Tag Archives: lili o’day

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 – Gratitude

Review – Gratitude

Gratitude matters.

Background

Lili‘s killing of a Xindi Insectoid has been explored in Fortune (the act is shown) and The Mess (the immediate aftermath). Lili discusses the matter with Doug in Reversal, and with Malcolm during Together. There’s even a small foreshadowing in Protocols, where Captain Archer comments that she doesn’t have her sidearm with her, but she assures him that she’s pretty handy with a meat cleaver. The part that was missing from the story was the fairly immediate aftermath, where Lili would have to deal with what she’d done. She would have to dust herself off and work, too.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Before Days | Gratitude
Before Days

For a prompt about being grateful, I chose the big gratitude holiday, Thanksgiving. But this is Lili O’Day we’re talking about, so it’s all about She Who Almost Didn’t Breed In Time.

As the Insectoid has pretty much just been killed, Chef Slocum is back in the kitchen and immediately puts two and two together. He orders Lili to Sick Bay.

Phlox is in attendance, of course, but so is MACO Frank Todd, as he’s sustained a minor injury. He talks to Lili about what it feels like to have done that, and how she can go on. That she will need to focus on being thankful for being alive.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I think the story is okay but not great. I know I had wanted to get it out there, and so it could have used some research. After all, Lili really shouldn’t recover from the act quite so quickly. Maybe I’ll revisit this, and have the weight of her guilt come down on her when she least expects it.

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Portrait of a Character – Marie Helêne Ducasse O’Day

Portrait of a Character – Marie Helêne Ducasse O’Day

Marie Helêne Ducasse O’Day was originally not to be seen.

Origins

In order to explain why Lili O’Day was so isolated in Reversal, I needed for her family to be gone. As a result, I randomly chose a house fire, at age nine, as being the cause of her orphaning. And therefore, Lili needed to have parents, even briefly.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Young Lili O'Day with her mother, Marie Helêne Ducasse O'Day
Young Lili O’Day with her mother, Marie Helêne Ducasse O’Day (image is for educational and references purposes only)

I have no idea who this woman is. The image comes from Flickr, and I was really looking for a fair-skinned and fair-haired girl of the right age. The woman’s image was a bonus, as was the painting on the little girl’s face. I mean no disrespect in continuing to use this image.

If I were to cast Marie Helêne now,  I would choose a middle-aged blonde actress, possibly someone like Mary Stuart Masterson. As a bonus, I ‘cast’ Ms. Masterson in a wholly original trilogy, The Obolonk Murders. I like this smart and lovely actress who feels natural-looking.

Personality

Smart and artistic, Marie Helêne is a potter in both universes. In the Mirror, that makes her something of an elite. In the prime universe, her artistic bent passes along to Lili and to two of her three grandchildren, who she never sees, Declan Reed and Marie Patrice Beckett.

Relationships

Peter Thomas O’Day

Marie Helêne’s only known relationship is with Pete. They have a good relationship in both universes.

Mirror Universe

In the Mirror, Peter and Marie Helêne have a difficult life, as Pete says something he’s not supposed to, and inadvertently is branded a dissident.

Mary Stuart Masterson as Mirror Universe Marie Helêne Ducasse O’Day
Mary Stuart Masterson by David Shankbone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, in the Mirror Universe, Pete Marie Helênedeliberately set the fatal house fire. This is because they have no other options.

Quote

“They’ll never let you come back. And the kids and me, we’ll never recover. Charlotte will end up turning tricks this afternoon, or I will! And Declan will become a thief, if he’s lucky, and he lives that long.”

Upshot

Historical circumstances make it so that this character can’t appear much more than she already has. But any time I write Lili remembering her childhood, Marie Helêne isn’t far behind.

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Review – All You Need is Love

Review – All You Need is Love

All You Need is Love is about the aftermath of a very special first birthday party, in October of 2162.

All You Need is Love Background

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | IBD Arrangement | All You Need is Love
In Between Days, the Arrangement

Plot

For Malcolm Reed who, in canon, never had a family and was never close to anyone, I wanted to fix that in my Star Trek fan fiction. In Temper, and then again in Fortune, I had already established that Lili O’Day Beckett would have his only child, Declan.

Review – All You Need is Love
wall painting of the Beatles Story museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Declan, who is born on Halloween, lives on Lafa II with his mother and her husband, Doug Beckett. But Doug is generous (it is an open marriage) and so Malcolm, when he is on three years of paternity leave (and afterwards, as he purchases the place) lives in a house up a little rise from the Beckett house. There are a lot of visits as such a little baby needs to nurse. The arrangement is such that Doug and Lili will have Declan live with them and their two children together, Joss and Marie Patrice.  Malcolm is well aware of just how much he owes them, particularly Doug. Doug is pretty gracious about things, particularly considering the violent and jealous history between the two men. But Malcolm in particular understands he has got to keep the peace as a gesture to Lili.

