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Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

Two universes, two radiation bands. If you need to know who belongs where, you’d better do some testing.

Origins

In Reversal, and then in Temper, the concept of two universes and crosses between them, comes to the fore. There has to be some means of checking a person’s universe of origin.

Radiation Bands

The concept comes from two TNG episodes. In Galaxy’s Child, a spaceborn life form known as “Junior” is threatening the Enterprise and is absorbing its energy.

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

In order to “sour the milk”, the energy signatures are changed to a different background radiation band. It is revealed that the band for our prime universe is twenty-one centimeters. This comes from a very real concept known as the Hydrogen Line.

In Parallels, Worf steps through several quantum realities (e. g. several universes), but eventually a quantum signature is matched and he can be returned to his correct universe. I have taken the ideas and combined them.

Here, There and Everywhere

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

If we are a twenty-one centimeter background radiation band universe, then surely there must be a twenty, a twenty-two, and so on. For my fanfiction, the twenty centimeter band universe is the mirror. The twenty-two, as is revealed by Eleanor Daniels in Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain, is a place where, on Earth, the dinosaurs never died out. Hence a mirror-type situation could not develop there.

Heritage

Radiation bands are inherited, and a cross-bred child will split the difference.

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

Hence the children of Doug and Lili and Doug and Melissa have a twenty and one-half centimeter band, reflecting his twenty and the women’s twenty-one centimeter bands. Per Eleanor, until crossovers became more common, a radiation band of anything below twenty-one was a sure sign that someone was one of Doug’s descendants.

Calafans, who can easily shuttle back and forth, and who have origins that are readily determined by the color of their skin (silver for here, copper for the mirror), are not tested, as there is no need.

Testers

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers
Tabletop wand scanner

Testing is accomplished in a few ways. During Temper, on the mirror side of things, the testers are table-top devices with wands. Eleanor is in possession of one (she is a docent at the Temporal Museum, with a specialty in the Terran Empire) and she demonstrates its use during Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain. The image shown is actually a bar code scanner. Imagine it plugged into some sort of a tabletop device, possibly something appearing to be a lot like a personal computer or the like.

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers
Pendant scanner

For our side of the pond, the scanner is a pendant worn around the neck, but devoid of any charm or decoration. The pendant is worn and then placed against a person, much like the mirror universe’s wand, so that a determination can be made as to which universe is the origination point for a particular person. The image at right is actually a UV tester. Imagine it attached to a longer cord and worn around the neck, although with the shorter cord it could conceivably be worn around the wrist.

Upshot

While the eventual future of these testers is as a curio, their history is far from pleasant for, during the war between the universes in Temper, anyone with the wrong band, on either side of the pond, is often shot on sight, with no questions asked. This shameful heritage is meant to drive home more of the horror of the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Shapiro

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Shapiro

Ethan Shapiro grew out of, in part, a desire to show Jewish crew members on the NX-01. But along the way, he became a lot more. I really like this Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction character.

Origins

For The Light, I wanted a character who was facing a circumstance where he would need a minyan. That is, a quorum of Jews for the express purpose of prayers. Having to say Kaddish, due to a death in the family, was the ideal scenario. Ethan was created to be the bereaved crew member.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Shapiro
Jesse Eisenberg as Ethan Shapiro (image is for educational purposes)

As is true with a lot of the more ethnically obvious characters, I wanted an actor who would also be a member of that ethnic group. Therefore, I chose Jesse Eisenberg. Ethan isn’t meant to be the greatest-looking guy ever. He isn’t meant to be nebbishy either. This is not Woody Allen on the NX-01. Rather, the idea was to have someone who is not only convincingly Jewish but also is someone who, to be loved, maybe the girl needs to go beyond looks and see what’s really inside.

Personality

A little self-effacing, but extremely loyal to his friends, Ethan even defers to Andy Miller when, during The Light, Andrew comments that he’s going to ask out the only Jewish woman on the ship, Karin Bernstein. However, in Waiting, it’s revealed that Ethan is kicking himself for having done that, for he wants Karin.

In the E2 stories I am writing as of the posting of this blog entry, Ethan is even more lovesick and upset.

Mirror Universe

Ethan doesn’t, truly, have a mirror universe counterpart. In Fortune, it’s revealed that his parents’ counterparts delayed relations for a night, and, instead, Erin Shapiro was conceived. However, there is an earlier Ethan, an older relative, who is likely the person who Erin was named for. Doug reveals to Lili, in Reversal, that that is the name of the second man he’s killed. Furthermore, it is our universe’s Ethan who brings forth this confession from Doug.

