Time travel

Portrait of a Character – Kevin O’Connor

Portrait of a Character – Kevin O’Connor

Kevin O’Connor used to be a real person.


When a friend with this exact same name passed away, I wanted to commemorate our friendship in fiction. That was back when I was first writing original time travel fiction and so the character was originally created for that set of stories although the personality was virtually identical to how he ended up in the end  and in my Star Trek fanfiction.


Kevin is played by actor John Goodman. I love this actor’s versatility and his chops.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | John Goodman as Kevin O'Connor (image is for educational purposes only)

John Goodman as Kevin O’Connor (image is for educational purposes only)

Plus I wanted a fellow who would be larger than life in all respects.

Goodman isn’t just a big guy; he also convincingly portrays sensitive men, and jokesters and I can see him in an engineering and inventive type of role.


Portrait of a Character – Kevin O’Connor

Loving and sentimental, but also with a wicked sense of humor, Kevin is the kind of guy who people love to underestimate. He does not look like a scholar. He does not appear to be creative. How could this big galoot ever be romantic?

Yet he is all of those things.

Hence he is, much like the original, the kind of guy who can go on and on about the Abrahamic mythopaedia. While driving a snow plow.

So mostly human, but part-Gorn on his mother’s side, Kevin weighs about a quarter of a metric ton, but is the most likely, of all of the characters I have ever created, to rescue a baby robin that has fallen out of its nest, and nurse it back to health. Kevin, always, is one of the good guys. Furthermore, he is a remote descendant of Melissa and Doug.

Kevin is also the inventor of the dark matter drive for time ships. Carmen trusts him implicitly. Rick is pals with him. He mentors Deirdre Katzman. And he, along with Otra D’Angelo, is one of the few people who can get through to Levi. Therefore, he is Levi’s direct supervisor.


Josie/Jhasi Tantharis

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Ashley Olsen as Josie O'Connor (née Jhasi Tantharis) (image is for educational purposes only)

Ashley Olsen as Josie O’Connor (née Jhasi Tantharis) (image is for educational purposes only)

From the moment Kevin meets Jhasi, that’s it. There is no one else in the universe. And never mind that she’s Aenar, she’s tiny and she’s beautiful. She loves him, too.

Hence in the fullest act of love, Kevin cares for her, even as she becomes sicker and sicker with Piaris Syndrome, which eventually kills her. The worst part is when she fails to recognize him, in the final weeks of her life.

Despairing, he vows he will never love again. And he almost doesn’t.


This Calafan engineer pursues him doggedly. Because she senses that he’s in mourning and he is hurting, but he has essentially written off life.  She reminds him that he’s got a lot of time left. It’s an awfully long time to be alone, and to close himself off from everyone.

Gently and patiently, she works on him. And eventually, he asks her if she would mind if they went to dinner and he talked, a bit, about Josie. Yilta has had her own bereavements, so she is all right with this.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Kevin existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Kevin O’Connor

Mirror Kevin (John Goodman)

What would he be like?

Unlike his prime universe counterpart, I think he could be a ruthless killer, perhaps a bounty hunter or an outlaw of some sort. As someone who is mechanically inclined, he might even be a saboteur.

Would he have met Josie? Hard to say. I tend to keep the same people together in both universes, if that’s at all possible, as that helps to ensure that there can be future generations of counterparts.


“If, um, strictly hypothetically speaking, if we were to, uh, to, um, have a meal somewhere outside of the Commission ….”


I love this character, and he’s been to a lot of places. So he will crop up in more, no doubt.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Portrait, Times of the HG Wells series, 21 comments

Alternate Universes

Alternate Universes are neat.

Hence Boldly Reading asks –

To AU, or not to AU?

To AU or not to AU, that is the question!

Do you like writing alternate universes? Branching your characters off and seeing where a different path goes? Where do you start, and how do you go about it?

New Universes

When I got back to writing, after a hiatus of a few years, I found that the strictures of canon made it hard to get some of my points across. I also had a time travel series that had stalled but was, I thought, salvageable. But I had to make changes to it.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Persistence of Memory | Alternate Universes

The Persistence of Memory

I hit upon the idea of using Daniels as a kind of anchor character, to give people something to hang onto, when reading the stories.

