Tag Archives: Battles of Lexington and Concord

Portrait of a Character – Makan Sinthasomphone

Portrait of a Character – Makan Sinthasomphone

Makan Sinthasomphone is necessary for Concord to work.

Origins

Makan Sinthasomphone was a means to an end. This character was brought to the fore in order to be able to fix and engineer Robert Lennox’s return in Concord (and, at the same time, return Malcolm Reed to the correct place and time period). Furthermore, I needed to give Monisha Padir someone to talk to. She would have to bounce her ideas off someone or other. After all, she’s not an engineer; she’s a historian.

Portrayal

Makan Sinthasomphone
Ananda Everingham as Makan Sinthasomphone (image is provided for educational purposes only)

Makan Sinthasomphone is played by actor Ananda Everingham.

As is the case with the rest of my Star Trek fan fiction, I like to try to match the actor’s ethnic origins to the character’s. In this instance, it’s close but I could not get it quite right. Makan is Lao and Ananda is Thai.

Furthermore, I wanted someone who at least superficially resembled Konerak Sinthasomphone. While the origin of Makan’s surname is utterly morbid, the intention was just to have a Lao surname. Since Concord is a rather black and white (by race) story, I wanted the future time travel team to mostly be Asian. I intend no disrespect to the Sinthasomphone family. Please do not infer any.

Personality

Smart, albeit a little impatient, Makan can’t quite figure out what went wrong with moving Robert Lennox in time.

Relationships

Makan has no known relationships, and I do not ‘ship him with Monisha Padir.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mirror Makan
Mirror Makan

There are no impediments to Makan existing in the Mirror Universe.  However, the later you get in the timeline, the longer the odds are. Because engineers are necessary in any universe, he could be wealthy or even an object of a lot of women’s desires.

Quote

“And we don’t have any evidence that he’s still alive, either. He’s like Schrödinger’s Cat.”

Upshot

While he’s a minor character at best, Makan serves his purpose well.

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Portrait of a Character – Robert Lennox

Portrait of a Character – Robert Lennox

Origins

Robert Lennox had somewhat mixed and strange origins. Because I needed a means of getting Malcolm Reed home during the events of Concord, it took me a while to figure out just how that could possibly be accomplished.  Since I had a Colonial story but very little else, I had to figure out a way to make it all work within Star Trek. As a result, I needed a means of traveling through time.

Hence Lennox is a time traveler, and he is a professional one, much like Richard Daniels. And so he works with Monisha Padir and Makan Sinthasomphone.

Portrayal

Robert Lennox
Ioan Gruffudd as Robert Lennox

Robert Lennox is played by actor Ioan Gruffudd.

I find this Welsh actor not only to be rather handsome, but also striking in period costume. Furthermore, he would have the correct accent for Charlotte, Jim, and Benjamin to believe he (Robert) was a redcoat.

However, the truth is quite different, as Robert’s mission was to observe the NX-01 at the commencement of the Xindi war. Instead, though, he and Malcolm both end up in Concord, Massachusetts in 1775.

Personality

Professional and intelligent, Robert’s mission is solely to observe. However, he probably would have inadvertently changed history anyway, as he tells Malcolm to duck when they face the enemy. Since there is incoming cannon fire, the warning is a wise one. And neither Lennox nor Malcolm are supposed to be there, but Lennox does not know that yet. Furthermore, when Malcolm first arrives, Lennox comments on the smoke and noise.

However, there is no way he could have known that, unless he had been dumped there earlier. Or maybe it wasn’t Robert’s first time in Concord. That presents an intriguing idea; I might write it some day.

Relationships

Robert has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Robert existing in the Mirror Universe, although the later you get in the timeline, the moreMirror Robert Lennox difficult the odds become.

Good-looking and intelligent people tend to rise to the top of our universe, and the Mirror rewards similar characteristics, albeit mixed with a healthy dollop of violence, sex, and cruelty.

