J. J. Abrams

Portrait of a Character – James T. Kirk

Portrait of a Character – James T. Kirk

James T. Kirk Origins

James T. Kirk (Chris Pine version)

Kirk (Chris Pine version)

James T. Kirk. The character is, of course, canon.


As in canon, the character is played by Chris Pine when younger and William Shatner when more mature.

James T. Kirk (William Shatner version)

Kirk (William Shatner version)


Daring, impulsive, and intelligent, the TOS version is easier to take as a leader. The JJ Abrams version often seems bratty and out of control. While the TOS version is sometimes overly sure of himself, he never really seems to be cocky.

One thing to remember is that TOS was written for Kirk. Every episode revolves around him and it is always his POV, even when a storyline centers around Spock, McCoy, or even Scotty or Nurse Chapel.


TOS Kirk has numerous relationships, too many to list here.

Carol Marcus

In canon, they fall in love and she has his child (prime timeline only).


This is the only ‘relationship’ (it’s more like a hookup) I have written for him.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Universe Kirk (William Shatner)

Mirror Universe Kirk (William Shatner)

Mirror Universe James T. Kirk is canon.

We do not really see the MU Jim. As I write him, much like other men with the Y Chromosome Skew, he’s always looking for sexual conquests.

About all we really see is him arguing, but we see all of the denizens of the Mirror Universe complaining and threatening. He does not seem like anyone special, a fact that is played up for Jonathan Archer in the Enterprise MU episodes.


“Starfleet is looking to us, to go exploring. Everybody wants peace, and I’m all for that, but you gotta understand something. That means actually doing something with our time. We are supposed to be getting all of the things done that we couldn’t, while we were dealing with the likes of Nero and Khan. We’re all glad that they’re gone, and I can understand the interest, but Starfleet can send one of their slower ships for that, right?”


I was so sick of him at the end of TOS that I didn’t really want to write about him or watch him much. The truth is, I tend to watch TOS with an eye toward McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, or Chapel more than Kirk. The JJ Abrams version is often kind of whiny. At some point, I hope I can come to peace with this character, as he is, as Spock would say, fascinating.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, Portrait, 1 comment

Portrait of a Character – Nyota Uhura

Portrait of a Character – Nyota Uhura

Nyota Uhura is a character that changes with the times.


Uhura (Zoe Saldana version)

Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana version)

The character is, of course, canon.

I have always loved this character’s quiet competence. She was also perhaps the first actress I ever saw who worked under the hood of a display, with a screwdriver, as wires sparked. It meant, to me, that she was not just another pretty face and she had more going on. She was an important and valuable member of the crew and not just some eye candy.


As in canon, the character is played by Zoe Saldana when young and by Nichelle Nichols when more mature.

I was particularly thrilled when, in the Kelvin timeline films, she showed her competence by making it clear she could speak Romulan. This was a great check back to Hoshi and also to what communications people really should be doing in space.

Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols version)

Uhura (Nichelle Nichols version)

In the Original Series, she was always the calming presence on the ship. Also, if you heard her voice, you knew that, no matter what, everything was going to be all right.

For young girls growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, she proved that you can be young and beautiful and feminine, but also powerful, intelligent, and adventurous. I hope Ms. Nichols knows just how many people she inspired.


Friendly and kind, Nyota is almost the mother hen of the ship in either timeline. She is its heartbeat.



Like a lot of fans, this relationship seems a bit odd but maybe it can work. So in the Eriecho series, I give their relationship some play.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Universe Nyota is also canon.

Nyota Uhura

MU Nyota Uhura (image is for educational purposes only)


“It is, and maybe I’m not helping things by calling you sir. Still, uh, I want you to know that, in this timeline, there’s something between us. And I was wondering, in your timeline, was there ever anything?”


I do not write enough of her, and I mainly write her in the context of the JJ Abrams timeline. I should revisit her.

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Posted by jespah in Eriecho series, Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, Portrait, 0 comments

Review – Release

. Review – Release

Release constitutes another play on words. Hence it represents both an end to bondage and a sexual act. And Saddik himself considers the latter before the former.