While I had already written some alternate or expanded types of universes, including Gina Nolan‘s world, things came together a lot better and with a lot more detail and finesse when I began to construct the HG Wells universe.

Origins of Alternate Universes

Beyond the old time travel series, things also began with Temper. After some of the initial reintroduction of the arrangement and the five people in it, the action quickly shifted to 3109. Daniels would be witnessing something that could easily and undoubtedly show that time had been changed. I hit upon the idea of making his sister, Eleanor, the docent at a museum. She holds in her hands a sword, Ironblaze, and explains that it belonged to the Empress Hoshi Sato. Eleanor also performs a few more expository tasks and then the sword begins to disintegrate.

Once that story ended, I felt there was unfinished business there with the deep future characters, and so I wanted to do more with them. Since I also wanted to incorporate a goodly amount of the old time travel series into the mix, I needed a bigger supporting cast for Daniels. He already had an engineer, Kevin O’Connor, and a boss, Carmen Calavicci. But he needed some more of a supporting cast. I already had the character of Otra D’Angelo, so she got some play, along with a Quartermaster, Crystal Sherwood, and others.


These days, I get an idea for a story or a series and put it into a file called, not so imaginatively, Writing Ideas. I update it as I think of new things. Sometimes, the idea is a rather small one indeed, such as smart kangaroos. That was the germ of an idea for the Daranaean Emergence series. For the Barnstorming series, the idea was sports in space, but it’s evolving. Hence it also includes the idea of trying to tie together a lot of what’s come before. Therefore successor characters for In Between Days and Emergence come together, and prefigure characters in HG Wells. If I can get Eriecho and Gina Nolan and the Mixing it Up alien hybrids in there, then it’ll be so meta I might as well call it a day.

Let it Sit

Once the first idea is out there, I generally let it sit for a while. Often, I’m working on something else, or life has gotten busy or whatever. In the meantime, usually, my subconscious starts to work on things. I might dream about a series, or something like it. I also tend to think about such things while exercising.

As I go along, I start gathering together what I want to do and what I want to comment on in my story/stories. For a series, I usually don’t confine myself to just plot. Often, there is something I want to say, some sort of philosophy I might wish to impart. Hence I’ll also think about what that is (e. g. for HG Wells, it was about how fate is quickly changed by little changes in time, and that you can’t necessarily trust your memory. For Emergence, it was about a quest for equality. Barnstorming is turning into knowing your heritage and embracing your past, warts and all).


Getting an AU together involves getting organized. I keep a large overall timeline. Currently, it’s on this blog, in two pieces, prehistory to 2099, and 2100 to the end. It will likely be divided into a third and maybe a fourth piece, as the pages are getting rather unwieldy. The virtue of having a timeline is understanding birth and death dates more than anything else. If I know that Lili was born in 2109 and died in 2202, then having her meet Gina Nolan, who is from the 2300s, is impossible unless there’s time travel involved, on either or both ends.

I also create a large Word document, which I refer to as a Wiki but, strictly speaking, isn’t, as I don’t make it available for anyone else to contribute to. These Wikis contain the timeline. And they also contain the names of the characters, both main and bit, and even characters I reference. I even locations. Hence, there are listings (such as in the HG Wells Wiki), like this one –


World War III starts here, in 2026 (Ohio).

I’ve got the name and the information and the reference. There is also an overall Excel spreadsheet of characters, with names, genders, species (for hybrids, I just list them once, usually by their predominant species or whatever isn’t human. Kevin O’Connor has a listing as Gorn even though he’s part-Gorn and part-human). This is also where I list who “plays” a character, as that helps me to better understand people, if I can visualize them.

As one might imagine, a lot of this information ends up in blog entries.


I love creating original, alternate universes. If I could not, I imagine I would not find Star Trek fan fiction writing anywhere near as compelling.

Posted by jespah in Boldly Reading, Fan fiction, Meta, 2 comments

Focus – Temporal Integrity Commission


The Temporal Integrity Commission exists in canon. I love the name of this organization. It makes perfect sense to me.
A focus Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass | Temporal Integrity Commission (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.

