Tag Archives: Phlox

Review – Worry

Review – Worry

For a prompt with the same name as the title, I wanted to do a little drabble about T’Pol and her sometimes uneven relationship with a certain crew member.

Background

Review – Worry
Worried T’Pol

In canon, T’Pol’s relationship with Porthos is a bit rocky. In the beginning, she is bothered by his smell and cannot adjust to the idea of a pet being an appropriate presence on a starship. Because Jonathan Archer is so wrapped up in the dog’s well being, and T’Pol and Jonathan do not get off on the best footing in the beginning of the series, there might be some carry over. That is, maybe T’Pol has issues with Porthos because she has issues with Archer. Fortunately, she warms up to both of them.

Plot

It’s just a little thing, but Porthos is sick. T’Pol has already rushed him to Sick Bay. The little drabble just covers her fretting and asking Phlox about his condition.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

Porthos has a value to the crew that T’Pol only begins to understand later in the series. To my mind, it made sense for that understanding to happen during the E2 alternate timeline as well.

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Review – The Black Widow

Review – The Black Widow

A black widow spider represents Pon Farr gone wrong, wrong, wrong.

Background

For a Star Trek fan fiction challenge about “what if”, I decided to take a canon episode into a far different extreme direction.

Plot

In the canon episode, Bounty, T’Pol prematurely goes into Pon Farr because of a medical issue (she and Phlox are affected by a microbe).

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Black Widow
The Black Widow, a horror story from an alternate timeline.

As a part of the episode, she comes onto Phlox, who rebuffs her, and then tries for Malcolm, who is in a pressure suit, and he rejects her as well, eventually shooting her in the back with a phase pistol and stunning her. Archer comes back (he escapes Tellarite captivity) and all is more or less well.

I decided there would be two major differences. Phlox would succumb to her charms, and Malcolm would miss.

As a result, this changes the dynamic dramatically.

The New Plot

In the new plot, once both of these events occur, T’Pol goes after the first man who can (she hopes) satisfy her urges. And that turns out to be Travis.

When the story opens, Jonathan has just returned. Malcolm greets him at the transporter and tells him that there will be a staff meeting immediately. He informs him of Travis‘s death, and also Brian Delacroix‘s, and that Deb Haddon has been gravely injured.  Archer, a bit disoriented and very confused, goes along with this. He sees Malcolm, Hoshi, and Tripp at the meeting. Phlox speaks from Sick Bay.

Archer learns that, after seducing Phlox, T’Pol escaped from decon (the escape is canon, but the seduction failed in canon). Malcolm was there with his team – Brian and Deb. T’Pol came onto Malcolm who rejects her and then, in a rage, she snapped Brian’s neck and shattered Deb’s helmet. A fragment lodges in Deb’s eye, and she is permanently blinded.

And then there’s the matter of Travis. After escaping from that scene, and Malcolm shooting after her but missing, T’Pol confronts Travis in his quarters. She essentially sexually assaults him, and her appetite kills him.

The story continues with Archer confronting her in the Brig, but she is barely competent, and relations with Travis have not satisfied Pon Farr. Hence she will die in a few days if they don’t get her to Vulcan on time.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated T.

Upshot

I really liked the way this one worked out, as I moved from a bewildered Archer to Hoshi with a measure of PTSD, to Malcolm’s disgust and emotional detachment, to T’Pol’s frenzied mania, to Phlox’s shamed confession, to Deb’s acceptance of her fate, to finally communicating with Admiral Forrest and informing him of this big, bad Vulcan secret. I don’t write horror too often, but I think this story turned out well.

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Portrait of a Character – Bernardine (Bernie) Keating-Fong

Portrait of a Character – Bernardine (Bernie) Keating-Fong

Origins

During Intolerance, I needed someone who would be a kind of chaperone to Pamela, Blair, Will, Mark, and An.  Her name had to be gender-neutral. Her surname, like a lot of the other names in that story, evokes Dominic Keating’s earlier career. The Fong portion is a nod to another original character of mine, pop star Kurt Fong. I like to think that she is his sister-in-law.

Portrayal

Bernie is played by actress Michelle Yeoh.

Portrait of a Character – Bernardine (Bernie) Keating-Fong
English: Michelle Yeoh at the Toronto International Film Festival 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wanted an older yet attractive Asian actress. She would also be the kind of person who, during the shenanigans at the beginning of Intolerance, Malcolm might consider as a romantic prospect.