With the destruction of Vulcan, Vulcans are sought in all sorts of remote places. And this includes prisons.


This was in response to a prompt requiring that we write in the Kelvin timeline (sometimes also called nuTrek or the JJ  Abrams universe). I made a decision to write about how the creation of a sentient endangered species would be handled.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Release

Eriecho and Saddik’s Release from Canamar Prison

Hence the story opens with a pair of Vulcan convicts. They are being called into a commandant’s office at Canamar Prison, a canon institution.

They are about to be freed, yet they scarcely know why. All that Commandant Kerig will tell them is that Vulcans are endangered, and the home world is no more. This unsettles Saddik, the elder of the two.

But not so Eriecho, who  barely knows anything about Vulcans, or what it means to be one.  So as the story continues, her backstory comes to the fore, of her birth on a prison transport. Hence this is the only life she has ever known. Furthermore, the only mother she has ever known was a deceased Suliban woman, H’Shema.

The action follows Eriecho and Saddik off Canamar and to their new home, a sanctuary on Mars. Colonel Jack Shaw is in charge, and he’s ecstatic. Partly it’s because it was his idea to try to find Vulcans in prisons. But it’s also because the rebuilding of the population involves surrogate mothers and as much genetic diversity as possible with the limited remnants of a once-thriving species. Therefore, taking note of the Law of Supply and Demand, Shaw has something that others want. Hence he (and the administrators of the other sanctuaries, on places like Andoria) engages in a barely legal practice – gamete trading.

Story Postings


The story has a K rating.


I loved being able to introduce these new characters. People love Eriecho, and it’s been a joy to find her voice and follow her life as she adjusts to life on the outside.

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Posted by jespah in Eriecho series, Fan fiction, Review, 5 comments

Inspiration – Childhood

Inspiration – Childhood

Childhood can inspire.

The mechanics of creation

Star Trek canon and Star Trek fan fiction are of two minds, it seems, when it comes to childhood.

Inspiration – Childhood

Star Trek film premiere at the Sydney Opera House. From left to right: Karl Urban (Leonard McCoy), Chris Pine (James T. Kirk), Bryan Burk (Executive Producer), Zachary Quinto (Spock), J.J. Abrams (Producer, Director), Eric Bana (Nero), and John Cho (Sulu). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Either it is Shakespearean-level difficult, like in the JJ Abrams films, where the alternate timeline version of James T. Kirk suffers mistreatment from his stepfather; or the child is some sort of super genius, like Wesley Crusher. There does not appear to be a place for anyone who is in between.

And that is a crying shame, as nearly everyone has a childhood that is somewhere in the middle.

My Experiences Inform My Writing

My own childhood was in the middle. I was not mistreated and, while I am an intelligent person and was as a child, I was not so incredibly off the charts that anyone would have called me a Mozart-style prodigy.

As the younger of two, I am more than familiar with sibling rivalry, and so I made Marie Patrice Beckett a big time proponent of it. Empy is not the youngest in the clan, but she is the only daughter and so she is a little spoiled. Hence her younger behaviors continue a bit into adulthood.

Teenaged behaviors such as getting into mild trouble and then getting out of it are reflected in Lili O’Day‘s teen years, mainly showcased in Flip. Lili gets a chance to turn her life around and she leaps at it. But, at the same time, she is overly annoyed at her hovering grandparents and their reminders, which feel like nagging to her.

Doug‘s childhood is somewhat different, but that is the essence of the Mirror Universe. In Paving Stones, Doug’s early life is rather Dickensian, but that is in keeping with my vision of the other side of the pond. Doug’s life also somewhat parallels what life was like for the young in ancient Sparta.


Childhood is a part of everyone’s life. For those of us lucky enough to live far beyond its end, it can often serve as a prelude to our own personal futures. But Star Trek canon rarely seems to show anything other than extremes. It has been my mission to show what’s in the middle.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Inspiration-Mechanics, 0 comments

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw


After the Star Trek 2009 film came out, eventually there was a challenge to write a story in the JJ Abrams universe (also called nuTrek or the Kelvin timeline). Hence I created Eriecho.

