Tag Archives: Trekkie

Review – We Meet Again

Review – We Meet Again

We Meet Again Background

So We Meet Again – Just after the NX-01 is decommissioned in 2162, Travis heads to Philadelphia to mourn Tripp Tucker and think about his next career move.

Plot

In canon, there is virtually nothing shown about anyone’s recovery from Tucker’s untimely demise.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | We Meet Again
In Between Days

It is as if it never mattered in the first place.

In response to a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about entertainment, I made the decision to go dark and most decidedly not fluffy.

The story begins with Travis feeling a little lost. Very briefly, I mention that the final movie night has been held on the NX-01 prior to its decommissioning, and that the film Chip chose was the first James Bond movie, Dr. No.

He has little to do or think about, and his family is on the freighter, anyway. With no one to visit and just a little bit doubtful as to whether Captain Archer wants him back for the DC-1500 USS Zefram Cochrane, Travis goes to a nearby station and visits a ticket agent. He gives her an undisclosed amount of cash and just asks, “Where can this take me?” She gives him a few options and he chooses Philadelphia.

Review – We Meet Again
8th and Market Street, showing the Strawbridge and Clothier department store, 1910s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did not choose Philly for any particular reason. I just like the city (I lived outside it for a few years as a child) and it is a readily recognizable place which would still exist during that time period.

However, Travis has no ties to it whatsoever. For him, it’s just a means of getting away from it all.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I could probably have spent more time on this short story, particularly with what Travis does in the City of Brotherly Love.

Review – We Meet Again
Cover of Dr. No (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition)

Otherwise, the experience feels somewhat rushed. But when he returns to Starfleet, the phrase, of course, is: We Meet Again, Mister Bond.

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Review – Movie Night

Review – Movie Night

Movie Night, of course, is canon. In November of 2159, Malcolm takes Melissa to Movie Night.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | IBD Arrangement | Movie Night
In Between Days, the Arrangement

Background

In response to a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about fraternizing, I decided to go with a date that would not really be a date at all. Instead, it is a bit of a cover. Melissa is pregnant with Tommy, but has not yet been ordered off the Enterprise. But that time is drawing nearer. Melissa’s plan is to go home to Ceres and Norri and await Tommy’s birth there.

Plot

Review – Movie Night
Robert Strauss (Animal/Stanislaus Kuzawa) in Stalag 17

The story opens with Malcolm carefully getting ready for the evening. But he then smacks his own forehead – he’s forgotten the flowers.

So he visits Shelby Pike in Botany and she makes him a colorful bouquet with the understanding that the flowers and the ribbon can be any color except for blue. Hence it should be obvious to sharp-eyed readers that this is a reference to Lili. I also spell out that the date is not with his true beloved.

While in the lift with Tripp, Tucker asks if he and Melissa are getting serious. Therefore, Malcolm confides that it is all for show, and he is taking care of her as a friend (and as a part of the Doug/Lili open marriage arrangement), but he does not have romantic feelings for Melissa.

However, he arrives to find the door to her quarters locked, but he can hear Melissa retching. He uses (rather, he oversteps, really) his authority and bypasses the lock. He holds back the flowers, unsure if they will set her off again. Then he also scolds her, and then realizes that that is not his place. Not his child, not his girl. A bit tentative, she insists on going out, and the story ends with them going to see Stalag 17 together.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I liked the little touches in this one, as Malcolm seems like he is suiting up for a date, to Melissa’s complaining about being sick all the time, to the colors in the bouquet and then the film, which is also referenced in Day of the Dead.

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Recurrent Themes – Jane Eyre

Recurrent Themes – Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre figures in a lot of my work.

Background

When I first began writing again, I had fairly recently read Jane Eyre in its entirety for the first time. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Jane Eyre This triggered the addition of that story, at times, into my Star Trek fan fiction. Lili O’Day and Reversal, in particular, are in some ways a space version of at least parts of that story.

The idea of bringing together two people who are from rather different walks of life or at least professions, and giving them a future (but not giving them an immediate happy ending) was a challenge. For the heroine to not be a great beauty, but to still be independent and insist upon a relationship on her own terms was irresistible. These threads can be seen in any number of places in my work.

Appearances

Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions

In Paving Stones, a young Doug is taken away from his parents and sent to a rough, unpleasant boarding school by a Mr. Brocklehurst.

Reversal

Recurrent Themes – Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre (2006 miniseries) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Lili and Doug first get together, her situation is quite a bit like Jane’s. She’s a low-level crew member and is isolated, and is not very attractive.