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


The Temporal Integrity Commission is a 29th century agency tasked with maintaining proper timelines.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Clockworks | Temporal Integrity Commission


There is no canon evidence that it exists in the following centuries, or that time traveler Daniels belongs to such an agency.

But canon doesn’t give Daniels a first name, either. Canon is maddeningly incomplete in a lot of areas.

So why not here?

As a result, I have decided that Daniels, who I name Richard, works for the Commission.

Canon and Fanfiction Intertwine

The Commission, to me, would have to be a fairly secretive organization. Otherwise, they could very well find themselves with people selfishly trying to use time travel for their own ends. They could be, maybe, seeking to make their ancestors more wealthy, or have them survive wars or plagues in order to, presumably, reproduce more, in order to make a family larger. Or they might go about things in a more sinister fashion, by trying to ensure that the ancestors of their enemies never reproduce.

Therefore, I have decided that their workings would be pretty secret, including the location of headquarters. Rather than put them on a planet, they’re on a ship. In order to not give things away too much, the ship’s name is wholly unrelated to time travel. It’s called the USS Adrenaline.

The Deep Future

Given the fact that this is the very deep future, I don’t expect people to behave precisely the way that we do now (after all, we engage in behaviors that are absolutely alien to people from a millennium ago). This is how it should be. Dress, language, religion (if any) and education will all be radically different, just to mention a few dissimilarities. And lest we think we are so modern, consider this – less than ten years ago, there was no need to refer to home telephones as ‘land lines’. Phones were phones, and you rarely carried them around.

Furthermore, behavior might seem odd to us. After all, we currently live in a far less formal society than we did even five years ago. Hence the TIC in my fanfiction has become a rather informal place. No one is called by their title unless they are being introduced. Admiral Calavicci, who is in charge of the Human Unit, often calls her employees children (out of affection and not malice). And people are dressed in all sorts of ways, rarely wearing uniforms unless they are expected to stay in. However, that last part is to be expected, as travelers would need to be suited up for the specific time periods they were visiting.

Temporal Integrity Commission Occurrences

The Commission and its dealings are, of course, at the center of the doings in the Times of the HG Wells series, but the reader’s first glimpse of my vision of the TIC is in Temper.


At some point, Star Trek might broadcast a series covering pretty much only time travel. The trick is to make it different from the myriad of other series on the same subject. It is a compelling subject, to be able to either get a sneak peek ahead at the future, or fix the past. I don’t delude myself into thinking that such a series would be a lot like I handle the Commission, but I like to think I’m on the right track with my thinking.

Posted by jespah in Focus, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Interphases series, Times of the HG Wells series, 7 comments

Recurrent Themes – Intentional Time Travelers

Recurrent Themes – Intentional Time Travelers

Intentional time travelers inform a lot of my fan fiction.


Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Intentional Time Travelers

Of course, time travel is canon in Star Trek. And by the time of Daniels, it’s not only semi-routine, it’s even got a department devoted to it. This is first called the Department of Temporal Investigations, but it settles into, eventually, the Temporal Integrity Commission, which is what I call it for my 31st and 32nd century characters.

With the Times of the HG Wells series of eight stories, plus a few extras thrown in, I’ve got thousands of words written about time travel, both voluntary and involuntary.

But this post will just be about people who travel in time because they want to, and they mean to, rather than are pulled there unwittingly, or against their will.


While there are other time travelers in this series of stories, these are the main ones seen.

HD (Henry Desmond) Avery

A music and arts specialist is particularly helpful during various side missions that have to do with music, but he’s being separated from the other time travelers in order to keep him from talking about what he’s seen during A Long, Long Time Ago.

Daniel Beauchaine

The turncoat traveler is a survivalist and is most helpful during the events depicted in Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain.

Sheilagh Bernstein

The computers specialist works best during Shake Your Body. Her romance is shown in Happy Stuff 3111.

Branch Borodin

This colony being from the Triangulum Galaxy is mainly seen during He Stays a Stranger.

Carmen Calavicci

The admiral is in charge of the human unit and works hard to protect her own. During First Born, she goes to bat for Daniels so that his temporally paradoxical son, Jun Daniels Sato, can live.

