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startrek enterprise fan fic

Review – You Mixed-Up Siciliano

You Mixed-Up Siciliano

You Mixed-Up Siciliano!

Background

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | You Mixed Up Siciliano
You Mixed Up Siciliano

So back when I was originally writing time travel, I got the idea of a vacation in 1960 Italy. However, this would be where everything would inadvertently go wrong. Hence, playing off the lyrics of Rosemary Clooney‘s song, Mambo Italiano, and the old Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, the title came to me as did much of the story line.

Plot

At the start of the story, Sheilagh has just threatened to quit the Temporal Integrity Commission. This is after a disastrous training run outlined in Ohio.

Because she can already tell that she’s going to hate letting good people die.

Carmen and Richard suggest an alternative. While consulting with Otra, they ask her where she would go, and when, if she could. So Otra, being a nice Italian girl, suggests 1960 Italy. She adds the film and song, above. And then Crystal outfits Sheilagh in “fabulous clothes” and they’re off.

However, things don’t go quite according to plan. Because Marisol Castillo also takes a side trip to 1960 Rome.

You Mixed-Up Siciliano Music

So reflecting 1960, the music is often horn-driven. Also, The Twist refers not only to the dance, but also to the plot. Plus El Paso was a serendipitous find, and references Marisol rather neatly.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

Finally, I love the music in this one, the costumes and the scene settings. So as for the crime and the mystery, it is in this story where things stop being a mystery. They settle, instead, into the characters trying to figure out what’s going on, and the overall arc begins to segue into Spring Thaw. I like it although I think I would have slowed down the crime a bit.


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Review – In Memory of Kelsey Haber

Review – In Memory of Kelsey Haber

Background

Memory. For a monthly prompt about memory, I decided to go with the story of the death of a crewman who nobody really remembered that clearly.

Plot

Review – In Memory of Kelsey Haber
Chris Hemsworth as Kelsey Haber

It’s the post-Fortune time period, on acting Captain Malcolm Reed‘s ship, the Zefram Cochrane. Chip comes over to Deb and tells her that Kelsey killed himself. Shocked, Deb and Chip realize that she knew Kelsey better than anyone, even the man’s new boss, Aidan. As Malcolm confers with Dr. Morgan about Haber’s death (he swallowed a tricoulamine capsule, same as the future Melissa Madden), Deb recalls an incident with Kelsey, where he ended up revealing something rather private to her.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I have no reason to believe that suicide will go away in the future; people will just find different ways to do the deed.  Further, I’ve always been troubled by Star Trek not giving below decks characters their due. While I understand the constraints of a one-hour-long television format, it still feels wrong for seven or so characters to be the only people who anyone really knows. This was touched upon a bit in the Star Trek: Enterprise canon episode, The Forgotten. I just wanted to be sure that Kelsey wouldn’t be forgotten, either.


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Review – Saturn Rise

Review – Saturn Rise

Saturn Rise – this was, I feel, a necessary story to write.

Saturn Rise Background

"Barking

For my own Star Trek fanfiction prompt about forgiveness, I went with a story about Malcolm, Lili, Joss, Marie Patrice, Declan, and Malcolm’s parents. This one dovetailed with a far more serious story about Pamela, Treve, and her family. It is all about offenses, hurts, slights, and pain. Some is fairly small. Some of it is devastating.

Plot

Two stories run through the piece.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Saturn System
Saturn System

In the first, Pamela and Treve are getting serious, and she agrees to see her sister, Lisa, who she hasn’t seen in years. She takes Treve along, in order to introduce him. It’s a major commitment for her. She wants it to be right.

In the second, Lili and Malcolm are going to see his parents. She will meet them for the first time, and they will see Declan, too, for the first time.

Undercurrents

Both scenarios sound promising. But there’s more going on there. Lisa, thinking it will be a pleasant surprise, brings her family along, and her and Pamela’s mother. Lisa is innocent and thinks it’ll be fun. What she learns is that their family was rather different from what she believed. And that Pamela, as a child, suffered abuse by their father. With a mother who seemingly didn’t do anything about it, Pamela unleashes her fury on their mother, as their father is long dead.

Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1742). Mr B reads...
Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1742). Mr B reads…

On Malcolm and Lili’s side of things, Stuart and Mary Reed express their concerns that the commitment between Lili and Malcolm is an illusory one, as Lili is married and her relationship with Malcolm is a part of her open marriage with Doug.

In addition, while they love Declan immediately, it takes them longer to warm up to the other two children, who they single out. Even though Mary had already given Marie Patrice a gift of handmade yellow knitted gloves (as was seen in Fortune), the two elder Reeds still hold back. An important part of the piece is Malcolm standing up to his parents, informing them that Joss and Marie Patrice are “our children”, meaning his, Lili’s, Doug’s and, by extension, also Melissa and Norri‘s.

As I often do, I twisted the conclusion a bit. Not everyone is forgiven, and maybe not everyone should be.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I was happy to showcase more of Pamela and Treve’s relationship, and not in the context of their first sexual encounter. These characters love each other, and I hadn’t really shown that before. As for Lili and Malcolm, their love was already in several stories. However, to be able to extend that to his love for her other children, the chance to do that in story form was irresistible. I think the story turned out well, and particularly like how Malcolm stood up to his parents and Pamela stood up to her mother.

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

The Best Things Come in Pairs Background

Pairs. They can refer to playing cards and couples, and this little story touches on both as a play on words and for a little bit of humor. In response to a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about losing, I wanted to write a story about a losing poker hand that, instead, ends up being a winner.

Plot

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

It’s maybe a year after the end of Fortune, and Treve has taken Pamela home after a date. They have been going out for a good year. She’s been a bit pushy about getting physical, but he’s been pulling back. As of the time of Saturn Rise, they have exchanged ‘I love yous’.

This is the first time that Treve has actually gone into Pamela’s new apartment on Lafa II. She’s immigrated there, partly to be near her elderly uncle, Doctor Cyril Morgan, and partly to be near Treve.

They’re a little drunk, and there are playing cards on the table. Pamela suggests a game of strip poker. Since Treve has no real idea of how to play, she feigns losing and, as a result, gets her man. Treve certainly does not object to this!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is meant to be a little silly, maybe, and a little amusing, and it segues rather neatly into Complications. A touch of happy ending mixed with some humor? Sign me up.

Review – The Pivot Point

Review – The Pivot Point

Background

The initial prompt was about a pivotal moment in a character’s life. This got me thinking of a ballerina, pivoting on her toes. And that immediately led me to Shelby Pike, but then I decided I’d rather go with Susan Cheshire.

Plot

Review – The Pivot Point
Variant logo based on the Terran Empire symbol of the Star Trek franchise. Artwork by User:Midnight68, uploaded with full permission of the artist. World globe based on a Nasa image available for educational and informational purposes. Purpose: To illustrate Star Trek-related articles (especially Mirror Universe). Released under CC-BY-SA.3.0 license; please note that the artist agrees that international wikimedia projects have the right to re-use this image as they see fit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Shifting between the Star Trek: Enterprise Prime Universe and the Mirror Universe, both Susans weigh the same question – whether to quit drinking. Both are with Aidan MacKenzie.

In the Prime Universe, Aidan is supportive, offering to talk to Captain Reed about taking some time off to help Susan with her struggles.

In the Mirror, Aidan can’t take any time, as he has to be at Empress Hoshi‘s beck and call. Ultimately, the decision that is made differs, depending upon the universe in question.

Review – The Pivot Point
Susan when with Aidan, either universe (Yvonne Nelson)

The decision to quit or continue drinking is, of course, Susan’s alone. But her circumstances certainly define and dictate which was the dice roll.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I like the juxtapositions,

Broken Dreams

although I probably could have done more to delineate the differences between the two situations. If this could have been done without having to rely on font formatting, I think it could have, overall, been a stronger piece. As it is now, it’s okay, but I feel it’s got room for improvement.


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Review – Half

Review – Half

Half works as a play on words.

In response to an Andorian Week on the Star Trek Logs site, I decided to do a short story on a teenaged Talla. Talla is a canon character, the daughter of Shran and Jhamel.

Plot

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Shran with Talla as a young girl | Half
Shran with Talla as a young girl

In keeping with canon, I decided that the pirates from the abysmal These Are the Voyages episode would be back, and they would again be looking for the Teneebian amethyst. Furthermore, Talla is, in canon, a half-breed, and her pea green-colored skin would give that away immediately. Shran, in canon, often referred to Jonathan Archer as a ‘pink skin’.

