Tag Archives: Declan Reed

Review – Faith

Review – Faith

Faith is an exceedingly personal thing, and not just for us real people. It is for characters, as well.

Background

This story was written in response to a week-long series of seven prompts. I had wanted to explore Declan and his later life and his conversion to Judaism, and then when the first prompt was ‘in the beginning’, the telling became easier and almost imperative.

I firmly believe that ‘Faith of the Heart’ means all faiths (even questioning and the absence of same), and also all hearts. This story brings those two ideas together.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | Faith
Later Days

Declan Reed‘s conversion to Judaism, and his relationship with Rebecca Shapiro, are explored in depth. Along the way, I also touched on his relationship with Norri Digiorno, Joss Beckett and Jia Sulu, Neil Digiorno-Madden and Ines Ramirez, Marie Patrice Beckett, and Tommy Digiorno-Madden.

Declan asks for advice, he learns Hebrew, and he eventually participates in the rituals of conversion. He also spends time with the family and with Rebecca, who shows that she is just as ready, willing, and able to commit as he is. He even contacts his nasty ex-wife, Louise Schiller to tell her that he’s remarrying. A glimpse at Louise reveals a selfish, self-centered individual. In many ways, Louise is Pamela Hudson but without a heart. She ends up being very hard to take.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I like how the rather disparate prompts were able to come together into a whole. I got to know a bit more about Louise Schiller, too, who I had only shown as a child before, in Saturn Rise. The story gave me the opportunity to see her more clearly, too.

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Review – Education

Review – Education

Education is the cornerstone of our lives. It was a sweet little piece to write. I enjoyed giving a little unexpected learning to someone who might not have necessarily gotten much if her life had gone the usual way. But life did not turn out that way, and so things were improved. Inta‘s dream starts to come true, but with a slight complication.

Background

For a prompt of the same name, I decided to revisit the Daranaeans. More specifically, I wanted to go back to Inta and to write a direct sequel to Confidence. In that story, she starts at Oxford. But what happens next? Surely something is going to happen to our favorite sentient marsupial canid artist.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta | Education
Baby Inta, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

So on September 10, 2182, Inta’s Oxford education offers many new experiences.

With that as my idea, I decided to provide Inta with quite the memorable experience – she would have to sketch a nude man. For a girl who has led a rather sheltered life, and must, under the rules of her society, remain impeccably virginal until marriage (when she is bought and sold), the circumstances would be strange, exciting, educational, and maybe a little frightening.

I made sure to give her a far more eager classmate, too, who would speak up for Inta’s cultural sensitivities. However, that girl would also be a lot more interested in sketching ‘it’.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

In order to believably bring this visual artist to the fore, she needed to do a few things outside of her comfort zone. This absolutely was, but in the process, she makes a few new friends.

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Review – If I Could See

Review – If I Could See

If I could see … what?

Background

In 2175, Doug tells Declan to follow his dreams and go to art school, and works behind the scenes to make that happen. And this is incredibly important for Doug, as (a) Declan is not his child and (b) Doug has a lot of trouble truly appreciating the arts.

Plot

I had followed some of the other grown or nearly-grown children but Declan, the one who doesn’t quite go with the matched set, had proven a bit elusive.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | If I Could See
Later Days

Plus there was the question of how well he and Doug would fit in together. After all, to raise the child your wife has had with another man, well, that’s got to be odd to Doug at times, if he thinks about it or looks at it too closely.

But Doug has embraced Declan as more or less one of his own. The unspoken assumption is that, if Malcolm dies in action, that no one will have to worry about Declan.

When Declan thinks he needs to sacrifice his dreams for what feels like an impending war effort, it’s Doug who steers him back to the right path.

Music

This story was inspired by the Crash Test Dummies’ song, “When I Go Out With Artists”.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

For a small story that wasn’t really planned, I like how this one says perhaps more about Doug and Declan’s relationship (and, by extension, Doug and Malcolm’s, and even Doug and Lili‘s) than anything else I have ever written.

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Review – All You Need is Love

Review – All You Need is Love

All You Need is Love is about the aftermath of a very special first birthday party, in October of 2162.

All You Need is Love Background

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | IBD Arrangement | All You Need is Love
In Between Days, the Arrangement

Plot

For Malcolm Reed who, in canon, never had a family and was never close to anyone, I wanted to fix that in my Star Trek fan fiction. In Temper, and then again in Fortune, I had already established that Lili O’Day Beckett would have his only child, Declan.

