Tag Archives: Star Trek: Enterprise

Portrait of a Character – Dave Constantine

Portrait of a Character – Dave Constantine

Dave Constantine has been through a few changes.

Origins

For Frank Todd to have a boyfriend in Star Trek fanfiction, there had to be someone. I liked the idea of some contrast between the tough MACO and the object of his affections. While Dave was originally also a MACO, I later made him a stellar cartographer.

Portrayal

I see Jason Patric in this role. I like the actor’s look but he’s also had a rough life (this is of course an image of him when he was rather young).

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jason Patrick as Dave Constantine (image is for educational purposes only)
Jason Patrick as Dave Constantine (image is for educational purposes only)

But, in real life, Patric has had a hard time of it, having to sue for parental rights to his own child. I see him as melancholy and, for real, I gotta figure he must be.

Personality

Dave is one of the gay crew members on the NX-01. A bit bookish and sensitive, he’s a foil for Frank Todd, his great love. Frank reports that Dave can be rather lovesick at times.

Relationships

Frank Todd

In the prime timeline, Frank and Dave get together in Detached Curiosity and Idle Speculation, where they talk about the E2 timeline and the fact that they had ended up together. In The Way to a Man’s Heart, Frank asks Lili to make a special dessert for Dave. Lili bakes a blueberry pie, recalling that Dave enjoys blueberries. By the time of There’s Something About Hoshi, their relationship is in full swing. However, by the time of Shell Shock, Frank’s alibi is that he’s at a gay bar during the time the crime occurs. Is he with Dave? It’s not specific, but he probably isn’t. Does that mean their relationship came to an end? I’m not really sure, myself.

In the E2 timeline, they get together after Frank rather loudly and angrily comes out, during the events outlined in Entanglements. During the second kick back in time, in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, they again take up with each other.

Mirror Universe

Dave gets a brief shoutout, as a professional catcher, in The Play at the Plate.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jason Patrick as Dave Constantine (image is for educational purposes only)
Jason Patrick as Dave Constantine (image is for educational purposes only)

As a mirror baseball player, much like Joss Beckett during the alternate timeline events of Temper, being a professional ball player means he can usually get out of killing people in order to get ahead in life.

Quote

“I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate what you said.”

Upshot

Gentle and caring, yet fiercely proud, I want to explore Dave as a character as much as Frank has been explored. He’ll be back, by himself and with his great love.

Review – Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation

Review – Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation

Background

The prompt was about IDIC, infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

Review – Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation
Luke Macfarlane as Frank Todd

That is, the urging was to write something featuring a pairing that was not traditional male-female.

I had my two favorite gay men on the NX-01 already created – Frank and Dave, who had been introduced in There’s Something About Hoshi and expanded upon in The Three of Us.

There are two other gay men on board, Preston Jennings and Lucas Donnelly, plus Christian Harris is asexual and Kelsey Haber is possibly bi (main character Melissa Madden definitely is) and is definitely a cross-dresser (I’m still kind of on the fence about Kelsey these days). Plus Diana Jones is a lesbian, as are the Starfleet Rabbi, Leah Benson and main character Leonora Digiorno.

But it was Dave and Frank’s relationship that I wanted to show at its absolute beginning, in the prime timeline.

Plot

Review – Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation
Jason Patric as Dave Constantine

The premise is that E2 has just concluded in the prime timeline.

Of course, people are talking about what happened, who was chosen, etc. Dave and Frank realize that they were together. But they only know about the second of two kicks back in time, so they just think it was some sort of a mutual decision. However, the reality of the first kick back is that Dave approached Frank after Frank rather loudly and angrily came out.

Be that as it may, things are a little different. The ship is not generational and they are not desperate. But that’s all right. There is still an attraction there.

Review – Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation

And, as the title says, there was some mental meandering that went on, on both sides, as to who was available and who was interested. For a minority sexuality, not only are there questions of attraction and availability, there are also questions of wiring and preference. After all, even if Dave had the biggest-ever crush on Frank, if Frank was only interested in women, it would not have happened. Hence, the moves are cautious and a little tentative.

But they happen all the same.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I have read slash online, and I have to say that so much of it is either out and out PWP (porn without plot) or angst-filled hurt/comfort or unfulfilled adolescent-style longing that it makes me wonder about genuine romance between either two men or two women.