And a smart professional time traveler could have a lot of advantages.

Quote

“I can’t say much. But there was an experiment in time travel. I was to travel in a pod and observe you.”

Upshot

While Robert is unconscious for a lot of Concord, he’s awake long enough for Charlotte and Malcolm to get a decent impression of him. And that might be enough.

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Portrait of a Character – Jim Warren

Portrait of a Character – Jim Warren

Origins

Jim Warren founds a dynasty. As a part of the Concord book, it made sense to add a character who would be able to do a lot of the heavy lifting at the Hayes farm while Jacob was off to war. Benjamin was really too old, so I came up with Jim. Jim is named for the Huckleberry Finn escaped slave character, although he and his family are not slaves (however, it’s possible their ancestors were brought to the Americas as slaves originally).

Portrayal

Jim Warren
Chiwetel Ejoifor as Jim Warren (image is provided for educational purposes only)

Jim Warren is played by actor Chiwetel Ejoifor. Because I used this actor to portray Anthony Parker, that signals the sharp-eyed reader that Jim is Anthony’s ancestor.

Personality

Friendly, upbeat, and with a bit of a wicked sense of humor (see the quote; he’s teaching Malcolm how to milk a cow), Malcolm relies on Jim almost as much as Charlotte does. Malcolm refers to Jim as the farming expert when they work together. And this is absolutely not what would usually happen in an interaction between two men of different races during that time period. Malcolm, of course, is a man of the future, but Jim is certainly not. So does this conversation change Jim and even give him confidence? Maybe it does; that’s an interesting idea and I may write something about that some day.

Relationships

Jim has no known relationships. However, he clearly marries and fathers at least one child, as he is part of the foundational stock for the Warren and Parker families. So he is an ancestor to both Rosemary Parker and Lakeisha Warren, and a more distant ancestor of Anthony Parker. Jim is a key character in the timeline.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Jim Warren
Mirror Jim Warren

Jim must exist in the Mirror Universe because Anthony Parker is from there. The Mirror is a rough place, and agriculture is not favored. Hence it is entirely possible he would live in grinding poverty unless he took up arms. And this would not necessarily be a race-related issue; I feel it would relate more to class.

Quote

“You gotta do more’n that, sir. You ever had a woman who had a lot up here? And she, uh, maybe didn’t mind if you were a little, um, rough? Do it that way.”

Upshot

As I’ve noted in most of the other biographies from this book, I would love to write a sequel to Concord, but there just doesn’t seem to be a good place to put it.

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Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Hayes

Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Hayes

Origins

Charlotte Hayes – necessary character, and the driver of the Malcolm Reed-centric story, Concord. Malcolm needed a place to sleep and a hostess. Enter Charlotte Lilienne O’Day Hayes. Furthermore, this story responds directly to the canon letters Malcolm writes during the Shuttlepod One episode. I had always felt those letters signified a person who had trouble letting himself go with anyone. Furthermore, Malcolm, I felt (and still feel) begins his dating life attracted to either inappropriate women (such as Ruby Brannagh, and that is a canon relationship) or are unattainable (Talas, and that is a canon flirtation).

As a result, Charlotte is certainly unattainable, but Malcolm’s experiences in Concord change him, even though technically the whole trip is supposed to have been reset.

Portrayal

Charlotte Lilienne O'Day Hayes, Charlotte Hayes
Naomi Watts as Charlotte Lilienne O’Day Hayes (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Charlotte is played by actress Naomi Watts, as yet another connection to Reversal.

In addition, I wanted Charlotte to connect directly to Lili, not only in temperament, but also in looks.

Personality

Dutiful, compassionate, and somewhat intelligent, Charlotte keeps home and hearth while her husband, Jacob, goes off to war. She relies rather heavily on Benjamin, Jim, and Dorcas Warren. However, Charlotte is still very much her own person. Furthermore, while she and Malcolm ponder existence, she holds her own in the conversation.