Relationships

Ethan’s relationship with Karin drives some of his behind the scenes activities in Reversal and then in Fortune. In the E2 stories, things go differently for Ethan, and he attempts suicide when he cannot have Karin. When he recovers, in the first kick back, he weds an Ikaaran woman named Bithara; in the second kick back, his Ikaaran bride is named Timinka.

Quote

“My Great-Aunt Rachel saw a lot in her long life. She went from an Earth where people could barely get it together to seeing us go out here into the unknown. She used to tell me it was a little like wandering in the desert for forty years. You know, you’re not sure where you’re going, but you trust that wherever you get is going to be good. And I think it’s been good. And I’m glad she got a chance to see that. She was like a link to the past. And now it’s time to, to say good-bye and look to the new.”

Upshot

As Azar Hamidi says in Waiting, things might have to run their course. But then you might just see that Ethan, he just might be the one.

Progress Report – April 2012

April 2012 Posted Works

April 2012 was another busy month.

I continued spinning out Reversal on Star Trek Logs. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | April 2012

I added Broken Seal to Trek United, as I hadn’t put anything out there in a while.  Also, I updated There’s Something About Hoshi and posted it to Star Trek Logs. In addition, I started spinning out Together on Trek BBS and Ohio on Ad Astra. I also created The Facts on Ad Astra and The Rite on Star Trek Logs as a response to its first-ever prompt (I am running the prompts there, at least for now). Both of the latter two were ficlets brought about in order to flesh out some of the scenes in Fortune.

WIP Corner

I keep writing the E2 stories. And I continue to find points to stress or loose ends to tie up and some of those will end up in the fourth book, rather than the third one in that series. I think this will make it a better and more balanced series overall.

Plus I worked a lot on a Daranaean story called Flight of the Bluebird. I didn’t have as coherent a plan for it as I should have, but Kirok of L’Stok wants to put the Daranaean stories onto Issuu. Hence I had to get cracking, so the E2 stories were set aside in favor of finishing up Bluebird.

At this point, I also have my response to the Ad Astra prompt about sacrifices. The title is Equinox. It covers several scenes left out of Fortune.

Prep Work

I spent a lot of time making the website a lot more coherent and getting more of the In Between Days stories into correct chronological order.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Looking for work continues to cramp my writing style, which I suppose is amusing but is also a tad serious. It can be difficult to get inspiration if you’re worried about continuing income.

Ad Astra’s forums were also down for a bit. That’s generally better for productivity for me, but I do miss the interactions, not to mention the prompts.

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

Eriecho comes from a place I did not expect.

Origin

I originally didn’t want to write Vulcans. I had had a lot of trouble making T’Pol more than a cardboard character with comments about logic or fascination. Vulcans were, to me, a difficult species to flesh out.

But then the challenge: write about the JJ Abrams Universe. But all you need to care about are three things:

  1. The destruction of Vulcan.
  2. There is no more USS Kelvin.
  3. The destruction of Romulus .

After that, it didn’t matter. And so I chose the first piece as the focus for my story. And so Eriecho – a name I had originally thought I would use for a Klingon woman – began to take shape.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

Born on a transport to Cannamar Prison, Eriecho starts out, in Release, as a person who has never known freedom.  I wanted her to be tough, too, as she would have to have been. There is nothing soft about Cannamar, a location that is canon but never on screen. My descriptions of Cannamar are similar to those of a Tandaran prison.

As a tough prison broad, Eriecho has survived by her wits. But the only Vulcan she has ever known, Saddik, who isn’t even related to her, has not taught her emotional suppression. Hence she was an emotional Vulcan, and she was a lot easier to write. The sole mother figure in her life is the only other female in Cannamar, the Suliban, H’Shema. When Release begins, H’Shema is already dead. And Saddik and Eriecho get their release from Cannamar, but they’re on their way to Mars.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho
For Eriecho, I wanted a tough woman who was not unattractive. I hit upon Mariel Hemingway in Personal Best. Hemingway just struck me as being a good mix of tough but vulnerable, and also pretty, e. g. someone who was redeemable, despite her background, and lovable, despite her history. The idea of Personal Best (which is a film about a lesbian athlete)  is not a statement about Eriecho’s sexuality.

