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!
For quite a while, I had had the idea of pitting Will and Lili against each other in an Iron Chef-style competition.
Putting together the prequel idea, pride and the competition brought me directly to this story.
Lili is a new employee on the NX-01, recently hired by Will and so this is after both Voracious and Harvest.
It’s the middle of the Xindi War, and the crew needs a break. Apart from an extra Movie Night, what do you do for entertainment? Hence the idea for a competition was thought up.
I decided the judges would be Jonathan, Malcolm and Jay, thereby prefiguring Lili’s relationship with Malcolm and her connection to Jay, plus her failed connection, during the first E2 alternate timeline, with Jonathan. The food, too, would prefigure some things, including the smoky cumin which is referenced in Temper.
Hoshi and Chip host the event, which is broadcast throughout the ship. The secret ingredient, almonds, must be incorporated into all of the dishes that Lili and Will make. Then the judges anonymously taste and decide, giving points for flavor, originality and presentation. Lili and Brian work well as a team, and poor Preston has a bit of a meltdown. As for Will, well, you know what pride goeth before, right?
I like the frenzied nature of the competition and the details about the work that goes into it. I have watched these kinds of shows more than once, and they continue to amaze me with people’s creativity and risk-taking. Plus, truth be told, it’s a bit of a slam at the Frakes character, given my annoyance with These Are the Voyages. I think it worked out pretty well.
This scene was referred to in Reversal, and in Fortune, but it never really got its due until a Weekly Free Write about chores.
I wanted very much to have a story that starts off as cleaning a kitchen and then, well, what sort of mess is it, anyway?
You don’t want to know.
On November 22nd of 2153, Lili is alone in the NX-01‘s kitchen. She’s panting. The air smells like turkey cooking. She’s got a cast iron skillet in her hands. Reed‘s voice is on the intercom.
And there’s a mess on the wall, and a mess on the floor.
As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that there have been boarding parties on the ship. What is on the floor, and on the wall, are the remains of something sentient. Hayes and Slocum come in. And Lili is still, barely, coherent.
The chef (originally named Paul Mayer – in later fan fiction, he’s named William Slocum) starts preparations for dinner like he would any other day, by deciding that he’ll make roast chicken. This is before Lili O’Day is hired and after time traveler Richard Daniels departs, so his main helper is Preston Jennings. The Xindi War has not yet started, so he has a multitude of assistants.
When he can’t find his assistants anywhere, and he needs a lemon, so he contacts the ship’s first Botanist, Naomi Curtis (Shelby Pike, like Lili, is brought in after the start of the Xindi War). She doesn’t know what’s going on, either, as her own helpers are nowhere to be found. She heads to the kitchen. When the door slides open it’s obvious that the hallways are freezing. And they smell vaguely of rotten eggs.
Without giving away spoilers, the story does prefigure goings on in later stories such as The Mess and Reversal. One thing I do like about the story is that, although it’s really an alien of the week one-off, it does introduce Slocum pretty well, and it also provides the reader with some context about how things were before the Xindi. E. g. the Enterprise was loaded with unnecessary personnel. Replacing Naomi with the more skilled and versatile Shelby makes sense, as does moving Jennings to Navigation and replacing him and anyone else working for Will, with Lili.
As an older story, I can see the holes in the plot and would have emphasized the cooking a lot less.
1 (6 pound) chicken
1 bunch of celery
1 small bag of baby carrots or 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into half lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Paprika to taste
1 lemon, halved
1/2 head garlic
1 medium white onion, quartered, plus 1 onion, sliced in rounds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out. Lay the sliced onion, the carrot and celery on the bottom of a roasting pan. Season the bird all over with paprika, salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic and the quartered onion. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in the roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes.
Turn down the heat to 350 degrees F. and cook for 20 minutes per pound. For a 6 pound chicken, that’s 2 hours.
The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.) Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.
On Ad Astra, there was a weekly prompt about crying. Now, I am not a fan of making my characters cry. It’s not that I don’t – God knows they weep up a storm at times. But for whatever reason, I don’t love writing the specifics of that in fanfiction. I tend to use more euphemistic expressions, such as wet face or red face. I wanted to answer the prompt, but I wanted a kind of back-handed reason for crying that wouldn’t be quite so readily apparent. And of course it came to me – chopping onions. And who better to do that than sous-chef extraordinaire Lili O’Day?
And of course her eyes are tearing and her arms are killing her.
But then Will puts his foot in his mouth, big time. She hasn’t been working with him for that long, and he decides to make conversation. He asks her what her family normally made for Christmas dinner. She mutters something about coquilles St. Jacques grilled or baked, served in their shells with a cream sauce. But she doesn’t tell him anything else.
And Will, like a fool, persists and pushes her. And she has to blurt out that holidays are hurtful, because of the deaths of her parents.
I wanted to honor Lili’s parents and, at the same time, get across that holidays, for a lot of people, are just plain godawful. Plus I wanted a reason for her to be crying. The onions set her off, but it’s the memory – and the Will’s misguided persistence – that really ice it for her.
