Tag Archives: Declan

Review – The Decision

Review – The Decision

A decision changes Norri, Neil, and Declan’s lives the most.

Background

In May of 2206, the family gathers on Lafa II to make an important decision about Norri and Melissa‘s future.

Plot

"Barking

There’s been an accident. An elderly Leonora Digiorno has fallen, and broken her hip. Her lover, Melissa Madden, has her own issues with Irumodic Syndrome. It’s becoming obvious that Norri can no longer care for Melissa on her own. What to do?

The story opens with a crack, as Marie Patrice Beckett slaps an Andorian model across the face and then fires the blue woman. Why does this happen? It’s because the model has the nerve to point out (and this is a fact, by the way) that, “It’s not like either of them are related to you.”

For Empy, who is an often selfish and flighty character, the slap is a confirmation that, when the chips are down, she will do right and will stand with her family.

The family gathers, from various postings, including Tommy, who is with Starfleet. In order to dovetail with Fortune, Declan Reed assumes the burden of caring for the two aging lesbians. He does so voluntarily, even before anyone else can suggest it. This story takes place before he meets Rebecca Shapiro again, and so he is free and has little else going on in his life. He’s divorced from Louise Schiller and is an artist in residence at Oxford University. But this is the future. He doesn’t have to physically be present in England in order for them to call him an artist in residence.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

Much like Empy’s slap, Declan volunteering evokes the ironclad bond that the family has. Everyone steps up. Everyone agrees to do something. No one is left out, and no one wants to be. At the same time, no one tries to weasel out of their responsibilities, either. May we all be cared for that way in the future.

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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 – Linfep Linfep Linfep

Review – Linfep Linfep Linfep

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.

Background

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.

Plot

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

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’.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

For a little story about the ramp up to telling children the facts of life, I think this amusing little story works pretty well.

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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 – The Medal

Review – The Medal

A medal does not have be an award for bravery.

Background

In 2203, Neil Digiorno-Madden runs his first 5K.

Plot

For a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about medals, I wanted to write about Neil.

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

Furthermore, I did not want this award to be for anything heroic or even related to Starfleet at all.

Because I have run 5K races, and I am often last or one of the last people who finishes, I know Neil’s situation all too well. All by himself at the end, he trudges and plods along, oh so slowly. He drinks his water and admires the scenery but also silently curses to himself and wonders if he has bitten off more than he can chew.

At the end of the race, he thinks that only Ines will be there. He is rather pleasantly surprised when the entire remaining family (Lili, Doug, and Malcolm are all dead by this point in time)  is there to greet him. Ines and Yinora even give him a new tee shirt, on which it is printed, Kiss Me, It’s My First 5K. The shirt, the kiss, and the race are all a little throwaway that I had slipped into Fortune as being one of the pictures on the video wall. I had not originally intended to write the story and follow up on the image, but the prompt presented the opportunity right on a silver platter.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I really like Neil. However, I had had few occasions, until this short story, to really give him any substance or depth. I change my mind all the time when it comes to which of these second generation characters is my favorite. Yet Neil is always in the conversation, and a lot of that points right back to this little story.

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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 – Saturn Rise

Review – Saturn Rise

Saturn Rise – this was, I feel, a necessary story to write.

Saturn Rise Background

"Barking

For my own Star Trek fanfiction prompt about forgiveness, I went with a story about Malcolm, Lili, Joss, Marie Patrice, Declan, and Malcolm’s parents. This one dovetailed with a far more serious story about Pamela, Treve, and her family. It is all about offenses, hurts, slights, and pain. Some is fairly small. Some of it is devastating.

Plot

Two stories run through the piece.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Saturn System
Saturn System

In the first, Pamela and Treve are getting serious, and she agrees to see her sister, Lisa, who she hasn’t seen in years. She takes Treve along, in order to introduce him. It’s a major commitment for her. She wants it to be right.

In the second, Lili and Malcolm are going to see his parents. She will meet them for the first time, and they will see Declan, too, for the first time.

Undercurrents

Both scenarios sound promising. But there’s more going on there. Lisa, thinking it will be a pleasant surprise, brings her family along, and her and Pamela’s mother. Lisa is innocent and thinks it’ll be fun. What she learns is that their family was rather different from what she believed. And that Pamela, as a child, suffered abuse by their father. With a mother who seemingly didn’t do anything about it, Pamela unleashes her fury on their mother, as their father is long dead.

Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1742). Mr B reads...
Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1742). Mr B reads…

On Malcolm and Lili’s side of things, Stuart and Mary Reed express their concerns that the commitment between Lili and Malcolm is an illusory one, as Lili is married and her relationship with Malcolm is a part of her open marriage with Doug.

In addition, while they love Declan immediately, it takes them longer to warm up to the other two children, who they single out. Even though Mary had already given Marie Patrice a gift of handmade yellow knitted gloves (as was seen in Fortune), the two elder Reeds still hold back. An important part of the piece is Malcolm standing up to his parents, informing them that Joss and Marie Patrice are “our children”, meaning his, Lili’s, Doug’s and, by extension, also Melissa and Norri‘s.

As I often do, I twisted the conclusion a bit. Not everyone is forgiven, and maybe not everyone should be.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I was happy to showcase more of Pamela and Treve’s relationship, and not in the context of their first sexual encounter. These characters love each other, and I hadn’t really shown that before. As for Lili and Malcolm, their love was already in several stories. However, to be able to extend that to his love for her other children, the chance to do that in story form was irresistible. I think the story turned out well, and particularly like how Malcolm stood up to his parents and Pamela stood up to her mother.