Tag Archives: Lili

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 – Linfep Linfep Linfep

Review – Linfep Linfep Linfep

Linfep Linfep what? They are a lot like rabbits. Hence the title, and the subject matter. Once again, a play on words saves the day.

Background

I can’t recall the prompt for this one, but it was the first day of the month. This made for a good bit of backhanded inspiration.

I decided on a play on “Rabbit rabbit rabbit.” On Lafa II, linfep are the closest thing. Hence the story was not only about near-rabbits, but also about what rabbits do best.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | Linfep Linfep
Later Days

It’s the first of the month, and so Lili mutters the phrase as her kids get her up way too early and she stumbles in the general direction of the coffee.

She has been tasked with taking care of all five children as Malcolm is defending the Neutral Zone (so Declan is around). Melissa and Norri are on Earth for an occasion, and so Tommy and Neil are staying over. Doug is working with his recruits. Of course Doug and Lili’s two children together, Joss and Marie Patrice are there as they live there.

Lili and the kids all notice a number of linfep scampering around the yard, and she realizes they are going to get holes in the yard. She asks Doug to bring home tofflin leaves when he comes back, as those repel the cute but destructive invaders.

Then the kids notice that two of the linfep are ‘telling secrets’.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

For a little story about the ramp up to telling children the facts of life, I think this amusing little story works pretty well.

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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 – Dishing it Out

Review – Dishing it Out

Dishing it out is a crossover.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Lili| Naomi Watts | pregnant | Dishing it Out
Lili (image of a pregnant Naomi Watts is for educational purposes only)

False Bill and I wanted to put together a funny crossover story where both of our universes could collide.

Complicating matters was the fact that his chef character, the Caitian Naurr, disappears during the Romulan War in his fan fiction.

Therefore, there were some temporal limitations. This required that Lili be pregnant with Joss, but it also gave us an idea about temporal shenanigans.

Plot

Three storylines occur at what, to the reader, is the same time and place. But the reality is that they cover three separate years and two universes.  In one storyline, the Mirror Universe version of Erika Hernandez works as a chef for the Empress Hoshi Sato. Hoshi is mulling over her next conquests and angry about the food on the ISS Defiant. In 2158, a very pregnant Lili, along with Naurr, is cooking at Reversal. Doug tells her to take it easy, and some of the interplay between them foreshadows later issues in Together and Fortune.  The third storyline is in the deeper future, in the HG Wells timeline, as Rick Daniels, Carmen Calavicci, Otra D’Angelo, HD Avery, Levi Cavendish, and Kevin O’Connor all celebrate at a year-end banquet with some of their mirror counterparts, which are characters created by False Bill.

A dispute and a small prank pushes one of False Bill’s characters to send unauthorized cookbooks to Empress Hoshi’s time period. But the temporal transporters are only working to send people forward in time but not back! What to do?

Send in the chefs!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I like how the threads came together. We also had a  lot of comedic fun with the story, adding an invading mouse army and a bit of slapstick humor. Others agreed, and it won the crossover challenge during the 2014 Twelve Trials of Triskelion on Ad Astra.

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Review – We Meet Again

Review – We Meet Again

We Meet Again Background

So We Meet Again – Just after the NX-01 is decommissioned in 2162, Travis heads to Philadelphia to mourn Tripp Tucker and think about his next career move.

Plot

In canon, there is virtually nothing shown about anyone’s recovery from Tucker’s untimely demise.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | We Meet Again
In Between Days

It is as if it never mattered in the first place.

In response to a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about entertainment, I made the decision to go dark and most decidedly not fluffy.

The story begins with Travis feeling a little lost. Very briefly, I mention that the final movie night has been held on the NX-01 prior to its decommissioning, and that the film Chip chose was the first James Bond movie, Dr. No.