As the quietly serving one who cleans up, Lili is supposed to be the sort of below decks person who fades into the background. And she often does. For the ship to send a search party out for her, and to nearly have an interstellar incident with the Calafans when she is abducted, is a big, big deal. This is a person who most of them underestimated, who turns out to be rather important indeed.

Fortune

At Norri‘s deathbed, she gives away her paper books, including Jane Eyre, which is given to Marie Patrice, because Empy is the “strong, independent heroine of her own life.”

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

When clearing out Malcolm‘s quarters, Lili comes across the book and takes it, vowing to read it.

Flight of the Bluebird

Seppa reveals that Lili and Malcolm sent books to the young Daranaean girls, including this one.

Wider Than the Sargasso Sea

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel |  Toby Stephens in Jane Eyre
Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Toby Stephens in Jane Eyre

Several years after the Breen attack, Gabrielle Nolan stars in this play, with Desh, a Breen, playing opposite her as Mr. Rochester.

But can Gabby act opposite a boy whose father fought in a devastating war, as her enemy? And what about the townspeople? The Breen are kept in a separate section, which Gabby’s mother, Gina, dismisses as a ghetto. Is this any way to normalize relations?

Advice From My Universes to Yours

When providing advice to Aurellan Markalis, Lili suggests reading a classic love story like Jane Eyre. Jay comments that he doesn’t read such things.

Upshot

I really loved weaving this story line into my own fiction, with little shout outs that are almost like literary Easter Eggs. Jane Eyre will return.

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Inspiration – Childhood

Inspiration – Childhood

The mechanics of creation

Star Trek canon and Star Trek fan fiction are of two minds, it seems, when it comes to childhood.

Inspiration – Childhood
Star Trek film premiere at the Sydney Opera House. From left to right: Karl Urban (Leonard McCoy), Chris Pine (James T. Kirk), Bryan Burk (Executive Producer), Zachary Quinto (Spock), J.J. Abrams (Producer, Director), Eric Bana (Nero), and John Cho (Sulu). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Either it is Shakespearean-level difficult, like in the JJ Abrams films, where the alternate timeline version of James T. Kirk is mistreated by his stepfather; or the child is some sort of super genius, like Wesley Crusher. There does not appear to be a place for anyone who is in between.

And that is a crying shame, as nearly everyone has a childhood that is somewhere in the middle.

My own childhood was in the middle. I was not mistreated and, while I am an intelligent person and was as a child, I was not so incredibly off the charts that I would have been considered a Mozart-style prodigy.

As the younger of two, I am more than familiar with sibling rivalry, and so I made Marie Patrice Beckett a big time proponent of it. Empy is not the youngest in the clan, but she is the only daughter and so she is a little spoiled. Hence her younger behaviors continue a bit into adulthood.

Teenaged behaviors such as getting into mild trouble and then getting out of it are reflected in Lili O’Day‘s teen years, mainly showcased in Flip. Lili is given a chance to turn her life around and she leaps at it. But, at the same time, she is overly annoyed at her hovering grandparents and their reminders, which feel like nagging to her.

Doug‘s childhood is somewhat different, but that is the essence of the Mirror Universe. In Paving Stones, Doug’s early life is rather Dickensian, but that is in keeping with my vision of the other side of the pond. Doug’s life also somewhat parallels what life was like for the young in ancient Sparta.

Upshot

Childhood is a part of everyone’s life. For those of us lucky enough to live far beyond its end, it can often serve as a prelude to our own personal futures. But Star Trek canon rarely seems to show anything other than extremes. It has been my mission to show what’s in the middle.

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Recurrent Themes – The Art of War

Recurrent Themes – The Art of War

War books have a place in my work. The Sun-Tzu work seems to be everywhere.

Background

As a bit of background for Jay Hayes and Empress Hoshi, Sun-Tzu’s classic text proved to be the perfect manual for Star Trek fan fiction (not to be confused with Keith R. A. DeCandido‘s great book, The Klingon Art of War).

Appearances

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | The Art of War

This book has been everywhere, or at least it sure seems that way. I particularly like it as warrior shorthand, that the people who are reading it are looking to go into battle. But the battle might just be The Battle of the Sexes.

Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses

This story is loaded with quotations from two separate books, this one and The Prince by Machiavelli. Empress Hoshi’s moves are calculated, everything from killing off Ian and Phlox, to overpowering T’Pol while at her weakest, to turning the loyalties of Emperor Phillip‘s men, including Andrew, José, and Brian. The book is presented as more or less a user’s manual for overthrowing a regime and installing one’s own brand of tyranny.

Advice from My Universes to Yours

In Advice, the book is mentioned briefly in passing when trying to convince a socially awkward person that perhaps they could read romantic fiction in order to understand people better. The book is mentioned and, of course, rejected immediately.