Who writes gentle slash? I suppose I do. I love this story, love how it came out (wordplay intended) and am very pleased that it’s in my own personal fanfiction, and it’s even got a sequel. Viva Dave and Frank!

Review – The Mess

Review – The Mess

This mess should be really disturbing.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | The Mess
In Between Days

This scene was a part of 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 dirt is it, anyway?

You don’t want to know.

Plot

On November 22nd of 2153, Lili is alone in the NX-01‘s kitchen. She is panting. The air smells like turkey cooking, as it is Thanksgiving. She’s got a cast iron skillet in her hands. Reed‘s voice is on the intercom.

And there’s a messing on the wall, and there’s dirt on the floor.

Review – The Mess

As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that there have been boarding parties on the ship. So 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.

Hayes takes the enemy’s rifle and leaves. However, before he does so, he translates the name on the uniform patch – She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time. For Lili, that could be an apt descriptor as well.

Slocum tosses away the pan, and finally breaks Lili out of her almost catatonic state. And while it is not quite business as usual, they have to go on anyway.

Lili remembers the story in Conversations with Heroes, although she feels anything but heroic.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I like how the story played out although I think I could have emphasized Lili’s panting and her fear and her coming down from an adrenaline high, a little bit more.

Review – Ohio

Ohio Background

Ohio. Richard Daniels‘s second Star Trek: Enterprise adventure in time was put together fairly early and fairly quickly.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Ohio
Ohio
I loved the idea of a bullet’s changing its trajectory and, as a result, significantly altering history.

I also loved the idea of showing the time period, everything from protesting to drug abuse to even free love. The music was another draw, and the discovery that Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders really had been at Kent State at the time sealed the deal for me.

It was an irresistible combination, and the story was relatively easy to write.

Plot

First of all, as the Temporal Integrity Commission begins hiring new travelers, the first one brought in is a specialist in ancient computer systems, Sheilagh Bernstein. Sheilagh tries to decide whether to take the job, and the first part of the book deals with some of her doubts as it provides exposition. In addition, the military expert, Thomas Grant, is brought in, plus a traveling doctor, Marisol Castillo. All three receive various physical enhancements in order to make it possible for them to perform their jobs at all.

Furthermore, they all then go on training missions. Tom goes, with Kevin O’Connor, to the start of World War III (this mission is further expanded in Multiverse II). Carmen takes Marisol to the canon TOS Captain Kirk era crossover to the Mirror Universe. And finally, Rick takes Sheilagh to Kent State.

For Rick, it is open season on the honeys.

English: Chrissie Hynde in concert. Taken Augu...
English: Chrissie Hynde in concert. Taken August 10, 2007 in Santa Barbara, CA by John Slonaker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, he ditches Sheilagh and hooks up with Annette Bradley, a student, who calls herself Windy. He behaves more or less despicably, whereas Sheiligh just tries to blend in on campus. However, the party stops when the shooting starts, and Sheilagh’s screams of terror cause a National Guardsman to change the angle of his aim slightly. As a result, instead of Allison B. Krause dying, it’s Chrissie Hynde.

Hence this, and a small incident at the start of the Third World War, throws history into a tizzy. Everything needs repairs, and Sheilagh makes the biggest mistake any professional time traveler can make. She falls in love with the alternate timeline and the good it seems to have done for some people.

Music

Music defines the entire HG Wells series, and very much so in Ohio as the new victim is, of course, a singer. Hence these songs weave throughout the story as follows:

  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Ohio
  • Shocking Blue – Venus
  • John Lennon – Instant Karma
  • Freda Payne – Band of Gold
  • The Jackson Five – The Love You Save
  • Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders – Kid
  • Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders – Talk of the Town
  • Bobbie Gentry – I’ll Never Fall in Love Again

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated T.

Upshot

Overall, some areas could have used better exposition. In addition, I should have better explored the look and feel of the campus. Furthermore, some things, for sure, happened too quickly. At some point, I’ll probably expand it. It’s on my radar of things to do/fix.


