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star trek in between days

Review – Cough

Review – Cough

Cough?

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days Cast | Cough
In Between Days Cast

Background

It seems such an unpromising word. Yet there was a call for a drabble with this word as its title. Hence I decided to revisit Penicillin. And my idea was to write a far shorter version of the same story. So this was to get it in front of a different readership.

Plot

When Lili sees Jay coughing in the hallway of the NX-01, he quickly covers it up. But she realizes he is sick and so she makes some chicken soup to treat his symptoms.

But there’s just one catch for Jay. Lili wants payment. And her payment isn’t in the form of money. Instead, it’s for him to smile more. While he agrees to do so, there is a slight difference between Cough and Penicillin. Unlike in the longer story, Jay briefly turns out his pockets. I feel it’s a nice little touch which gives him some personality, e. g. that he’s in a bit of a joking mood despite them being at war, and foreshadows the relaxed loving relationship they will have.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Drabbles are tiny and they often suffer because of that. And this one is no exception. So while I love the Penicillin story (and it turned out to be a linchin in the E2 storyline), the drabble version just plain isn’t as good. Therefore, there’s just no chicken meat on those bare bones.

However, the readers did like the story. Hayes is an enigma, even to his creators and to his actor. Hence I feel any insight into his character is generally going to be welcome. Otherwise, he is simply a cipher.

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Portrait of a Character – T’Pau

Portrait of a Character – T’Pau

Origins

T’Pau, a canon character, is a part of the Star Trek: Enterprise Vulcan arc.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – T’Pau
Portrait of a Character – T’Pau

As in canon, a young T’Pau is played by actress Kara Zediker.

I liked this portrayal a lot more than the one in the Original Series. This T’Pau has passion and fire, even as an allegedly emotion-free Vulcan.

Personality

Ruthless and efficient, T’Pau, in canon, is ready to force Captain Archer to submit to a mindmeld if he won’t go willingly. I see no reason for her to be any different in fanfiction.

Relationships

Kefris

Thrown together several times, T’Pau and Kefris bond at least a little bit over their shared fates.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – T’Pau
Portrait of a Character – T’Pau

In the Mirror, because Vulcans are an oppressed species, I write T’Pau as a slave.

This is the main place where I write T’Pau.  In Temper and in He Stays a Stranger, she is referenced as being someone who performs calculations and looks things up for the Empress. Without being named, she is one of the two Vulcans referenced (Kefris is the other) in Escape, as surviving the shuttle crash that kills the Mirror Melissa Madden and leaves Andy Miller bereft.

Quote

As of the writing of this blog post, I don’t have a quote from her!

Upshot

Mentioned peripherally but barely seen, I should do more with this character.

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Portrait of a Character – Emily Stone

Portrait of a Character – Emily Stone

Origins

Emily was originally kind of a reference character. During Intolerance, she’s really just referred to as an important mother of one of the medical students, Mark Stone. It wasn’t until I added her into the Achieving Peace story that she started to have any definition.

Instead of just being a character’s mother, Emily, a lawyer, became a part of the negotiation of the peace terms to end the Earth-Romulan War. In this endeavor, she worked with Soval and a Tellarite ambassador (canon character Gral), and a representative of the Xindi, Chara Sika. Sharp-eyed readers will recall that Chara Sika, another character who originated as an offscreen mother, was first mentioned in The Puzzle).

Also accompanying Emily is another lawyer, Laura Hayes, who works under the Andorian ambassador, T’Therin. By this time, Emily is an ambassador herself.

Later, when I wrote Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, I wanted someone to probate and read Jay‘s will. Laura was not an option (it would have been a legal conflict of interest). Hence I revisited Emily and gave the two of them something of a friendship. The friendship is also briefly mentioned in Together.

Portrayal

Melissa George as Emily Stone
Melissa George as Emily Stone

Emily is played by actress Melissa George. I don’t know too much about this actress; I mainly just liked the look of her. Emily is not exactly a bit part, but she’s not major, either.

Personality

Formal and conservative, but fair, Emily is the quintessential ambassador. Much like Laura (who becomes a judge), Emily takes her work for justice seriously.

Relationships

Mark has a father, so there had to have been someone. I suspect I’ll make her a widow.

Mirror Universe

Because Emily’s son, Mark, is in the Mirror Universe, Emily is there by definition.

English: Actress Melissa George
English: Actress Melissa George (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I kind of like the idea of her being a little sexy and vain and quirky. She could be rather different, and not the sober lawyer she is in the prime universe. Perhaps she’d almost be a court jester (although not in the main court. Empress Hoshi wouldn’t allow that).

Quote

“My niece is in Science and is in on the NX-01. My son is practicing medicine and is looking to get onto, maybe, a smaller ship as the Enterprise and the Columbia are already staffed. But they’re just going to be warriors if this continues. I just want to see young people have their dreams. Constant conflict will derail those dreams, I fear.”

