Tag Archives: Frank Todd

Best Genre Treatment 2

Best Genre Treatment 2

For the best genre treatment 2, let’s take a look at my best stories in four more genres. Hence these are what are (to me) my best Star Trek fan fiction stories in particular writing genres.

Historical

There can only be one for the Best Genre Treatment 2.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Concord | Best Genre Treatment 2
Concord

While I also love Crackerjack, and all of the HG Wells stories, I believe that, by far, my best historical fiction story is Concord.

I have never, ever worked so hard to get a story right, than I did with Concord.

From its cover (that’s the bridge leading from Lexington to Concord and, yes, there was an engagement on it), to determining whether men would tip their hats to women (yes), to figuring out Colonial Era market prices, to even deciding the name of one of the cows, Concord is an absolute labor of love.

The premise of the story is an interphase: Malcolm is transported to April 1775 Lexington, Massachusetts, and takes the place of an ancestor, just as a future time traveler, during the time of the Genesis Project, takes the place of his own ancestor, who is fighting alongside Malcolm’s ancestor. Injured in the fighting, Malcolm and the time traveler, Robert Lennox, are quartered in a home, where they meet, among other people, Benjamin Warren.

IDIC

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Future Matches | Best Genre Treatment 2
Future Matches

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations brings to mind LGBTQ story lines. In this genre, my favorite (which is also a reader favorite) is Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation.

Working as both a prequel to There’s Something About Hoshi and a sequel to the E2 stories, Detached tells the story of how Dave Constantine and Frank Todd started dating.

With what is almost 20/20 hindsight, the men know that they were together and that their relationship worked out. But it’s still tentative and a little strange. But when they kiss, you want to cheer.

Romance

This was easily the most difficult decision, to figure out which was the best of these many stories.  Three stories get an honorable mention here. First is The Reptile Speaks, which is a Gorn romancing a Cardassian.  I loved the idea of putting together a rather different couple, and how someone who looks so menacing could, at bottom, be a truly good person.

Reversal has to be mentioned, as it is not only the love of the dark stranger for the light, but it’s also an amazing kick-off story. A ton of roads lead straight to Reversal.

The Honky Tonk Angel also deserves mention, as it’s another odd couple type of story, as Kevin O’Connor and Jhasi Tantharis go on their first date.

But the winner, the best one (and I might change my mind tomorrow) is The Three of Us .

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Three of Us
The Three of Us

All of the E2 stories were labors of love, but Three is really the big one. That is also due to, in part, its size.

Characters move from misbehaving and acting childishly, to acting criminally, to eventually maturing. Kindness, friendship, and togetherness, lead to more.

As you might expect from such a title, the relationship is an unconventional one.

But the parties persevere, and grow, as time pulls them along and they experience not just romantic love, but also brotherhood, fellowship, parenthood, and, ultimately, tragedy.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Sparrow and the Blue Jay
The Sparrow and the Blue Jay

This image becomes particularly important, and is a part of one of the story’s many high points.

I love this story, from its tentative, scared, damaged people, to its criminals, to its hopefulness, to its sorrow. As Lili O’Day says in Fortune, “There is something there.”

Tragedy

Nothing really comes close to Seven Women, when it comes to tragedy.  From the very start, I tell the reader that Tommy Digiono-Madden is going to die. A fireball is coming, the fire door is shut, and he cannot outrun any of it. He knows this is it. But instead of having his life flash before his eyes, Tommy instead thinks of seven pivotal women in his life. They range from the three women he called mother, to his first girlfriend, and more.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seven Women
Seven Women

This was a character I had only written little snippets of, and very few as an adult.  As readers got to know Tommy, so did I. The best decision I made in that story was to not bow to internal pressure to give him a happy ending.

Spoiler alert: he doesn’t get one.

Upshot

The best romance story was easily the hardest of these decisions to make. Tune in; I may do this again next year.

Portrait of a Character – Preston Jennings

Portrait of a Character – Preston Jennings

Preston Jennings is one of my earlier creations.

Origins

Before Lili, I needed someone who would serve meals to Captain Archer. This does not only mean before she joined Starfleet; this would also be for before I had even created the character. Preston predates Lili, and goes all the way back to More, More, More!

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Billy Zane as Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)
Billy Zane as Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)

Preston is played by Billy Zane.

I like the actor’s suave charm and handsome air.

