Tag Archives: Time travel

Review – Recruitment

Review – Recruitment

Recruitment is just plain weird.

Background

It is perhaps one of the odder stories I have ever written for Star Trek fanfiction. It is about the recruitment of a new Section 31 agent.  Because it was written for Andorian Week, the main character is an Andorian.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Clockworks | Recruitment
Clockworks

In 3087, Section 31 puts a potential agent through her paces.

However, in a scene reminiscent of Men in Black, an Andorian is thrown into an utterly unfamiliar situation. And she is expected to solve a puzzle. Complicating matters is the fact that it’s hard to tell who is competing against her, or even if anyone is. And perhaps they aren’t.

At the time, I was in the middle of helping out with Multiverse II. And I was also writing about  Daniel Beauchaine‘s betrayal of the Temporal Integrity Commission. Hence I combined those ideas a bit. Furthermore, I added a holodeck simulation of Duluth, destroyed by nuclear war (an event also commemorated in The Three of Us). At the time, Rick Daniels was the only deep future branch of Malcolm‘s family (along with Eleanor and their father, Steven). Hence I added a pale fellow (a shout out to ancestor Lili O’Day), who the main character only refers to as ‘Sven’, as he seems to look Swedish.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Since the story is strange, it suffers from some odd dreamlike qualities. Some of it was quite literally was taken from a dream. That included a strange, almost living, elevator. Therefore, it is an offshoot. It’s a kind of spur on the highway right now. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to it. Although Steven Reed might be revisited a little in the Barnstorming series.

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Portrait of a Character – Tina April

Portrait of a Character – Tina April

Origins

To play up just how much of a rat Rick Daniels is at the beginning of the Times of the HG Wells series, he had to have a girlfriend, who he would be cheating on. Enter Tina, who is named for the girlfriend in Quantum Leap and for canon starship captain Robert April (in fact, her father is named Bob).

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Tina April
Amy Smart as Tina April (image is provided for educational purposes only)

Tina is played by actress Amy Smart.

I wanted a lovely, younger actress who would be a bit out of Rick’s league.

Personality

This intelligent and sophisticated schoolteacher is not above using tears to try to get her way (she doesn’t succeed).

Relationships

Rick Daniels

Tina and Rick meet when Eleanor introduces her friend to her brother. It’s one of the initial drivers of Temper and is part of how the deep future part of that storyline gets kicked off. The relationship is mainly sexual; Rick breaks them up when she starts to insist on knowing where he is going and that she wants him to meet her father.

Troy Scott

During Spring Thaw, they start dating.  Tina pushes for things to become serious a lot more quickly than Troy does.

Mirror Universe

There is no reason why Tina can’t be in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Tina April
Amy Smart as the Mirror Universe Tina (image is presented for educational purposes only)

She would have to be sexier and tougher. Since I have already established the role of ship’s teacher, Tina could be a much later version of Susan Cheshire, but without the alcoholism.

Quote

“You’ve got an implanted communicator. You’re quiet about what you do – and don’t think I haven’t noticed when you’ve oh so artfully changed the subject whenever I’ve asked you anything. I know more about what you think of Plato’s Republic than I do about what you’ll do or where you’ll go when you leave this apartment.”

Upshot

This initially throwaway character provides some grounding to Rick, at least in the beginning, and a person for Eleanor to confide in. But I don’t know if she’ll be back.

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Spotlight on Trichronium

Spotlight on Trichronium

Trichronium is a useful (and tasty!) plot device. It serves as one of the oddest ideas I have ever come up with for Star Trek fan fiction.

Yet, in a way, it works.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Trichronium (cantaloupe juice)

During the Times of the HG Wells series, I wanted an odd and different way for the Perfectionists to travel in time. It would be something unique and weird and utterly different from the canon time ships or time portals.

This involved a great deal of brainstorming, as I tried to come up with something that would be, to me, sufficiently wacky.

Eventually it came to me, that it would be a hormone. But instead of being injected, it would be swallowed. That delivery method just struck me as being more practical when traveling in time. Eventually, I decided that it would taste like cantaloupe (Helen Walker says so). Because what the hell. That may have been silly, but it gave me a point of reference I had not had previously. Therefore, that was a rather useful revelation.

How It Works

For the simplest explanation, I decided on a cuff similar to the Cuff of Lo. The temporal enhancer cuff would be useless without trichronium, and  vice versa.  The traveler would swallow a dose, someone (not necessarily the time traveler) would set the controls on the cuff, and the traveler would end up whenever and wherever. Another swallow, and you can stay longer, as digested foods pass through us eventually.  The cuff could override and recall the traveler, as could enough of a drop in trichronium levels. But otherwise the dosages would decide whether a traveler would stay in the past, or not.