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Review – Equinox

Review – Equinox

Equinox is where I had to kill one of my darlings, an event from Fortune.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Equinox
Equinox

For a monthly prompt about sacrifice, I wanted (as I often do) to turn it on its head.  This was not to be a story about noble sacrifices for idealistic causes, with Starfleet cheering all the way. Instead, it was to be a story about personal human sacrifices, and how Starfleet can, I suspect, chew people up and spit them out.

Plot

The story begins with Malcolm telling Travis and Hoshi that he’s going to miss them. Review – Equinox Hoshi is looking forward to spending more time with her family. Travis is trying to salvage his marriage. They are both retiring. It’s 2181, and they are the last three left of the original seven senior officers on the NX-01. T’Pol has returned to Vulcan and Phlox is back on Denobula. Tucker is dead, and Archer is pursuing a political career, which dovetails with Star Trek: Enterprise canon. With Hoshi and Travis’s retirements, Malcolm will be the last one standing.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Lafa II Southern Continent
Lafa II Southern Continent

And then he gets a call from Leonora Digiorno, and learns that Doug Beckett has died in the forests of the southern continent of Lafa II, a scene from Fortune.

Hence Malcolm knows that, no matter what, he’s got to get home and be with Lili. And he will have to set aside everything and, potentially, jeopardize his standing and his command, things he has worked very, very hard for.

But there is no question.

Review – Equinox

He will go to Lili.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

So I like how it turned out, as it wove the themes of sacrifice and familial duty, crossing them with duties to Starfleet. It was a chance to fill in a few gaps left in Fortune, and to bring in the bench characters and give them great roles, people like Aidan, Chip, Deb, José, and Jennifer. The story acts as a bridge to the deeper future and continues the process of tying In Between Days to the Times of the HG Wells. Finally, I think it fulfilled its purpose well.

Review – On the Radio

Review – On the Radio

Radio.  It can bring back a memory in a snap.

On the Radio Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | On the Radio
On the Radio

A friend passed away earlier in 2013, and I was having some trouble processing it.  I decided to attempt to process it through art.

As a result, I worked in my own feelings by trying to tease out Hoshi and T’Pol‘s feelings about Tripp‘s passing.

And, the reason why I call this canon character Tripp instead of Trip is because of this very man who, in real life, is no more.

Plot

As Tucker has died, the two women who knew him best mourn him in different ways. T’Pol’s canon relationship is well-known. She ends up breaking down in front of Jay Hayes‘s replacement, Major Strong Bear Dawson, who everybody calls Bud. Bud is the sole eyewitness to her breakdown, and he tells her he won’t say anything to anyone. She asks how she can repay his kindness and he tells her to just go and have a good life.

Hoshi’s relationship with Tripp is outlined in Together. But the song that is the title of the piece, and is woven throughout this songfic, was played during the party outlined in More, More, More! Hoshi reveals that she and Tripp danced to it. She comes to the realization that it served as a prelude to their time together, and that Tucker may have liked her before then. For her, the music, and a dance with Travis, are how she feels she can cope.

When she and T’Pol are alone together, she passes the music from the party to the Vulcan, urging her to listen so that she can, in a way, understand another facet of Tripp’s personality, something she may not have already known. It is a final act of generosity between women who were not exactly romantic rivals, but rather were romantic steps or links in the chain that was Tripp’s life.

Music

Apart from the Donna Summer song, the entire playlist from More, More, More! is as follows –

  • Alicia Bridges – I Love the Night Life
  • The Trammps – Disco Inferno
  • The Bee GeesMore Than a Woman
  • Andrea True Connection – More, More, More!
  • Silver Convention – Fly, Robin, Fly
  • Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive
  • Thelma Houston – Don’t Leave Me This Way
  • Lipps Inc. – Funky Town
  • Van McCoyThe Hustle
  • The Bee Gees – Night Fever
  • Kool & the Gang – Celebration
  • Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
  • The Weather GirlsIt’s Raining Men
  • Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
  • Lobo – Me and You and a Dog named Boo
  • Melanie – Brand New Key
  • The Captain and TennilleLove Will Keep Us Together
  • Commodores – Brick House
  • Tavares – It Only Takes a Minute
  • Donna Summer – On the Radio
  • La Flavour – Mandolay
  • Earth Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove
  • K.C. & the Sunshine BandThat’s the Way I Like It
  • Village People – YMCA
  • The Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive
  • Chic – Le Freak
  • Rick James – Super Freak
  • Tavares – Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel
  • Vicki Sue RobinsonTurn the Beat Around
  • Barry White – Can’t Get Enough of Your Love
  • Hues Corporation – Rock the Boat
  • Sister Sledge – We Are Family
  • Diana Ross – Love Hangover
  • Kool & the Gang – Ladies Night
  • A Taste of Honey – Boogie Oogie Oogie
  • Donna Summer – Last Dance