He has little to do or think about, and his family is on the freighter, anyway. With no one to visit and just a little bit doubtful as to whether Captain Archer wants him back for the DC-1500 USS Zefram Cochrane, Travis goes to a nearby station and visits a ticket agent. He gives her an undisclosed amount of cash and just asks, “Where can this take me?” She gives him a few options and he chooses Philadelphia.

Review – We Meet Again
8th and Market Street, showing the Strawbridge and Clothier department store, 1910s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did not choose Philly for any particular reason. I just like the city (I lived outside it for a few years as a child) and it is a readily recognizable place which would still exist during that time period.

However, Travis has no ties to it whatsoever. For him, it’s just a means of getting away from it all.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I could probably have spent more time on this short story, particularly with what Travis does in the City of Brotherly Love.

Review – We Meet Again
Cover of Dr. No (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition)

Otherwise, the experience feels somewhat rushed. But when he returns to Starfleet, the phrase, of course, is: We Meet Again, Mister Bond.

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Review – Tumult

Review – Tumult

Tumult came easily.

Background

On May fifth of 2160, Lili and Doug arrive on Ceres for Tommy’s birth, on May sixth.

Plot

As a direct sequel to Together, I wanted to begin to show the Beckett-O’Day-Reed-Digiorno-Madden arrangement and how it would work.

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

Hence much like with Equilibrium, this story would show some of the adjustments that would need to be made in order to get an open marriage to run smoothly.

Tommy is one of the pieces that holds the whole mad scheme together and got it kicked off in the first place. Because if Melissa had not been pregnant, Doug might not have bonded with her as well or as closely or as quickly. Furthermore, it is not likely that Norri would have been so forgiving of allowing Doug into their lives and sharing Melissa with him.

So the story opens with Lili and Doug on their way to Ceres. And they are taking Joss and Marie Patrice with them, as Tommy will be their half-brother. But Empy is just an infant. When they arrive, Norri comes to greet them and explains that Melissa went into labor earlier than expected. Hence the Digiornos and the Maddens have already arrived.

When Dino and Belinda Digiorno see Doug and Lili with their children, the introductions are made quickly (I never actually named the Maddens). Dino, as a call back to An Announcement, asks to hold Marie Patrice but also asks Lili who is related to whom. He cannot figure it out and it all seems too strange to him. The whole arrangement is hard for him to follow and piece together.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I liked the frenetic pace of things, that nobody really knows what’s going on half the time. I also liked revisiting Dino’s doubts about all of it, and whether the arrangement would work.

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Review – The Rite

Review – The Rite

A rite can be anything although it’s often religious in nature.

Background

In 2183, Lili, Malcolm and Declan attend Alia Shapiro’s Bat Mitzvah and there’s a little misbehaving going on.

Plot

For a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about misbehaving, I wanted to write about an older yet still frisky Malcolm Reed.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | The Rite
Later Days

It was also a great occasion to get Declan to meet Rebecca, an event that is foretold in Fortune and holds great significance in the family’s later history.

As the story begins, Malcolm Lili, and Declan are coming in, late, to Alia’s Bat Mitzvah service. They sit in the back and everyone is utterly lost.

Unable to follow what is going on, they whisper amongst themselves. But mostly this consists of Malcolm whispering to Lili about how he would prefer that she leave the service with him. In the meantime, poor Declan is embarrassed at his parents behaving this way. All along, a woman sitting in front of them keeps turning around and shushing them.

Eventually, Lili relents and they leave Declan there (he is over eighteen and can entertain himself). Keep in mind that Lili is over seventy in this story. I just adore the idea that they would still be active and would still be interested, and would behave just like newlyweds. But the truth is, they more or less are at this point in the timeline.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I really love this humorous little story. I particularly love the line that I gave to Malcolm, and I can just imagine actor Dominic Keating saying it in that plummy Leicester accent, “I want to go back to the hotel.

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Portrait of a Character – Carlos Castillo

Portrait of a Character – Carlos Castillo

Carlos Castillo has a mixed origin.