Quote

“I have never had free time, unrestricted and unfettered before. I am afraid I will not know what to do with myself.”

Life After Prison

Release is, of course, about their release from prison. But after getting out, what happens? This is partly explored at the end of Release but also in the sequel, Double Helix. For Eriecho, who is a Vulcan without actually being too Vulcanesque, the answer lies with the Suliban.

Upshot

At the end of Star Trek XI (Star Trek 2009), Vulcans’ lives have been diminished considerably. But for Eriecho, her life has been expanded and enriched in ways she could not have dreamed.

Spotlight on Original Plant Species – Olowa

Spotlight on Original Plant Species – Olowa

Aliens have to eat, and they don’t just eat meat, at least, not my aliens.

The Calafans needed something to chow down on. But what?

History and Use in Plots

I first put olowa – and it didn’t have a name yet – into a dining table scene of Calafans, in Reversal. The idea was not to showcase the food (it was just referred to as a large purple vegetable) but, rather, to showcase that the Calafans were familiar with knives and forks. This is to counter an earlier scene, where Treve and Chawev are asked to dinner on the NX-01. In an earlier scene, Treve expresses an unfamiliarity with forks, so Lili shows him how to use one. Yet in the later scene, his younger sister, Yimar, is shown using a knife and fork to cut up the aforementioned vegetable for her younger brother, Chelben.

It isn’t until Together that olowa is actually tasted by humans and referred to by name. Olowa (pronounced: OH-luh-wah or OH-luh-wuh) grows in the Lafa System. Lili describes it as follows –

Spotlight on Original Plant Species – Olowa
This slightly underripe eggplant is how I envision a spicy-tasting olowa would look

That is an olowa. Or, rather, it’s bits of a bunch of them. It’s a vegetable that grows on Lafa IV. Now, the interesting thing about olowa is, as it matures, it petrifies and turns to stone. It also lightens from deep purple to, eventually, kind of an ash grey. You can’t eat it then; you’ll break a tooth. So what you’ve got here is a salad made from olowa at different stages of maturity. If anything feels too hard, all I can say is, don’t eat it. I won’t be offended.”

The olowa goes through various flavors as it changes in color, from a sweet pear-like flavor, to a spicy flavor, then eventually to a fatty texture and flavor somewhat like peanuts.

In Temper, it’s revealed that perrazin will eat olowa and, while hunting, Melissa climbs an olowa tree in order to escape a herd of charging perrazin. To distract them from going after Doug, she plucks an olowa and throws it as far away from him as possible, and a few of the animals run that way.

Olowa is even served in the Mirror Universe, to the Empress Hoshi Sato and her family.

In another scene, a very young child, beginning to be introduced to solid foods, gets a little sweet immature olowa mixed in with other soft foods.

In Fortune, olowa are mentioned in a lot of off-handed ways. Olowa paste is sent aboard Malcolm‘s ship as a treat, to be used by the Chef in pies. Declan also paints and draws olowa as a part of still life studies for his art classes. At Lili and Doug’s home, there is a spreading olowa tree, and it’s comfortable to sit under there and nap during a warm afternoon.

Olowa even crossed over to my first story taking place in the JJ Abrams universe. In Release, Eriecho and Saddik are tempted by the Commandant with pieces of olowa, but Saddik notices that it’s been artificially ripened. Still, it’s better than what they’ve been given for years, so he practically swallows his portion whole. Their olowa is going spicy in flavor.

Upshot

Someday, when we have made friends with other species, we’ll find ourselves eating their local foods. Plants will probably be a lot easier for us to take than meats. A vegetable like olowa would be particularly pleasant – so long as it wasn’t petrified.

Progress Report – March 2012

March 2012 was productive.

March 2012 Posted Works

I began the month by answering a prompt on Ad Astra about seasons. I had thought a bit about all four seasons but I was stuck a little on spring and autumn. But I liked winter, so I posted A Hazy Shade, which is a reference to the old Simon and Garfunkel song,  A Hazy Shade of Winter. That one will go in context at some point. I also added a story about the summer, called And the Livin’ is Easy. That, too, will get some context.

I also started to post A Long, Long Time Ago on Ad Astra. This is really the start of the Times of the HG Wells series, although I had also written a prequel, First Born, which I posted on Ad Astra, Trek BBS and Trek United. On the former two forae, I entered it into their monthly challenges. It did not win either challenge, but did receive some votes. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | March 2012

Furthermore, I finished Reversal on Trek BBS and also spooled out Intolerance. Reversal and Intolerance have both gotten some very nice comments there, and a lot of views.

