Overture came about from a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about new beginnings.
I could not get the idea out of my head about the start of a classical concert. So that led me to Lakeisha Warren. Then the story and the prompt gave me the prequel (more or less) to Crackerjack. It also serves as a prequel to The All-Stars. So this little story wears a lot of metaphorical hats.
Young love is often a good idea for a story, and this was no exception. I had already shown (in Imprecision) how they had met. At this point in time, I wanted to show them beginning their commitment. Lakeisha and Wes would get really serious, really quickly. But that’s okay. Because sometimes, you just know.
Therefore, I sent Wesley Crusher out to visit Lakeisha, not too long after they had first met. As a direct sequel to Imprecision, and as a prequel to The All-Stars, Wesley would be very interested in this amusing musically gifted girl. And all he would want to do is show it.
A classical concert, for her, could easily encompass music from The Who’s Tommy rock opera.
As Lakeisha practices, Wesley listens in a little, and then he proceeds to knock on her door. He tells her that he does not believe in holding back. He wants her to know she already means something to him. She already matters.
The character is technically canon although the scene of his introduction ended up on the cutting room floor. In the ‘lost’ footage, William Riker plays a nasty, passive-aggressive prank and Madden is the butt of the joke. I disliked the scene so much that I felt Madden needed a measure of justice. He is the reason that Melissa has her last name, as she is his forebear, via her middle son, Neil.
Because Marty is also Doug‘s descendant, his radiation band is slightly less than it should be, betraying a partial origin in the Mirror Universe. As the Barnstorming series unfolds, the family’s importance increases. Doug’s descendants hold a key in their DNA that could alter the fate of both universes.
As in canon, Madden is played by actor Steven Culp. I like this actor a great deal. He was also exceptionally gracious when I wrote to him, asking for an autographed photograph and the answer to a few questions as I was writing The Three of Us and looking to add some verisimilitude to my details about Jay Hayes.
Culp wrote back, said my questions were interesting (I asked things like what is his favorite story to read to a child) but whatever I came up with would be fine. He also wished me luck with my writing. His framed picture is hanging in the room where I do my writing and it helps provide some inspiration.
Lonely, brilliant, and bored, Marty is near the top of his profession but wants something more. He is only close to one person, and that is not only hurting him in his career, it’s also, in general, making him miserable. Furthermore, the incident with Riker got him off on the wrong foot with Captain Picard. A bit of a perfectionist, Martin is appalled by what happened and scrambling to make it right.
With one disastrous date, this is really not a relationship. Tamsin likes him, but he can’t stand her; he had only asked her out in order to get his mind off Dana. Tamsin takes it the wrong way and tries to get him to sleep with her.
When he refuses, she stretches the truth to its breaking point, and files a sexual harassment charge against him. The charge is groundless and is quickly dropped. But it gets worse, as she is distantly related to him. As a part of the family (through Joss), Tamsin is not so close to Martin Madden to prevent a relationship, plus she’s somewhat aggressive. It’s a complete turnoff to him, but she is family and so, in some ways, he’s stuck with her. But he doesn’t have to date her.
With a language all their own, Martin Douglas Madden and Misty Dana MacKenzie – the MDM Twins – are made for each other. There’s just one small problem. She’s his second cousin.
That would not seem like much of an issue, but I write an unjust Second Cousin Marriage law, forbidding such marriages where the parties share at least one great-grandparent. The purpose behind the law is to prevent too much Daranaean inbreeding and the introduction of younger and younger child brides. But the law fails miserably as it is mainly just a bad political compromise.
When Dana is imprisoned at Canamar, it is only Marty who continues writing to her after her parents die. With the letters kept from her as a part of her unjust punishment, her reading of those letters is one of her first acts after getting out.
His love for her is one of the few things that sustains him. It is one of the underlying themes of the series, along with the concept that the Digiorno-Madden-Hayes-Beckett-O’Day–Reed family endures forever. There is power in this love, and it cannot be denied.
I’m not so sure that Marty can exist in the Mirror Universe.
As a descendant of Doug, who left the Mirror and had never fathered a child on that side before he did, then Marty’s existence in the Mirror is technically impossible. However, I write a Mirror Tamsin (called Jennifer), explaining that the analogue is imperfect but very close. After all, if most other forebears fall into place, or close relatives such as siblings or first or even second cousins take the place of the originals, after a time span of a few centuries, the differences become negligible. This isn’t a bad theory for why there are so many MU counterparts, and I might explore it at some time.