Personality

Extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, Phlox refers to her as a specialist in ancient diseases, a statement that she does not dispute. Until it was time to write others’ universes, I did not really have a role for her beyond Intolerance. However, I had occasion to write a crossover work called Bomb(e) and made her the physician on the NX-04 Ariane. In that story, which is played a lot more for laughs, Dr. Keating-Fong ends up treating a patient who may or may not have planted a bomb on board in order to scare off Romulans who have boarded that ship.

Relationships

Bernie has no known relationships in either universe.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Bernardine (Bernie) Keating-Fong
Mirror Bernie

There are no impediments to Bernie existing in the Mirror Universe.

Because medical care is so devalued over there, as are women, I like to think that she would be tougher. She would have to be, particularly as she aged.

 

Quote

“Naurr, listen to me very carefully. You’re the chef on the Ariane. We’re at war with the Romulans. And I hardly think you were making bombs.”

Upshot

Now that I’ve put her on the Ariane, I suppose she can have some other adventures. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even show her with Kurt.

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Portrait of a Character – Amanda Cole

Portrait of a Character – Amanda Cole

Origins

The character is, of course, canon.

Portrait of a Character – Amanda Cole
Noa Tishby as Amanda Cole

She is a MACO Corporal and, in canon, had a bit of a fling with Tripp Tucker, as they both had the destruction wrought by the Xindi prototype weapon, and Floridian childhoods, in common.

Furthermore, in canon, in the E2 episode, she and Phlox marry and have nine children.

Portrayal

As in canon, Amanda is played by Israeli actress Noa Tishby.

Personality

Brash and maybe a little pushy, Amanda is the kind of person who goes after whatever she wants. If I were writing more of a prelude to the E2 stories, I probably would have included a confrontation between her and T’Pol.  That might happen in the future; I’m not sure.

Relationships

Phlox

During the first kick back in time, in 2037, Phlox is recruited to play Santa Claus. Unbeknownst to him, the members of the crew stand in line to request gifts (the first two children haven’t been born yet, so the lineup is solely composed of adults) and Amanda is first. Surprising him, she sits on his lap, an act that he finds pleasing. Her sexual aggressiveness is what kick starts their relationship.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Amanda Cole
Noa Tishby as Mirror Amanda Cole

I do not believe that there are any impediments to Amanda existing in the Mirror Universe. She was not shown during either of the Star Trek: Enterprise canon Mirror Universe episodes, but that does not mean that the character was necessarily not there.

I write most Mirror Universe women as being overly sexed and beholden to men. I think Amanda would be. Here, she’s the touch MACO. There, she’s yet another sexpot, looking to snag a strong man before her looks fade, someone to protect her and her eventual children.

Quote

“Sure. Captain, I wanna tell you, I want to thank you for, for this, this opportunity. … I just, I never thought I’d become a mother.”

Upshot

This is a character that wasn’t used too much in canon, and probably should have been. I suspect that real-world issues changed that, as the show was facing cancellation during that season. If it had not been, and she had been seen a few more times, who’s to say what would have happened, and where the writers would have taken the storyline? As is the case with many things with Enterprise – Star Trek fanfiction to the rescue!

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Recurrent Themes – The Art of War

Recurrent Themes – The Art of War

War books have a place in my work. The Sun-Tzu work seems to be everywhere.

Background

As a bit of background for Jay Hayes and Empress Hoshi, Sun-Tzu’s classic text proved to be the perfect manual for Star Trek fan fiction (not to be confused with Keith R. A. DeCandido‘s great book, The Klingon Art of War).

Appearances

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | The Art of War

This book has been everywhere, or at least it sure seems that way. I particularly like it as warrior shorthand, that the people who are reading it are looking to go into battle. But the battle might just be The Battle of the Sexes.

Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses

This story is loaded with quotations from two separate books, this one and The Prince by Machiavelli. Empress Hoshi’s moves are calculated, everything from killing off Ian and Phlox, to overpowering T’Pol while at her weakest, to turning the loyalties of Emperor Phillip‘s men, including Andrew, José, and Brian. The book is presented as more or less a user’s manual for overthrowing a regime and installing one’s own brand of tyranny.

