Cough? It seems such an unpromising word. Yet there was a call for a drabble with this word as its title. Hence I decided to revisit Penicillin. And my idea was to write a far shorter version of the same story. So this was to get it in front of a different readership.
When Lili sees Jay coughing in the hallway of the NX-01, he quickly covers it up. But she realizes he is sick and so she makes some chicken soup to treat his symptoms.
But there’s just one catch for Jay. Lili wants payment. And her payment isn’t in the form of money. Instead, it’s for him to smile more. While he agrees to do so, there is a slight difference between Cough and Penicillin. Unlike in the longer story, Jay briefly turns out his pockets. I feel it’s a nice little touch which gives him some personality, e. g. that he’s in a bit of a joking mood despite them being at war, and foreshadows the relaxed loving relationship they will have.
Drabbles are tiny and they often suffer because of that. And this one is no exception. So while I love the Penicillin story (and it turned out to be a linchin in the E2 storyline), the drabble version just plain isn’t as good. Therefore, there’s just no chicken meat on those bare bones.
However, the readers did like the story. Hayes is an enigma, even to his creators and to his actor. Hence I feel any insight into his character is generally going to be welcome. Otherwise, he is simply a cipher.
As a holiday gift, I decided to put together a number of disparate characters. Since these are characters of my own invention, I could and did have them say nearly anything. The idea would be to act as a kind of helpful team but with the same quirkiness a reader might have come to expect.
Six characters land in some odd place. And for sharp-eyed readers, they might recognize a similarity to The Puzzle. This was deliberate, as I wanted a storyline similar to Travis‘s. Furthermore, I have far better writing skills than I did then. Hence I felt this would be a better story, and I believe that to be the case.
When Jay and Lili (in the prime timeline), Dratha, Eriecho, Levi, and Branch land, they have no idea what is in store for them. Because this takes place more or less right after Penicillin, Jay is still rather gruff but he’s trying. For Levi and Branch, this is later in their timelines. Eriecho is already on Mars. And Dratha’s husband, Arnis, is already incarcerated.
The characters then proceed to help out ten characters created by others. The first is kes7’s John Quigley, who gets help (sort of) in his love triangle. Then Bethany Reeves (trekfan’s character) is up, and the characters talk to her about her parents separating in one of the few serious vignettes. The next caller is Jessica St. Peter (Templar Sora’s character), and the so-called experts kind of, sort of, help her with asserting authority.
Not So Serious Help
For Andrew Corrigan (SLWalker’s character), it’s all about how to spend his first date with Abby (I managed to get in a sushi as bait joke). Aurellan Markalis (Enterprise1981’s character) also has a problem with a date but it was probably, the advisers agree, for the best that it ended early. Srena (CeJay’s character) comes up next. She is told how to create a calming ritual to help her get to sleep at night.
Then Jasto Dax (CaptainSarine’s character) calls. While most of the group doesn’t even know what a Trill is, Dratha provides good information about how to essentially pick your battles. She tells him not to answer every single summons. The next caller is Dr. Veronica West (thebluesman’s character); she learns she should become more creative. Then Spock calls (while this is a canon character, the gift was for littleblackdog) about a canon situation, the end of the TOS episode, Requiem for Methuselah. The last caller is Emmylou Galyaski (FalseBill’s character). She talks about mourning her late husband and, in their own odd ways, the so-called experts help, at least a bit.
Then it’s time to leave. Dratha volunteers to go first as it looks dangerous. Eriecho leaves next. Jay and Lili leave together and she touches his arm. Then Branch and Levi depart, and the following graffiti is shown:
As the last of the reluctant travelers/advisors departs, the room disappears and is swallowed into the vast vacuum of space, leaving but one final thought.
Happy holidays across all galaxies, all timelines, all universes and all realities.
Steven Culp himself had suggested that Major Hayes‘s name was either Jay or Jeremiah. By using Jay for the Major, it made sense to use Jeremiah for his father.
Jeremiah Hayes is played by veteran actor Steven Culp. I love the idea of using the same actor for both fathers and sons, much like Scott Bakula did in Quantum Leap.
