For Reversal in particular to work, there had a to be a number of people ready and able to go to war.
In particular, as the Mirror Universe is so different from the prime universe, a lot of people would be soldiers there who wouldn’t be so here. Or they would be more violent and less disciplined than in our universe. As it is explained to Lili, the percentage of military personnel is deliberately kept very high over there.
There are more MACOs in particular than the group listed here, but these people are seen the most.
Appearances of Soldiers
This Calafan recruit drills directly under Doug and, in the Mirror, in one of the alternate timelines, assassinates the Empress Hoshi Sato during Temper.
Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett
Doug, a trained killer, spends much of Reversal trying to leave the practice of making war. When he can’t find anything else to do with himself in Together, he eventually becomes the captain of a defense unit on Lafa II, and instructs recruits.
Chang, a canon character, defends the Enterprise but, in the E2 timeline, commits crimes.
Curtis is another E2 timeline criminal. In the Temper alternate timelines, he’s named Craig.
In the prime universe, Delacroix is a security guard who becomes a chef. In the Mirror, he nearly kills Doug.
Unlike the other five kids, Tommy joins Starfleet and goes into Tactical.
In the deep future, Tom is assigned to the Breen homeworld before he joins the Temporal Integrity Commission.
Deb works in Security in both universes. In the Mirror, she kills Brian before he has a chance to off Doug. But her victory is short-lived, and she perishes when he leaves that universe.
The consummate soldier, Major J. Hayes is so committed to defending the ship that he has nearly no time for people.
Yet another E2 criminal, Hodgkins often pairs with Curtis, particularly in the Mirror.
Chip is wasted in Security and moves over to Communications. This isn’t possible in the Mirror, so he stays in Tactical. In the prime timeline, he escapes the Empress, but in one of the alternates, he rises to become captain of the Defiant.
Travis is a soldier in the Mirror Universe only. He’s a poor soldier, though, and an even worse leader. In the alternate timelines, and in the prime timeline, he is fragged by his own troops.
Like Travis, Andy is only a soldier in the Mirror. When the Empress taps him for somewhat earthy duties, he manages to get himself reassigned to Science.
The other consummate canon career soldier, Malcolm is more ambitious and tries for a command as soon as he can get one.
José is another person who is only a soldier in the Mirror. He is not cut out for command at all and, in an alternate timeline, destroys his ship, the Luna, and everyone on board is killed.
Star Trek fanfiction will always have a place for men and women (and other genders) in uniform.
For an early Lili story, I got the idea as I was given a prompt for a story about the seven deadly sins. I chose pride.
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.
In response to a weekly prompt about painting a scene, I submitted Atlas. As far back as Reversal, I had described Titania as a kind of Southerners’ paradise. This story gave me an opportunity to showcase that.
In late April of 2133, Jay is a sergeant and is under a Major Ian Landry. Savvy fanfiction readers will recognize Landry as being one of Doug‘s kills, in the Mirror Universe, as described in Fortune.
The MACO unit has just gotten an assignment to Titania.
While Jay is an NCO, the military presence is new. Hence not all of the barracks buildings are up. Therefore, even though he isn’t supposed to, he must bunk with the enlisted personnel.
Jay meticulously sets up his area, following every regulation down to the minutest detail. His neighbor, Mercer, is a lot less careful. Plus the remainder of the enlisted men only imperfectly execute the unpack order. Only Jay gets everything right.
As a result, he gets Cinderella Liberty, and takes his time off to go to the Bar District of New Natchez. He has some small adventures, and even sees a woman who will eventually turn out to be Susan Cheshire, although he does not approach her.
I like the little look into Jay’s background. At the time, I was writing The Three of Us, and it struck me that I had very little on Jay’s background, and that needed to be rectified. There are a lot more stories I could tell about Jay; I have barely scratched the surface there.
Spotlight on an Original Non-Sentient Species – Procul/Prako
When I wrote the E2Star Trek fanfiction stories, I decided that the Amity planet would have plenty of wildlife, but that none of it would have developed a backbone. Enter the procul (pronounced PRO-kull; the word is Latin for distant).