Advice from My Universes to Yours

In Advice, the book is mentioned briefly in passing when trying to convince a socially awkward person that perhaps they could read romantic fiction in order to understand people better. The book is mentioned and, of course, rejected immediately.

The Three of Us

In The Three of Us, Jay is shown reading and rereading this book, and he’s even reading it when Lili visits him in his quarters for the first time.

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Jay provides two bequests. The lucky nickel goes to Lili, while this book goes to Malcolm.

In Memory of Kelsey Haber

During In Memory of Kelsey Haber, Malcolm refers to this book, and tells Hoshi that it was a bequest from Jay. Malcolm further notes that he had vowed, at that time, to get to know the people under his command, but he fell down on the job with Kelsey and never did.

Upshot

This little book gets around as much as Jane Eyre! It’ll be back.

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Review – Reflections Down a Corridor

Review – Reflections Down a Corridor

Reflections Down a Corridor kicks off a series which I feel is one of my best.

Background

I had wanted to explore the E2 timeline for quite some time.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Reflections Down a Corridor
Reflections Down a Corridor

The first of four Star Trek fan fiction books covering that era was this one. The title refers to not only the subspace corridor where the Enterprise was hit by a Kovaalan particle wake (and thereby thrown back in time over a century); it also refers to personal reflections.

Personal reflections include the mirrors that we hold up to ourselves (this is, for once, not a reference to the Mirror Universe), the relationship a person has with himself or herself, and reflection in the pure sense of thought. As the NX-01 can no longer perform too many exploratory duties, it’s too early to be defensive and go after the Xindi, and going to Earth is out of the question, exploration begins to come from within.

Plot

For the crew of the USS Enterprise, the stars are all in the wrong places. The story opens with beginning to understand just what happened. This includes learning just what the date really is, as they can’t just up and ask the Vulcans. Immediately, Captain Archer figures out that there are going to be some uncomfortable restrictions on movement and communications. He enlists the help of not only the regular senior staff (e. g. the other canon characters), but also begins to lean on some heads of the smaller departments, such as Chef Slocum in Food Service, and Shelby Pike in Botany.

Navigating his own depression, and the crew’s, while honorably stepping back as the women begin pairing up with others, Archer in particular is affected. But others’ feelings begin to surface. Ethan Shapiro, Andrew Miller, and Josh Rosen begin cautiously circling the only female Jewish crew member, Karin Bernstein. Maryam Haroun asks Phlox‘s help in deciding between the two Muslim male crew members, Azar Hamidi and Ramih Azar. Lili O’Day does her best to keep it together, but also believes rumors about Jay Hayes and Malcolm Reed.

And then there are Daniel Chang and Sandra Sloane ….

Music

The Belle Stars – Iko Iko

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

These four books really were a labor of love, and they were great fun to write. This one, I feel, aptly kicks it all off.

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Portrait of a Character – Susie Money

Portrait of a Character – Susie Money

Origins

This character is Star Trek: Enterprise canon, although she only had a first initial in canon.

Portrayal

As in canon, Susie is played by stunt performer Dorenda Moore.

Portrait of a Character – Susie Money
Dorenda Moore as Susie Money

I’m not even so sure that Susie said more than two words during the entire run of Star Trek: Enterprise. This incredibly tough MACO more or less shot first, but it’s debatable whether she asked questions later, if at all.

Personality

I’ve given Susie a  bit more sexual aggression, but during the E2 scenario, she’s still one of the last women paired up.  As I write Susie, she’s more interested in making friends with the Starfleeters than the other MACOs are, at least to start. She volunteers to assist Hoshi Sato with a Morale Committee.

Relationships

Mario Lattimer

In both kicks back in time, Susie ends up with Mario. The relationship is more playfully aggressive in the first kick back, and is sweeter in the second. They also hook up during Shell Shock, and she serves as his alibi.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Susie
Mirror Susie

There are no impediments to Susie existing in the Mirror Universe.  However, she was not shown in either canon Star Trek: Enterprise Mirror Universe episode. But that does not mean she doesn’t exist in that particular universe.

 

I write most Mirror Universe women as being rather beholden to men, and downtrodden. Susie wouldn’t be. That tough a woman would be in a position of some personal power. She probably wouldn’t be on a star ship or the like. Empress Hoshi would never want such confident competition.

Quote

“Yanno, you’re not supposed to dance to Christmas carols.”