The Three of Us

In The Three of Us, Jay is shown reading and rereading this book, and he’s even reading it when Lili visits him in his quarters for the first time.

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Jay provides two bequests. The lucky nickel goes to Lili, while this book goes to Malcolm.

In Memory of Kelsey Haber

During In Memory of Kelsey Haber, Malcolm refers to this book, and tells Hoshi that it was a bequest from Jay. Malcolm further notes that he had vowed, at that time, to get to know the people under his command, but he fell down on the job with Kelsey and never did.

Upshot

This little book gets around as much as Jane Eyre! It’ll be back.

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Review – Reflections Down a Corridor

Review – Reflections Down a Corridor

Reflections Down a Corridor kicks off a series which I feel is one of my best.

Background

I had wanted to explore the E2 timeline for quite some time.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Reflections Down a Corridor
Reflections Down a Corridor

The first of four Star Trek fan fiction books covering that era was this one. The title refers to not only the subspace corridor where the Enterprise was hit by a Kovaalan particle wake (and thereby thrown back in time over a century); it also refers to personal reflections.

Personal reflections include the mirrors that we hold up to ourselves (this is, for once, not a reference to the Mirror Universe), the relationship a person has with himself or herself, and reflection in the pure sense of thought. As the NX-01 can no longer perform too many exploratory duties, it’s too early to be defensive and go after the Xindi, and going to Earth is out of the question, exploration begins to come from within.

Plot

For the crew of the USS Enterprise, the stars are all in the wrong places. The story opens with beginning to understand just what happened. This includes learning just what the date really is, as they can’t just up and ask the Vulcans. Immediately, Captain Archer figures out that there are going to be some uncomfortable restrictions on movement and communications. He enlists the help of not only the regular senior staff (e. g. the other canon characters), but also begins to lean on some heads of the smaller departments, such as Chef Slocum in Food Service, and Shelby Pike in Botany.

Navigating his own depression, and the crew’s, while honorably stepping back as the women begin pairing up with others, Archer in particular is affected. But others’ feelings begin to surface. Ethan Shapiro, Andrew Miller, and Josh Rosen begin cautiously circling the only female Jewish crew member, Karin Bernstein. Maryam Haroun asks Phlox‘s help in deciding between the two Muslim male crew members, Azar Hamidi and Ramih Azar. Lili O’Day does her best to keep it together, but also believes rumors about Jay Hayes and Malcolm Reed.

And then there are Daniel Chang and Sandra Sloane ….

Music

The Belle Stars – Iko Iko

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

These four books really were a labor of love, and they were great fun to write. This one, I feel, aptly kicks it all off.

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Progress Report – September 2014

Progress Report – September 2014

September 2014 was a time of preparations.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | September 2014 I began the month in Star Trek fan fiction by adding to The Three of Us on Fanfiction.net and The Social Media Guide on Wattpad.

On the G & T Show forums, I finished the Daranaean Emergence series by posting Confidence. I then started posting the Eriecho series, with Release, Beats, The Mundane World, A Gathering, Double Helix and began to spin out Recessive.

On Wattpad, I continued adding the the Before Days series with Waiting;  If You Can’t Stand the Heat; More, More, More!, and Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses

Progress Report – September 2014
Postmodern Jukebox

Because I’m a silly fan girl, I also got permission from Scott Bradlee and started to post the first-ever (far as anyone can tell) popfic about singing group Postmodern Jukebox! It’s called The Canadian Caper.

On Ad Astra, I responded to the “on my word” challenge with Promise, a TravisJulie story. In response to a prompt about school, I added a short Inta-centric story, Education.

I added Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before to the Delphic Expanse after some minor tweaking by the beta reader.

Milestones

On combined URLs, over 100 stories have 1,000 or more reads, and over 25 stories have 5,000 or more reads. 15 stories have over 9,750 reads on combined URLs. Twelve individual story URLs have over 10,000 reads. Over 30 have over 50 reviews on combined URLs.  Six have over 100 reads (half of those are on individual URLs). See the Stats page for individual read and review counts for Star Trek fan fiction and other works.

The Fanfic profile on Wattpad added three of my stories to their Star Trek reading list: The New Captain’s Woman (a combination of That’s Not My Name and It Had to be You), Biases, and Before Days (the prequels in the In Between Days series).

WIP Corner

I continued to work on The Polymer Beat, the second book in the wholly original Obolonk series.

Prep Work

Also, I added a little to the Star Trek fan fiction wiki but didn’t really have time to go in depth.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Class at Quinnipiac (I’m going to start taking 2 classes at a time next semester), and managing The G & T Show’s many social media accounts took up a great deal of my time. The show was also in the midst of a GoFundMe fundraiser.