He is also abundantly aware of how his life has suddenly and irrevocably changed. As a person who had been utterly devoted to duty, the idea of living an emotionally open life starts off as a somewhat foreign concept. But by this time he’s getting used to opening up and showing what’s inside of him.

Music

Of course, the theme music for this little story is the Beatles’ All You Need is Love.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I like the little domestic scene, and I particularly enjoy how Malcolm feels comfortable enough to break down at any time. He knows that Lili will never make fun of him or otherwise belittle or cheapen his emotions. All he has ever needed is love.

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Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

Background

Tarisian Dreams suggested that I somehow find a way for Spot and Porthos to meet. The only methods were, I felt, either time travel or a holodeck simulation. I chose the former.

Plot

It’s during the Xindi War, and Lili has only recently been hired. While starting dinner, she brings Porthos to the galley. He sits, hoping that’s she’ll drop something tasty. Will comes in and scolds Lili, as this is a Health Code violation.

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat
English: This is an orange/yellow tabby cat.

He insists that she return the beagle to Captain Archer‘s quarters. Lili does so, and departs as the ship is hit by a spatial anomaly. This creates a hull breach on B Deck. But this anomaly is temporal as well as spatial, and so it also results in Porthos being whisked away, over a century into the future, to the Enterprise-D, where Data, Spot, Geordi, Wesley Crusher, and Captain Picard all are.

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

On the NX-01, they fear Porthos has died. On the Enterprise-D, they try to get him home.

Plus the whole thing is told from the perspective of Porthos, including his conversations with Spot.

Does Porthos get back to the right time period? Who helps him? And what happens to him and Spot, before he departs?

I guess you’ll have to read in order to find out.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I love writing animals’ points of view, and Porthos is always great fun. Spot was much more of a challenge, but readers have told me that I got cat POV correct. That was rather satisfying to read. Will they return? Absolutely, although I’m hard-pressed as to how to (if ever) get them back together again.

Review – Take Back the Night

Review – Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night!

Take Back the Night Background

Once The Cure is Worse Than the Disease was posted, readers began asking me about a sequel. Nobody wanted to leave it the way it had been left, which was with Doctor An Nguyen becoming disillusioned and the Daranaeans left to their own devices and sexist ways, with lip service being paid to the Prime Directive.

I decided I wanted a small piece of a revolution, and so I got an idea. There would be an injustice, and the women would rise up.

Plot

Review – Take Back the Night

The real Take Back the Night movement is about women holding forth against violence against women, including rape, particularly date rape.

For the Daranaean, the elder Inta, this would be a form of marital rape that would spark the powder keg of a plot. I had already established that third caste women had no right to refuse sexual relations, and so the beginning is her refusing to sleep with her husband, Arnis. In fact, the first word of the story is simply her saying, “No!”

That is the only word she says in the entire piece. And in fact, that is the only word I have from her. Yet it is enough.

Violence

For her refusal, she is hit, hard, and she falls to the floor, hitting her head. This causes her death and, just as importantly, the death of her unborn fetus.

While her death is not actionable, the first legal question is whether the death of the unborn child is. This is, of course, distasteful to most of us, but I figure that alien cultures may very well have rather alien ideas about justice and mercy.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Take Back the Night
Take Back the Night

As the story unfolds, someone other than Arnis gets the blame. Hence the Cochrane and the Columbia both play a part in helping that person be exonerated. And they also help in having the real killer charged with the crime.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I think this is one of the better stories I have written, as the action moves from Daranaean home to both starships, a space battle, and eventually a courtroom and even the Beta Council chamber on Daranaea. Perhaps the best part about the story is that, while it resolves the immediate issue, it doesn’t fix all of the Daranaeans’ problems overnight. There’s plenty more story fodder, and many injustices remain. But at least there are a few less of them. I’m very proud of this story.

Review – Conversations with Heroes

Review – Conversations with Heroes

Conversations with Heroes was a lot like taking dictation.

Background

As a part of the 2013 ficlet flashdance challenge, we were tasked with creating a posting every day of one week, with at least 1,000 words. I decided to tie the whole shebang together with a documentary filmmaker creating a work about the Xindi War.

Plot

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | Conversations with Heroes
In Between Days

It’s just after the war has ended, and independent filmmaker Carlos Castillo has an assignment to cover the Xindi War from the perspective of the people who fought it.

Sharp-eyed readers should spot that Carlos is a prime universe counterpart to one of the men killed by Doug Beckett, as is outlined in Fortune.