More Postings

The same has happened on Fanfiction.net, e. g. I’ve finished Reversal and am beginning Intolerance there. As on Trek BBS, these are the T-rated versions of the stories.

I also created responses to monthly challenges and posted them. These stories are A Kind of Blue (for Ad Astra’s Bring the Sunshine challenge) and The Black Widow (for the Trek BBS What if …? challenge). As is perhaps obvious, the two works took me in rather dissimilar directions.

Furthermore, I joined the Star Trek Logs forum and began adding fan fiction almost immediately. The reception has been good so far. I have added Voracious, Onions, Letters from Home, Paving Stones Made from Good Intentions, The Light , Waiting, There’s Something About Hoshi and Reversal (in progress) this month.

WIP Corner

In addition, I continue to draft the E2 stories. I am in the midst of the third book, and there should be four. It’s threatening to become about the same size as the Wells series. I have had a lot to say, and the characters have taken me in a lot of unexpected directions, for which I am grateful. So I am now beginning to circle back to some of the initial points that I had wanted to cover. But those chapters are rather long, and take a lot of time to write.

Prep Work

Prep work consisted of creating a bowdlerized version of Together and an HTML-coded version of Ohio.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Looking for work continues to be both a boon to my writing (no real work distractions) and a hindrance (being home all day, I hear every little noise, plus of course I have to look for a job).

I also switched to Internet Explorer 9. While that fixed problems I was having with Flash and Java, it created other problems. So now I can no longer post in the Ad Astra archive, or put reviews there, or respond to reviews. Hence I use Chrome whenever I go to the Ad Astra archive. This eats up time.

Furthermore, my parents visited for a few days, in order to watch my husband and me run the first 5K of the season. Fun but of course, there isn’t a lot of computer time when we’ve got company.

More Distractions

Joining a different forum meant more time spent posting stories (and posting so as to get to know the other people on that board) rather than creating. Plus I overhauled my website a bit in order to better handle links to sites where my work is posted. However, I believe that the changes I’ve made in the website have made it easier to work on when I join more forums. One thing I have to remember is that not every story needs to be posted everywhere.

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.

Spotlight on Original Species – Daranaeans

Spotlight on Original Species – Daranaeans

Daranaeans are a wholly original sentient marsupial canid species. Pronounced: Da-ra-NAY-un.

What’s a Daranaean?

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mistra | Daranaeans
Mistra, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

Daraneans are residents of Daranaea, a Minshara-class planet located near Klingon space, hence it has a tactical advantage.

As for the Daranaeans themselves, they are sentient marsupials with foxlike triangular faces and fur on most of their bodies. They are very canid in a lot of ways, including packlike behaviors for their social lives, but also their battle plans and even their ship designs.

I tend to use pointy-faced dogs, foxes or bats for pictures. Naturally, the reader will need to use his or her imagination a bit.

Castes

Females divide into three separate castes, depending upon the intensity of their smells. Prime Wives have the most privileges and the most education. Secondaries tend to do most of the reproductive heavy lifting. They also act as primary educators. Third caste females are generally relegated to manual labor, and may be illiterate. All females are sold into marriage, but Prime Wife marriages are generally from private arrangements without the need for a public auction. Wealthy Daranaean males, including members of the Beta Council and most higher-ranking military men, have a wife from each caste.

Pregnancy and Pouches

For Daranaean females, pregnancy has two parts, versus our three trimester configuration. There are about six months of a conventional-type pregnancy, and then another six with the infant in the mother’s abdominal pouch. Much like marsupials on Earth, the infant (called a pouchling at birth) is born very small and helpless. Unlike Earth’s marsupials, a Daranaean mother places the baby right inside the pouch, as opposed to requiring that it crawl there on its own.

Pouchlings nurse and sleep most of the time, and it’s important for the mother to keep the top of the pouch clear of obstructions. Therefore the tops that the women wear can be tied. This allows for air passage. The mother also sleeps on her back or her side while pouch feeding. When the pouchling is a good five months old or so, the mother can lift the top of the pouch to peer at the infant, if she wishes. However, the infant can get cold while doing so. This shouldn’t be done too frequently.

During this time, the mother sleeps with a soft baby blanket in order to pass her scent onto it.