Personality

Pleasant but sometimes prone to meltdowns, Preston is just trying to get ahead. He’s also one of the four gay men on the ship (the others are Dave Constantine, Lucas Donnelly, and Frank Todd). When the Xindi War breaks out, he seizes the opportunity to do something different, and transfers to Navigation. He is the first person to admit that Lili is a far better cook than he ever was. This is put on display in Before the Fall, where Will Slocum pretty much misuses his talents in a cooking competition with Lili and her partner, Brian Delacroix. Will continues to joke about burdening Preston with Lili’s work, in The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat.

Relationships

Lucas Donnelly

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Billy Zane as Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)
Billy Zane as Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)

During both kicks back in time, Preston and Luke end up together.

Neither of them are 100% thrilled with this; Dave Constantine is considered to be more of a prize. But they make the most of it, even though they aren’t necessarily compatible.

Hikaru Sulu

It’s only in Mirror Masquerade where this happens, and only in the Mirror Universe, in an altered timeline.  Preston is, just like in the Prime Universe, serving food. But there is no Lili (her counterpart is dead), so he still has that job, whereas in the Prime Universe, he switches over to Navigation.

When Sulu and Mayweather are switched, Sulu flirts with him in the chow line, and Preston gets a major promotion, to Captain’s Man. But it’s all for naught, as Carmen fixes the timeline and everything goes back to the way it’s supposed to be.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Billy Zane as MU Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)
Billy Zane as MU Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)

In the Mirror Universe, Preston never stops serving chow, both in the correct timeline and in the Mirror Masquerade alternate timeline.

However, in the Temper alternate timelines, he is not seen working in the kitchen. Is he dead? Absent from the ship? Working elsewhere? The truth is, I just didn’t write him. But there’s no reason why he can’t end up in a related story, at a later date.

Quote

“Are you sure we don’t have to prep for this?”

Upshot

I don’t really know this character well enough, and would like to rectify that at some point.

Stay tuned.

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 – The Way to a Man’s Heart

Review – The Way to a Man’s Heart

The Way to a Man’s Heart turns an old trope on its head.

Background

Review – The Way to a Man’s Heart

As a sequel to Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation, I wanted to follow Frank and Dave a bit in their relationship.

While the story was written considerably later than There’s Something About Hoshi, this story takes place earlier than that one.

Plot

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Way to a Man's Heart
The Way to a Man’s Heart

The premise was a ship-wide (and, most likely, Starfleet-wide) celebration of diversity.

This included all sorts of nods to non-mainstream expressions of sexuality. Several films are mentioned, including Personal Best, the film that inspired me to cast Mariel Hemingway as Eriecho. Because of the mentionings of films, Chip shows up. Hoshi also announces the revival of the book club, a feature of the E2 stories.

In order to do something nice for his new beloved, Frank Todd asks Lili to make a special dessert for Dave Constantine. When Lili realizes that Dave likes blueberries, and recalls that the recently-deceased Jay Hayes did, too, it sets off a fit of crying.

Frank performs an act of kindness when he sees how much Dave loves the blueberry pie that Lili has baked. Remembering that Major Hayes was always the last one on the chow line – likely because he had wanted to share some short conversations with her – he vows that, from then on, he’ll always be last in line.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I love this relationship, and I particularly think my treatment of it has improved over the years. Instead of being the slightly campy lovesick guys of There’s Something About Hoshi, the two men are here, instead, more like true partners, even though their relationship is still very new. They will be followed along as I think up new adventures for them, both large and small.

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 – There’s Something Else About Hoshi

Review – There’s Something Else About Hoshi

Background

For a Star Trek fanfiction Weekly Free Write about setting a scene, I decided to revisit Aris and an older story, There’s Something About Hoshi.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | Review – There’s Something Else About Hoshi
In Between Days

In the earlier tale, Hoshi becomes irresistible when aliens inject her with a certain substance after removing some of her female hormones.

Frank Todd and T’Pol help to prevent a riot from starting on the NX-01, as all of the straight men (and, presumably, Diana Jones, who is a lesbian), are affected.

The sequel brings the story line over eighteen years into the future.

Plot

As Hoshi and her husband, Takashi, and their children, Toru and Yoshiko arrive on Aris for a visit, the head of the government, Milit, greets them.

And so, apparently, do all 5,999 other Arisian men on the planet.

Hailed as Andaara Trea Hoshi, they explain they are thanking her. They call her the initiator of the 6,000 brand-new ‘mothers of the world’. Every Arisian man is bearing some sort of a gift. Travis, who is with them, jokes that they’ll need a bigger shuttle in order to get all of the gifts back to the ship.