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

As a story, I think it works pretty well. Reactions have been mixed; some critics have said they thought T’Pol would not act as forcefully as she does, but Star Trek: Enterprise canon dictates that this is a former trellium addict and so her emotions are still not fully under control, even years later.

In this story, I am probably more like the Hoshi character. Removed but mournful, and saddened by the wasted potential more than anything else. I have no problem with Tucker being killed off in canon. People die and they should die in space. Space is far from safe, particularly during that era. But I wanted to see a lot more of the aftermath. I hope this aftermath/afterimage type of story can work for readers.

Review – The Play at the Plate

Review – The Play at the Plate

The Play at the Plate – In response to a prompt about obstacles, I immediately visualized a catcher blocking the plate in baseball.

Background

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Hall of Mirrors | The Play at the Plate
Hall of Mirrors

That led my thoughts to mirror baseball, and I also thought of Game Night, which is my Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction Mirror Universe counterpart to Movie Night. Hence the story began to fall into place.

Plot

It’s 2162, not too long after the events of Temper and Fortune, and Andrew Miller is calling for bets for a mirror baseball game as catcher David Constantine seeks to block runner Ty Janeway from scoring. Andrew is the Empress’s current toy. But in walks the new pilot, Melissa Madden.

Review – The Play at the Plate

Dumbstruck and more than a little smitten, Andy takes Melissa’s bet. And, when she loses, she offers to allow him to come to her quarters and collect. But Frank Ramirez reminds Andrew that it is just not a good idea. Andy, to his detriment, eventually ignores that sage advice. And that is a very bad idea indeed. Because, essentially, Andy is sealing his own fate. This is not a happy fate at all.

Story Postings

Rating

The Story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I like the little inklings in here, that there is something that could potentially be between them, but the Empress Hoshi Sato will never let Andrew break free. Furthermore, when the principals conspire, and later when Andrew makes his escape, these decisions haunt him. Andrew Miller is very much a tragic figure in the Mirror Universe. He is the person who, amidst an environment where everyone takes whatever they want, he cannot have just what – who – he wants the most.


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Review – Together

The Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Together
Together

Together begins with Doug and Lili happy. It’s a direct sequel to Reversal, and they are living their dream. The first chapter makes it abundantly clear that they are where they need to be. There are little bumps in the road, but that’s life. So far, so good.

By the time we get to the second chapter, we learn that Jenny‘s wedding will be soon. Malcolm can bring a date, so he sends a note to Pamela, inviting her. Therefore, the astute reader should also understand that this is also a direct sequel to Intolerance.

Since there are no stories without conflict, and since a relationship such as Lili and Doug’s should undergo testing, the events are set into motion. And the main event is a massive kidnapping of humans.

Coupling

The kidnapping is a chance to introduce two new original species, the Imvari and the Witannen. Furthermore, a third original species, the Zetal, get a mention but they are not seen.

Melissa & Doug
Melissa & Doug (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ten humans are removed from the NX-01 (Lili and Doug are aboard as they are hitching a ride to Jenny and Frank‘s wedding). Because the Witannen want them to interbreed, the group consists of five men and five women, and there is a separation into couples, namely –

  • Lili and Malcolm – the idea is to play off Malcolm’s earlier attraction to Lili and also counterpoint her issues with Doug.
  • Doug and Melissa – here, Doug’s frustrations with Lili are balanced with Melissa’s bisexuality, e. g. this is an area where Leonora cannot fulfill what her partner needs.
  • Jonathan and Deborah – for him, it’s a chance to have someone to protect. For her, it’s the fulfillment of a long-term crush.
  • Tripp and Hoshi – this combination plays off their friendship and also is an answer to endless Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction about Tucker and T’Pol.
  • Jennifer and Travis – for her, it’s appalling as she is about to be married. For him, he’s with the hottest woman on the ship. But she is so horribly damaged that it’s no fun for them at all.