Marisol Castillo

This psychopath traveler shows her true colors during You Mixed-Up Siciliano.

Levi Cavendish

Levi, a junior engineer, is the inventor of the older time travel technology. Also, he has multiple issues with ADHD and higher functioning autism.

Milena Chelenska

This refugee from 1969 is first seen in Spring Thaw.

Otra D’Angelo

Most noteworthy, this half-Witannen agent can see temporal alternatives. Her childhood is briefly shown in Desperation.

Richard Daniels

The only canon character in the group, this melancholy agent beds women in time. He does this in order to assuage his grief, tamp down his guilt and mask his loneliness. In November 13th, he meets Lucretia Crossman. Then in Marvels, he meets Irene of Castile. In Souvenirs, he remembers them, and others, and Milena Chelenska.

Also, in Temper, and in Fortune, it’s established that he is at least a descendant of Lili and Malcolm, but he’s apparently also at least a descendant of Chip and Deb, as his mother’s maiden name is Masterson.

Thomas Grant

This weapons and combat specialist romances Eleanor Daniels.

Deirdre Katzman

This junior engineer names all of the time ships after old time travel fiction.

Kevin O’Connor

During Ohio, this Chief Engineer leads a training mission to the start of World War III. He courts his wife during The Honky Tonk Angel, and cares for her when she is deathly ill, in Candy.

Anthony Parker

This henchman for the enemy is killed at the end of Ohio.

Polly Porter

During The Point is Probably Moot, this psychology specialist is hit on by Saddam Hussein.

Crystal Sherwood

The Quartermaster rarely travels – although I always seem to bring Crystal along for round robin stories.

Alice Trent

This manners and protocols specialist is only hired during an alternate timeline in The Point is Probably Moot.

Helen Walker

This enemy agent’s death is faked during A Long, Long Time Ago.

Boris Yarin

The department’s doctor rarely travels, mainly because he’s a hybrid of human, Klingon and Xindi sloth. Boris is also having an affair with Marisol.


This engineer for the Calafan unit is romanced by Kevin O’Connor after his wife’s death.


Time travel, to my mind, can sometimes require rather specialized knowledge, beyond even engineering and the use of weapons. A balanced, diverse and admittedly quirky team has done the job here, and they have done it with flair. Intentional time travelers will be back.

Posted by jespah in Themes, Times of the HG Wells series, 6 comments

Review – First Born


First Born has an irresistible background, I feel.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | First Born

First Born (Jun Daniels Sato)

In response to prompts about disciplining and decisions, I wrote First Born, a story about Richard Daniels, the Empress Hoshi Sato and their son, Jun Daniels Sato.

The story works as a bridge between In Between Days and Times of the HG Wells. Other such bridges include November 13th and More, More, More!

First Born Plot

In Reversal, I established that the Empress had given birth to Daniels’s child, but she thought him (the elder Daniels) to be dead. But Daniels isn’t dead.

Therefore, there had to be another side to the story.

This story explores the fallout at the Temporal Integrity Commission, and in time itself. Eleanor Daniels, Rick’s sister, is a docent at the Temporal Museum on Lafa II. She begins by lecturing about Empress Hoshi’s five children, but suddenly she shakes very, very slightly and ends her sentence talking about Hoshi’s six children.

Uh, oh.


Variant logo based on the Terran Empire symbol...

Rick is hauled into his boss, Carmen Calavicci‘s, office. She is, understandably, livid. Carmen has been looking the other way for a while as he’s been bedding women in time. She has been figuring that it’s a way for him to cope with the fact that there are often deaths, or he has to restore deaths. So she has been kind or, at least, indifferent. But this is something else entirely, as the Mirror government is breathing down her neck. They demand that Jun Sato‘s existence be wiped out, thereby restoring Aidan MacKenzie‘s son, Kira, to his rightful position as first born heir.

Rick and Carmen meet with a Mirror government representative and begin to sort everything out. Rick wants Jun to live, but how much of a pound of flesh with the other side of the pond extract in order to make that happen?

Story Postings


The story is rated K+.


I like the interplay among Carmen, Rick, and the Mirror representative (Ray Jiminez), as they essentially wheel and deal the past. It makes you wonder if that might eventually really happen.

