Tag Archives: Melissa

Portrait of a Character – Thomas Digiorno-Madden

Portrait of a Character – Thomas Digiorno-Madden

Origins

In order to get the open marriage/arrangement really going among Lili, Doug, Melissa, Norri, and Malcolm, and to really amp it up and certainly require that Melissa have a connection to the Beckett marriage, the best and easiest way of accomplishing that was for her to conceive Doug’s child during Together. Tommy is not planned at all.

But the truth is, the arrangement cannot exist or at least begin without him. He is absolutely indispensable at the beginning of his life and, it turns out, at the end of it as well.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Thomas Digiorno-Madden
Kiefer Sutherland as Thomas Digiorno-Madden (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Tommy is played by actor Kiefer Sutherland. I had originally thought of Tommy as being dark-haired, but I thought of Sutherland in 25, and could not get him out of my head.

I love this image of the actor, and I have used it, with a flame in place of the ’24’, as the cover of Seven Women.

Personality

Duty-driven and honor-bound, Tommy is the kind of person who Erika Hernandez utterly depends upon and, later, so does Captain Robau. If you don’t know who Robau is, Google him. I can wait.

Relationships

Cindy Morgan

Tommy mentions her in Seven Women, that it was sort of a secondary relationship versus Joss and Jia. They were essentially forced into a one-room schoolhouse on Lafa II, and there were few romantic prospects. But she wasn’t the one, and they both knew it.

Takara Sato Masterson Tucker

Takara, the Empress Hoshi Sato’s only daughter meets Tommy in a dream during Fortune. I had originally decided that that would be it, and they would not see each other again. Temper would remain an outlying temporal fluke. But then the idea of then being together in dreams proved to be a good one. I wanted her to be his only semi-attainable love match.  During Eight, in the Out of the Caves of Lafa II chapter, she reveals that she believes her son is really Tommy’s. I’m not so sure how I feel about that, as there are virtues to making Tommy the father or making Charlie Tucker IV the father.

But either way, Tommy and Takara are a bit like what would have happened to the overall storyline if the crossover in Reversal had failed, and Doug and Lili could not truly be together. It made sense for some of the endings to not be such happy ones.

Theme Music

During Temper, Tommy’s music is Green Day’s When I Come Around.

Mirror Universe

It is impossible for Tommy to have a Mirror Universe counterpart, as he is already a Prime Universe/Mirror Universe crossbreed.

Portrait of a Character – Thomas Digiorno-Madden
Kiefer Sutherland as Tommy in the Mirror Universe (image is presented for educational purposes only)

In Temper, though, it is established that he and Marie Patrice are having the easiest time adjusting, and Tommy is drawn more strongly to that side than any of that crossbred generation. It’s likely that the two things that draw him are the possibility of a much faster command and Takara herself.

Truth is, Tommy in the Mirror is meaner, but he probably would have been similar to what he ended up as, a lifelong soldier. In many ways, Tommy is Doug without real love and a home in his life. The most significant thing he contributes to the timeline (assuming he isn’t Charlie Tucker IV’s father after all) is the sacrifice that ends his life.

Quote

“Here come the flames.”

Upshot

Tommy’s adult life is not well-documented. There is a lot more to tell. He will be back.

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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 – Equilibrium

Review – Equilibrium

Equilibrium. And we all know how elusive it can be.

Background

After the end of Together, Doug, Lili, Malcolm, Melissa, and Leonora are ready to start the arrangement and live their lives in tandem.

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

Essentially, Lili and Doug will have an open marriage and each take a lover, and Melissa and Norri will open their relationship but only Melissa will take a lover.

But the problem was that I had forgotten all about one person within the family unit and had not accounted for him or his feelings in any way – Joss.

Plot

Hence after the ordeal of Lili and Doug’s kidnapping in Together,  and in anticipation of a new little sister, Joss regresses a tiny bit. He wants his parents with him. This means some co-sleeping.

Living in a system that is significantly psionically charged, Lili and Doug (and all of the Calafans, actually), are able to share dreams as a kind of alternate secondary reality. Hence this is a big part of what makes the extramarital arrangements work in the first place. But of course Lili and Doug are not going to expose Joss to anything untoward. Therefore, Joss will not be a witness to any sort of a primal scene.

Hence they decide to share with him a small child’s most perfectly excellent dream, ever.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Ao from the picnic to the train ride to the old-fashioned baseball game, the dream is everything Joss and his proud parents could ever want. Therefore, I simply adore this little story.

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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.

Spotlight on Original Nonsentient Species – Perrazin

Spotlight on an Original Nonsentient Species – Perrazin

Perrazin were almost an afterthought originally.

Background

As I wrote the In Between Days series, it became necessary to create nonsentient food animals for the Calafans. Furthermore, I had already established that both Doug and Melissa enjoy hunting, partly for sport, but mainly for food. In Together, I briefly mention perrazin and described them as big, blond buffalo. By the time of Temper, I wanted to start that book with a hunting scene, so it was time to show perrazin.

Origins

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Highland cattle | Perrazin
Perrazin (these animals are actually Highland cattle)

When I first came up with the idea, this absolutely was what I was thinking of. These animals are actually Highland Cattle.

Imagine them with tusks and you’ve got perrazin (puh-RAH-zen).

Omnivorous and nasty, perrazin will graze and will eat olowa much of the time. But if the opportunity presents itself, they will also eat linfep. Prickly and unpredictable, they will charge at anything they find strange. And, as Doug says while hunting them with a phase bow, they find a lot of things to be strange.

They graze and hunt in packs, almost like a cross between cattle and wolves. During the hunt, it’s also revealed that they’re rather lazy hunters, preferring that a meal simply fall into their metaphoric laps. When presented with the opportunity, they can also be cannibals, a fact that shocks Melissa.

