On May fifth of 2160, Lili and Doug arrive on Ceres for Tommy’s birth, on May sixth.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Portrait of a Character – Leonora (Norri) Digiorno
Leonora has a history from before my start writing Star Trek fan fiction.
All characters are me, and I am all characters.
At least, that is, when it comes to the originals. And when it comes to Star Trek canon, there are plenty of things that I add, so those additions are me, too.
Leonora was kicking around for a few years, even before I started writing Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction, which was back in April of 2005. Actually, it was just her first name. She was originally a kind of foundling. The character was a girl from medieval times who was orphaned by the Black Death and saved (from a bear – hey, I like Shakespeare) by being plucked out for a time travel purpose. I modified the time travel series quite a bit in order to create a series of stories called Times of the HG Wells, but I brought Norri in earlier, for the In Between Days series, although she is seen a little during the Wells series. Confused yet?
I hadn’t originally written her as a lesbian, either, but the idea presented itself because I was looking for a parallel to a day/night concept that I had going on. The In Between Days series gives its main characters active nighttime lives (through the dream state) which are almost as important as their daylight lives. To really bring the point home, I created a bi character, Melissa Madden. But Melissa needed a lesbian lover in order to pull it all off, so Norri emerged.
Norri is the most literary of the main characters in the In Between Days series, starting off as a book editor, eventually getting her PhD and writing a book of her own. At the time I was shaping her, I was working for a book publisher, so she partly evolved from that. Her last name, of course, means “of the day”, so she is not only an embodiment of daytime, she also parallels main character Lili O’Day (who is also “of the day”). Furthermore, five of the six main characters (everyone but Pamela Hudson) are associated with elements. Norri is outside of what we might think of as the four traditional “elements”, and so hers is the Hindu fifth element – communications (sometimes called the ether or the void, which makes sense in space).
It was important for me to see Norri as being “played” by an actress who has played at least one gay character already. She would be young but wise beyond her years, and to be a redhead. Hence, Alyson Hannigan.
I also like the idea of Norri being someone who is somewhat remote. Of all of the main characters in the In Between Days series, you learn the least about her. And that’s by design. Of the five big books in that series, Temper and Fortune have the most information about her, and even then she’s really just a sketch.
She even gets a second nickname which is a misnomer. Malcolm refers to her as “Lioness” or “the Lioness”, when the truth is that her name means “light”. So she’s a kind of double light and daytime character.
As a person, she is forced to rise to the occasion. She must commit some forms of self-sacrifice several times. This is whether it’s to become Neil’s sole caregiver in Temper, or to shepherd children away so that various couples can have their privacy. But she gets her due. And so she is the final commenter and recordkeeper when it comes to the lives of the principal characters in the In Between Days series.
In fact, in his last moments, Tommy thinks of her and also recalls her book, The Human Pioneers of Lafa II.
Her sexuality is rarely at issue. She acknowledges that she was very aware of it certainly by the time she graduated from college. However, her parents were wary of it, and her father hoped she would grow out of it (I explore this in An Announcement). Of course, that doesn’t happen. Her scenes with Melissa are as intimate as those between the straight couples. Norri also begins her romance more conventionally than most of the others do – she meets Melissa in a bar.
Norri barely makes an appearance in the MU, save for her death, which is particularly senseless.
Her murder is recalled, somewhat remorsefully, in Bread.
“It’s not necessarily unfair. You’d be sleeping. Everybody sleeps. I can’t get into your dreams. All that’s changing now, really, is that I know, more or less, what those dreams are. But you and I, we have the big thing, the big love.”
Book smart and funny, Norri is the essence of communication, holding everyone together, and making everything spin.