Posted by jespah in Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Review, Times of the HG Wells series, 16 comments

Review – Temper

Review – Temper


I originally wrote Temper for two reasons.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Temper


One, I wanted to introduce a way into a vague idea I had for a Star Trek fan fiction time travel series. And two, I wanted to not only continue the story of Doug, Lili, Malcolm, Melissa and Leonora, but I wanted the kids to be older without aging Lili and Doug quite so much. After all, Doug is fifty-five when he meets Lili. Therefore, he would be in his sixties for any stories where the children could really interact and be an integral part of the plot. But a time travel story could rather neatly fix all of that.

Beyond that, I also wanted a way to continue the saga of the Empress Hoshi Sato and her son, Jun, the son of time traveler Richard Daniels. Furthermore, I wanted more kids in the royal family. For the Empress, it would be a Machiavellian move – she would have several children of different fathers, thereby diversifying genetically and, perhaps, given the tenderhearted paternal feelings that go along with the Y Chromosome Skew, she would get the male members of her senior staff to keep her alive, at least until her children reached the age of majority. And in Temper, they are just about all there.


The story begins with a snapshot into how the arrangement among Malcolm, Lili, Doug, Melissa and Leonora really works. Doug and Melissa are out hunting linfep, and then perrazin, with phase bows. Malcolm and Lili are going on vacation to Fep City. And the children are either with Leonora or are being cared for by Yimar. The occasion is that Melissa wants to have another baby.

But then Malcolm must return to the Enterprise, and Lili comes home early. Time Traveler Richard Daniels arrives and tells her that he needs Doug for something. She’s not so sure she believes him, and is a bit peeved that he’s landed his ship, the brand-new HG Wells, right on top of her day lilies. In order to fix this, he adds a drop of his blood to the soil but does not tell her that it’s spiked with stem cell growth accelerator.

Rick Steps In

When Doug and Melissa get in, and Malcolm is reached via communicator and Leonora arrives separately, Rick tells them why he needs Doug – the Empress is experimenting with what’s called a pulse shot. She’s looking to get over to our side of the pond, because she thinks that she can get more ships like the ISS Defiant.

But her few attempts are clumsy, and they wreak havoc with time itself, causing breaks in 2166 and 2161, including people from our universe crossing over to the Mirror and being trapped there (this includes the three eldest children, Joss, Marie Patrice and Tommy). Rick’s best information is on 2166, so he needs that part repaired first. Doug is the logical choice because, being from the Mirror originally, he sports a radiation band that matches that universe. Lili is chosen to accompany him because she’s considered non-threatening and, with false calloo tattoos on her arms and legs, she can pass for a Calafan. Rick explains that he cannot go as the Mirror government of his time period forbids it. This is due to the debacle about the siring of his son, Jun, which is explained in First Born.

Once Doug and Lili cross over, they find a totalitarian regime and just what’s going on with their children.


Temper is less musically-driven than Together, but that makes sense as it is more of an adventure tale than a love story. However, there are still individual themes.

Story Postings


The story is rated M.


I like, for the most part, how the story turned out, but it is deeper into my universe. Therefore, it can be a confusing read for someone who is not fully familiar with works that cover the earlier time periods. I do make an effort to create stand-alone stories, but I believe that the effect was somewhat mixed here. Temper is usually on the lower end of read counts for the first five big books (Reversal, Intolerance, Together, and Fortune are the other four), along with Intolerance, but in the case of Intolerance, it’s because it’s a shorter book. I suspect that Temper is a bit harder to get into. A pity, as it’s the lead-in for the HG Wells stories.

Posted by jespah in Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Review, Times of the HG Wells series, 100 comments

Review – A Long, Long Time Ago

A Long, Long Time Ago


A Long, Long Time Ago always had a great expectations quality to it. Since I enjoyed working on and fleshing out Richard Daniels, one of many canon Star Trek: Enterprise characters who didn’t even have a first name, I decided to give him some depth. I first brought him into my fanfiction in Temper, and I liked him so much that I decided he should really have his own series. Hence I named that series Times of the HG Wells, after his new time ship.