I think the story came out well, and packs a lot into only 560 words.
I enjoy cooking, and so it was easy for me to center my first big story and big series around a chef. The story is Reversal, the series is In Between Days, and the chef is Lili O’Day.
Furthermore, I needed to have characters who readers could more readily relate to. When you watch Star Trek, or you read about it, some of the characters and their jobs and scenarios are just, well, alien. How many of us are Science Officers? Who pilots, if not a star ship, then at least an airplane? Who is a linguist? These jobs – and jobs like them – do exist, but cooking is close to being universal. Everybody’s got to eat.
Before Chef was revealed to be Jonathan Frakes, I had thought of what it would be like to have someone like Emeril Lagasse in the role. I still think he would have made a better Chef character. Plus maybe it would finally get the bitter taste of the series finale out of my mouth.
Naah. Nothing will.
Lili is not just a chef.
She’s a lot of things, too – a wife (twice in the prime timeline and twice in the E2 alternate), a mother, an operative for Richard Daniels, an informal good will ambassador to the Calafan people, an officer (in the prime timeline, she retires as an Ensign. In the E2 alternate, she has a different outcome) and a friend to people such as Jenny Crossman and, eventually, Pamela Hudson.
Lili also works out well as an expository character. She doesn’t always know what’s going on (after all, she spends most of her time below decks), so she asks the questions that the audience needs to ask.
However, the man had neither a first nor a last name so I have provided him with both. I just liked how the name William Slocum sounded, plus it pays homage to the actor’s much better canon character, Will Riker.
Further to that, he needed a bit of a backstory, so he got an Italian mother and, as a result, an affinity for Italian cooking (his chicken marsala is canon). He also engages in a lot of bluster and his relationships do not work out well at all.
Brian starts out in Security, but moves into Food Service by the end of Reversal.
By the time of Together, he’s working full-time as a sous-chef. And by the time of Fortune, he has become the chef for Malcolm Reed‘s ship, the USS Bluebird. He’s even seen in Equinox; Malcolm confides in him a bit.
He and Lili also help to prepare a special meal for the Federation’s founding species. The Vulcans prepare the soup course (plomeek broth), the Tellarites prepare a main dish and the Andorians provide the dessert. Brian and Lili prepare her Harvest Salad, which she made for Will during the events of Voracious and for Jonathan, Hoshi, T’Pol, Travis, Malcolm, Tripp, Jay, and Dr. Phlox in Harvest.
While this Daranaean is an amateur, she is known as a good cook. In Temptation, she’s the one who suggests making cookies (the Daranaeans refer to them as “little cakes”), and in Flight of the Bluebird, her husband, Trinning, singles her out and compliments her as being “the best cook”.
Harvest Salad Recipe
The Harvest Salad doesn’t really have a set list of ingredients. It’s more like a refrigerator salad, e. g. you make it with whatever you’ve got on hand. But the main ideas are as follows:
It should be colorful. In Fortune, the lettuces are several different colors, and the entire spectrum of the rainbow is evoked.
It should contain fruits and nuts. These can be anything that goes together. Because, in canon, Malcolm loves pineapple, that fruit is always included.
It should be vegan. For Malcolm, who has lactose intolerance, and T’Pol, who is a vegan, this is a must. However, the dressings need not be vegan although a vegan option should be provided.
It can contain a cooked item. In Fortune, the salad contains beets.
For hungry travelers, chefs do more than nourish the body. They are important when it comes to crew morale. In Reflections Down a Corridor, in particular, because morale is slipping, having good food is a must. But chefs are more than purveyors of food. They nourish the spirit.
The character is canon, but rarely seen until the abysmal finale to ENT. He is seen extremely briefly in an episode called The Catwalk and that’s about it, although he’s mentioned a few times. The character has neither a first nor a last name in canon. I selected William Slocum as the first name is homage to Jonathan Frakes‘s Will Riker character (in a much older story, If You Can’t Stand the Heat, the character is named Paul Miller, and he has a nascent romance with another abandoned character, Botanist Naomi Curtis). The surname was just one that I liked.
While I despised TATV (like any good ENT fan, I suppose), I did like the idea of Frakes as Chef. Or, at least, of someone like him. I had always figured that the Chef character would be an older man and, up until the series finale, I had thought of Chef Emeril Lagasse in that role.
In Voracious, he recruits Lili O’Day to come to the NX-01 and work in Food Service. They share some New York style cheesecake which she provides as a professional courtesy. They banter together fairly well, and the feeling should be collegial. In Harvest, he introduces her to the senior staff, including Hoshi Sato, Jay Hayes (it’s also his first day) and Malcolm Reed.
Protocols shows him as being a bit passive-aggressive in his dealings with Lili. And in The Mess, he scolds her a bit when she tries to discard the cast iron skillet, until he figures out why it’s dirty. By the time of Onions, though, Will has shown that he can sometimes be truly insensitive.