They also, according to Lili, taste like a cross between beef and pork. She jokes to Naurr, in Dear Naurr, Dear Lili, that she’s practically eating one all by herself during her pregnancy with Joss.

Upshot

Every culture and every society needs animals. Often, in canon, animals were overlooked when planets were explored. It seemed as if most places were animal-free! And that’s just not reality here, and I seriously doubt it would be the case on any planet where we find life.

I feel that there will always be diversity, and there will be animals that maybe don’t look like this, but they might fill similar niches. Viva perrazin!

Review – Temper

Review – Temper

Background

Temper was originally created for two reasons.

Review – Temper
Temper

One, I wanted to introduce a way into a vague idea I had for a Star Trek fan fiction time travel series. And two, I wanted to not only continue the story of Doug, Lili, Malcolm, Melissa and Leonora, but I wanted the kids to be older without aging Lili and Doug quite so much. After all, since Doug is fifty-five when he meets Lili, it was pretty obvious that any stories about the children where the children could really interact and be an integral part of the plot would put Doug into his sixties. But a time travel story could rather neatly fix all of that.

Beyond that, I also wanted a way to continue the saga of the Empress Hoshi Sato and her son, Jun, the son of time traveler Richard Daniels. Furthermore, I wanted more kids in the royal family. For the Empress, it would be a Machiavellian move – she would have several children of different fathers, thereby diversifying genetically and, perhaps, given the tenderhearted paternal feelings that go along with the Y Chromosome Skew, she would get the male members of her senior staff to keep her alive, at least until her children reached the age of majority. And in Temper, they are just about all there.

Plot

The story begins with a snapshot into how the arrangement among Malcolm, Lili, Doug, Melissa and Leonora really works. Doug and Melissa are out hunting linfep, and then perrazin, with phase bows. Malcolm and Lili are going on vacation to Fep City. And the children are either with Leonora or are being cared for by Yimar. The occasion is that Melissa wants to have another baby.

But then Malcolm is called away, and Lili comes home early. Time Traveler Richard Daniels arrives and tells her that he needs Doug for something. She’s not so sure she believes him, and is a bit peeved that he’s landed his ship, the brand-new HG Wells, right on top of her day lilies. In order to fix this, he adds a drop of his blood to the soil but does not tell her that it’s spiked with stem cell growth accelerator.

Rick Steps In

When Doug and Melissa get in, and Malcolm is reached via communicator and Leonora arrives separately, Rick tells them why he needs Doug – the Empress is experimenting with what’s called a pulse shot. She’s looking to get over to our side of the pond, because she thinks that she can get more ships like the ISS Defiant.

But her few attempts are clumsy, and they wreak havoc with time itself, causing breaks in 2166 and 2161, including people from our universe crossing over to the Mirror and being trapped there (this includes the three eldest children, Joss, Marie Patrice and Tommy). Rick’s best information is on 2166, so he needs that part repaired first. Doug is the logical choice because, being from the Mirror originally, he sports a radiation band that matches that universe. Lili is chosen to accompany him because she’s considered non-threatening and, with false calloo tattoos on her arms and legs, she can pass for a Calafan. Rick explains that he cannot go as he is forbidden by the Mirror government of his time period. This is due to the debacle about the siring of his son, Jun, which is explained in First Born.

Once Doug and Lili have crossed over, they find a totalitarian regime and just what’s going on with their children.

Music

Temper is less musically-driven than Together, but that makes sense as it is more of an adventure tale than a love story. However, there are still individual themes.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated M.

Upshot

I like, for the most part, how the story turned out, but it is deeper into my universe. Therefore, it can be a confusing read for someone who is not fully familiar with works that cover the earlier time periods. I do make an effort to create stand-alone stories, but I believe that the effect was somewhat mixed here. Temper is usually on the lower end of read counts for the first five big books (Reversal, Intolerance, Together, and Fortune are the other four), along with Intolerance, but in the case of Intolerance, it’s because it’s a shorter book. I suspect that Temper is a bit harder to get into. A pity, as it’s the lead-in for the HG Wells stories.

Spotlight on Original Nonsentient Species – Linfep

Spotlight on Original Nonsentient Species – Linfep

People have to eat, and not everyone is a vegan. Therefore, some alien food animals had to be devised. Hence, linfep were created by me. They are a wholly original species.

Linfep are essentially hares with tusks or fangs. They are native to Lafa XII and live and scamper in undergrowth. They are one of the chief foods for another nonsentient species, perrazin, but are also hunted or raised for food for the sentient Calafans.

Since they are very rabbit-like, children are somewhat fond of them. In Fortune, a little Calafan girl has a stuffed linfep doll. In Friday Visit, Chelben, who is about four or five years old, shows Doug a picture he has drawn of a linfep.

Spotlight on Original Nonsentient Species – Linfep
Kevin, the Lost Bunny of the Apocalypse

Admittedly, I was thinking a little bit of the comic strip Prickly City and its character of Kevin, the Lost Bunny of the Apocalypse, when I came up with linfep. Essentially I envision – like I do for much of the Lafa System – a place similar to Australia, where interesting or seemingly harmless animals can pack quite a punch.

Hunting

Linfep (the plural does not have an S) are vegetarians, and are the subjects of a hunt with phase bows in Temper. Melissa and Doug – the hunters – have to be quiet when approaching these shy creatures. A rustling in the undergrowth reveals one, which is dispatched with one shot.

Etymology

Like much of the Calafan language I have created, the name of this species is a compound word. Fep is also the name of the second-smallest star in that system, and the word means small. Lin means mouthful, so a linfep is a small mouthful, and a grown human or Calafan will want to eat more than one in order to be satisfied.