Portrait of a Character – Mary Reed

Portrait of a Character – Mary Reed


The character, of course, is canon, and is Malcolm‘s mother.

Portrait of a Character – Mary Reed

Jane Carr as Mary Reed

I give her the maiden name of Dunphy, which comes from a gravestone I saw in Newton, Massachusetts, where a Wilbur Reed (mentioned in Concord) is buried, for real, near a stone that just says Dunphy.


As in canon, Mary is portrayed by actress Jane Carr.


Reserved and sometimes a little cowed by Stuart, Mary quietly holds her own, but only when she needs to. I wanted to make her a little more than the knitting grandmother I made her in Fortune, so I added a war effort-style job in Gainful and The Tribe, and the need for her to begin caring for Stuart (and sometimes telling him the occasional little white lie) in Saturn Rise. When Malcolm is in serious legal trouble in Shell Shock, she asks if they should call the family lawyer, and tells him to be strong.

Her personality comes out best in Gainful/The Tribe and Saturn Rise. She gets more lines and a bit of assertiveness about her desire to work outside the home and, later, her desire to accept at least Lili‘s other children and have them call her Nan. It’s a bit unclear as to whether she accepts Melissa‘s sons as her grandsons. That’s an area I might explore in the future.


Stuart Reed

Mary’s only known relationship is with Malcolm’s father, Stuart. They have two children; I write their daughter, Madeleine, as being younger than Malcolm although that’s not confirmed in canon.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Mary Reed

Mirror Mary

Mary has to exist in the Mirror Universe, because Malcolm’s counterpart, Ian, does.

I like the idea of her being much more of a career woman, and not the homebody that she seems to be in canon. She’s not necessarily an overly sexed-up Mirror Universe woman, but I do see her as at least attempting to be much more independent.


“Long ago, when humans were barely even human, the birth of a child was an occasion. The men would leave on a hunt, or some such. … Perhaps there were a few exceptions. And the women, they all gathered ‘round. It was the entire tribe. They came together, in order to celebrate such a grand occasion and welcome the new tribe member.”


This character was barely a part of canon, although that dovetails rather neatly with Malcolm’s canon situation. He quite simply kept out of his own family’s way, and they didn’t pursue him, either. For Malcolm, it was likely a rather lonely existence. I’ve tried to keep Mary like that. A decent mother, but a better grandmother, and kind of not too sure of what to do with Malcolm half the time.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Portrait, 1 comment

Review – Gainful

Review – Gainful

Gainful comes from a prompt about first jobs.


I wanted to show someone who wasn’t so young entering the workforce for the same time.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Before Days | Gainful

Before Days

I particularly wanted to pay tribute to my maternal grandmother. She had only worked outside of the home for a few years, and that was all during the Second World War, as a part of the war effort.

Yes, my grandmother was a kind of Rosie the Riveter type (she worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard).

Enter Mary Reed.


Review – Gainful

We Can Do It poster for Westinghouse, closely associated with Rosie the Riveter, although not a depiction of the cultural icon itself. Pictured Geraldine Doyle (1924-2010), at age 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I figured Mary would be as driven to help out during the Earth-Romulan War as my own grandmother had been during World War II.

But Mary seemed to not be as strong as my part-Polish grandmother, so it would be more of an intellectual pursuit. Furthermore, this is the future of Star Trek, and so brute force or assembly lines would not be in the cards.

I recalled a character I had created while writing two pieces for Dispatches from the Romulan War – pop singer Kurt Fong. I hit upon the idea of Fong needing a new person to help open his mail and respond to it, and so I was able to attach Mary and her diplomatic skills to this project. It would be a fun job for her, but also a challenge. She would be reminded, as others wrote to Fong, that Malcolm could be injured or killed at any time, too. Her boss, Ehigha Ejiogu, would be a Nigerian man young enough to be her son. Her coworker, the Tellarite Cympia Triff, would have an impressive beard.

Sharp-eyed readers will recall that Ejiogu and Fong are, in the Mirror Universe, two of Doug‘s kills.

Story Postings


The story is Rated K.