When Eriecho and Saddik are originally released from Canamar Prison, they are brought to a Vulcan sanctuary on Mars. That sanctuary needed an administrator, and that person became Jack Shaw.


I like Kurt Russell for this role, particularly his no-nonsense hyper-military look in Stargate.

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

Kurt Russell as Jack Shaw


Tough but fair, Shaw is responsible for a ton of Vulcans and they are an endangered species.  But underneath, he’s a bit of a softie. He watches over his charges like a mother hen. And he pines for reporter Julie Parker.


Juliet Parker

When we first meet Shaw, one of the things he is doing is mulling over a house that Julie loved. With no ties to her, he puts a payment stop on it. It’s a foolish thing, a lark, and he has no hope of anything happening between them. But he does it all the same. And when she learns he has done this, she is amused and then touched.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

There are no impediments to Shaw existing in the Mirror Universe, either in the JJ Abrams timeline or the Prime Timeline.

I like to think he would be more relaxed, and would maybe have a family, despite the harsh conditions on that side of the pond.


“I’m lousy at this. But I don’t drink to excess, not any more than a beer or two after work. I don’t gamble. I don’t run around. And I, uh, I won’t look at anyone else. Hell, I haven’t since I met you.”


He could be better explored, I imagine. At some point, where Eriecho goes (and at some point I will marry her off to Sollastek), Shaw will follow. He’ll be back.

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Posted by jespah in Eriecho series, Portrait, 11 comments

What’s Star Trek?

What is Star Trek?

Star Trek is what, exactly?
Boldly Reading‘s got another interesting set of questions for me!

Lucky prompt #13 asks –

To go along with this month’s AOS selection, here are some questions to chew on, since so many people feel that the JJ Abrams universe somehow is not Star Trek.

What does it mean to you when a story is described as being Star Trek? What are the characteristics? Is there a bright line between Trek and not-Trek?

What Does it Mean When We Call It Star Trek?

I think it’s mainly about Roddenberry’s general values. It isn’t ships, because people get off the ships (and who’s the say that they won’t stay off the ships for a while longer than just a quickie mission?). It isn’t just phasers and Vulcans and shuttles, because the time of Colonel Green could easily fit into Trek (hell, it’s canon!) and none of those things exist yet.

But maybe not … too much. After all, Roddenberry also, at times, had some ridiculous notions, such as that humanity would somehow be ‘advanced’ enough that mourning the dead wouldn’t happen, or at least not for long, and that trauma would be minimized.


So I think there are some limits there. I think repairing older and antiquated ideas, too –  I have no problem with doing that and still calling it Trek. For example, our current smartphones and tablets are far more sophisticated than they ever dreamed of in the 1960s. Why not have the technology reflect that? I have characters sending and receiving email, and performing what are essentially Google-style searches. I do not imagine those behaviors ending any time soon, and I do not believe that Star Trek loses anything by slipping those bits of reality into the mix. Hell, I think it makes the stories stronger.

Bonus questions!

What are some of your favorite explorations of AOS on Ad Astra? How do you think these stories would change if they took place in TOS or one of the other series?

I like Niobium‘s take on the AOS, and I also enjoyed ErinJean‘s take. I’d love for her to continue in her explorations.

I believe many of us also grab bits and pieces of AOS and dovetail them into ENT or TOS

Original Captain Pike star trek

Original Captain Pike (Photo credit: Dallas1200am)

writings. Captain Pike, certainly, got considerably more depth in the new films. Personally, I now see and hear Bruce Greenwood far more than Jeffrey Hunter in that role. I’ve tried to reconcile the two timelines, at least in part. Melissa and Doug‘s middle son, Tommy, dies in the service of his captain, George Kirk, on the Kelvin, a direct nod to Star Trek 2009.


I find questions of what is and isn’t Star Trek to sometimes be a bit disingenuous. People said that ENT wasn’t Trek. They said that DS9 wasn’t. I think a lot of them will come around to AOS being Trek. As for me, the distinction is fairly clear albeit not perfectly. I know, for a fact, that Jane Eyre is not Star Trek.

After that, though, sometimes, I’m not so sure.

Posted by jespah in Boldly Reading, Fan fiction, Meta, 4 comments