Progress Report – September 2014

Plus we went on a short vacation to Cape Cod in the middle of the month.

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Portrait of a Character – Wesley Crusher

Portrait of a Character – Wesley Crusher

Wesley Crusher divides the fandom, or so it seems.

Origins

This character is, of course, canon to The Next Generation.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Wesley Crusher
Wesley Crusher

A lot of Star Trek fans dislike this character intensely, and see him as a male Mary Sue. I agree that the writing for this character was not the best.

But that’s what Star Trek fanfiction is for.

Portrayal

As in canon, Wesley is portrayed by actor Wil Wheaton. There is no one else, so far as I’m concerned, who can possibly play this character.

Personality

Shy and nervous, but smarter than everyone else in the room, Wesley has to learn to rein in his intelligence a bit. However, it’s not that he needs to dumb things down. Rather, it’s more that he’s just not getting a lot of social capital for always being the first one with the right answer. Hence he needs to step back and give others a chance, even though he knows that he can do better most of the time.

Relationships

Robin Lefler

This canon relationship is briefly referred to in Imprecision, when The Traveler asks about an earlier dream. Wesley admits he was dreaming about having sex with Robin, and that he sometimes regretted that not having happened in real life.

Lakeisha Warren

When Wes meets Lakeisha, it’s pretty close to love at first sight.

Portrait of a Character – Wesley Crusher

She’s playing the French horn in the Starfleet Academy band, which has been asked to play at Will Riker and Deanna Troi’s wedding.

But all Wes can think of, all he can see and hear, is the lovely dark-skinned girl with the dark brown eyes.

Yes, Lakeisha and Wes aren’t the same race.

They marry, and are together for the remainder of their lives. As an old grandfather, Wes talks about her in Crackerjack.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Wesley Crusher

There are, so far as I am aware, no impediments to Wesley existing in the Mirror. Frankly, I’m surprised that no one seems to have explored this scenario in Star Trek official fiction and fan fiction has barely explored the idea.

I like the idea of him being less obsessed with duty, and see him as being a lot like, well, like Wil Wheaton himself has become. E. g. a guy who does some acting but is also a force for good in the geek world. Maybe a Mirror Wesley could be the kind of positive force for good that is lacking in that universe.

The idea intrigues, and I may look into it at some time.

Quote

“Are you telling me you wanna leave the Enterprise and all of that and just stay here? Is that it? Because if it is, well, do me a favor and help me get the Monongahela working again. I’ll leave you here, if that’s what you really want, and I’ll take my chances out there with that, that infrared pulse! And I’ll tell Captain Picard and the others that we got caught by an infrared pulse and you lost your freakin’ mind!”

Upshot

I like redeeming Wesley, and maybe, in some small way, I have. I’m not sure. If I can get on a roll again with the Barnstorming series, he’ll be seen again, with Lakeisha, as he embraces young adulthood, love, and the world of work, like many young people do.


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Recurrent Themes – 42753

Recurrent Themes – 42753

42753?

Background

What is it about this particular number?

I have no idea why this number became my go-to number. I just like it. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | 42753 It’s easy to type on a keypad, as the 4 and the 2 are typed diagonally from left to right, and then the 7, 5, and 3 are typed diagonally in the same way, but from one row higher.

It’s a zip code in central Kentucky and really has no significance in my life whatsoever.

Yet it creeps into my Star Trek fan fiction all the same.

Appearances

The Puzzle, A Tale Told in Pieces

When Travis is kidnapped for an alien experiment, he meets several people, including a ‘defective’ (not overwhelmingly alluring) Orion slave girl who has no name, and is only known as a number. And that number is 42753.

The Three of Us

In The Three of Us, Jay Hayes reveals that 42753 is his serial number.

Hayes dogtags
Hayes dogtag

In particular, he only gives out this number while the Imvari are torturing him.

The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

This story includes a scene of reading Porthos’s microchip. The number is 2149-42753.

The Tribe

In The Tribe, when Mary Reed is trapped in a transport that isn’t working, the number of the car she’s in is 42753.

Multiverse II

In Multiverse II, 42753 is the panel number for where Branch Borodin has to place the pulse shot collector.

Level 2 multiverse
Level 2 multiverse

Later, the number also refers to the last message Levi sends to Maren O’Connor before his PADD dies.

Untrustworthy (Original Fiction)

One rather long designation includes this particular string of numbers.