Relationships

Charlotte’s only known relationship is with her husband, Jacob, although she flirts a bit with Malcolm.

Mirror Universe

Charlotte Hayes
Mirror Charlotte Hayes

Much like Jacob is a necessary component of the Mirror Universe, so is Charlotte, as she is also a direct ancestor of Doug. Furthermore, she is a consanguineous relative of Lili.

In the Mirror, a woman such as Charlotte would be beholden to a man. Due to the existence of their counterpart descendants, Jacob Hayes must be that man. And he could potentially offer her a decent life. Because agriculture is not favored on the other side of the pond, though, they could potentially be somewhat impoverished.  So they would depend on any salary he would get as a soldier.

Quote

“The following summer, I was fifteen and we spent the summer together here, but mainly apart as he realized he needed to begin to understand how the farm truly worked, and how to manage it. That was always the plan, for it to be his, and he attended college in order to be better with finances and the like. But he had little practical experience with actually running the place. His vacation was not much of a vacation. And on his last day at home before he returned for his final year of school, we talked together and we agreed that he would graduate and return in the spring and he would bring a ring then, for me.”

Upshot

I really loved Charlotte’s fiestiness. She is, in a way, a colonial version of Lili. However, I have no idea how these characters could ever possibly return for a sequel.

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Portrait of a Character – Jacob Hayes

Portrait of a Character – Jacob Hayes

Origins

Jacob Hayes, first of all, is an absolutely necessary character in Concord and even in the overall IBD/HGW timeline. However, Jacob is never ‘seen on camera’ in the story, although his voice comes through in a letter. Furthermore, his wife, Charlotte, talks about him all the time.

Portrayal

Jacob Hayes
Steven Culp as Jacob Hayes (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Jacob Hayes is played by actor Steven Culp and is yet another link to that character. I wanted this actor in order to demonstrate the connection, through time, of Lili and Jay, and Lili and Doug, but also, in general, of the people who would eventually populate the NX-01.

Personality

Most noteworthy, Jacob is one of the few characters I have ever written whose personality is generally unknown. While Charlotte is ever faithful and certainly loves him, she also confides to Malcolm that he (Jacob) does not always help with the dishes. He is one of the first people in Concord to volunteer and join the militia,. His patriotism is never in question. And he is utterly committed to, if necessary, dying for American independence. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to, although he is wounded in action.

And then after the war, when Charlotte finally conceives and their son, Patrick Laurent is born, I see him as a devoted father. However, given the average life expectancy of that era, an older father would not be expected to live to see his only child marry.

Relationships

Jacob’s only known relationship is with his wife, Charlotte. He clearly loves her a great deal and wants very much to return to her as quickly as possible. While he volunteers for the sake of patriotism, he makes it clear that he misses her. Furthermore, he trusts her with Malcolm, even though he does not know Malcolm at all (and Malcolm is ostensibly the enemy, a somewhat neat prefiguring of Harbinger).

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Jacob existing in the Mirror. And in fact, he is a necessary part of both the Mirror and Prime Universe timelines, as he is a direct ancestor of Jay in our universe. And his counterpart is Doug’s direct ancestor.

Because I write so many MU soldiers, Jacob most likely would be one on a regular basis, just as Jeremiah (Doug’s father) is. That is, beyond being a volunteer in the militia, an MU Jacob would most likely take up arms as his formal profession.

Quote

“War is brutal, and I am glad to be done with it. Our cause is just, but too many youth have perished already. I cannot wait to return to your faithful arms, and pray you will be the Sarah to my Abraham.

I remain, as ever,

Your Jacob”

Upshot

While I would love to write a sequel to Concord, I am not so sure there would be too much interest in it. This is because the anchor character (Malcolm Reed) cannot be there. Furthermore, it would not have much of a science fiction bent at all, as the time travel element would already be wrapped up. And that’s a pity, as I love the story and I enjoyed writing that time period.