Politely, Hoshi declines their many offerings. These vary in size, scope and expense, but are all offered with grace. The family meets some of the newly-cloned Arisian women, including the first one, Trea Hoshi. The girls are all more or less made in Hoshi’s image. This is except for a detailed forehead pattern that marks them as Arisians.

Matchmaking on a Planetary Scale

Review – There’s Something Else About Hoshi
Alpine ibex Correction: Nubian Ibex Deutsch: A…

The men explain they want to marry all of the newly-cloned girls. Hence they are ready to match them up. It seems the matches will happen through political expedience, rather than any sort of attraction. Travis and Hoshi convince the Arisians to give the gifts to the girls, and to see what happens next. The story ends with Milit announcing his engagement to one of the girls and then Hoshi telling Captain Malcolm Reed that he’d better warn Lili that she’ll need to cater a few thousand Arisian weddings.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I was so happy to go back to this story line. Because I had originally left it with hope but also dangling a bit. I can see that my storytelling abilities have improved since the original tale, too. It’s a study in contrasts for me.


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Frank Todd

Portrait of a Character – Frank Todd

Origins

I had been reading more than enough homophobic rants about how gay characters would be too effeminate for Starfleet. It annoyed me enough that I wanted to create a pair of gay characters, and one of them would be a MACO. And so, for There’s Something About Hoshi, I created Franklin Thomas Todd.

Portrayal

Frank is played by Luke MacFarlane.

Portrait of a Character – Frank Todd
Luke MacFarlane as Frank Todd

I wanted an impressively physically imposing actor. This guy would be no one’s idea of effeminate.

I also wanted a gay actor. I hope that this would be the kind of role that this actor could be proud of. Frank is no pushover and he is no stereotype.

Personality

Loyal, friendly and passionate, but also fiercely dedicated to his job, Frank is just the kind of guy you want defending the Enterprise and her crew. Jay and Julie trust him, and he has more than earned their trust. Eventually, he rises to the rank of Corporal although I can see him with a lot more responsibility.

Relationships

David Constantine

Dave and Frank have began dating by the time of There’s Something About Hoshi. In Entanglements, they get together after Frank rather loudly comes out. However, by the time of Shell Shock, Frank is picked up at a gay bar in Provincetown. Hence maybe things did not work out as well as the men would have preferred.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Frank Todd
Mirror Universe Frank (Luke MacFarlane)

I do not yet have a Mirror Universe version of Frank, but there’s no reason why there can’t be one.

I like the idea of him, perhaps, being less rough around the edges on the other side of the pond. Maybe I’ll write him some time.

Quote

“My name is Franklin Thomas Todd.

Portrait of a Character – Frank Todd

And while it is nobody’s goddamned business, except for the people I care about, and who care about me, I want you all to know that I am a gay man. I don’t hide. I am not ashamed. I am who I am, and being gay is as much a part of me as having a tattoo on my bicep, or brown eyes or being from Europa originally.”

Upshot

I want more occasions to showcase this character who is far more than his sexuality. I’ll be looking for places for Frank. You haven’t seen the last of him.

Spotlight on an Original Sentient Species – Arisians

Spotlight on an Original Sentient Species – Arisians

Arisians have a funky history.

Background

When I first started writing Star Trek fanfiction, I was big on one-offs and “Alien of the Week” plots. At the same time, I was also learning how to plot, so I used the five senses as inspiration. For touch (and, by extension, feelings), I decided to write a lighthearted romance about Hoshi and a below-decks crewman who couldn’t quite hit his marks.

Further, I wanted to begin to explore sexism as an inspiration. Therefore, I created a society that had scapegoated women so thoroughly that there were no more women anywhere in their species. As a bonus, I had been seeing some rather nasty homophobic rants. People would not so subtly joke about gay characters being too sissified to ever make it to Starfleet. The story that grew out of these ideas was There’s Something About Hoshi.

Characteristics

As standard humanoid aliens, the only physical description of the Arisians is a beautifully detailed pattern on their foreheads. This is somewhat akin to what later evolved into the Calafans.

History

As the aliens themselves explain, women got the blame for all sorts of issues. Also, much like in ancient Rome, they could not leaving their homes without an escort, a fact that also figures in with Daranaean third caste females in Take Back the Night. Arisian scientists took it to an extreme, though, and began to research how to reduce pregnancy terms. Once the term could be reduced down to nothing, they genetically engineered only male children. So while they didn’t out and out kill the remaining women, they didn’t replace them.