Upshot

I enjoyed giving this taciturn character a lot more to say and do. In one capacity or another, she will return.


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Portrait of a Character – Phlox

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

Origins

This Star Trek: Enterprise canon character is one of two alien members of the NX-01‘s crew (the other is the Vulcan, T’Pol). The Denobulan species was written for ENT.

Portrayal

As in canon, Phlox is played by John Billingsley.

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

The actor is well-cast and it’s hard to think of anyone else in the role. Much like Leonard Nimoy and Vulcans, Billingsley essential defines what it means to be a Denobulan.

Personality

Personable, cheerful, and kind, Phlox is also, at times, a bit baffled by humans. For starters, at the beginning of the series, he can’t quite figure out the idea behind pets.

Relationships

Feezal

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

This canon relationship is with Phlox’s second wife, of three. The other two are never named in canon. I’ve never written her except in the context of Phlox missing her after the Enterprise is kicked back in time, during E2.

Amanda Cole

Also canon, in the E2 episode, Phlox and Amanda get together, a scene that I show in both Entanglements and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

Mirror Universe

This character exists in canon.

Mirror Phlox
Mirror Phlox

At the end of the pair of canon ENT Mirror Universe episodes, his fate is unknown. But I figure it’s got to be that his days are numbered. Hence, in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, I have Empress Hoshi order his death. When Beth Cutler is given two syringes, one with the proven fast nerve toxin, tricoulamine, and the other with replicated orange juice, the Science technician knows that both shots will kill whoever receives them. She hesitates until Hoshi tells her that she’ll be next if she takes any longer. The choice is to inject either Phlox, or Ian Reed, Malcolm‘s counterpart. With a small sympathy to her fellow Terran, Beth gives Ian the proven fast killing agent. Phlox, unfortunately, suffers at the end.

Quote

“Your mating rituals do fascinate me. Always a complicated minuet of sorts. Mind if I observe?”

Upshot

I don’t write Phlox that much, except in the context of E2 stories and Intolerance. Part of that is to pave the way for other physician characters, such as Blair Claymore, Pamela Hudson, and Cyril Morgan. It’s also because, until Reflections Down a Corridor, I wasn’t really all that comfortable writing him. He’s absent from a lot of my main timeline, and nearly all of my Mirror Universe timeline. Will he return? Yes, although many storylines shut him out completely.

 

Recurrent Themes – Oranges

Background

I like oranges and they figure fairly prominently in a lot of my Star Trek fan fiction. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Oranges Much of this was by the accident of the time when I was posting Reversal. The story, and its initial posting dates, both occurred near Halloween.

On the day right after Lili and Doug first make contact, Chef Slocum insists on a day’s menu with every single food item including oranges. There are oranges in every single thing made, from the French toast batter in Captain Archer‘s breakfast with Malcolm, to the main dishes at dinner and everything in between.

Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang... And through it all, Lili chops oranges, all day. When night time comes, she reeks of them. When she makes contact with Doug that night, he buries his nose into her shoulder and inhales, and breaks their silence for the very first time, by asking, “Oranges?” Laughing, she just replies with one word: yes.

Appearances

Reversal

As noted above, the appearance of oranges in Reversal sparks a deeper relationship between Lili and Doug.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Orange Sky
Orange Sky

Her rather strong aroma helps to convince him that she’s real, and so he feels confident enough to speak with her, and that breaking the silence won’t also break the spell.

Her chopping of oranges becomes a source of some pain when she cuts her hand with a French knife. This gets her to Sick Bay, where she converses with Phlox about her experiences, and he conducts a physical examination that alerts everyone that what is happening to Lili is very, very real.

Apple and Oranges

Orange peel
Orange peel (Photo credit: AJC1)

In this short story, which occurs the day after the day of all-orange food, Shelby offers Travis an apple.

In the chow line, Tripp Tucker complains about the overabundance of oranges, and asks for fruit that is anything but an orange.

Together

Near the conclusion of Together, Joss

Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason (Photo credit: hchalkley)

 

receives a gift for his birthday of various kinds of nut butters and jams, including one lone jar of orange marmalade, from Fortnum & Mason.

Temper

On vacation in Fep City at the start of Temper, Malcolm and Lili talk about earlier days, and he hearkens back to that same day during Reversal, when she smelled of oranges.