I extrapolated this to mean that Andorian society would be accepting of this kind of casual racial prejudice. Therefore, Talla suffers persecution by her classmates, for the color of her skin. In order to try to tell them off, she claims that they still have the amethyst. This gets Shran back into trouble.

Trouble

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Aenar | Shran | Jhamel | Talla | Half
Aenar and Andorian, Shran and Jhamel

Forced back into hiding, Shran bids farewell to his family and seeks refuge on Malcolm‘s ship, the USS Bluebird.

And then Malcolm, along with his crew, including Ethan Shapiro, comes up with a plan to get rid of the pirates, once and for all. Inadvertently, his solution also presents a solution for Shran, Talla, and Jhamel, and the problem of their mixed marriage fitting in, in Andorian society.

The story dovetails well with later Emergence stories, Fortune, and even the E2 timeline.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I meant the story to be a bit of fluff, and that’s about all that it is. I think I accomplished what I set out to do. However, the bar wasn’t exactly set that high.

Review – Take Back the Night

Review – Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night!

Take Back the Night Background

Once The Cure is Worse Than the Disease was posted, readers began asking me about a sequel. Nobody wanted to leave it the way it had been left, which was with Doctor An Nguyen becoming disillusioned and the Daranaeans left to their own devices and sexist ways, with lip service being paid to the Prime Directive.

I decided I wanted a small piece of a revolution, and so I got an idea. There would be an injustice, and the women would rise up.

Plot

Review – Take Back the Night

The real Take Back the Night movement is about women holding forth against violence against women, including rape, particularly date rape.

For the Daranaean, the elder Inta, this would be a form of marital rape that would spark the powder keg of a plot. I had already established that third caste women had no right to refuse sexual relations, and so the beginning is her refusing to sleep with her husband, Arnis. In fact, the first word of the story is simply her saying, “No!”

That is the only word she says in the entire piece. And in fact, that is the only word I have from her. Yet it is enough.

Violence

For her refusal, she is hit, hard, and she falls to the floor, hitting her head. This causes her death and, just as importantly, the death of her unborn fetus.

While her death is not actionable, the first legal question is whether the death of the unborn child is. This is, of course, distasteful to most of us, but I figure that alien cultures may very well have rather alien ideas about justice and mercy.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Take Back the Night
Take Back the Night

As the story unfolds, someone other than Arnis gets the blame. Hence the Cochrane and the Columbia both play a part in helping that person be exonerated. And they also help in having the real killer charged with the crime.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I think this is one of the better stories I have written, as the action moves from Daranaean home to both starships, a space battle, and eventually a courtroom and even the Beta Council chamber on Daranaea. Perhaps the best part about the story is that, while it resolves the immediate issue, it doesn’t fix all of the Daranaeans’ problems overnight. There’s plenty more story fodder, and many injustices remain. But at least there are a few less of them. I’m very proud of this story.

Review – Conversations with Heroes

Review – Conversations with Heroes

Conversations with Heroes was a lot like taking dictation.

Background

As a part of the 2013 ficlet flashdance challenge, we were tasked with creating a posting every day of one week, with at least 1,000 words. I decided to tie the whole shebang together with a documentary filmmaker creating a work about the Xindi War.

Plot

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | Conversations with Heroes
In Between Days

It’s just after the war has ended, and independent filmmaker Carlos Castillo has an assignment to cover the Xindi War from the perspective of the people who fought it.

Sharp-eyed readers should spot that Carlos is a prime universe counterpart to one of the men killed by Doug Beckett, as is outlined in Fortune.

The prime universe Carlos comes to the NX-01, but he also tracks down crew members like Lili, who are off the ship (as is established in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere). He interviews the following crew members –

  1. Jonathan Archer – he discusses the turning point for this character, a Star Trek: Enterprise canon act where he forced an Ossarian pirate into an airlock.
  2. Maryam Haroun – Maryam mentions her Muslim faith. Also, she talks about the deaths of fellow crew members and feels that her failure to pray may have had a correlation with that.
  3. Lili O’Day – Lili relives killing She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time, which was originally outlined in Reversal and The Mess.
  4. Jennifer Crossman – her memory is of the canon act of deceiving Degra.
  5. Malcolm Reed – Malcolm talks about Jay‘s death.