Rigid and somewhat militaristic in his thinking, Jeremiah orders his child or children (depends on the universe; in the prime universe, he has a daughter, Laura. Laura doesn’t exist in the Mirror Universe).
He isn’t necessarily mean, but he is emotionally unavailable. Jay and Doug both seek their father’s approval. For Laura, there is nearly nothing known about her relationship with her father.
Jeremiah’s only known relationship is with Lena. He is, without question, the king of the castle.
In the mirror, Jeremiah is tough and he tries hard to make Doug tough. This causes Jeremiah to send his only child away to boarding school a few months before Doug has to go. The idea is to toughen Doug up, but it frightens the sensitive child. When Doug is beat up enough times, he becomes tough and unfeeling on his own, and without Jeremiah’s help. It isn’t until Doug meets Lili that he learns to open up.
Is Jeremiah a spousal abuser? There have been readers who have interpreted him that way. My own personal jury is out. I think that in the Mirror Universe, he treats Lena fairly well. After all, I write MU women as having a tough lot in life. Lena is no exception. But it’s quite the coup for her to have become attached to such a strong man. But Jeremiah isn’t necessarily powerful, and they aren’t necessarily wealthy.
“No, he will be beaten up for it. Don’t you understand? They will tear him apart if they think they can get any sort of an advantage. Do you not get that?”
Given how Jeremiah behaves, and what he says in the Mirror, his early life was a lot like Doug’s. Doug gets a chance to redeem himself, whereas Jeremiah never seems to. In the prime universe, he’s mainly just a rigid military man. But in the Mirror Universe, he’s another casualty.
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.
I wanted a bit of a dovetail story, where characters would behave in a manner that would prefigure the future. Furthermore, I wanted to give Jay Hayes a bit more personality. I actually had a bit of a cold and so I seized upon that idea, and wrote about what he’d be like if he had a small cold.
For Jay, who feels he needs to be in top condition all the time, a cold is a cause for secrecy. But he’s found out. A cough, and the problem is betrayed to the only other person in the hall. Fortunately for Jay, that person is Lili O’Day.
Lili promises a little Jewish penicillin to cure what ails Jay. But she extracts a promise out of him – in exchange for making chicken soup and keeping quiet about things, Jay must do one thing for her. He’s got to smile more.
2 eggs or one cup of room temperature egg beaters or the equivalent
1 Tablespoon of water
If the mixture is too crumbly and dry, add more oil and water, in more or less even proportions. If it seems too loose, add a little more matzoh meal. Mix together well. Cover and place into a refrigerator for 15 minutes.
While the mixture is cooling, heat up a small pot of salted water. Bring it to a boil and then allow to simmer. When the mixture’s time in the refrigerator is up, wet your hands and grab a handful of the mixture. A ping pong ball size is good. Shape into a ball and drop into the salted water. Bring the water back up to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, uncovered.
Combining the Ingredients
Once the slow cooker is done, combine a serving (2 of the ping pong ball-sized matzoh balls and a cup of the soup) and heat them together in a microwave for 2 minutes on high. Make sure to store the matzoh balls and the soup separately, as otherwise the matzoh balls will absorb all of the liquid.
Garnish with parsely, or even curry, if you like. Serve with bread!
I wanted a story that would nicely bridge between Star Trek: Enterprise canon and the beginning of both E2 kick backs in time. There was a prompt about going AWOL, so the opportunity presented itself, and I decided to dovetail with the canon Hatchery episode.
Heroes and Villains
There have been so many slash stories written about Major Hayes, it’s not funny. But I have never seen him as gay, so I wanted to riff on that a bit, and see what it would be like for Hayes to be mistakenly confronted with homosexuality. Furthermore, I wanted the person doing the confronting to be nasty about it. It wouldn’t be a little question, gently asked. Instead, it would be accusatory. It would be like an inquisition. In short, I wanted it to be like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
The story opens with Corporal Daniel Chang combing his hair and otherwise getting ready for an assignation with Sandra Sloane. He’s guarded T’Pol, and he’s fine with that, but then he’s asked to guard her again and he decides he’s had enough. Ignoring Hayes’s orders, he instead goes to Sandra’s quarters, and is close to the door but hasn’t hit the chime or knocked yet.