Pouch Emergence

After about six months in the pouch, the pouchling is ready to emerge. First, a hand comes up and holds the top of the pouch. Then, the pouchling generally pushes down so as to get leverage, and may even use the front tied piece of its mother’s top in order to pull up and out.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta | Daranaeans
Baby Inta, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

Once out, the mother cleans the infant and swaddles it, and wraps it in the blanket. Newly-emerged pouchlings can be called infants. They don’t hear or see very well, as a parallel to what newborn puppies are like.

After a few weeks, the infant attempts crawling, and soon will begin cruising and walking, much like a human infant. The baby still nurses, but solid foods can be introduced at a young age, as slightly pointed teeth erupt not too long after emergence. Because Daranaean women have four breasts (two inside the pouch, and two where we would normally see them), the emerged infant can still nurse for a while.

Childhood

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa | Daranaeans
Seppa, one of the Daranaeans, a third caste female, as a child

Very young Daranaean children are kept at home and cared for by the older females. For a very young child, life at home is filled with basic learning such as getting along with others. The family may visit other families or go on trips, which can be educational or just for recreation. Seppa, at right, is only four years old in this picture. A somewhat typical day for Seppa is a part of Some Assembly Required.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cria | Daranaeans
Cria, a tween secondary female Daranaean

Young Daranaean children are home schooled. After several years, the males are sent to a big school, as are the Prime Wife females. This is for more advanced learning, such as is necessary for space travel. The other female children remain at home and can continue to be home schooled.

A Daranaean tween or teenager becomes interested in marriage and all that it entails, but marriages generally don’t occur until about ages eighteen to twenty or so. A young Daranean tween girl such as Cria, right, continues her home schooling and helps with chores and the care of her younger siblings, but also has time for some fun and for learning the household skills she will need as a wife. A fairly typical day for Cria is a part of Temptation.

Young Adulthood

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa | Daranaeans
A Young Adult, Seppa

Young married Daranaeans are much like young marrieds in any culture or species, enjoying their new lives and working toward the future.

For young Daranaean wives, this means pregnancy or preparing for pregnancy, as the species suffers from Thylacine Paramixovirus and, as a result, big familes are needed in order to replenish the population. A young wife such as Seppa, aged eighteen here, might become pregnant very quickly, and be expected to begin raising a household full of children.

Daranean women of wealth do not work outside the home, as the care of children is paramount.

Daranaean men hold jobs, and there is still a monetary system in place. Doctors include Varelle and Trinning, reporters include Craethe, and Beta Councilors include Boestus and Elemus.

Later Adult Life

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Dratha | Daranaeans
Dratha, one of the Daranaeans (legendary Prime Wife)

For Daranaeans, later life changes, depending upon caste. Prime Wives, such as Dratha, pictured here, can live fairly long lives. For wealthy families, the Prime Wife is treated like a queen and is not expected to help with child care, although she can if she wishes.

Secondaries, such as Mistra and Cria, above, have children on a regular basis until menopause. The expectation is they will continue helping the young adult children prepare for life in their own households.

Third caste females, like Seppa, above, have children until menopause, when they are either euthanised or are donated or sold for medical experiments.

Daranaean men live out their lives and have the longest life expectancy of all.

Politics, Government and Justice

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vidam
Adult Vidam, one of the Daranaens and son of Prime Wife Dratha

Daranaens have a government composed of an elected Alpha who is advised by an elected Beta Council, which meets regularly and is very open to the press. None of the women can vote, not even Prime Wives.

As a member of the Beta Council, Vidam (right) is expected to present bills, debate on them and vote. Voting in the Council Chamber is open and is accomplished by all of the representatives standing. Then the opponents of a bill sit. Anyone left standing is then counted as supporting the bill in question. A simple majority rules, but the Alpha can break ties. Abstentions are rare – much like dogs on Earth, Daranaeans mainly see their issues in black and white. A debate about granting Prime Wives the right to vote is part of Debate.

Trials are public, and the trial of a wealthy Daranaean, even a Secondary, is fodder for the press. There are no juries, rather, an accused is judged by a judicial panel. A trial is part of Take Back the Night.

Medicine

Aside from the generally fatal Thylacine Paramixovirus, most Daranaeans are usually in good health. Prenatal care is available for Prime Wives only. The other two castes are expected to care for each other. Their infants are delivered at home. Prime Wives deliver in hospitals.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Young Trinning | Daranaeans
Trinning, one of the Daranaeans, as a child (son of a secondary)

Researchers, such as Trinning, at about age six here, work diligently to try to find a cure for the virus. Research is limited by budgets, training and time. The virus is somewhat similar to canine distemper and Newcastle Disease on Earth.