Origins and Originality

Richard Daniels

Canon Star Trek character Richard Daniels

And at the same time, though, I already had a time travel series in draft form. However, that set of stories actually revolved around a few disparate pieces.

Yet the thrust of it was that time travel had just started, and it was messy and it had, perhaps, destroyed the universe (it was all original although I admit some difficulty in staying away from technology and other items a little too close to Trek to be coincidental). All except for a small isolated place that was outside of time. In that set of stories, time travelers were grabbed from history itself, depending on not only their skill sets but also whether they could be plucked from wherever they were without destroying the timeline (the idea of plucking people out of thin air and just dropping them somewhere shows up in The Puzzle). These stories all had interwoven lyrics from songs about time (the first one was the Rolling StonesTime is on My Side).

Mining the Older Stories

The older set of stories contained some characters who end up in the HG Wells series. And the time travelers include hipster HD Avery (originally grabbed from 1966), and Sheilagh Bernstein (initially plucked from the present time; when I was writing those older stories, that was the late 1990s). I also included Marisol Castillo (she came from Moorish Spain and did not have a surname, so I added Castillo as she was from Castile) and Gregory Shaw (only mentioned briefly in the HG Wells series; he came from the 1840s).

Furthermore, I added Thomas Grant (originally a Confederate soldier from the Battle of Shiloh) and Polly Porter (originally from our future). And finally, I added Alice Trent (only a few small mentions in the HG Wells series; from the 1700s) and Daniel Beauchaine (a soldier in the French and Indian War).

Background Personnel

Background people also came from the older series, including Kevin O’Connor (the Chief Engineer; in the original set of stories he was not part-alien but he did have a deceased wife, Josie, just as that character does in the HG Wells series) and Otra (the alien who could see temporal alternatives). I also added Crystal Sherwood (the Quartermaster was originally a historian) and Levi Cavendish (in the older set of stories, he was the project lead and dating Otra. In the HG Wells series, he became a brilliant but difficult engineer with ADHD and a bunch of other neurological issues).

Milena Chelenska was always a doctor; in the first series, she was also a time traveler. In the HG Wells series, she’s Richard’s love interest. However, in both instances, she’s a concentration camp survivor, from the year 1968. Helen Walker also existed, but she was Tom’s ex; it wasn’t until the HG Wells series that she became something else.

Other Characters

In addition, some people from that older series never made it to the HG Wells series but who ended up elsewhere in my fan fiction – Lakeisha Warren (she was a person who worked on plucking people from history; she actually shows up in the Wesley Crusher story, Imprecision as his love interest). Plus Leonora Digiorno (first called Leonora with no last name, originally a plague survivor plucked from the Dark Ages and given the surname of Wilson to honor her late Uncle William).

Older Storylines

Furthermore, I had ideas for various stories which then became books or parts of books. The concept of a failed Italian vacation in 1960, and the shooting at Kent State in 1970, already existed in draft form. And the mission to ensure Prague Spring’s end in 1968 also existed, as did a very, very rough idea of a mission to ensure the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986.

Because so much of the bones of the series already existed, I could easily chart out the main story arcs for the series. However, I had to get it going, and I already had this story in draft form, tentatively titling it The Day the Music Lived.

And so A Long, Long Time Ago was born.


The story opens with Richard and his girlfriend, Tina April (who he meets in Temper). Things are starting to go sour and the bloom is off the rose. Rick is too secretive, and Tina wants him to get closer to her. But he just can’t tell her too much. Making matters worse for her is the fact that he is so inured to pain that he is virtually incapable of loving her or anyone else. And he likes it that way.

He gets a call to head to the Temporal Integrity Commission, which is conducting group interviews for some new positions. Rick is not a part of the interviewing. Rather, he gets the call because there’s been a hiccup in time, and he must go fix it. And, as the job candidates are sent home, one of their shuttles crashes, and there’s a fatality. And we’re off to the races.

Historical Figures

Real people exist within in the story. Of course, the three doomed musicians loom large. I wrote all of the dialog, plus JP the horndog represents my own interpretation. The other real people include Waylon Jennings, who played guitar on the tour, and Bob Hale, a local disc jockey who reportedly drove the three musicians to the small airfield in Clear Lake. Of course there’s no evidence of anyone going along on the ride – that part’s all me. Everyone comes across pretty well, except for JP being a bit of a lecher.


Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | A Long, Long Time Ago

A Long, Long Time Ago

In order to start the series off with a bang, I needed to set the scene. The idea of using music is not a new one (I did it with Crackerjack, for starters). And the music evoked not only the time and place but also a lot about the people involved. The first mission is about music; it’s to February third of 1959, known as the day the music died. E. g. it’s the date that the plane carrying the Big Bopper (JP Richardson), Ritchie Valens (Ricky Ricardo Valenzuela) and Buddy Holly (Charles Holley) crashed in a field in Clear Lake, Iowa.

  • Don McLean’s American Pie – the song not only fits the scenario perfectly, it also helps to kick off the series. From its first words (which are the title of this story and also evoke the significant differential in time between the event and Richard’s life in the deep future) to its lyrics about the sixties and its turmoil, there was no other way to start this series.

    Review – A Long, Long Time Ago

    Buddy Holly

  • Frankie Ford’s Sea Cruise – I liked the song not only for the time period but also because it would be a very real concern for artists. The song (for real) was originally a recording by Huey “Piano” Smith.


However, Ford dubbed it over, as he had a more energetic vocal. Plus he was white. Valens learns, during the story, to be sure to get credit and to watch the moneymen, to assure that he doesn’t lose his rights.

The Music of the Dead

  • Ritchie Valens’ Donna – Whenever I spin out these stories, I also place a link to an era-appropriate song. And all three of the performers have multiple songs listed (e. g. Holly’s Rave On!  and the Bopper’s Big Bopper’s Wedding also made the cut), but only Valens has his lyrics interwoven with the story line.
Review – A Long, Long Time Ago

Ritchie Valens

  • Patsy Cline’s Walkin’ After Midnight – This song is not only date-appropriate but it can also impart a country air. Furthermore, it is the kind of music that Waylon Jennings might want to play and sing along with. Cline was better known for Crazy, but I love this one. Plus it’s got a good guitar accompaniment.
  • Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife – This song a little less poppy and a little more mature-sounding. Mack the Knife seems a pretty odd song anyway, and it speaks of death – the same pall that hangs over the story.
    Review – A Long, Long Time Ago

    The Big Bopper

    Furthermore, the tastes of the time varied. So you could conceivably hear all of these songs (except for McLean’s) played on AM Radio during the same hour.

  • The Skyliners’ Since I Don’t Have You – for the ending, I wanted a bittersweet love song. This would represent the kind of song that people play when they’re lonely.

Story Postings


The story is rated K+.


So for a series opener in particular, I think the story works well. And I like how it kicks things off. Because this series differs from In Between Days, not everything can be mined for more stories like that one. Still, the beginning feels auspicious to me.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Review, Times of the HG Wells series, 24 comments

Portrait of a Character – Richard Daniels

Portrait of a Character – Richard Daniels

Richard Daniels has more from me than he ever got in canon.


Richard DanielsThis character is, of course, Star Trek: Enterprise canon, but he does not have a given name in canon, or even a first initial. Nothing is known of his inner life or personality. In the series, he’s just a time traveler and does not seem to have emotional reactions to much of what happens, except when his own time period is threatened.


As in canon, Richard Daniels is played by actor Matt Winston.


Portrait of a Character – Richard Daniels

Richard Daniels (Matt Winston)

Smarter than anyone else in the room, Rick is a natural for time travel. But he’s also a bit bored, and is jaded by constantly putting things back. This includes allowing people to die who seem to be innocents. In order to comfort himself, and to keep himself occupied, he begins bedding women in time.

All goes along fine until one of the women ends up pregnant. This would not matter so much to history (although it matters to Richard), except that the pregnant woman is the Empress Hoshi Sato.

He has a good relationship with his sister, Eleanor. For a long time, she is the only person he confides in.

