A lesson in history, and in how time travel can change it.
For a prompt about a lesson, I took the matter quite literally and went with Eleanor Daniels lecturing. I was pleased to be able to dovetail the story well with Rick meeting Tina and the Temper story beginning.
Furthermore, Eleanor’s lecture includes information on the Empress Hoshi Sato‘s children and their putative and known fathers. For Eleanor, this is a bit of information that she has to get across as a part of her job. However, for Rick, it’s real life, and yet another reminder of his son, Jun.
In addition, there is a sly allusion to Tina April. This happens because she is Eleanor’s friend, and Eleanor introduces her to Richard. Furthermore, we see the same kids mentioned in First Born and, possibly, Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain. And usually when Eleanor lectures (at least, in print), history changes. However, this story is one of the few times when that does not happen. Hence history is secure, more or less, during the events of this story.
For a small story, I think it works pretty well. Here is the part where, if a reader has not yet read through Temper, the story provides an entrée into that aspect of the overall timeline. If the reader has read Temper, then the story slides the reader more or less directly into A Long, Long Time Ago. And I love how neatly and easily it does that.
Linfep Linfep what? They are a lot like rabbits. Hence the title, and the subject matter. Once again, a play on words saves the day.
I can’t recall the prompt for this one, but it was the first day of the month. This made for a good bit of backhanded inspiration.
I decided on a play on “Rabbit rabbit rabbit.” On Lafa II, linfep are the closest thing. Hence the story was not only about near-rabbits, but also about what rabbits do best.
It’s the first of the month, and so Lili mutters the phrase as her kids get her up way too early and she stumbles in the general direction of the coffee.
She has been tasked with taking care of all five children as Malcolm is defending the Neutral Zone (so Declan is around). Melissa and Norri are on Earth for an occasion, and so Tommy and Neil are staying over. Doug is working with his recruits. Of course Doug and Lili’s two children together, Joss and Marie Patrice are there as they live there.
Lili and the kids all notice a number of linfep scampering around the yard, and she realizes they are going to get holes in the yard. She asks Doug to bring home tofflin leaves when he comes back, as those repel the cute but destructive invaders.
Then the kids notice that two of the linfep are ‘telling secrets’.
Pairs. They can refer to playing cards and couples, and this little story touches on both as a play on words and for a little bit of humor. In response to a Star Trekfanfiction prompt about losing, I wanted to write a story about a losing poker hand that, instead, ends up being a winner.
It’s maybe a year after the end of Fortune, and Treve has taken Pamela home after a date. They have been going out for a good year. She’s been a bit pushy about getting physical, but he’s been pulling back. As of the time of Saturn Rise, they have exchanged ‘I love yous’.
This is the first time that Treve has actually gone into Pamela’s new apartment on Lafa II. She’s immigrated there, partly to be near her elderly uncle, Doctor Cyril Morgan, and partly to be near Treve.
They’re a little drunk, and there are playing cards on the table. Pamela suggests a game of strip poker. Since Treve has no real idea of how to play, she feigns losing and, as a result, gets her man. Treve certainly does not object to this!
There is no reason whatsoever to assume that human-alien sexual relations will go smoothly, particularly not the first time. Couple this with the fact that Treve is a virgin, and Calafan men can swell up after climax, and the scene naturally turned to the parties becoming a bit stuck.
Already, things are weird.
At the same time, Treve is the first boyfriend Pamela has ever had where she’s waited. He’s also the first man she has ever loved (she did not love Malcolm when they dated in Intoleranceand met again in Together. She was mature enough to never say it back to Malcolm), and he ends up being the only man she ever loves. He is everything to her, and the feeling is mutual.
Her earlier experiences have been different. They’ve been brief and unfeeling, and often laced with some S & M and B & D. She’s got a wild side. And now things are changing, and wholly for the better.
This short story was written in response to a sex scene prompt, and it was great fun to imagine it and put it on paper. This is one piece of Pamela’s happy ending, and I was glad to write it. For this character with a difficult early life, alien-human sex and its aftermath are the least of her many complications.