English: oranges
English: oranges

He equates that to “sunshine and happiness”, and remarks that that was when he first noticed her, and realized that he wanted more out of life than just duty and work.

This is why, when he sends nut butters and jams, he makes sure to include a special gift of orange marmalade from Fortnum & Mason, which is a signal to Lili and is a gift to her, rather than Joss and Marie Patrice or anyone else.

Later in the story, when she finds an empty jar of Fortnum & Mason orange marmalade on Empress Hoshi‘s ship, the Defiant, Lili knows that her house has been ransacked by agents of the Terran Empire.

The Three of Us

Because Reversal is not a part of this timeline (and neither is Doug), the reference is different. This time, it’s a harvesting party on Amity, where an orange tree has died.

Jay asks Shelby if the wood is strong and can support a lot of weight. She suggests an Osage orange tree instead, as the fruit doesn’t taste very good and it was just a fallback, which is no longer needed, as regular oranges are growing just fine. Plus the Osage orange wood is a lot stronger than regular orange wood. He accepts her recommendation, and makes a cane for the permanently injured Ethan Shapiro.

Upshot

Easter Eggs (WIP)

Like a little orange Easter egg, oranges pop up in my fiction from time to time. They even make it into my original fiction.

Have some!

Portrait of a Character – Elizabeth Cutler

Portrait of a Character – Elizabeth Cutler

Elizabeth Cutler lives on in fan fiction.

Origins

The character is, of course, Star Trek: Enterprise canon. Her role on the Enterprise was as a Science crewman, often assisting Doctor Phlox. The actress, unfortunately, died during the first run of the series.

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is portrayed by the late Kellie Waymire.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cutler and Phlox | Elizabeth Cutler
Cutler and Phlox

With Waymire deceased, I’m not so sure who I would get to replace her. I imagine the same was true for the writers of the show. They ended up indicating that people had died in some of the Xindi attacks and some bodies were never found.

While that’s a horrifying thought, perhaps Cutler is one of those persons. All too sadly, that will happen when we finally, truly, venture into space.

Personality

Pleasant and intelligent, Liz Cutler is alien-curious about Phlox. Even learning that he has three Denobulan women does not faze her. But nothing happens; the actress died before the writers could really do anything with her character. She also never makes it to the Mirror Universe episodes. A pity, as I think she would have made a dandy Mirror Universe character.

Relationships

Charles Tucker III

As I write Cutler, in the Mirror, she and Tucker have a history. During Reversal, when the opportunity presents itself, they get together. By the time that story is finished, they have left together, for a new life on Lafa II. In marked contrast to the canon end of Tucker, they end up founding a dynasty, with two children, Betsy and Charlie (Charles Tucker IV). Their great-grandson, Charles Tucker VI, is a success to Empress Hoshi, and becomes the Emperor Charles I, as is noted in Temper and Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?

Mirror Universe

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Kellie Waymire as MU Cutler (image is for educational purposes) | Elizabeth Cutler
Kellie Waymire as MU Cutler (image is for educational purposes)

Known as Beth, the Mirror Universe version of Crewman Cutler leads a hard life. Much like I write other female denizens of the other side of the pond, she lives her life at the whims of men. This becomes an existence lived at the whims of the Empress, and Jun.

In Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, Beth is given a syringe full of tricoulamine and is told to fatally inject either Phlox or Malcolm‘s counterpart, Ian. She chooses Ian, knowing full well that Phlox will also get a lethal injection. However, the Denobulan’s injection will be far more painful. It’s a final act of mercy for her fellow human. I’ve even been asked if she and Ian had a history, and it’s an intriguing idea that I have not yet explored.

After the events of First Born, Empress Hoshi selects Beth to be the babysitter for her first born child, Jun. The horribly bratty Jun even gives her a black eye during Reversal. When it becomes possible to leave the ISS Defiant, Beth jumps at the chance, and leaves with Charles. They meet Jennifer and Treve on the surface of Lafa II, and blend into the forest. She even stands by him as he recovers from delta radiation poisoning, although his facial scarring never goes away.

Quote

“Charles! I get the feeling we won’t always be able to do it in the captain’s chair! Think of all the people who are on the Bridge.”

Upshot

This actress’s life was cut short, which of course is tragic. And it’s unfortunate, too, that the character had so little screen time. I hope this alternate life story has done her some justice.