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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.

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Best Genre Treatment 2

Best Genre Treatment 2

For the best genre treatment 2, let’s take a look at my best stories in four more genres. Hence these are what are (to me) my best Star Trek fan fiction stories in particular writing genres.

Historical

There can only be one for the Best Genre Treatment 2.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Concord | Best Genre Treatment 2
Concord

While I also love Crackerjack, and all of the HG Wells stories, I believe that, by far, my best historical fiction story is Concord.

I have never, ever worked so hard to get a story right, than I did with Concord.

From its cover (that’s the bridge leading from Lexington to Concord and, yes, there was an engagement on it), to determining whether men would tip their hats to women (yes), to figuring out Colonial Era market prices, to even deciding the name of one of the cows, Concord is an absolute labor of love.

The premise of the story is an interphase: Malcolm is transported to April 1775 Lexington, Massachusetts, and takes the place of an ancestor, just as a future time traveler, during the time of the Genesis Project, takes the place of his own ancestor, who is fighting alongside Malcolm’s ancestor. Injured in the fighting, Malcolm and the time traveler, Robert Lennox, are quartered in a home, where they meet, among other people, Benjamin Warren.

IDIC

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Future Matches | Best Genre Treatment 2
Future Matches

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations brings to mind LGBTQ story lines. In this genre, my favorite (which is also a reader favorite) is Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation.

Working as both a prequel to There’s Something About Hoshi and a sequel to the E2 stories, Detached tells the story of how Dave Constantine and Frank Todd started dating.

With what is almost 20/20 hindsight, the men know that they were together and that their relationship worked out. But it’s still tentative and a little strange. But when they kiss, you want to cheer.

Romance

This was easily the most difficult decision, to figure out which was the best of these many stories.  Three stories get an honorable mention here. First is The Reptile Speaks, which is a Gorn romancing a Cardassian.  I loved the idea of putting together a rather different couple, and how someone who looks so menacing could, at bottom, be a truly good person.

Reversal has to be mentioned, as it is not only the love of the dark stranger for the light, but it’s also an amazing kick-off story. A ton of roads lead straight to Reversal.

The Honky Tonk Angel also deserves mention, as it’s another odd couple type of story, as Kevin O’Connor and Jhasi Tantharis go on their first date.

But the winner, the best one (and I might change my mind tomorrow) is The Three of Us .

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Three of Us
The Three of Us

All of the E2 stories were labors of love, but Three is really the big one. That is also due to, in part, its size.

Characters move from misbehaving and acting childishly, to acting criminally, to eventually maturing. Kindness, friendship, and togetherness, lead to more.

As you might expect from such a title, the relationship is an unconventional one.

But the parties persevere, and grow, as time pulls them along and they experience not just romantic love, but also brotherhood, fellowship, parenthood, and, ultimately, tragedy.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Sparrow and the Blue Jay
The Sparrow and the Blue Jay

This image becomes particularly important, and is a part of one of the story’s many high points.

I love this story, from its tentative, scared, damaged people, to its criminals, to its hopefulness, to its sorrow. As Lili O’Day says in Fortune, “There is something there.”

Tragedy

Nothing really comes close to Seven Women, when it comes to tragedy.  From the very start, I tell the reader that Tommy Digiono-Madden is going to die. A fireball is coming, the fire door is shut, and he cannot outrun any of it. He knows this is it. But instead of having his life flash before his eyes, Tommy instead thinks of seven pivotal women in his life. They range from the three women he called mother, to his first girlfriend, and more.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seven Women
Seven Women

This was a character I had only written little snippets of, and very few as an adult.  As readers got to know Tommy, so did I. The best decision I made in that story was to not bow to internal pressure to give him a happy ending.

Spoiler alert: he doesn’t get one.

Upshot

The best romance story was easily the hardest of these decisions to make. Tune in; I may do this again next year.