Daranaean Third Caste wives who are menopausal are sometimes sold for medical experiments,  as doctors need them to test vaccines.

First Contact, Friendships and Relationship with The Federation

First Contact was between the NX-02 Columbia and a pleasure craft owned by a wealthy Daranaean man, Elemus. It occurred in February of 2160, and did not go too well. First contact is a part of The Cure is Worse than the Disease.

Second contact went considerably better, and is a part of Take Back the Night. This generated some friendships between Daranaeans and humans, including Jonathan Archer and Seppa, and Malcolm Reed and Mistra.

In 2191, a young Inta went on a blind date with a human, Hank Harrison. While things did not work out romantically, the two became friends. Their date is a part of Hearts in Time.

Daranaeans became allies with the Federation, and called upon them later, and made themselves available as well.

Daranaean Future

Such a sexist society will need to change in order to continue to grow. Stay tuned. Big things are in store for the galaxy’s only sentient marsupials. I will post more insights!

Inspiration – Films

Roll it, Aidan!

Films creep into my Star Trek fanfiction in a lot of different ways.

Screenshot of the title screen of the trailer. | Films

In the most obvious manner, they have been the subject of the stories Movie Night and Broken Seal. I love the idea that Enterprise had a Movie Night. Canon puts it during a weeknight. But I have changed that to the weekends so that it can be the centerpiece of date night.

I have also added a Master of Ceremonies, Chip Masterson, and a projectionist, Aidan MacKenzie. Chip even holds a discussion of the film afterwards if anyone has an interest. But the talks only get sparse attendance. Every film in my stories, on the NX-01, begins with, “Roll it, Aidan!”

Films also, often, reflect a plot or inspire a character name or even something else. Here are a few films, and how they inspired.

Gaslight

In Reversal, Lili goes on a disastrous blind date for Movie Night, but the film is important because it’s about a man trying to drive his wife mad with untruths. It’s an oblique reference to plot points to come.

Dirty Dancing

In Intolerance, Pamela uses the film as a way to determine who’s been sending her sonnets. The film also pushes in some music that’s germane to the plot, such as The Ronettes’ Be My Baby.

The King of Hearts

In Together, Malcolm attends this foreign film – even though, in canon, he’d prefer films with a lot of explosions in them – in the hopes of seeing someone.

Grease

This film comes up twice. Once, as a quickie Shakespearean reference to Arden (Eve Arden, invoking the Forest of Arden from As You Like It) in Intolerance, and again in Fortune, where it works to essentially babysit an ailing elderly character who is losing memory.

Casablanca

This film is the subject of a future date in Fortune. The reference is to it as one of the most romantic films of all time.

Rashomon

This film, with its differing perspectives, is to help determine whether any portions of several conflicting stories make sense, in Fortune.

Back to the Future

The time ships in the HG Wells series are all named for various bits of time travel pop culture ephemera. This includes the Flux Capacitor, often called Fluxy.

The Graduate

Even though he’s about her age, in Ohio, when Sheilagh Bernstein says, “Agent Daniels, are you trying to seduce me?” that’s a reference to The Graduate.

Stalag 17

In Movie Night, Malcolm and Melissa make plans to watch this film. And it’s one of the few times I have Malcolm going to a movie that he may have picked out. This film also gets a reference in Day of the Dead and characters Herbie Shapiro and Stanislaus Kuzawa.

The Seventh Seal

In Broken Seal, Chip Masterson hypes this highbrow film, but not too many people show up. T’Pol does, though, as it’s intended to be a film that would probably be more likely to appeal to her than to anyone. Phlox talks throughout the picture as he and Malcolm try to figure out the symbolism, and then Malcolm talks to his girl about it, and asks a bit more about the symbolism.

Films"

Little movie references also abound – Claire Crossman is a reference to Molly Ringwald’s character in The Breakfast Club. Jeremiah Logan Beckett is, in part, named for Logan’s Run. There’s even a small shout out to The Wizard of Oz in Reversal.

In a small way, too, the Terminator films are also an influence, as the temporally paradoxical character of John Connor is referenced a bit by the equally temporally paradoxical character of Jun Sato.

Undoubtedly, more films will creep in and I’ll have to revisit this topic. Why, I haven’t even mentioned Kramer vs. Kramer!