Hayes, nearby, calls him by name and tells him to report to the galley for KP duty as a punishment. Lili and Jennifer are walking by, and they see what’s happening, so they turn to go a different way. They come back quickly, though, when they hear the sound of fabric being torn.
It’s a quick story, with fewer than 800 words, but I feel it nicely conveys what I wanted. I had to establish Chang and Sloane as problem children before either kick back in time, and I think Demotion does that.
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.
I was, in all honesty, spinning it out from nothing. I had nearly no plan for the story, no outline and at first I wasn’t even saving it to Word. And so, when I was saving the first post, the topic had to have a name. On an impulse, I named it Reversal.
It was a rather earthy dream, truth be told. And it was about a character on Enterprise. And I woke up, thinking – there’s a story there.
From such beginnings, I developed an idea. The septum between the Prime Universe and the Mirror would be thinner at one particular point in the galaxy. This was in parallel to the reality of the Earth’s crust. It is not uniform. Hence I wanted the separation to not be of uniform thickness/difficulty in crossing.
Bare Bones Story Line
The idea was for it to be possible to cross the boundary between the Prime Universe and the mirror through the dream state. The concept was that, for a certain species, the connections would be normal. And then, as the NX-01 Enterprise on our side, and the ISS Defiant on the other, enter that same system, the psionically charged atmosphere would cause two people to simultaneously start to pick up on that same wavelength. But for them, it would be a romance.
It starts off with a bang. The first line is – It didn’t hurt. I love this opening line, as the reader should immediately be thinking – what? What didn’t hurt? Was it supposed to? And then the story moves along from there. The first dream is a coupling dream, where a fantasy is played out in what seems to be a normal Freudian fashion. People kiss, their clothes fly away and of course more happens. It’s pitch black. They remain silent, although they can hear each other breathing. But then the heroine – Lili O’Day – breaks the spell by incoherently calling out loud.
And so we’re off to the races, for the next two scenes shift from her and her roommate in our universe to her fellow and his roommate – a woman – in the mirror. We know Lili’s name, but not the guy’s. He’s just referred to – and rather pejoratively at that – as the old man. His name is kept out of the first few chapters as he is a counterpart to a canon character.
Clues are dropped and some come from the characters’ speaking whereas others come from Lili talking in her sleep or references from the twin surfaces. Something is going on, in both universes. There is more happening than just the dreams.
From the beginning, I wanted the story to have symbolic meanings. For the title, the first half of the word, rêve, is French for dream. This also works as the second half symbolizes waking life. Plus there is the word itself and its connotations of reinvention and retrograde changes.
Other symbols abound. After the first dream, Lili – who is the sous-chef on the Enterprise – is ordered to make every meal with oranges for one day. When she goes to sleep that night, she reeks of oranges, and it’s the first word that her fellow says to her. So, not only can he smell her, but there is also what oranges kind of mean. They are of course seen as being different from apples (and apples connote temptation and the fall from purity). Oranges, I felt would symbolize sunshine and happiness, and warmth and light.
Another symbol or rather symbols is the quadruple star system. The largest star is a white giant named Lo, which should make the reader think of the phrase lo and behold. The second-largest star is a yellow medium-sized star intended to be like the sun. It’s called Abic (Ay-bick) and is a bit like abba, the Hebrew word for father. The third star is a small orange star called Fep. The smallest one is a red dwarf (yes, it’s a shout out to that TV series) called Ub. Hoshi herself explains that there are value judgments behind the names – Lo is for goodness, Abic is secondary, Fep is small and Ub is sinister.
The five main books in the In Between Days series are each about one of the five main characters (Pamela Hudson is essentially the sixth main character, but she isn’t connected with any book as well as she is with Intolerance). Reversal is, essentially, about Lili. From learning about the fire that killed her parents, to getting to know her as a chef, a lover and a friend, to even peeking at her finances, Lili is all over most of the pages, particularly in the dream sequences and the Prime Universe scenes. This is Lili’s tale.
It’s just the gift that keeps on giving; it’s so incredibly dense with plot. I am grateful to have such a pond to fish in. Apparently readers have agreed; on various platforms, it has racked up over 500,000 reads.