In the first three E2 stories (the first of two kicks back in time), Will is somewhat arrogant and pushy. He makes a play for Lili and she rejects him. He is stunned by this and tells her that no one will love her (he’s wrong, of course). He ends up with Patti Socorro, the only other unclaimed woman, but he’s dissatisfied. By the time of the fourth E2 story, he’s looking for an upgrade. But he remains arrogant, and suffers a terrible end which particularly shocks Lili and, to a lesser extent, Patti.
This is not really a love match despite Will’s best efforts. But Will’s best isn’t much. He simply does not want to try too hard. They never have children, and the Will of the second kick back in time never marries so, for him, both instances of E2 are reproductive dead ends.
“Now you wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute! For the most part, you’ve done nothing but act like a spoiled brat! It makes me wonder how or why they even bothered to take you in the MACOs!”
Perhaps it’s residual resentment about TATV, but I suppose I’ve given this character more than his fair share of bad times and poor decisions.
Protocols was written in response to a prompt about arts and crafts, and covers a small missing scene from the third season of ENT. Namely, it’s the celebration of Captain
Archer‘s birthday. As a result, it was meant to be a bit of a contrast to the ENT canon Silent Enemy episode, wherein the executive staff celebrates Malcolm Reed‘s birthday. Because the Xindi war is raging, I wanted it to be different.
For Lili to ply her trade as a combination sous-chef, pastry chef and saucier, she needs to be able to expertly handle a pastry bag and tip. Although art runs in her family (in Fortune, she reveals that her mother was a potter), Lili isn’t meant to be a fine artist. Therefore, she traces the image of a shuttle, and of Captain Archer, onto the top of the cake by projecting an image with her PADD and then following along with icing.
Lili makes one big error by writing out Happy Birthday, Jonathan! instead of Happy Birthday, Captain Archer!Chef Slocum points this out to her, but it’s too late to fix it. Slocum tells her that Archer has been in a foul mood ever since the Loque’eque virus (from the canon Star Trek: Enterprise episode Extinction). A little apprehensive, she serves the birthday dinner, and then the dessert, which is a strawberry shortcake. She has chosen strawberry because, unlike in Silent Enemy, she has been taking note of the food preferences of the executive staff. If strawberry isn’t Jonathan Archer‘s favorite, it’s probably close enough. In Local Flavor, Travis comments that he’s going to miss her strawberry shortcake.
After the cake is cut and the dinner is over, the captain approaches her. Lili immediately apologizes for being overly familiar and not following proper protocols. But the captain sees things differently, and urges her to make the same cake, with the same greeting on it, the following year, assuming they make it out of the Xindi war alive.
I like how the story flowed, from Lili’s task to Will Slocum scolding her, to the dinner (which includes referencing to the canon conflict between Malcolm Reed and Jay Hayes) to the short post-dinner conversation. I’m very happy with how this ficlet turned out.
Voracious grew out of a Star Trek fanfiction idea to not only give Lili O’Day a little more backstory and fill in a blank in her life, but also as a response to a prompt about making a good impression.
Chef William Slocum has been charged by Captain Archer to replace three people – a sous-chef, a pastry chef and a saucier. Plus, for his own preferences, Will doesn’t want to be fetching and carrying. He’d rather not be cleaning off tables or serving food. His current steward, Preston Jennings (seen in More, More, More!) had been the replacement for Daniels and has been moved over to Navigation. Furthermore, Will can’t just ask Preston to drop everything and serve food all the time, as the Xindi war has just started.
Will has a free evening on Earth and takes a cab to a new fusion place that had received a good review prior to the attack on Earth. Voracious is in San Mateo. The meal begins with Will asking the server what’s good. She recommends two of Lili’s specialties – the Harvest Salad and the Duck Burger. The Harvest Salad is mentioned in both Reversal and Fortune. The Duck Burger gets a shout-out in Together. Will decides to have both, plus a glass of the house Shiraz.
He ends up loving the salad and its orange vinaigrette dressing (a reference to the later importance of oranges in Reversal and Fortune) and asks to meet the chef. The server arranges it and Will heads to the kitchen.
Lili is tasked with not only cooking, chopping and making sauces, but also cleaning up. She barely notices him as he comes in, and has him put a carton of blueberries away (blueberries will become important in the E2 stories). And so already Will is able to check off two of his requirements – saucier and sous-chef, and probably also table-cleaner. When she offers him some of the New York-style cheesecake she’s made that day – and complains about having to also balance the books on top of everything else she’s had to do – he is sold. At the end of the story, all they have to work out are the details.
I like the way it turned out and I think it provides a decent introduction to In Between Days. For a while there, it was the first story in that series because it fully takes place in 2153, as opposed to Paving Stones, which has a flashback to 2109 but mainly takes place later. I also like how Lili, who is a major character in the series, is barely seen. She’s the ghost of later, seen through the eyes of Chef.