Fear is one of the most important motivators for any person. Furthermore, in this very short story, it is used to get two rather disparate people to connect.
During the E2 timeline and more specifically during the events of The Three of Us, Lili is required to take a shuttle flight test. While the pretense for this is a need for the characters to cross-train, my true motivation was to get Lili alone for a moment and then get her and Jay alone in order to have the Imvari capture them.
As a result, this little scene is necessary. Travis tests Lili on how to fly a shuttle. And she fails. Hence the scene accomplishes its task. But I wanted more, so I made it about Lili’s fears. Furthermore, I was able to make it about Travis and him missing his family.
Cough? It seems such an unpromising word. Yet there was a call for a drabble with this word as its title. Hence I decided to revisit Penicillin. And my idea was to write a far shorter version of the same story. So this was to get it in front of a different readership.
When Lili sees Jay coughing in the hallway of the NX-01, he quickly covers it up. But she realizes he is sick and so she makes some chicken soup to treat his symptoms.
But there’s just one catch for Jay. Lili wants payment. And her payment isn’t in the form of money. Instead, it’s for him to smile more. While he agrees to do so, there is a slight difference between Cough and Penicillin. Unlike in the longer story, Jay briefly turns out his pockets. I feel it’s a nice little touch which gives him some personality, e. g. that he’s in a bit of a joking mood despite them being at war, and foreshadows the relaxed loving relationship they will have.
Drabbles are tiny and they often suffer because of that. And this one is no exception. So while I love the Penicillin story (and it turned out to be a linchin in the E2 storyline), the drabble version just plain isn’t as good. Therefore, there’s just no chicken meat on those bare bones.
However, the readers did like the story. Hayes is an enigma, even to his creators and to his actor. Hence I feel any insight into his character is generally going to be welcome. Otherwise, he is simply a cipher.
As a holiday gift, I decided to put together a number of disparate characters. Since these are characters of my own invention, I could and did have them say nearly anything. The idea would be to act as a kind of helpful team but with the same quirkiness a reader might have come to expect.
Six characters land in some odd place. And for sharp-eyed readers, they might recognize a similarity to The Puzzle. This was deliberate, as I wanted a storyline similar to Travis‘s. Furthermore, I have far better writing skills than I did then. Hence I felt this would be a better story, and I believe that to be the case.
When Jay and Lili (in the prime timeline), Dratha, Eriecho, Levi, and Branch land, they have no idea what is in store for them. Because this takes place more or less right after Penicillin, Jay is still rather gruff but he’s trying. For Levi and Branch, this is later in their timelines. Eriecho is already on Mars. And Dratha’s husband, Arnis, is already incarcerated.
The characters then proceed to help out ten characters created by others. The first is kes7’s John Quigley, who gets help (sort of) in his love triangle. Then Bethany Reeves (trekfan’s character) is up, and the characters talk to her about her parents separating in one of the few serious vignettes. The next caller is Jessica St. Peter (Templar Sora’s character), and the so-called experts kind of, sort of, help her with asserting authority.
Not So Serious Help
For Andrew Corrigan (SLWalker’s character), it’s all about how to spend his first date with Abby (I managed to get in a sushi as bait joke). Aurellan Markalis (Enterprise1981’s character) also has a problem with a date but it was probably, the advisers agree, for the best that it ended early. Srena (CeJay’s character) comes up next. She is told how to create a calming ritual to help her get to sleep at night.
Then Jasto Dax (CaptainSarine’s character) calls. While most of the group doesn’t even know what a Trill is, Dratha provides good information about how to essentially pick your battles. She tells him not to answer every single summons. The next caller is Dr. Veronica West (thebluesman’s character); she learns she should become more creative. Then Spock calls (while this is a canon character, the gift was for littleblackdog) about a canon situation, the end of the TOS episode, Requiem for Methuselah. The last caller is Emmylou Galyaski (FalseBill’s character). She talks about mourning her late husband and, in their own odd ways, the so-called experts help, at least a bit.
Then it’s time to leave. Dratha volunteers to go first as it looks dangerous. Eriecho leaves next. Jay and Lili leave together and she touches his arm. Then Branch and Levi depart, and the following graffiti is shown:
As the last of the reluctant travelers/advisors departs, the room disappears and is swallowed into the vast vacuum of space, leaving but one final thought.
Happy holidays across all galaxies, all timelines, all universes and all realities.