Upshot

I like this invention and will probably try to find a way to resurrect this technology at some point.

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Recurrent Themes – Unintentional Time Travelers

Recurrent Themes – Unintentional Time Travelers

Background

Time travel is such a great trope that I just had to cover it. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Unintentional Time TravelersThe most fun was when time travelers didn’t really want to go, but something or other swept them along anyway.

Appearances

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel |  Times of the HG Wells logo courtesy of TemplarSora
Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Times of the HG Wells logo courtesy of TemplarSora | Unintentional Time Travelers

Unintentional time travelers are such a fun idea to explore that I’ve gone to this well several times.

Concord

Concord is all about unintentional and intentional time travel.

Robert Lenox

Lenox, the real time traveler, is testing out a new device when Reed is accidentally swept along, and Reed’s ancestor is also displaced, as is Lenox’s own ancestor.

Malcolm Reed

Right before the start of the Xindi War, Malcolm is accidentally transported to 1775 Concord, Massachusetts.

Crackerjack

In Crackerjack,  inadvertent time travel occurs because the errant pulse shot from Empress Hoshi (and the Temper story) hits Wesley and Geordi’s shuttle.

Wesley Crusher

For Wesley, the trip to 1941 Washington, DC is a voyage that he would rather not have taken.

Geordi LaForge

For Geordi, the voyage to Washington, DC in 1941 is the occasion to meet Rosemary Parker, although he also feels the effects of the prejudice of the time.

Day of the Dead

The Traveler is to blame for Chuck McBride and Tripp Tucker traveling in time.

Chuck McBride

McBride the jokester is yanked out of Upper Bavaria, but it’s never made clear as to exactly where and when he ends up.

Tripp Tucker

Tucker’s personal temporal displacement gets him to the 1944 liberation of the Dachau concentration camp.

The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

Another pesky anomaly sends Porthos forward in time, in The Continuing Adventures of Porthos.

Porthos

The NX-01‘s resident quadruped takes his  temporal displacement in stride, and makes friends with Data’s cat, Spot, although Porthos does miss Archer.

E2 Timeline

For both kicks back in time, the entire ship unwittingly travels in time.

The Entire NX-01

No one is left behind when the Enterprise is kicked back in time.

Theorizing

In Theorizing, whatever is leaping Sam Beckett around does it to Jonathan Archer, too.

Captain Jonathan Archer

Archer’s mission is to help Sam Beckett’s wife, Donna Elise, move on with her life.

Dr. Sam Beckett

Dr. Beckett’s mission is to convince the Xindi Humanoid, Degra, that the deaths of millions of humans like Lizzie Tucker should be on his conscience.

Upshot

I adore this trope so much that I am continually trying to figure out another way to shoehorn it into my fan fiction.

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Portrait of a Character – Annette (Windy) (Pollan) Bradley

Portrait of a Character – Annette (Windy) (Pollan) Bradley

Origins

I wanted a hippie chick for Richard Daniels to hook up with in 1970 Kent State, and for him to meet at a protest. Enter Windy.

Portrayal

Windy is portrayed by Melanie Mayron.

Portrait of a Character – Annette (Windy) (Pollan) Bradley
Annette “Windy” Bradley in 1970

I love how authentic she looks, particularly in the image I have selected, which is from a film called Girlfriends.

She is not meant to be knock out beautiful.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Annette (Windy) (Pollan) Bradley
Annette Bradley Pollan, an older image that Rick sees in an alternate history

Casual and a bit cynical, Windy is the kind of woman who Rick often ends up with. She is free with her sexuality but also friendly and sympathetic. In 1970, just before the shootings at Kent State University, they talk about the possibility of him being sent to Viet Nam to fight in the war. They go to bed together having known each other for only a few hours. He leaves in the morning when the shooting starts, but their parting is at least somewhat cordial.

When he and Sheilagh Bernstein return in order to repair the issues with the timeline that they themselves have created, he has to leave a lot more abruptly, and ducks out before she wakes up. Angry at him, and at herself for being so free with her body, Windy at least pays lip service to the idea of maybe not having sex quite so quickly, and choosing her partners a bit more carefully.

She never learns that he is a time traveler.

Relationships

Windy’s hookup with Rick can hardly be called a relationship. In the alternate timeline, her married name is Pollan (named for Back to the Future‘s Michael J. Fox‘s real-life wife, Tracy Pollan), but there is nothing about her husband or whether they remain wed for life.

Theme Music

Of course Windy’s music is the Association’s Windy. The song was popular three years before 1970 and it is the kind of bouncy, optimistic song that a girl of maybe 16 – 18 years of age would like and want to use as her nickname.

Mirror Universe

There is no reason why Annette can’t exist in the Mirror Universe. But I don’t think she’d call herself Windy.

