Tag Archives: Leonora Digiorno

Review – Seven Women

Review – Seven Women

Seven Women in memory, love, and loss.

Background

In Fortune, I established that Tommy Digiorno-Madden dies in the service of his captain. In Seven Women, I show exactly how that happens.

Plot

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

The story (which was written as a one a day ficlet challenge) opens with Tommy making it clear that there is a fireball coming, and it’s got his name on it.

The fire door is closed, he’s trapped, and there  is no getting out of this one. Except he says this with no fear, no regrets, and no sorrow. It is just a simple fact. Since he sees his fate, he knows he is about to die.

In order to pass what little time he has left, he has visions. But he does not see his life pass before his eyes. Rather, he sees seven influential women from his life.

Melissa Madden

The first woman he remembers, naturally, is his mother, Melissa Madden.  As he talks about her in the initial chapter, and he mentions her descent into Irumodic Syndrome dementia, he mentions Doug Beckett, too. While he recognizes that his half-brother, Joss, looks the most like Doug, it is he, Tommy, who is the most like their shared father. Because Tommy is a soldier.

Leonora Digiorno

The second woman he recalls is Norri, who he reveals he had a crush on. He remembers her teaching him to read and that, at her death, she said she saw a bridge and the doomed Kevin. And then he reveals that he’s seeing Kevin, too, and feels the brother who never had a chance is somehow there for him and is acting as a kind of spirit guide.

Cindy Morgan

His next memory is of Cindy Morgan, who he reveals (this was my own first inkling of this) was his first girlfriend. Unlike Joss and Jia, they did not work out.

Takara Masterson Sato

Fourth on his list is Takara Masterson Sato Tucker.  In Fortune, I established that they made dream contact as children, but didn’t know if they had pursued it after that. However, the character spoke to me, and so dreaming with Takara became something that Tommy had done for his entire life.

Lili O’Day

Then his next revelation is about Lili O’Day, and he remembers her not only as Doug’s wife, but also her singing Arroz con Leche to him (a scene from Temper) and making empanadas, a detail that is also from Temper.

Erika Hernandez

The sixth woman is his old boss, Erika Hernandez. While Tommy is too young for Flight of the Bluebird, he is definitely there with Erika during later voyages, and is probably a part of patrolling the Neutral Zone.

The Last Woman

I won’t reveal the seventh woman. So you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I really loved giving Tommy some dimension, as he really didn’t have much beforehand. Joss and Neil and Empy and Dec (and even Kevin) seemed to have had more screen time.

But it’s Tommy who ends up becoming the most important person, ever, to the new timeline. And no one but the reader knows.

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Review – About Nine Months

Review – About Nine Months

About Nine Months captures a lost cause. From October of 2176 to June of 2177, the short life of Kevin Madden-Beckett.

Background

So after writing Fortune, I had wanted to expand on Kevin Madden-Beckett‘s story for a while, but the opportunity kept failing to present itself. It did scream out for some more detail, not only about his existence, but also about how the family felt about him. At the end of Fortune, the siblings make it clear they love him. And in Seven Women, Tommy sees Kevin as a kind of spiritual guide to the other side in his (Tommy’s) last living moments.  As a result, Kevin matters a great deal, even though Q dismisses Kevin’s tragic and short existence as being somewhat like a mayfly’s short life (mayflies live for twenty-four hours). But the family sees more; I felt the need to honor and express that.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | About Nine Months
Later Days

It is later in everyone’s life. The kids are nearly all grown. Doug and Lili have settled into comfortable married life. Malcolm is busy fighting a cold war, but otherwise things have fallen into an established pattern. Norri is writing her book. Melissa gets some small piloting assignments, as their nest isn’t quite empty yet. Joss is already at Cornell.

Then comes Kevin.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Kevin is a child with no chance, but he has a place, as both Lili’s spirit guide in Fortune and Tommy’s in Seven Women. For someone with such a short time among the living, Kevin proved to have what I feel is a compelling story.

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Review – The Facts

Review – The Facts

The facts of life are complex in an open marriage.

Tommy Digiorno-Madden gets an eyeful when he’s sent home early from school one day.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | IBD Arrangement | The Facts
In Between Days, the Arrangement

Takes place on September 11, 2166.

Background

In response to a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about facts, my mind immediately went to the idea of the facts of life. What can I say? My mind is in the gutter half the time, I suppose.

During Fortune, Q shows Lili the family at a later date, after her death. It is a conversation that she would not normally ever be able to witness. It is Marie Patrice, Joss, Tommy, Neil, and Declan talking a bit about sex. They discuss various ages when they figured out certain terminologies. Then Tommy gets to speak, and he reveals that he learned something rather intimate when he was very young.

Plot

The story opens with Tommy getting into trouble at school. Miss Elenyakiah, a Calafan teacher, is not too pleased at being referred to as Miss Elekai. She sends Tommy back to the Beckett house, where he is staying with Neil, Melissa, and Norri, as their apartment in Fep City is being renovated. Doug and Lili have a full house. Lili is at Reversal and Doug is drilling with his troops. The only people home are Leonora and Melissa, as the children are all at school. At least, that’s what they think.

Then Tommy barges in.

Melissa and Norri throw clothes at each other quickly and, in record time, they dress. To keep Tommy distracted, they ply him with tofflin juice.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I like how this little story puts together a bit of embarrassment but also a contrast between Norri and Melissa suddenly having to clue Tommy in on where babies come from, versus the lies that Tommy tells earlier in the story in order to avoid trouble at school. I liked the scene so much that I have Tommy recall it in Seven Women and then the follow up happens in Linfep Linfep Linfep.

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Review – An Announcement

Review – An Announcement

An announcement to the family – a big one.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Norri| Red | An Announcement
Norri (Red)

This was a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about family. Rather than have Leonora come out, I decided to instead have her announce that she had met someone special. That person is Melissa Madden. Leonora is, of course, happy.

Plot

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only) | An Announcement
Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)

In Fortune, I had rather vaguely established how the two women had met (and then more detail is offered in Red, which was written much later), but not the aftermath.

This was a good chance to show that scene, particularly since I already had a bit of background of Norri’s father disapproving to some extent. While Dino isn’t necessarily homophobic (albeit some people read him that way), the way I see him is that he’s a bit huffy that his little girl is growing up perhaps a bit too fast. After all, her brothers, Alex and Phil, have not yet declared their love for anyone. So this statement of hers changes everything and upends his world a bit.

Hence I feel it is more that Dino is a bit blindsided by the declaration. Belinda, his wife, sets him straight, and the story ends with a promise to have Melissa over, and soon, so that she can meet the family. There is even a brief reference to her brother Phil’s violin playing, another shout out to Fortune.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

In particular, to get Norri in front of more readers, I think the little story works pretty well. At some point, I’ll write their first dinner together, I imagine.

Review – Together

The Plot

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 is getting married. 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 be tested, 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, are mentioned 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 they are separated 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, and 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

The story is loaded with music 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

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? 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, it’s also the most read of my stories, and for good reason, as it helps the reader to understand so much more of my overall story line. Plus, I think it’s just a good, complicated tale.

I’m very proud of this one.

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