Progress Report – January 2012

January 2012! This is the first progress report, but I will only cover this month. Going into the gory details of everything that I’ve posted or drafted up until now would just be tedious. It can always be found through my own site.

January 2012 Posted Works

On Ad Astra, I posted nearly all of Fortune (except for the Afterword, plus a few chapters from before the start of the new year).

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel |  Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions | January 2012
Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions

Plus I posted the response to the Pathways challenge, Paving Stones Made from Good Intentions. I was pleasantly shocked to eke out a come from behind victory. This is my first win (and the fourth challenge I had entered on Ad Astra). The story will be featured and I get to choose the February challenge topic. I was particularly proud of this because (a) it was a difficult group of entries and (b) it features my original character, Doug, at an early stage of his life. The story works as a prequel to Reversal.

Prompt Responses

In addition, I responded to some weekly free writes. For the TGIF prompt, I released Friday Visit, which is a kind of prequel to Together. For the AWOL prompt, I wrote Demotion, which is a prequel to three works that are still in rather early stages, and are based on the E2 episode. This ficlet is also a missing scene from the Hatchery episode. The Politics prompt brought forth a ficlet called Debate, which is a prequel to the next Daranaean story, currently in progress.

More Postings

Meanwhile, on TrekBBS, I added several pieces. Currently, I am posting Reversal (the PG-13 version). I also responded to their New Beginning challenge, with Coveted Commodity. Voting is up; I have voted there, too. Thanks to all voters.

On Fanfiction.net, I added Waiting and am currently spinning out the PG-13 rated version of Reversal. On that site, because I can upload documents, I am posting small uploads of three chapters at a time, so the posting there of Reversal is often behind what’s happening on TrekBBS.

I did not add any long works to Trek Empire, as I am waiting to see if the word limit for posts can be increased. Right now, it’s rather low, and this would make it difficult to post a story like Reversal, which is over 30 chapters long. I added It Had to Be You, as it’s a short one-off, and it takes place in the mirror universe.

Finally, I got TrekUnited a bit caught up with some of my one-offs and smaller stories. Dear Captain was very well received. I also posted Apple.

WIP Corner

Right now, I am working on E2 stories. There are going to be three books, and I have a good 90% or more drafted of the first one. The second one has a few chapters but is stalling a little. I’ll play with it more when inspiration strikes.

I also have a Daranaean story which, unfortunately, has also stalled. I wrote Debate as a prequel to it, hoping that it would nudge me to do more. So far, nothing yet. I also have an Interphases story which I haven’t touched in a while. That’s one of these stories where I roared through the beginning, know the ending, more or less, and can’t figure out how to connect the two. I’ve found that sometimes it helps to just go ahead and write the ending or at least draft it and then fill in the middle. That may be what I do with the Daranaean story as well.

I’m also drafting blog posts, and that’s interfering just a little bit with writing fiction. But I’ve also found that writing begets writing. Something will push through this little blockage and I’ll be typing away madly soon enough.

Prep Work

There are some things that I do that aren’t writing but relate to it. I converted A Long, Long Time Ago to HTML formatting and created an Ad Astra series called Times of the HG Wells. Plus I played around with Gimp to see if I could make a slideshow about In Between Days. I think it was all right for a first go, but it was a large file and the slides went by a bit too quickly. In addition, I need to adjust placement a bit. I’m really not a visual artist, so everything I do with visuals ends up being a struggle, but I try.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

My contract was not renewed in January 2012, so I’m hunting for work again. There’s always a big push so I am actively doing that. I’m also laying the groundwork for my taxes, but I don’t have all the materials yet. I’ll probably finish them in February or March. The filing date will depend upon whether a refund is in store (doubtful) or we have to pay.

Another thing about being at home is the phone/outside noises. Even with a space heater going (and providing white noise) and the windows and storm windows all closed, I can still hear occasional jackhammering outside. This, plus a ringing phone (and I have to get up to answer it, as it could be career stuff) tends to make me lose my train of thought.

Walking helps to get it back, and then I need to transcribe it. This process tends to work for me, where I think and type, then go out walking, come up with some more ideas and then record them later in the day. I don’t measure progress by number of words, as I place a value on economy of words, but I do try to crank out some pages, at least in draft form, mainly to see where I am with things. Currently, page production is down a bit. I am also working out plot ideas in my head, so some things are not being written, but that doesn’t mean I am not working on them.