Things to come

Play contains 42753 in two places. First, it’s the number of a secure channel Admiral Alynna Nechayev uses. The second time, it’s at the end of a string of numbers denoting Dana MacKenzie’s radiation band, which proves that she has some Mirror Universe ancestry.

Upshot

This quirky number will be back. I guarantee it. Like this post? Tweet it!

Spotlight – Witannen in Star Trek Fan Fiction

Witannen

Background

Witannen were a fun creation. Back when I was writing a non-Star Trek time travel series, I had an idea for an alien who would be helping the group.

She would be a member of the first species ever to make contact with humans, and her name would be Otra (she didn’t get a last name until later), and she would be the girlfriend of the leader of the group, the rather non-charismatic Levi Cavendish. She was supposed to be a bit out of proportion to humans, in that she’d have longer legs than we normally do. Otra would also be a light lavender color.

Things have changed

About the only thing she really had which transferred over to what became the Witannen (Wit-ah-nin) is that her hair would be replaced with green vines that would move independently of her. She would be unable to control the vines, and they would be in some sort of a symbiotic relationship with her. The species did not have a name, but their first contact had been preceded by an odd form of prepping the Earth for their arrival – they had sent broadcasts for a good year beforehand, including a popular soap opera. Hence when the aliens arrived in that older series, they were more or less known to humans, and were famous.

Then the species was added to my Star Trek fan fiction, and it got even more interesting.

What Happened to the Witannen

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Otra | Witannen
Otra, a half-Wittanen. Drawing by SL Walker.

When I began writing Together, I wanted a villain who would be more of a business person than an actual evil being. Ferengi had already been seen in canon Enterprise, so I felt that would be a bit much, to have a second encounter with the Ferengi, without that name being known in the Starfleet database.

Hence they were out. I remembered my strange alien, so I performed some modifications on her.

First, the character in Together would not be Otra at all, who I reserved for a time travel series, Times of the HG Wells. But I really liked the idea of having the character be female, so I created Quellata (Kell-uh-tuh) instead. Quellata would be full-blooded, whereas Otra would be half-human, and so she would get a surname.

Differentiation

To differentiate between the full and half, I decided that full-blooded Witannen would have little vestigial wings. It isn’t until Multiverse II that it becomes clear that Otra just has long lines on her back, where her wings would have been.

The wings would be vestigial, far too small to propel anyone. Hence Quellata would be grounded, and the wings would be more decorative than anything else. This also made it possible for her to wear more or less recognizable clothing.

The proportions were also corrected for human sizes, so that a human actor could conceivably ‘play’ a Witannen. I also dropped the idea of a light lavender complexion, preferring to make them a little less alien in exchange for making them an easier species to picture an actor or actress playing.

Characteristics

A bit brittle, with a superiority complex, Witannen are from the Delta Quadrant. They have good reason to feel good about themselves, as they’ve had Warp Drive for centuries. This makes it easier to look down at Johnny-come-lately species like humans. Quellata refers to her human captives as slime molds, but then again, she’s nasty to everyone.

Their language divides into formal and conversational, both written and oral. Witannen writing is unknown, but their speech is a click language, much like Khoisan and Xhosa on Earth. Their species name does not have a plural, e. g. one Witannen, two Witannen. I’m not sure if I’ll give them any plurals.

Like humans and Vulcans, they are monogamous. And like Vulcans, their pregnancies last longer than ours do.

Business

A lot of them have heads for business. Apart from Quellata, Otra’s own mother, Chefra, also works in the commercial realm, as a dealer in star ship parts. Otra herself is more of a philosopher and missions specialist. An opera singer, a male named Paj Terris, is briefly mentioned in the HG Wells stories.  The only other Witannen I have written so far is Adeel, a female athlete in the upcoming Barnstorming series.

The other main characteristic of Witannen is their symbiotic chavecoi (chah-vuh-COY), which evolved from being vines to being more like flowers. They can change color with mood, a fact that makes them rather inconvenient. A Witannen would make a lousy spy. The chavecoi also drink some water on occasion. Hence a character like Otra will sip tea while her chavecoi will dip into a nearby glass of water. The chavecoi are alarmed by caffeine if they accidentally taste tea or coffee, and they can become drunk if they intake alcohol. Their purpose is survival; in the event of a drought, they can photosynthesize in order to keep their host alive. Further, according to Multiverse II, they can be adversely affected by radiation, but they can be cured (as can their host) by stem cell growth accelerator.

Upshot

I loved creating them, but the best-realized character is Otra, by far. How well-realized will the others ever become? I don’t know, or maybe another character will be created, perhaps another male.

The species will return, particularly as I continue to explore the Otra-Levi dynamic, but I’m not so sure about going beyond that, as of the writing of this blog post.