First of all, the Trek BBS held a Star Trek fanfiction challenge called “Out of Uniform“. So the idea was to show people not in typical starship settings. I seized upon the opportunity to show Lili and Doug first moving to Lafa II. Hence this is the morning after the end of Reversal; Local Flavor is the very beginning of “happily ever after”.
Travis flies Doug and Lili to the surface. Also, he makes a point of telling Lili that Captain Archer and Malcolm both expressed regrets at not being able to personally see her off. For the captain, it’s because he was busy with other duties. However for Malcolm, it’s because he’s beginning to realize that he cares for her. But he can’t say anything; she’s off to marry someone else. As he confides to her in Together, her life is just zooming along and away from him, and he can’t do anything to stop it.
Upon landing, they are picked up by Treve, who drives them to their new apartment, which is later seen in A Kind of Blue and The Gift. On the way, Doug asks about changing his surname. Treve reiterates that Calafans don’t have last names, so the only people on Lafa II who would care are him and Lili. Doug ends up simply declaring his new surname to be Beckett.
They see the apartment and then the action moves to an open-air market, where a number of Calafan delicacies are to be had, including linfep, tofflin and elekai. Even prako (procul) show up, but they are too expensive, as they have been brought to the market by Eska hunters, from Archer’s Planet (in my fan fiction, during the E2 stories, that world is called Amity). Plus the idea of the Calafans always being on the make comes out, as does Doug’s temper. Even some of the alien gesturing is explained, and the cake made at the end has a blueberry filling. Because that is a shoutout to my portrayal of Jay Hayes as loving blueberries.
A lot happens in a short amount of time. Doug and Lili are exposed to Calafan society through a fire hose. And the reader, in some ways, gets that same sort of treatment. In some ways, this story is like another “elevator pitch” tale (like The Light). This is because it serves as an introduction to a lot of disparate aspects of my universe.
In Reversal, I establish that Lili O’Day‘s favorite color is blue. Reversal also, happily, ends up with Doug and Lili more or less riding off into the sunset.
At least, that was the original idea.
But then came the fanfiction prequels and the sequels.
Bridge Stories and Prequels
Reversal is a prequel to A Kind of Blue, but so is Local Flavor, which begins Doug and Lili’s life on Lafa II and begins to establish some of the background. That is, they are new on Lafa II, their only friends are Treve and his family, and they barely have two nickels to rub together. All of this is played out against the backdrop of being the only humans in the entire Lafa System. Plus the Calafans all seem to be on the make.
This story came about in response to a challenge to write a happy story. So I went with the color as an indicator of sadness but, also, of far different things. For Lili, the first indicator is this one. And it works with the stories. This is because one of the bits of information from Reversal is that Doug is powerful enough that he’s probably going to be able to get by her birth control.
What is also established is that she’d need to have surgery, and have the operation known as The O’Day Reversal put back in order to be able to successfully carry a fetus to term. With Lili pregnant (and experiencing wicked morning sickness), the first stop is Doctor Miva‘s office, but before they can go anywhere, Doug drops the stick on the floor of their apartment. He suddenly realizes he’s on bended knee, so he proposes.
The remainder of the story is the surgery and then their wedding, which includes Calafan wedding vows and surprise rings purchased by Doug.
The story is rated K.
With a wedding and a baby come other responsibilities. But there’s still time to visit friends in Friday Visit, and Pacing and The Gift both advance the Becketts’ lives together even more.
In addition, the new restaurant, Reversal, opens up. Lili and Doug can barely look up, and there is no time to do renovations and put in a bigger and more modern stove until the couple depart for a vacation to Oberon for Jenny and Frank‘s wedding, which Lili will cater (Together).
When I first started writing Reversal, I was beginning to come to grips with my own aging process. It’s inevitable – you begin to see yourself as not being so young anymore.
Enter the Calafans.
Described as being near both Klingon and Andorian space, the Lafa System is strategic to the nascent Federation. However, there’s more there than meets the eye, for the entire species is psionically gifted, and the region sits where the membrane between our universe and the mirror is at its thinnest.