Upshot

For a character who was first intended to be a brief mentioning, Emily has a bit of a storyline to her. She might see some action later, particularly if I write any more legal or diplomatic works.

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Review – Red

Review – Red

Red plays on the color and on Norri’s hair. Because this character has the least amount of development of all of the main characters in the In Between Days series (even Pamela Hudson has more depth and detail to her), it works to give Norri her due. And, again, the title plays on words as well, putting the color together with mortification.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Norri | Red
Norri D’Giorno

Hence for a prompt about embarrassment, I went with not only the color of your face but the color of Norri Digiorno‘s hair.

I had some hints about the first meeting between her and Melissa Madden in Fortune, but had not written it. The opportunity presented itself on a silver platter, so I went ahead with this sweet little story about love at first sight.

Plot

As Norri vacations on Ceres just after graduating from Oklahoma State with a BA in English Literature, pilot Melissa hangs out at a hotel bar with her pilot friends.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Norri| Red
Norri

So Norri is checking out Melissa, big time. Melissa is playing it a little cooler. Finally, when Melissa’s friends leave, she crooks her finger just once, and Norri comes running. And, as Norri herself says on her deathbed in Fortune, she (Norri) never left. This love, much like the loves throughout the family and the series, is eternal. She really means forever.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

It was an irresistible story to write, to get these two crazy kids together for the first time. For the main characters of In Between Days, their first meeting and first ‘date’ are the most normal.

This one was a joy to write, and hopefully readers find it a joy to read as well.

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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 – All You Need is Love

Review – All You Need is Love

All You Need is Love is about the aftermath of a very special first birthday party, in October of 2162.

All You Need is Love Background

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | IBD Arrangement | All You Need is Love
In Between Days, the Arrangement

Plot

For Malcolm Reed who, in canon, never had a family and was never close to anyone, I wanted to fix that in my Star Trek fan fiction. In Temper, and then again in Fortune, I had already established that Lili O’Day Beckett would have his only child, Declan.

Review – All You Need is Love
wall painting of the Beatles Story museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Declan, who is born on Halloween, lives on Lafa II with his mother and her husband, Doug Beckett. But Doug is generous (it is an open marriage) and so Malcolm, when he is on three years of paternity leave (and afterwards, as he purchases the place) lives in a house up a little rise from the Beckett house. There are a lot of visits as such a little baby needs to nurse. The arrangement is such that Doug and Lili will have Declan live with them and their two children together, Joss and Marie Patrice.  Malcolm is well aware of just how much he owes them, particularly Doug. Doug is pretty gracious about things, particularly considering the violent and jealous history between the two men. But Malcolm in particular understands he has got to keep the peace as a gesture to Lili.

He is also abundantly aware of how his life has suddenly and irrevocably changed. As a person who had been utterly devoted to duty, the idea of living an emotionally open life starts off as a somewhat foreign concept. But by this time he’s getting used to opening up and showing what’s inside of him.

Music

Of course, the theme music for this little story is the Beatles’ All You Need is Love.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I like the little domestic scene, and I particularly enjoy how Malcolm feels comfortable enough to break down at any time. He knows that Lili will never make fun of him or otherwise belittle or cheapen his emotions. All he has ever needed is love.

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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 – Oscar (Osh) Tiburón

Portrait of a Character – Oscar (Osh) Tiburón

Osh had an unlikely origin.

Origins

In the E2 timeline, I wanted to show the first pregnancy as being utterly unplanned. I needed a heterosexual couple for this, so I created Trace and Osh.

Portrayal

Oscar is played by actor Javier Bardem (who I also have playing filmmaker Carlos Castillo).

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

As is the case with the Carlos Castillo character, I wanted a versatile actor of Latino descent.

Personality

Taciturn and maybe a little shy, Oscar is even more of a strong, silent type than Jay Hayes, his commanding officer. He is also a semi-lapsed Catholic, insisting on a full Catholic mass for his wedding on the one hand, but also engaging in premarital sex on the other. So he is a bit conflicted.

In Shell Shock, he is a part of the group that runs after, and eventually apprehends, the perpetrator. This act exonerates Malcolm.

Relationships

Tracey Carter

Tracey pursues Oscar rather aggressively, giggling like a schoolgirl over him when discussing his finer points with her roommate, Maryam Haroun. She is an Engineering crewman and so their schedules do not always mesh. Once their daughter, Amanda, is born, Oscar is a bit overwhelmed. Amanda is a rather loud crier and is not, at least at the start, the easiest child to raise.

Mirror Universe

Oscar could exist in the Mirror Universe; there are no impediments to him doing so.

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

For a strong and fast MACO, there are opportunities on the other side of the pond. Some are regular work opportunities, but others exist in serving the Empress Hoshi Sato directly. I created the character after I had written the main In Between Days books, so Oscar does not appear there. But there is no reason why I can’t retcon him in.

Quote

“It would only be right if we were to marry.”

Upshot

Whenever I need a fast runner, Oscar will be there.
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