Portrait of a Character – Annette (Windy) (Pollan) Bradley
Annette in the Mirror Universe

I feel she would be like a lot of the Mirror Universe women I write – overly dependent on men for their happiness, safety, and well-being.

Quote

“Right. It all seems so sterile. If we could really see the times, you know, somehow insert ourselves into history and really be there, man, that would surely be amazing.”

Upshot

For a woman who Rick never sees again, he does remember her, and even keeps a souvenir – a pair of quarters she had saved up for her laundry.


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Review – He Stays a Stranger

Review – He Stays a Stranger

He stays a stranger works as a bookend to The Stranger, because Rick never really gets to know anyone until Milena.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | He Stays a Stranger
He Stays a Stranger

Background

Back when I was originally putting together a wholly original time travel fantasy series, I came up with the story lines for A Long, Long Time Ago; Spring Thaw; and this one.  The idea of Goodman, Schwerner, and Cheney being saved, only to be lost again, was a sadly compelling one.

Further, I needed a way to complete the time travel series. The title was perfect.

Plot

As the previous book, Shake Your Body, ends, Rick Daniels has been wiped from existence. The imperfect state of the Master Time File means that he, personally, stays and survives, but no one knows who he is. Rick is almost stateless. Hence it’s as if he is thoroughly cut off from everyone else.  The most painful moment for Rick is when his own mother doesn’t know him, and his sister, Eleanor, screams for Security.

How it all works out, and what happens to Milena Chelenska, and the rest of the gang at the Temporal Integrity Commission, can be learned by reading the book, of course. However, I’ll admit I am not thrilled with the ending for Carmen Calavicci and a few others, like Polly Porter. I essentially just ran out of space.

Music

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I like the overall feel of it, particularly as it disperses the darkness of the series and brings it back to light. In particular, with the incredible longevity of Branch Borodin, it feels like my characters, in a way, will never die. Because I often have troubling letting go of characters, that ‘fact’ made it a lot easier to end this series. Although there are sequels because I can’t keep my hands off stuff!

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Recurrent Themes – Computer Technicians

Recurrent Themes – Computer Technicians

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Sheilagh Bernstein's file photo at the Temporal Integrity Commission | Computer Technicians
Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Sheilagh Bernstein’s file photo at the Temporal Integrity Commission

In time travel in particular, someone will have to be able to deal with computers. They are such a pervasive part of our lives that I cannot imagine sending a time travel contingent to any time past about 1985 or so without giving them the ability to work with computer systems.

Further, Star Trek has always had a somewhat ambivalent relationships with computers and, truly, all forms of technology. The Original Series (TOS) in particular often showcases a dichotomy between over reliance on computers versus good old fashioned human know-how. In The Next Generation (TNG), Data is so human-like that there is a question about whether he should have the same rights as a member of a naturally evolving sentient species would.

Background

Amusingly enough (and highly reflective of the mores of the time), Original Series actors are shown really only using computers for work. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Computer Technicians The same seems to be true for the Next Generation, except when it comes to the use of the fantasy-fulfilling holodeck. Then, it’s no holds-barred.

You need to get to Star Trek: Enterprise (ENT) before you start to see people using computers for leisure pursuits. In the Catwalk episode, a crewman does a crossword puzzle on hers. Jonathan Archer even seems to use his for reading (although Malcolm Reed appears to prefer paper books).

Appearances

Hoshi Sato

As in canon, Hoshi (with the help of T’Pol) is often tasked with not only handling the ship’s database, but also in interpreting aliens’ databases.

Charlotte Reed-Hayes Archer

In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, it is Charlotte, a descendant of Jonathan, Lili, Ebrona, Jay, Malcolm, and others, who sends the first kick-back’s full database to Hoshi. This changes the second kick back in time’s experience rather dramatically, as people already know who they ended up with.  When the second kick back in time meets the prime timeline version, there isn’t enough time to load the entire database, and so the prime timeline is left with only knowing what we learned in canon, and never knowing that there were two involuntary trips back in time.

Sheilagh Bernstein

The specialist in ancient computers is a mid-level Temporal Agent working with Richard Daniels. In Another Piece of the Action, she ends up inadvertently insulting Spock a little, when she refers to his beloved computer system as being primitive.

Upshot

As we move closer to real-life Star Trek types of experiences, I fully believe we will use computers more and more. They will converge, probably, and smart phones and tablets will likely become more or less the same devices. Through it all, someone will need to handle them. I will undoubtedly write about more people just like this.

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Spotlight – Temporal Enhancer cuff/enzyme

Spotlight on Temporal Enhancer cuff/enzyme

The Temporal Enhancer cuff was a weird idea.

Background

I wanted a kind of strange means of controlling time travel.