Review – All You Need is Love
wall painting of the Beatles Story museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Declan, who is born on Halloween, lives on Lafa II with his mother and her husband, Doug Beckett. But Doug is generous (it is an open marriage) and so Malcolm, when he is on three years of paternity leave (and afterwards, as he purchases the place) lives in a house up a little rise from the Beckett house. There are a lot of visits as such a little baby needs to nurse. The arrangement is such that Doug and Lili will have Declan live with them and their two children together, Joss and Marie Patrice.  Malcolm is well aware of just how much he owes them, particularly Doug. Doug is pretty gracious about things, particularly considering the violent and jealous history between the two men. But Malcolm in particular understands he has got to keep the peace as a gesture to Lili.

He is also abundantly aware of how his life has suddenly and irrevocably changed. As a person who had been utterly devoted to duty, the idea of living an emotionally open life starts off as a somewhat foreign concept. But by this time he’s getting used to opening up and showing what’s inside of him.

Music

Of course, the theme music for this little story is the Beatles’ All You Need is Love.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I like the little domestic scene, and I particularly enjoy how Malcolm feels comfortable enough to break down at any time. He knows that Lili will never make fun of him or otherwise belittle or cheapen his emotions. All he has ever needed is love.

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Review – The Rite

Review – The Rite

A rite can be anything although it’s often religious in nature.

Background

In 2183, Lili, Malcolm and Declan attend Alia Shapiro’s Bat Mitzvah and there’s a little misbehaving going on.

Plot

For a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about misbehaving, I wanted to write about an older yet still frisky Malcolm Reed.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | The Rite
Later Days

It was also a great occasion to get Declan to meet Rebecca, an event that is foretold in Fortune and holds great significance in the family’s later history.

As the story begins, Malcolm Lili, and Declan are coming in, late, to Alia’s Bat Mitzvah service. They sit in the back and everyone is utterly lost.

Unable to follow what is going on, they whisper amongst themselves. But mostly this consists of Malcolm whispering to Lili about how he would prefer that she leave the service with him. In the meantime, poor Declan is embarrassed at his parents behaving this way. All along, a woman sitting in front of them keeps turning around and shushing them.

Eventually, Lili relents and they leave Declan there (he is over eighteen and can entertain himself). Keep in mind that Lili is over seventy in this story. I just adore the idea that they would still be active and would still be interested, and would behave just like newlyweds. But the truth is, they more or less are at this point in the timeline.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I really love this humorous little story. I particularly love the line that I gave to Malcolm, and I can just imagine actor Dominic Keating saying it in that plummy Leicester accent, “I want to go back to the hotel.

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Review – Completely Hers

Review – Completely Hers

Completely Hers gives Declan a commitment and a half.

Background

After his parents’ death, Declan first cares for an aging Melissa and Norri and then, after their deaths, he returns to Earth to visit Europe.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Paul Bettany as Declan Reed (image is for educational purposes only) | Completely Hers
Paul Bettany as Declan Reed (image is for educational purposes only)

He goes to London and Oxford University (where he is an artist in residence, so that trip does have some actual business attached to it) and then France and the water lilies at Giverny, where Monet painted. This is where he meets Rebecca Shapiro again, and they fall in love.

Plot

There is only one tiny catch, and it is something that even Rebecca does not care about. But Declan does. She is Jewish, and he is not. And so he decides that, in order to give himself up over to her completely and without reservation, he will convert.

Review – Completely Hers
Keifer Sutherland as Tommy Digiorno-Madden

The sole plot of this drabble is Declan calling his brother, Major Thomas Digiorno-Madden, and asking if Tommy knows any rabbis. The date is May the 6th of 2213, so the occasion for the call is Tommy’s birthday. He is turning 53. There isn’t enough space in a drabble (they are supposed to be exactly 100 words long, and this one is) for them to exchange pleasantries or for Tommy to mention what he is doing or anything like that. Instead, the quickie story line has to get right down to business, and it does.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The introduction of this small plot twist (I had not planned it when I wrote Fortune) proved to be the pathway to another story, Faith. And so this drabble is, in a way, more than just a drabble.

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Portrait of a Character – Rebecca Shapiro

Portrait of a Character – Rebecca Shapiro

Origins

Because I had wanted to contradict canon and give Malcolm Reed a family and long-term descendants, Malcolm’s son, Declan, would need a wife or at least a girlfriend or even a baby mama.

Portrait of a Character – Rebecca Shapiro
Actress, Rachel Weisz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portrayal

Rebecca is played by actress Rachel Weisz. I wanted a Jewish actress for this role, as Rebecca is somewhat traditional and is Karin and Ethan‘s younger daughter. Furthermore, I wanted Declan’s decision to convert to her faith to be believable. I also like this actress; I think she’s smart, and her choices are interesting ones.

Personality

Caring and up for anything, Rebecca is the true companion that Declan has been waiting for his entire life. His first marriage was horrific, as he explains in Faith. Rebecca is the person who heals him. In gratitude, although she never asks him to, he embraces her faith and converts to Judaism.