The system is composed of four stars. In order from lightest to darkest, and largest to smallest, they are Lo, Abic, Fep and Ub. In the mirror, the largest star is red and is named Ub, whereas in our universe the largest star is white and is named Lo. Because both the largest (Lo in our universe, Ub in the mirror) and second-largest (Abic in our universe, Fep in the mirror) stars have planetary systems, and their orbits cross at various points, the numbering system cannot go from closest to a star to farthest away (by that logic, in our universe, Mercury would be Sol I and Earth would be Sol III, etc.). Instead, the planets are numbered in size order, from largest to smallest. There are twelve planets.
Lafa I is a gas giant close to the four stars and, much like our Jupiter, is very nearly a failed star. It is close to Lo and within the orbits of Abic, Fep and Ub. Therefore, the radiation levels are far too high to sustain life.
All of the other eleven planets are habitable.
The most important of the planets, Lafa II is the original home of the Calafan people. It is where Fep City and Point Abic are. This planet orbits outside of the four stars so, once they have all set, there is a true night. Elekai are native, and live on the southern hemisphere. Linfep are also native to this planet.
The Temporal Museum is eventually built here, and the Museum also owns land, which includes Doug and Lili‘s original home.
In Fortune, it’s revealed that there is an Unemployment Office here, staffed by Calafans.
Olowa grows here. It is within the orbits of Fep and Ub so there is no true night on the planet.
There are factories here, and the people speak with an accent that resembles an Irish brogue (Fortune, Local Flavor). It is the most remote planet in the entire system.
This is a smaller planet. Doug and Lili are trying to grow Mediterranean foods on it (olives, figs, etc.). There is a nude beach here.
On this small planet in the Lafa System, Melissa and Doug hunt and bring down a perrazin (Temper). Linfep live here, but they were likely brought there from Lafa II.
The Calafans feel that their four stars correspond to four gods. Lo and Ub are goddesses in both universes, whereas Abic and Fep are gods. According to the mythology of both universes, the passage between the universes started out as being free and clear, and Lo and Abic married, as did Fep and Ub, but the couples were all unfaithful. As a result, Lo bore Fep’s child and Ub bore Abic’s. For their second children, paternity was secured. Then the children intermarried, so that generation married its own half-siblings, making this mythology somewhat akin to ancient Greek or Egyptian texts.
Furthermore, the species was beginning to experience a very real scientific event known as speciation. That is, there had been a mutation. For the Calafans, it showed up as differing skin color. The species was diverging. Hence the leaders (e. g. the four main persons) decided to erect a barrier between the two universes. Families were split apart. The feel should be very much like the Berlin Wall or the two Koreas. Silver Calafans stayed in our universe; copper ones went to the mirror.
Aging and Maturation Process
Calafan aging is the reverse of our own. Children of both genders are born completely bald, and stay that way until about their thirties, when they begin to sprout hair. In addition, their extremities are solid-colored. However, as they age, the color begins to break down, eventually to a complicated scrollwork pattern that is as individual as a fingerprint. When a Calafan is thoroughly devoid of extremity coloration (known as calloo), death is near.
Dreams and Psionic Abilities
Since everyone is gifted – and the dishes on Point Abic amplify the psionic waves – dreams are shared, not only between dreamers but crossing the universes. This is, of course, how Doug and Lili meet. For Calafans, it is common and, as a result, their relationships with persons from the other side are condoned. Their marriage vows even take it into account (A Kind of Blue).
While I haven’t created a full-on language for the Calafans, I have created a lot of words, such as miva (clay), fep (small) and the yi- prefix, which means “student of”.
Calafans do not have surnames; hence, the first names must be requested as they cannot repeat. Names are considered to be meaningful and parents are cautioned to choose wisely. However, there are names that are jokes. If parents name their son Fepwev, it means “master of the small”. This can mean teacher or microbiologist, but it can also be construed as being “master of very little”, e. g. mastery of a very small domain.
Many male names include the -wev suffix (master of) whereas female names often contain the yi- prefix. However, sexism is not the intention.