This is not to mention the other couples in the story, from before, during and after the captivity. Plus, what happens with Pamela? Stay tuned.

Music Together

Music drives the story as characters come together and break apart throughout. Every major character has his or her own song, and couples share songs, too.

The story isn’t a musical, per se, but there is so much pertinent music that it practically could be.

Themes

Hence the story, in some ways, ended up an exploration of not only relationships but also of our mores as a society. What do we accept from people? Also, what do we expect them to do when the chips are down? People in the story make good decisions, and they make some terrible ones as well. Fallout does not stop just because you wish it all away, and the fights are harsh because it’s the people who love you – and know you better than anyone – who can truly hurt you if they really want to.

Story Postings

Rating

I put the rating at T, with the racier version on Ad Astra at M.

Upshot

The story goes in a bunch of different directions, and it was to tie up loose ends up and then create any number of others in order to generate more plot ideas, including the idea for Temper, a story that really doesn’t work without Together as its foundation. Furthermore, any number of other overall plot elements don’t work, or can’t work as well without it.

In many ways, it is a centerpiece story, and many other tales hang off it, either as sequels or as prequels or in conjunction with it. Aside from Reversal, people read this story more than the others, and for good reason. This is because it helps the reader to understand so much more of my overall story line. Plus, I think it’s just a good, complex tale.

I’m very proud of this one.

Review – Harvest

Review – Harvest

Harvest is one of those stories which starts off as minimal. But then context gives it meaning.

Background

Lili has to, at some point, join the NX-01. She is more or less drafted during the Star Trek: Enterprise canon Xindi war. She is to replace steward Preston Jennings. Lili also replaces an unnamed sous-chef and an equally unnamed pastry chef. Non-combat personnel really need to go.

I had already showed her being drafted in Voracious. Hence this would be a scene that would take place not too much later.

There were hints about this story, too, in He Stays a Stranger, where a far more mature Malcolm and Lili, in a shared dream, recall their first meeting –

[They] saw the day they had first met, a day near the start of the Xindi War, when Captain Jonathan Archer had brought a new sous-chef onto the NX-01 and introduced her to the senior staff as she served a Harvest Salad, her specialty from her old restaurant, Voracious. They shook hands and looked in each other’s eyes then, too, and Malcolm remembered he had thought that her eyes and hair were pretty and she had a lovely smile, and Lili remembered that she had thought he seemed very intelligent and well-mannered, not to mention a little cute.

The Set Up

Review – Harvest
Harvest Salad

For a new sous-chef on a starship, her first day had to involve making a meal. I also made sure to have the meal coincide with Major Jay Hayes‘s first day as well. That way, there could be the canon tension between him and Reed as an underlying part of the story.

Tripp Tucker‘s very recent bereavement was also part of the tale. As Lili is a chef, I also wanted to give a canon shout out to Hoshi‘s canon experimentation with cooking in the Singularity episode.
Review – Harvest

The meal is a Harvest Salad, one of Lili’s specialties.

The Meal

The captain and the senior staff wait as the chef and the new sous-chef are a bit late. Hence the captain makes use of the time to introduce the new MACO CO, as it’s also his first day. So there’s already a bit of tension between Hayes and Reed by the time Chef Slocum and Lili walk in.

Lili is nervous meeting new people and starting a new job. She fusses over the placement of the flatware. Then she forgets she’s still holding a teacup when she comes over for introductions. She drops it twice – once, when Phlox grins at her too widely. The second time is when she and Malcolm are chatting.

Because the salad contains various fruits and nuts, it can symbolize some of the disparate elements that are coming together. Lili spends some of this time asking various senior staffers what some of their favorite foods are. And she promises to give them portions with extras of their favorites. Malcolm’s canon love of pineapple, and Tripp’s canon love of pecan pie, both come out. Jay Hayes reveals a preference for blueberries. However, I don’t show Captain Archer’s preference for strawberries until Protocols.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I like how it turned out; plus people liked it. The idea of Lili giving the senior staff a little taste (quite literally) of home, and promising to provide a little bit of comfort right at the start of the canon Star Trek: Enterprise Xindi war was an irresistible premise.