Origins

For Doug‘s confession to Lili (in the Star Trek fan fiction book, Fortune) to be at all credible, there needed to be a history behind each of the fourteen men he had killed in the Mirror Universe. Furthermore, just like the death of the Mirror Norri, I wanted at least one of those murders to be for the flimsiest of reasons or at least be hard to take because the person would scarcely be remembered.

Then, when writing the 2013 ficlet flash dance story Conversations With Heroes, I needed a filmmaker. Carlos works for both.

Portrayal

I see Javier Bardem for this character.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Javier Bardem | Carlos Castillo
Javier Bardem as Carlos Castillo (image is for educational purposes only)

I wanted an intelligent, versatile actor. It was also important to me that he be of Latino descent.

I also liked the idea of someone who has played both heroes and villains, as Carlos has a place on both sides of the pond.

Personality

In the Prime Universe, Carlos the independent documentary filmmaker is essentially looking for an easy paycheck. He is given an assignment to speak with the crew of the NX-01 and get their personal takes on the end of the Xindi War. While he does talk with everyone, he only records the following in the story: Jonathan Archer, Maryam Haroun, Lili, Jennifer, and Malcolm, who talks about Jay. For the first and last chapters of the piece, it is Carlos’s own words about the film and also about the people he interviewed. While he remains somewhat neutral, he is far from unaffected. At the end of the piece, he ends up angrily and frustratedly pitching his coffee cup against a wall.

Relationships

There are no known relationships, but there had to have been someone for Carlos, as he is Marisol‘s ancestor.

Mirror Universe

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Carlos Castillo | MU Osh
Javier Bardem as MU Carlos (image is for educational purposes only)

Carlos is barely even known by name in the Mirror. Doug did not know his name until after he was killed. During wartime, Doug grabs the person closest to him and uses that person as a human shield. That unfortunate person turns out to be Carlos, who Doug never knows and never talks to.

Quote

“But it’s hard to not be affected, or to see what could have happened if one thing, or another, was different. These people certainly see it that way. And the reality is that this is, for the most part, just a ship full of damaged people. I know that there are those who are happy and excited about the conclusion of this war. I can’t say that I haven’t felt my own sense of relief, for I most certainly have. But I think we, as humans and citizens of Earth, I think we need to keep these people’s thoughts and aspirations and guilt and personal pain in our heads as we wave our flags and sing the United Earth anthem. We need to remember that these heroes come complete with consciences, and miseries and regrets. This victory did not come without a price. Thank you.”

Upshot

At some point, I would like to find another place to showcase Carlos, as there has got to be a spot for a filmmaker. I will try to bring him back.

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Review – The Medal

Review – The Medal

A medal does not have be an award for bravery.

Background

In 2203, Neil Digiorno-Madden runs his first 5K.

Plot

For a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about medals, I wanted to write about Neil.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | The Medal
Later Days

Furthermore, I did not want this award to be for anything heroic or even related to Starfleet at all.

Because I have run 5K races, and I am often last or one of the last people who finishes, I know Neil’s situation all too well. All by himself at the end, he trudges and plods along, oh so slowly. He drinks his water and admires the scenery but also silently curses to himself and wonders if he has bitten off more than he can chew.

At the end of the race, he thinks that only Ines will be there. He is rather pleasantly surprised when the entire remaining family (Lili, Doug, and Malcolm are all dead by this point in time)  is there to greet him. Ines and Yinora even give him a new tee shirt, on which it is printed, Kiss Me, It’s My First 5K. The shirt, the kiss, and the race are all a little throwaway that I had slipped into Fortune as being one of the pictures on the video wall. I had not originally intended to write the story and follow up on the image, but the prompt presented the opportunity right on a silver platter.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I really like Neil. However, I had had few occasions, until this short story, to really give him any substance or depth. I change my mind all the time when it comes to which of these second generation characters is my favorite. Yet Neil is always in the conversation, and a lot of that points right back to this little story.

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