Because I establish first contact as occurring in 2157 (although first contact between Calafans and Vulcans, Klingons and Ferengi – and possibly also Andorians – has occurred earlier), the Calafans aren’t officially present earlier than that. However, Jonathan spots a woman who turns out to be Calafan while on Risa (And the Livin’ is Easy). In the E2 stories, a Calafan runs a way station where Imvari bring slaves to the Orion market. But in both instances, the encounters are fleeting and the name of the species is not mentioned.
For a species that was originally intended to be something of a villain, I ended up with more and better opportunities to showcase the Calafans and define their culture. There will be more written about them, I am sure, as I continue to get to know them.
This story was originally written as a response to a prompt about the seasons. I had already written a story about winter, called A Hazy Shade. That one was somewhat depressing. I wanted something cheerier, so I thought of the summertime, and so And the Livin’ is Easy was born.
There are two women in his sights. They are chatting together, but are not on Risa together on vacation. Rather, it’s more like they met there and got along so they are doing a little quick touring together.
In the canon Star Trek: Enterprise episode, Archer refers to a boat ride where fish are caught and cooked for you right there. Since that boat ride is never seen, I seized the opportunity to show it. He is on a bench and the two women are nearby, chatting. One is a Trill, but not named. This is not meant to be a first contact or canon-busting story at all. The other is a Calafan, recognizable from my Star Trek fanfiction as she has silvery scrollwork on her arms and speaks with an Irish brogue.
Jonathan speaks with them and asks them to show him around, but unfortunately they tell him they are leaving the following day.
Reversal got its name on a lark. I hadn’t written Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction in quite a while.
So I was, in all honesty, spinning it out from nothing. I had nearly no plan for the story, no outline and at first I wasn’t even saving it to Word. And so, when I was saving the first post, the topic had to have a name. On an impulse, I named it Reversal.
And the title proved to be perfect.
I had a dream. No, not like Martin Luther King!
It was a rather earthy dream, truth be told. And it was about a character on Enterprise. And I woke up, thinking – there’s a story there.
From such beginnings, I developed an idea. The septum between the Prime Universe and the Mirror would be thinner at one particular point in the galaxy. This was in parallel to the reality of the Earth’s crust. It is not uniform. Hence I wanted the separation to not be of uniform thickness/difficulty in crossing.
Bare Bones Story Line
The idea was for it to be possible to cross the boundary between the Prime Universe and the mirror through the dream state. The concept was that, for a certain species, the connections would be normal. And then, as the NX-01 Enterprise on our side, and the ISS Defiant on the other, enter that same system, the psionically charged atmosphere would cause two people to simultaneously start to pick up on that same wavelength. But for them, it would be a romance.
It starts off with a bang. The first line is – It didn’t hurt. I love this opening line, as the reader should immediately be thinking – what? What didn’t hurt? Was it supposed to? And then the story moves along from there. The first dream is a coupling dream, where a fantasy plays out in what seems to be a normal Freudian fashion. People kiss, their clothes fly away and of course more happens. It’s pitch black. They remain silent, although they can hear each other breathing. But then the heroine – Lili O’Day – breaks the spell by incoherently calling out loud.
And so we’re off to the races, for the next two scenes shift from her and her roommate in our universe to her fellow and his roommate – a woman – in the mirror. We know Lili’s name, but not the guy’s. He’s just referred to – and rather pejoratively at that – as the old man. His name is kept out of the first few chapters as he is a counterpart to a canon character.
Clues abound and some come from the characters’ speaking whereas others come from Lili talking in her sleep or references from the twin surfaces. Something is going on, in both universes. There is more happening than just the dreams.
From the beginning, I wanted the story to have symbolic meanings. For the title, the first half of the word, rêve, is French for dream. This also works as the second half symbolizes waking life. Plus there is the word itself and its connotations of reinvention and retrograde changes.
Other symbols abound. After the first dream, Lili – who is the sous-chef on the Enterprise – is ordered to make every meal with oranges for one day. When she goes to sleep that night, she reeks of oranges, and it’s the first word that her fellow says to her. So, not only can he smell her, but there is also what oranges kind of mean. They are of course different from apples (and apples connote temptation and the fall from purity). Oranges, I felt would symbolize sunshine and happiness, and warmth and light.