Spotlight – Temporal Enhancer cuff and enzyme
Temporal Enhancer Cuff

However, the means would be the antithesis of canon.  Therefore, I decided, the best and clearest way to accomplish this feat would be by making almost a biological means of traveling in time. Yes, it is that bizarre.

For a time traveler such as Helen Walker, it is a three-step process. First, she puts on the cuff.  Then a separate controller selects the time and place. Then the subject swallows the enzyme, Trichronium. In this case, the subject is Helen. And then the process of traveling in time begins. The physical transference process is somewhat similar to the canon act of beaming from one place to another. Helen even reports that the enzyme tastes a little bit like cantaloupe.

As for the invention and the process, I am somewhat mixed in my assessment of it. I think it is a decent idea but not necessarily with the greatest of executions. For one thing, the name of the enzyme is far too close to the name I had already created for a nerve toxin, Tricoulamine.

With rather different purposes for both of these chemical compounds, the all too similar names could potentially prove confusing. In addition, the use of numerical prefixes for nearly all originally-created chemical compounds (e. g. bicoulamine and quatromenaline) made for a far too predictable naming convention.

Upshot

As I note above, I believe that the idea was a decent one. It was most assuredly a unique one. However, the execution left far too much to be desired. What could have been a great invention turned out to just be okay. And that is not a good thing!

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Review – Shake Your Body

Review – Shake Your Body

Shake what?

Background

Before 9/11, for a lot of people, their “where were you when you heard?” moment occurred when the Challenger space shuttle exploded.

Barking Up the Must Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Shake Your Body
Shake Your Body

So at the time, I was teaching as a part of getting credit toward my Juris Doctorate. So the incident was rattling not only because of the deaths, but also because of Christa McAuliffe‘s connections to New England and teaching. In addition, she and I were even born on the same day (albeit 14 years apart).

Plot

Review – Shake Your Body
As the Perfectionists, enemies of the Temporal Integrity Commission, work to assure that the Challenger does not explode, the Varg-i-yeh are coming to attack. Hence Helen Walker and her father escape to the Mirror Universe, where Richard Daniels is not allowed to pursue them. Also, on Lafa II, Malcolm Reed and his wife, Lili O’Day Beckett Reed, see a mysterious light in the sky, which turns out to be the Walkers, in a stolen time ship, opening up a passageway to the Mirror Universe.

By the time the book is finished, three members of the Temporal Integrity Commission are dead, and the alien enemy is practically on their doorstep.

Music

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

The story works pretty well although I will be the first to admit I was getting tired of writing this series.

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Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

Helen Walker comes from an older storyline.

Origins

For the HG Wells stories, there had to be a few central villains. And so Helen and Milton Walker were born. He’s her father.

In the older time travel series that I had created, Helen was actually Tom Grant‘s ex, and she was mighty bossy and ruthless there, eventually joining their enemies. Hence Helen remained an enemy but some of the details were changed.

Portrayal

Helen is portrayed by actress Katie Holmes.

Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

I wanted someone who would be pretty but could, behind a lovely smile and a sweet visage, be ruthless.

Personality

Spoiled and amoral, Helen is the face that launched a thousand time ships. But she hardly deserves the attention or the accolades. Instead, she’s tasked with “putting right what once went wrong” in history, as a nod to the television series, Quantum Leap. But Helen doesn’t do it out of altruism or a desire to get home or anything of the sort. Instead, she’s a (fairly) obedient soldier of her father’s. His dream is to save people and to be the one who prevents wars and the like. But he can’t get anything done without destroying other details of history, much like a bull in a china shop. He’s often cleaning up after Helen’s messes, too.

But at least she’s not their assassin. That dubious honor goes to double agent Marisol Castillo.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

There are no real impediments to Helen existing in the Mirror Universe, but deeper future characters have several more chances to not have a perfect duplicate on the other side of the proverbial pond.

I think she’d be more careful and sensitive. I write MU women as often being beholden to, and subservient to, men. In earlier times, that would make a Mirror Universe woman slavelike. But Helen belongs to a time period where it might snag her a better husband instead. She could potentially have a better future than a lot of other MU women.

Quote

“If they like time travel so much, I bet we could work a bit together. They do their conquering – whatever they like, actually. All we need to do is keep a step ahead, and go back, either to make changes for our own purposes or, if necessary, to undo whatever they may damage. And not only will the Temporal Integrity Commission have their hands full, but so will Section 31, and the Federation, and anyone else who might have any issues with all that we are attempting to accomplish.”

Upshot

Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

When I created the character, I had no idea that there really had been a Helen Walker who was an actress.

At the end of the series, Helen is carted off to jail. I’m not sure how to bring her back, except in prequels or flashbacks.

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