Reproduction occurs via cloning and the use of artificial wombs. These are much like an incubator or a bassinet, but with more scientific sophistication. The groups of genetically identical males are referred to as Accordancies. As an Accordant explains, the relationship among the members of an Accordancy is fraternal. This is even though often the age difference can be very great.

Present Day

But things are changing on Aris. Its inhabitants now understand the absence of women did not prevent wars or other disasters or hard feelings. As a result, their ruling council decides to obtain female hormones. And, as Sandra Sloane annoyedly points out (thereby prefiguring her sharp tongue and short temper in Reflections Down a Corridor), they did not ask for help and simply took whatever they wanted, without permission.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | There's Something About Hoshi | Arisians
There’s Something About Hoshi – the first place we see Arisians

In addition (and in exchange), they inject Hoshi and her MACO escort, Frank Todd, with a certain kind of chemical stimulant. The Arisians think Frank and Hoshi are a couple. But they aren’t. Frank is the toughest guy in the room, and he is gay (as are, presumably, all of the Arisians).

For Frank, perhaps, Aris would almost be a kind of paradise. But he’s got a boyfriend, and he’s loyal. There’s no hookup for Frank on the planet.

As for Hoshi, the chemical has a far different effect on her and the straight men on the Enterprise. She’s become irresistible. And that’s kind of scary.

Future

In the sequel, There’s Something Else About Hoshi, the Arisians are finding that women – although, perhaps, exasperating – turn their society around. But maybe later they’ll just go back to treating women like doormats again. I don’t know.

Stay tuned.

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi

Background

Back in 2005, I wrote an initial five Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction stories. They were all intended to be centered around the five senses. More, More, More was about hearing. The Puzzle (which was a more complex and ambitious tale) was about sight. The Adventures of Porthos took on smell. And If You Can’t Stand the Heat was about taste.

Hence There’s Something About Hoshi was about touch and, by extension, feelings.

Plot

The story begins with Hoshi Sato being courted by Ted Stone. But he’s a somewhat inept suitor, and keeps missing his marks. He tries to be romantic but can’t quite get it right. Hoshi fears she is settling, and references the canon E2 episode where she settled for “old what’s his name” (Sekar Khan, the Quartermaster).

The Enterprise is contacted by an unknown species, the Arisians. They notice her on the Bridge and their communications are inept enough that one of them is heard mentioning his astonishment that there is a woman. A pretext is created for Hoshi to come to the surface. She agrees even though everyone that the Enterprise sees on Aris seems to be male.

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi
Hoshi dressed for the evening (Linda Park)

A pair of MACOs accompany Hoshi, and it becomes clear that they are a gay couple. Friends of hers, they compliment her on her choice of attire for the evening. It’s confirmed that Frank Todd will be one of the MACOs going to the surface (Frank also shows up in Shell Shock and in the E2 stories), as will his boss, Major Dawson (Dawson is also a part of Shell Shock and is the replacement for Jay Hayes).

A visit to the planet confirms that everyone is male. Milit, an Arisian, tells the landing party (in addition to Hoshi, Corporal Todd and Major Dawson, Travis Mayweather, Jonathan Archer and Malcolm Reed are present) that, long ago, the men of his species researched how to decrease gestation until eventually they could accomplish all of it without women. Once that was accomplished, they allowed all of the women to die out and only cloned males. Hoshi realizes, uncomfortably, that she is the only woman on the entire planet.

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi
Hieroglyphics at mesa pintada

She asks to see hieroglyphics, which were the pretext for getting her to the surface. Todd and an Arisian, Lio, accompany her to where the hieroglyphics are supposed to be. Todd and Hoshi are overcome and her hormones are extracted via syringe. However, Lio and his cohorts also inject her and Corporal Todd with something else.

By the time Hoshi returns to the ship, she is suddenly irresistible to all of the men on board (and a few women as well), but not Corporal Todd as his preference doesn’t go that way. Harassed and scared, even the captain gets in on bothering her, leering at her on the Bridge as various other male crew members make all sorts of passes at her until the Arisians can make things right again.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I played the story for humor. While it’s still funny, seven years of hindsight give me another perspective. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of creepy, the way that everyone is throwing themselves at her. The character was in very real danger of being sexually assaulted. If I were writing the story today, I would probably amp up the fear more, and downplay more of the humor.