Rick’s Conquests

Rick is a womanizer at the start of A Long, Long Time Ago. Here are his known conquests, in the order of the conquests (his perspective in time):

His Time Her Name Her Time
3101 Lucretia Crossman 1699
After 3101 Betty Tyler 1929
After 3101 Phillipa Green March, 2763
After 3101 Empress Hoshi Sato (mirror) January 30, 2156
After 3101 Dana MacKenzie 2380
After 3101 Irene of Castile 1417
May 5, 3104 Carmen Calavicci May 5, 3104
March 27 – August 25, 3109 Tina April March 27, 3109 – August 25, 3109
September 7, 3109 Annette (Windy) Bradley May 3 – 4, 1970
3109 – 3110 Sheilagh Bernstein September, 3109 – March 3110
March 3110 Milena Chelenska July – August, 1968


Tina April

Unlike his temporal conquests, Tina is a real-live girlfriend for Richard. They check each other out in A Lesson. Then Eleanor introduces them at the start of Temper. But at the end of A Long, Long Time Ago, he ends it, although he contacts her a few times, during both Ohio and The Point is Probably Moot.

Milena Chelenska

They meet during the events of Spring Thaw. They enjoy each other’s company and are intellectual equals. They’re also both suffering from some melancholy. Hers is more significant than his, as she is a Holocaust survivor. Perhaps in part because he isn’t supposed to have her, Richard finds himself falling for her. It isn’t until He Stays a Stranger that he does anything about it.


Richard Daniels goes on several missions for the Temporal Integrity Commission. He isn’t just fooling around. Here the only missions of his I know about (so far) –

His Time Mission Locale Mission Time
3096 NX-01 2152
After 3096 NX-01 July 10, 2154
After 3096 Boston January 1, 2000
Between 3096 & 3101 American Colonies 1757
Between 3096 & 3101 Pompeii AD 79
Between 3096 & 3101 Rome 44 BC
Between 3096 & 3101 Rome 450 BC
3101 Pennsylvania 1699
After 3101 New Jersey/New York 1929
After 3101 Unknown, somewhere on Earth March, 2763
After 3101 ISS Defiant January 30, 2156
After 3101 USS Enterprise-E 2380
3104 Mirror Universe, Dawitan November 3, 2012
March 27, 3109 Lafa II 2161/2166/2178
August, 3109 Clear Lake, Iowa 1959
September 7, 3109 Kent State, Ohio May 3 – 4, 1970
3109 Rome, Pompeii and Naples May, 1960
3109 Prague July – August, 1968
3109 Oklahoma City April, 1995
3109 Egypt October, 1981
3109 Florida January, 1986
3110 Mirror Universe/Earth orbit and Rura Penthe/Prague May 20 – 25, 2192/June 21, 1964/July 19 – 20,1969

Personal Reactions

As I explain in the HG Wells series, a lot of temporal alterations are minor (otric), and don’t affect the overall timeline. In the E2 stories, Archer and others open Richard’s cabin more than once, as the displaced NX-01 attempts to reach him so that they can get back to their correct time period. While it’s difficult for him, Rick ends up having to ignore them. This is because the Enterprise, in two separate iterations, is meant to be in the 2030s and beyond.

Theme Music

In Temper, his music is The Records’ Your Starry Eyes. But in the HG Wells stories, his themes are Andrew Gold’s Lonely Boy and then, finally, Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers, which was the original inspirational music for the series itself.

Mirror Universe

So Rick does not have a Mirror Universe counterpart, and explains the reason for that to Sheilagh Bernstein during Ohio. In First Born, because Rick has fathered a temporally incompatible child, he and his boss, Carmen Calavicci, have to negotiate in order to allow Rick’s son, Jun, to live. One of the conditions of allowing Jun’s survival is that Rick can’t return to the Mirror Universe during the Empress’s lifetime. However, he can go to the Mirror during other time periods and, when he does, in a kind of salute to her, he calls himself Ritchie as she called him that (the nickname is a reference to Ritchie Valens, and A Long, Long Time Ago). An earlier Mirror Universe mission is a part of Pat the Bunny.


“I’m sorry, but no, though I have never forgotten you, either of you. And I love my, my child, but I know that I have never been a father to you. I wish I had been.”


For a guy who doesn’t even have a first name in canon, I think I’ve given Richard Daniels a pretty wild life. Hopefully, readers find him as fascinating as I have.

Posted by jespah in In Between Days series, Portrait, Times of the HG Wells series, 74 comments