Relationships

Declan Reed

Rebecca’s only relationship is with Declan, who is about twelve years her senior. They meet at her elder sister, Alia’s, Bat Mitzvah, which is partly shown in The Rite and referred to in Fortune. At that point, he is a young man; it’s before he marries his first wife, Louise Schiller.

After the last death in the preceding generation (Norri), Declan goes to Europe, partly to return to Oxford, where he is an artist in residence. He takes a side trip to Giverny to look at and paint Monet‘s water lilies. While there, he sees Rebecca and they become reacquainted.

Mirror Universe

It’s impossible for Rebecca to exist in the Mirror Universe, as Ethan does not.

Quote

“There is a saying in Judaism, let’s see if I can get it right. It, um, it’s that when Moses brought down the law from Mount Sinai, all of the Jews were there. Even the dead. Even the unborn. Even the completely unknown and unfathomable, like Vulcan converts, and Jews from the Mirror Universe, all stretching, in a chain, through all of time. And you know something? I saw you there.”

Upshot

I really liked the idea of redeeming Declan in the same way that Lili redeems Malcolm, albeit sooner. I particularly enjoyed creating yet another reason why our universe and the Mirror are different – with no Ethan Shapiro on the other side of the pond, there is no Rebecca and, as a result, their deep future descendants don’t exist, including Eleanor and Richard Daniels. Rebecca is the linchpin of all of that.

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Review – Take Back the Night

Review – Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night!

Take Back the Night Background

Once The Cure is Worse Than the Disease was posted, readers began asking me about a sequel. Nobody wanted to leave it the way it had been left, which was with Doctor An Nguyen becoming disillusioned and the Daranaeans left to their own devices and sexist ways, with lip service being paid to the Prime Directive.

I decided I wanted a small piece of a revolution, and so I got an idea. There would be an injustice, and the women would rise up.

Plot

Review – Take Back the Night

The real Take Back the Night movement is about women holding forth against violence against women, including rape, particularly date rape.

For the Daranaean, the elder Inta, this would be a form of marital rape that would spark the powder keg of a plot. I had already established that third caste women had no right to refuse sexual relations, and so the beginning is her refusing to sleep with her husband, Arnis. In fact, the first word of the story is simply her saying, “No!”

That is the only word she says in the entire piece. And in fact, that is the only word I have from her. Yet it is enough.

Violence

For her refusal, she is hit, hard, and she falls to the floor, hitting her head. This causes her death and, just as importantly, the death of her unborn fetus.

While her death is not actionable, the first legal question is whether the death of the unborn child is. This is, of course, distasteful to most of us, but I figure that alien cultures may very well have rather alien ideas about justice and mercy.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Take Back the Night
Take Back the Night

As the story unfolds, someone other than Arnis gets the blame. Hence the Cochrane and the Columbia both play a part in helping that person be exonerated. And they also help in having the real killer charged with the crime.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I think this is one of the better stories I have written, as the action moves from Daranaean home to both starships, a space battle, and eventually a courtroom and even the Beta Council chamber on Daranaea. Perhaps the best part about the story is that, while it resolves the immediate issue, it doesn’t fix all of the Daranaeans’ problems overnight. There’s plenty more story fodder, and many injustices remain. But at least there are a few less of them. I’m very proud of this story.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Background

Lilies and Lili! For a prompt about sweetness, I gave two answers.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field
Lilies

This was the second one. I wanted to get across the sweetness of relationships, both the long-term and the fairly new.

In addition, in Fortune, one of the family photographs was of Joss and Jia at their prom. I wanted to fill in the blanks, the missing details, of that.

Plot

Joss, a little jumpy in a tuxedo, is cooling his heels before Jia and her parents arrive to take him to the prom at their little school on Lafa II. Marie Patrice is, as she often is, a little snarky. Declan even jokes a bit.  Lili is of course more supportive. Malcolm is mentioned very briefly.

There is a little bustling as Doug arrives with groceries. The kids go out to help (after Lili tells them to), but she holds back Joss so that he won’t get dirty. There is a mysterious blue bag that no one is allowed to touch.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Once the food is put away, Doug opens up the bag, revealing a carnation boutonniere for Joss and a corsage for Jia. Jia’s parents, Mai and Geming arrive with their daughter. Savvy readers will recognize Geming’s counterpart as being Doug’s final deliberate kill in the Mirror Universe.

After they depart, and the other two children return to their homework, Lili laments that Doug never had a prom. He confirms that, at the time, he was finishing up at West Point and about to go into Basic Training. But he’s got one more surprise for her.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I enjoyed bringing this story together, and I think it works rather well. Doug and Lili’s love is obvious, and Jia and Joss’s relationship is on the cusp of becoming something great, too.