I really like how this one turned out, and was  pleased to write a sequel, The Tribe. As for whether I’ll revisit Mary at work, the question remains up in the air.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 2 comments

Progress Report – September 2013

Progress Report – September 2013

September 2013 was productive.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | September 2013

The month began with posting Flip to I also added Gremlins, Finnan Haddie, Bread and Escape. I posted There’s Something Else About Hoshi to Arch Angels.

On Ad Astra, I responded to the Steal All the Toys Challenge with I Got Married to the Widow Next Door, which takes place in trekfan‘s Chronicles universe. I enhanced The Cajun Caitian with Dear Naurr.

Also, for a weekly prompt about drinking to forget, I decided to concentrate on Carmen Calavicci, and posted It’s Not Really a Reset if you remember it. In addition, for a prompt about below decks characters, I gave some love to Crystal Sherwood, with Preparations (this included a shout-out to the Tellarite sport I’m developing, Kreesta).

I also posted a new Eriecho story, which expands Beats and The Mundane World and is a response to the Expand Your Mind Challenge, Recessive.


Individual Read Counts

For individual read counts, the following stories have 20,000 or more on one URL –

In addition, for individual read counts, the following stories have 10,000 or more on one URL –

All of these were accomplished on Ad Astra.

More Accomplishments

Also, the following stories have between 5,000 and 9,999 reads on one URL –

Again, these numbers are all coming from Ad Astra.

Combined Read Counts

So apart from the others at over 5,000 reads for just one URL, the following combine to 5,000 – 9,999 reads when you consider all postings’ URLs –

WIP Corner

I continued adding to Play, which is the second story in the Barnstorming series. kes7 created a great playground for us to collaborate, so I worked on Paradox, a story crossing between Tesseract and Times of the HG Wells. Steff also added Lili as a shout out in her story, The Cajun Caitian, so I added a story where Lili and FalseBill‘s Naurr have a correspondence, and am hoping Bill and I can continue it and eventually place it on the archive.

Prep Work

I added to the Star Trek Expanded Universes Wiki. This included adding more linking to this blog, as I learned that it is proving to be a source of some traffic.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

As ever, the search for work continued, and it could sometimes be difficult to carve out time for myself.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Progress, 0 comments

Focus on Tellarites in Star Trek Fan Fiction


Tellarites are canon.
A focus Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass | Tellarites (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a canon item and my twist(s) on it.

Of course, all of Star Trek fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can be used in fanfiction.

Background – Tellarites

The species is canon, and they are normally shown as being obese, bearded men who enjoy hurling insults.

I don’t tamper with that.

However, my first questions were – what do their women look like? And, as importantly, they are (in canon) a founding member of the United Federation of Planets. So how the heck do they get along with everyone else?


In the two (so far) Mary Reed stories, Tellarites get a bit more of a look than they did in canon.

In Gainful, Mary gets her first-ever job outside of the home – answering fan mail for pop sensation Kurt Fong. But it’s not all glitz and glamour, as the Romulan War is going on. Kurt wants to be informed of any requests to entertain the troops, or provide visits or autographed pictures for the wounded. It’s up to Mary to get all of that to him in a timely manner.

One of her coworkers, Cympia Triff, is a Tellarite, and Mary initially isn’t sure whether that person is male or female. Furthermore, their boss, Ehigha Ejiogu, tells Mary that Cympia really wants to hear an insult, a fact that mortifies Mary a bit. They trade these unconventional pleasantries and Mary learns that Cympia (the computer programmer) is female. A small friendship, perhaps, is forming by the time the story ends.

In The Tribe, it’s the end of Mary’s first day, so she takes a commuter mag-lev train home. While riding through Southeast Asia, the train becomes stuck. A fellow commuter is in labor, and all of the men in the car flee for other cars save one – a young male Tellarite.


While they are difficult people, the truth is, plenty of humans are, too. The way I see Tellarites is a lot like a curmudgeonly relative. They may be hard-nosed and harsh on the outside, but inside, they really do care. I hope I’ll have occasion to showcase them some more, and I will in the upcoming Barnstorming series.

Posted by jespah in Focus, 2 comments