Huge, lumbering, and dumber than a box of rocks, procul (also called prako, which is pronounced prah-KO) are essentially giant ambulatory amphibious squid.
The image is pretty close to what I’m shooting for, but procul are graced with a total of fourteen legs, and their eye spots (much like are found in flatworms – planaria – here on Earth) are on the underside of the animal. This makes them blind on land but surprisingly graceful underwater as they swim in a manner that we would perceive as being backwards.
First seen in the E2 first timeline in Entanglements, no one really knows what to make of them. It isn’t even known whether they are sentient, and communication is even attempted. When it’s determined that they are no smarter than maybe an herbivorous fish, one is shot by Jay Hayes and brought back to the ship for study. Once the study is complete, he brings some pieces to the galley, and Lili cooks them, although she tries it raw first. When she shoves a piece of uncooked procul into Jay’s unsuspecting mouth, he has a rather visceral reaction to what is, essentially, a come-on.
In the prime timeline, prako are offered at a large open-air Calafan market in Local Flavor. Lili inquires about their cost but determines that they are too expensive for her current limited budget. The reader learns that the carcasses have been brought in by Eska hunters. In The Three of Us, it is revealed that Amity is called Archer’s Planet in the prime timeline.
Procul only have one known predator (other than sentient hunters) – malostrea, which the Eska call hard devils.
Nothing is known about their behavior in water. However, on land, they herd together, much like cattle. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, they are herded by dogs.
Since they are all hermaphrodites, the natural leader is the largest animal, as opposed to, perhaps, a male which would have been analogous to a bull or a stallion. The leader, at times, rears up on its back legs and rubs two forelimbs together. This produces a high-pitched sound, not unlike that of a penny whistle.
They also have chromatophores, and are observed changing colors, from rust to celadon to milky white. They have open circulatory systems, much like is found in mollusks here on Earth.
Chameleon-like in coloration, circulation like in a clam, legs like an elephant, call like a cheap wind instrument and dumber than a box of rocks, procul are a bit of a mess, but I like them.
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.
A lot about Doug Beckett is, truly, Reversal spoilers. Avert your eyes if you haven’t read Reversal and want to maintain the mystery of the first couple of chapters.
For me, Doug was, in part, every guy who’s ever been romantic around me. This includes my husband. But he’s also a typical resident of the Mirror Universe. So that means that there’s violence in his past, and ambitions and twisted behaviors. But I wanted him to be a person who could, eventually and with help, rise above it.
Doug’s name was a particularly serendipitous find. Douglas means dark stranger, and that is precisely what he is. For Lili, who meets him in a pitch-black dream, he is the ultimate stranger. But he’s also what she needs. He shakes up her world.
His surname is changed when he comes to our side of the pond. Much like an immigrant, he wants to leave his old life behind him, and become the man that Lili wants and needs – the man she can see is lurking under the surface. The surname Beckett is a shout out to Quantum Leap.
Doug is also, in many ways, the opposite side of her coin. She’s somewhat distant with people. He is, too, but it’s not because he truly wants to be. It’s more that the Mirror has made him that way (see his origins story, Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions), due to its insistence that weakness be rooted out and punished or excised or, at least, well-hidden.
Because (eek, spoilers!) Doug is Major Jay Hayes‘s Mirror Universe counterpart, he is of course portrayed by Steven Culp. Culp is a consummate actor, perfect for the role. I have read a number of interviews with him, and he has said that he treated Hayes as almost a David Mamet character. That is, he was more action than talk. Notice, too, that in the series, Jay Hayes rarely smiles. Instead, he is all business.
The name Jay is not canon. Culp has said he thought the character was named Jay or Jeremiah. There are also trading cards showing the name as being Joss. I have used all three names, giving Jeremiah as the name of both Doug’s father and his first-born son (nicknamed Joss), with Jay as being the name of the canon character and Doug’s own middle name. Jay worked out perfectly in this way, as it works as both a first and a middle name in a way that Jeremiah would not have.