Dear Naurr – Can I help you with cooking? I’m willing to help. Let me know. – Lili
Dear Naurr, Dear Lili Background
After seeing Naurr the CajunCaitian chef for the first time, I was hooked. The best part about him, to my mind, beyond the fact that he was a walking mass of malapropisms and weird immigrant-style unfounded assumptions, was that he was native to the ENT time frame.
That meant he was alive at the same time as Lili. I hit upon the idea of Lili giving him a little friendly advice. I had already answered the letters from home prompt, but I gave it another go and this one proved to be just as satisfying albeit rather different.
On February 17, 2158, Lili gives a little advice to a new chef.
Married to Doug and pregnant with Joss, not to mention opening up Reversal on Lafa II, Lili is one busy lady. But she needs to confide a bit in someone. Treve, her business partner, has a friendly ear but he is not a chef. Lili needed someone who could more or less understand about recipes. This person would also understand some of her cooking frustrations.
Further, the story provided an opportunity to revisit a favorite time period, where Doug and Lili are newlyweds and it is before Malcolm and the beginning of the open marriage and what they, along with Melissa and Norri, refer to as the arrangement. Sometimes, it’s good to just write a far simpler relationship scheme.
As a follow up to Dear Naurr, Dear Lili and to provide a holiday gift for Naurr’s creator, False Bill, I wrote this trifling bit of silliness.
The Cajun Caitian chef would be a hero, fighting off Romulans invaders in a boarding party. In keeping with canon, Naurr could not see them, so I have him hit over the head. Hence he will not have much of a memory of, well, anything afterwards.
This works fine for my purposes and adds to the fun. Given the head injury and Naurr’s propensity for malapropisms, no one can figure out where the bomb supposedly is. Naurr is going to get a medal for this, for sure.
So long as the ship, the Ariane, isn’t blown to smithereens.
Oops. That would be bad.
On June 3rd, 2158, Naurr makes a bombe glacee and fools a mysterious boarding party into believing it’s an actual bomb.
A big part of the joke is just waiting for the joke to happen. I also had some fun adding two characters of my own to the story. One is the doctor, Bernardine Keating-Fong. Sharp-eyed readers will recall her as the instructor in Intolerance. Plus there is a guy set to defuse the so-called ‘bomb’, Tim Randall. Think back, alert readers! Tim, in the Mirror Universe, is one of Doug’s kills.
The story is cute and silly. The fun part is not so much the punchline as that is rather obvious. It’s more that the reader does not know just when the punch line is going to happen. I enjoyed writing this one very much! Viva Naurr!
In Fortune, I established that Tommy Digiorno-Madden dies in the service of his captain. In Seven Women, I show exactly how that happens.
The story (which was written as a one a day ficlet challenge) opens with Tommy making it clear that there is a fireball coming, and it’s got his name on it.
The fire door is closed, he’s trapped, and there is no getting out of this one. Except he says this with no fear, no regrets, and no sorrow. It is just a simple fact. Since he sees his fate, he knows he is about to die.
In order to pass what little time he has left, he has visions. But he does not see his life pass before his eyes. Rather, he sees seven influential women from his life.
The first woman he remembers, naturally, is his mother, Melissa Madden. As he talks about her in the initial chapter, and he mentions her descent into Irumodic Syndrome dementia, he mentions Doug Beckett, too. While he recognizes that his half-brother, Joss, looks the most like Doug, it is he, Tommy, who is the most like their shared father. Because Tommy is a soldier.
The second woman he recalls is Norri, who he reveals he had a crush on. He remembers her teaching him to read and that, at her death, she said she saw a bridge and the doomed Kevin. And then he reveals that he’s seeing Kevin, too, and feels the brother who never had a chance is somehow there for him and is acting as a kind of spirit guide.
His next memory is of Cindy Morgan, who he reveals (this was my own first inkling of this) was his first girlfriend. Unlike Joss and Jia, they did not work out.
Takara Masterson Sato
Fourth on his list is Takara Masterson Sato Tucker. In Fortune, I established that they made dream contact as children, but didn’t know if they had pursued it after that. However, the character spoke to me, and so dreaming with Takara became something that Tommy had done for his entire life.
Then his next revelation is about Lili O’Day, and he remembers her not only as Doug’s wife, but also her singing Arroz con Leche to him (a scene from Temper) and making empanadas, a detail that is also from Temper.
The sixth woman is his old boss, Erika Hernandez. While Tommy is too young for Flight of the Bluebird, he is definitely there with Erika during later voyages, and is probably a part of patrolling the Neutral Zone.
The Last Woman
I won’t reveal the seventh woman. So you’ll just have to see for yourself.