Another symbol or rather symbols is the quadruple star system. The largest star is a white giant named Lo, which should make the reader think of the phrase lo and behold. The second-largest star is a yellow medium-size star like the sun. It’s Abic (Ay-bick), a bit like abba, the Hebrew word for father. The third star is a small orange star, Fep. The smallest one is a red dwarf (yes, it’s a shout out to that TV series) called Ub. Hoshi herself explains that there are value judgments behind the names – Lo is for goodness, Abic is secondary, Fep is small and Ub is sinister.
The five main books in the In Between Days series are each about one of the five main characters (Pamela Hudson is essentially the sixth main character, but she isn’t connected with any book as well as she is with Intolerance). Reversal is, essentially, about Lili. From learning about the fire that killed her parents, to getting to know her as a chef, a lover and a friend, to even peeking at her finances, Lili is all over most of the pages, particularly in the dream sequences and the Prime Universe scenes. This is Lili’s tale.
It’s just the gift that keeps on giving; it’s so incredibly dense with plot. I am grateful to have such a pond to fish in. Apparently readers have agreed; on various platforms, it has racked up over 500,000 total reads.
Aliens have to eat, and they don’t just eat meat, at least, not my aliens.
The Calafans needed something to chow down on. But what?
History and Use in Plots
I first put olowa – and it didn’t have a name yet – into a dining table scene of Calafans, in Reversal. The idea was not to showcase the food (it was just referred to as a large purple vegetable) but, rather, to showcase that the Calafans were familiar with knives and forks. This is to counter an earlier scene, where Treve and Chawev are asked to dinner on the NX-01. In an earlier scene, Treve expresses an unfamiliarity with forks, so Lili shows him how to use one. Yet in the later scene, his younger sister, Yimar, is shown using a knife and fork to cut up the aforementioned vegetable for her younger brother, Chelben.
It isn’t until Together that olowa is actually tasted by humans and referred to by name. Olowa (pronounced: OH-luh-wah or OH-luh-wuh) grows in the Lafa System. Lili describes it as follows –
“That is an olowa. Or, rather, it’s bits of a bunch of them. It’s a vegetable that grows on Lafa IV. Now, the interesting thing about olowa is, as it matures, it petrifies and turns to stone. It also lightens from deep purple to, eventually, kind of an ash grey. You can’t eat it then; you’ll break a tooth. So what you’ve got here is a salad made from olowa at different stages of maturity. If anything feels too hard, all I can say is, don’t eat it. I won’t be offended.”
The olowa goes through various flavors as it changes in color, from a sweet pear-like flavor, to a spicy flavor, then eventually to a fatty texture and flavor somewhat like peanuts.
In Temper, it’s revealed that perrazin will eat olowa and, while hunting, Melissa climbs an olowa tree in order to escape a herd of charging perrazin. To distract them from going after Doug, she plucks an olowa and throws it as far away from him as possible, and a few of the animals run that way.
In another scene, a very young child, beginning to be introduced to solid foods, gets a little sweet immature olowa mixed in with other soft foods.
In Fortune, olowa are mentioned in a lot of off-handed ways. Olowa paste is sent aboard Malcolm‘s ship as a treat, to be used by the Chef in pies. Declan also paints and draws olowa as a part of still life studies for his art classes. At Lili and Doug’s home, there is a spreading olowa tree, and it’s comfortable to sit under there and nap during a warm afternoon.
Olowa even crossed over to my first story taking place in the JJ Abrams universe. In Release, Eriecho and Saddik are tempted by the Commandant with pieces of olowa, but Saddik notices that it’s been artificially ripened. Still, it’s better than what they’ve been given for years, so he practically swallows his portion whole. Their olowa is going spicy in flavor.
Someday, when we have made friends with other species, we’ll find ourselves eating their local foods. Plants will probably be a lot easier for us to take than meats. A vegetable like olowa would be particularly pleasant – so long as it wasn’t petrified.