to an NC-17-rated film.

Upshot

While I like the comedy aspects of it, I think I could have amped it up even more. Hence I think I should have played up Chip’s pain and fear that he’d lose his Ensign’s rank even more.

Posted by jespah in In Between Days series, Review, 9 comments