The prime universe Carlos comes to the NX-01, but he also tracks down crew members like Lili, who are off the ship (as is established in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere). He interviews the following crew members –

  1. Jonathan Archer – he discusses the turning point for this character, a Star Trek: Enterprise canon act where he forced an Ossarian pirate into an airlock.
  2. Maryam Haroun – Maryam mentions her Muslim faith. Also, she talks about the deaths of fellow crew members and feels that her failure to pray may have had a correlation with that.
  3. Lili O’Day – Lili relives killing She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time, which was originally outlined in Reversal and The Mess.
  4. Jennifer Crossman – her memory is of the canon act of deceiving Degra.
  5. Malcolm Reed – Malcolm talks about Jay‘s death.

The final piece is Carlos’s own statements about having met the Enterprise‘s crew. And he mentions the effect this assignment has personally had on him.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story was  well-received. I also loved the pressure creativity aspect of it. This story also has the third-highest number of reviews of any story of mine (only Reversal and Revved Up have more).

I can’t wait to do this kind of story again.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Background

Lilies and Lili! For a prompt about sweetness, I gave two answers.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field
Lilies

This was the second one. I wanted to get across the sweetness of relationships, both the long-term and the fairly new.

In addition, in Fortune, one of the family photographs was of Joss and Jia at their prom. I wanted to fill in the blanks, the missing details, of that.

Plot

Joss, a little jumpy in a tuxedo, is cooling his heels before Jia and her parents arrive to take him to the prom at their little school on Lafa II. Marie Patrice is, as she often is, a little snarky. Declan even jokes a bit.  Lili is of course more supportive. Malcolm is mentioned very briefly.

There is a little bustling as Doug arrives with groceries. The kids go out to help (after Lili tells them to), but she holds back Joss so that he won’t get dirty. There is a mysterious blue bag that no one is allowed to touch.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Once the food is put away, Doug opens up the bag, revealing a carnation boutonniere for Joss and a corsage for Jia. Jia’s parents, Mai and Geming arrive with their daughter. Savvy readers will recognize Geming’s counterpart as being Doug’s final deliberate kill in the Mirror Universe.

After they depart, and the other two children return to their homework, Lili laments that Doug never had a prom. He confirms that, at the time, he was finishing up at West Point and about to go into Basic Training. But he’s got one more surprise for her.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I enjoyed bringing this story together, and I think it works rather well. Doug and Lili’s love is obvious, and Jia and Joss’s relationship is on the cusp of becoming something great, too.

Review – Before the Fall

Review – Before the Fall

Before the Fall references pride.

Background

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.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jonathan Frakes as Chef Will Slocum (image is for educational purposes only) | Before the Fall
Jonathan Frakes as Chef Will Slocum (image is for educational purposes only)

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.

Plot

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Naomi Watts as Lili O'Day (image is for educational purposes)
Naomi Watts as Lili O’Day (image is for educational purposes)

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.

Review – Before the Fall

Preston Jennings makes an appearance, thereby tying the story to More, More, More! He is Chef’s assistant between Daniels and Lili. Lili selects Brian Delacroix as her assistant, thereby neatly prefiguring his becoming a chef (hinted at in Reversal, and then fully realized in Together and Fortune).

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?

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

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.

Review – Equinox

Review – Equinox

Equinox is where I had to kill one of my darlings, an event from Fortune.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Equinox
Equinox

For a monthly prompt about sacrifice, I wanted (as I often do) to turn it on its head.  This was not to be a story about noble sacrifices for idealistic causes, with Starfleet cheering all the way. Instead, it was to be a story about personal human sacrifices, and how Starfleet can, I suspect, chew people up and spit them out.

Plot

The story begins with Malcolm telling Travis and Hoshi that he’s going to miss them. Review – Equinox Hoshi is looking forward to spending more time with her family. Travis is trying to salvage his marriage. They are both retiring. It’s 2181, and they are the last three left of the original seven senior officers on the NX-01. T’Pol has returned to Vulcan and Phlox is back on Denobula. Tucker is dead, and Archer is pursuing a political career, which dovetails with Star Trek: Enterprise canon. With Hoshi and Travis’s retirements, Malcolm will be the last one standing.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Lafa II Southern Continent
Lafa II Southern Continent

And then he gets a call from Leonora Digiorno, and learns that Doug Beckett has died in the forests of the southern continent of Lafa II, a scene from Fortune.

Hence Malcolm knows that, no matter what, he’s got to get home and be with Lili. And he will have to set aside everything and, potentially, jeopardize his standing and his command, things he has worked very, very hard for.

But there is no question.

Review – Equinox

He will go to Lili.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

So I like how it turned out, as it wove the themes of sacrifice and familial duty, crossing them with duties to Starfleet. It was a chance to fill in a few gaps left in Fortune, and to bring in the bench characters and give them great roles, people like Aidan, Chip, Deb, José, and Jennifer. The story acts as a bridge to the deeper future and continues the process of tying In Between Days to the Times of the HG Wells. Finally, I think it fulfilled its purpose well.