Much like canon character Jay Hayes, Doug is not much of a talker. In Reversal, he has few ways of complimenting Lili, mainly calling her beautiful rather than use synonyms that he is either uncomfortable with or, perhaps, doesn’t even know. That book has a ton of hesitation speech. Doug is nervous in the mirror, in particular around the Empress, although that’s to be expected. With Lili, he’s also nervous, because he’s a bit tongue-tied. And he wants, desperately, for her to like him. He often doesn’t know what to say, but he always seems to know what to do.
Once they are together in our universe, Doug’s demeanor softens considerably. He tries very hard to please Lili and make their life together as good as it can possibly be. Their early life together is in A Kind of Blue, Friday Visit, Pacing and The Gift.
When his relationship with Lili is tested in Together, Doug has few communications strategies at his disposal. When they argue, he very quickly hits below the belt. This, I feel, makes some sense, as Doug hasn’t really learned to be sensitive to others’ feelings. He knows that he loves her, and he wants for everything to work itself out, but he can’t really see the pathway to that.
Action and Maturity
In Temper, he even refers to himself as “the action guy”. Hence he is the one chosen for the mission by Daniels (also because of his twenty centimeter radiation band), for he will get things done. Malcolm has to stay behind because his place is to step in and lead.
By the time Fortune has come around, Doug has been hiding his past rather effectively. Lili knows some of it. She is well aware that he has committed some monstrous deeds in the Mirror Universe. But she wants to believe that he will never do such things again. She’s in some denial herself, in that she’d rather not hear about things. It isn’t until she pushes and asks about his crimes does Doug finally come clean. Furthermore, for Doug, who is inarticulate at best, having him handle a hostage situation by talking instead of shooting was, to me, a fitting full circle behavior. Life here is, after all, very different from the mirror.
Their later life together is documented in The Facts and his death and its aftermath is shown in Equinox.
Doug Beckett in the Mirror Universe
Since Doug is a counterpart character, his life begins in the Mirror. He is the only child of Jeremiah and Lena Hayes, and lives with them on Ganymede. Because of a late birth date (December third, same as Steven Culp’s), his parents force him into schooling at too young an age. Doug’s education is such that anyone in authority pushes him to become a bully and a fighter.
After his eventual graduation, he goes to Cambodia for basic training, and then to freighter defense and other small assignments, essentially acting as a mercenary. He spends time on Andoria, the Klingon home world and other locales, fighting and working as a soldier, molding himself from an untrained, arrogant lummox until, eventually, a disciplined fighting man.
He gets onto the ISS Enterprise by knifing Geming Sulu. His elevation to Lieutenant Commander, to replace the deceased Mirror Universe Malcolm Reed (called Ian Reed in my fanfiction), is part of Paving Stones. While on the Defiant, he meets Lili.
His times with Lili and Melissa are the most important for him. However, prior to the crossing over, he did have some relationships. His first main girlfriend (if you can call her that) in the Mirror was Darareaksmey Preap. She was a Cambodian bar girl who he plied with gifts and false “I love yous” until he was able to lose his virginity to her.
Another Mirror relationship – if you could say that – was with Christine Chalmers. The name is a shout out to canon character Christine Chapel. Chalmers is a cheap girl who he, at the time, thought was very hot. One of the crimes that Doug commits was to be with her, and his guilt about that consumes him.
Getting More Serious
His first true relationship is with alcoholic schoolteacher Susan Cheshire. Susan is an important person to him, although he insists to Lili that he didn’t love her. But he’s certainly memorable to her – she recognizes him during Temper.
Doug also has an on-again, off-again thing with Shelby Pike who, in the Mirror, is a pilot who used to be a hooker. Once he knew Shelby, he would cheat on other girlfriends with her.
Doug’s final relationship in the Mirror, which ends after he’s known Lili for less than a week, is with Jennifer Crossman. Jenn is a poor choice for a girlfriend, mainly there for her looks rather than any sort of compatibility. While they’re breaking up, she claims that he can’t live alone. Doug refuses to admit it, but she’s right about that.
Reversal got its name on a lark. I hadn’t written Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction in quite a while.
So 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.
And the title proved to be perfect.
I had a dream. No, not like Martin Luther King!
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 plays 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 abound 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 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-size star like the sun. It’s Abic (Ay-bick), a bit like abba, the Hebrew word for father. The third star is a small orange star, 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 total reads.