The final piece is Carlos’s own statements about having met the Enterprise‘s crew. And he mentions the effect this assignment has personally had on him.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story was  well-received. I also loved the pressure creativity aspect of it. This story also has the third-highest number of reviews of any story of mine (only Reversal and Revved Up have more).

I can’t wait to do this kind of story again.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Background

Lilies and Lili! For a prompt about sweetness, I gave two answers.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field
Lilies

This was the second one. I wanted to get across the sweetness of relationships, both the long-term and the fairly new.

In addition, in Fortune, one of the family photographs was of Joss and Jia at their prom. I wanted to fill in the blanks, the missing details, of that.

Plot

Joss, a little jumpy in a tuxedo, is cooling his heels before Jia and her parents arrive to take him to the prom at their little school on Lafa II. Marie Patrice is, as she often is, a little snarky. Declan even jokes a bit.  Lili is of course more supportive. Malcolm is mentioned very briefly.

There is a little bustling as Doug arrives with groceries. The kids go out to help (after Lili tells them to), but she holds back Joss so that he won’t get dirty. There is a mysterious blue bag that no one is allowed to touch.

Review – Consider the Lilies of the Field

Once the food is put away, Doug opens up the bag, revealing a carnation boutonniere for Joss and a corsage for Jia. Jia’s parents, Mai and Geming arrive with their daughter. Savvy readers will recognize Geming’s counterpart as being Doug’s final deliberate kill in the Mirror Universe.

After they depart, and the other two children return to their homework, Lili laments that Doug never had a prom. He confirms that, at the time, he was finishing up at West Point and about to go into Basic Training. But he’s got one more surprise for her.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I enjoyed bringing this story together, and I think it works rather well. Doug and Lili’s love is obvious, and Jia and Joss’s relationship is on the cusp of becoming something great, too.

Review – Before the Fall

Review – Before the Fall

Before the Fall references pride.

Background

For an early Lili story, I got the idea as I was given a prompt for a story about the seven deadly sins. I chose pride.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jonathan Frakes as Chef Will Slocum (image is for educational purposes only) | Before the Fall
Jonathan Frakes as Chef Will Slocum (image is for educational purposes only)

For quite a while, I had had the idea of pitting Will and Lili against each other in an Iron Chef-style competition.

Putting together the prequel idea, pride and the competition brought me directly to this story.

Plot

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Naomi Watts as Lili O'Day (image is for educational purposes)
Naomi Watts as Lili O’Day (image is for educational purposes)

Lili is a new employee on the NX-01, recently hired by Will and so this is after both Voracious and Harvest.

It’s the middle of the Xindi War, and the crew needs a break. Apart from an extra Movie Night, what do you do for entertainment? Hence the idea for a competition was thought up.

I decided the judges would be Jonathan, Malcolm and Jay, thereby prefiguring Lili’s relationship with Malcolm and her connection to Jay, plus her failed connection, during the first E2 alternate timeline, with Jonathan. The food, too, would prefigure some things, including the smoky cumin which is referenced in Temper.

Review – Before the Fall

Preston Jennings makes an appearance, thereby tying the story to More, More, More! He is Chef’s assistant between Daniels and Lili. Lili selects Brian Delacroix as her assistant, thereby neatly prefiguring his becoming a chef (hinted at in Reversal, and then fully realized in Together and Fortune).

Hoshi and Chip host the event, which is broadcast throughout the ship. The secret ingredient, almonds, must be incorporated into all of the dishes that Lili and Will make. Then the judges anonymously taste and decide, giving points for flavor, originality and presentation. Lili and Brian work well as a team, and poor Preston has a bit of a meltdown. As for Will, well, you know what pride goeth before, right?

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I like the frenzied nature of the competition and the details about the work that goes into it. I have watched these kinds of shows more than once, and they continue to amaze me with people’s creativity and risk-taking. Plus, truth be told, it’s a bit of a slam at the Frakes character, given my annoyance with These Are the Voyages. I think it worked out pretty well.