But if the same incident occurs, he wouldn’t just be miffed at Riker and embarrassed by him – Marty would have knifed the man.
“I can’t exactly get away when everyone else can. Understand something, all right? Whatever Riker did, whatever he could do, whatever he tried or got away with and however he acted, that was him, all right? He probably got himself here for lunch somewhere between 1200 and 1330 hours nearly every day, am I right? … But that’s not me. But, uh, I get the feeling there’s one more item on your list of Things Keeping Martin Madden from Making Friends on the Enterprise-E. Am I right? Care to share it with me if I am?”
I am really enjoying writing this character, a kind of combination of Jay’s discipline and Doug’s zest for life, with a bit of Malcolm’s pre-Lili tortured loneliness. The Barnstorming series is not done yet, and Martin Madden is a huge part of it.
When I first got the idea of writing Crackerjack, it was not supposed to be a romance. It was to be a story for a young (I believe he was aged 12 at the time) fan. As I developed the story, though, I realized that I wanted Geordi and Wesley to have an ally on the ground. And so Rosemary Parker was born.
I don’t believe I have ever seen this beautiful and sharp actress in a period piece. I bet she’d be great.
Kind and friendly, but also trying to be independent within the confines of her time period, Rosemary is the sort of person who was probably dismissed by the people of her day. When her father angrily tells her to finish secretarial school and then find herself a husband with prospects, she knows he’s only looking out for her future. But she resents that all the same.
A big part of Crackerjack was putting them together. The talk freely and their candid conversations seem more relaxed than Geordi ever had with a woman in canon. Of course it is not meant to be, but they enjoy each others’ company, and he trusts her enough to show her his eyes (the story takes place pre-ocular implants).
Warren (first name uknown)
In Play, which has not yet been released as of the writing of this blog post, Geordi mentions Rosemary, and he says, “She, uh, after 1941, all I know is that there was a woman named Rosemary Parker Warren who was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1964. She gave her profession as schoolteacher.” Hence Rosemary weds. She has to – she’s an ancestor of Lakeisha Warren Crusher.
Crackerjack is loaded with period music, but nothing really speaks to me as a theme for Rosemary herself.
There are no impediments to Rosemary existing in the Mirror Universe. But her circumstances would be far different. It’s highly unlikely that her father would be a preacher, as I write Mirror religion as being secretive. You don’t want to be indicating in any way that you’re not thinking of the Emperor or Empress 24/7.
Rosemary would be tougher and sexier and nowhere near as sweet. Would she find a man? Possibly; such a beautiful woman would not go unclaimed for long. As for whether it would be a love match or she would be treated well at all, that’s hard to say.
“I get it, it’s because we’re all individuals. Some people are kind, some are not, some are confused, some don’t know what to do, and still others are clumsy but they mean well. It takes all kinds, you know.”
I was happy to bring her up a few brief times in the Barnstorming series. Rosemary gets arrested with Martin Luther King! But I’m not so sure I can bring her back for any other purposes. She’s a lovely character, but where can I put her?
There are no impediments to Lakeisha existing in the Mirror.
She would have to be far tougher, as all women in that universe are. Given the time frame, she would likely be beheld to a man for her safety and basic necessities. Does a Mirror Wesley exist? I haven’t explored this yet, and the idea intrigues me.
“This flag officers’ concert, it’ll be done in a few days. We’ll post mortem it, but it’ll still be less than a week. After that, I’ve got classes and the usual, you know how it is. Confidentially, rumor has it that the whole thing is a front for them coming in and doing some recruiting for Section 31.”
I adore Lakeisha and, as I continue to write the Barnstorming series, she’ll be seen more and more.
Imprecision addresses an imperfectly formed memory.
So for a Star Trek fan fiction challenge about nightmares, I went with a dream that evoked a memory that was imperfectly realized.
Wesley Crusher has been, at the start of the story, spending time in the company of the The Traveler.
And this is a canon situation. However, also in canon, Wesley eventually leaves The Traveler. Hence in order to dovetail with Crackerjack, this event precipitates Wesley taking his leave.
At the start of the story, Wes wakes up from a nightmare. He remembers his parents fighting, and his mother throwing something. It’s awful; he recalls being a small child at the time, making it even more heart-wrenching. Speaking with The Traveler afterwards, it is determined by them that Wes actually wants to return to a regular life. This is a marker, an indicator that there is unfinished business out there for him. Furthermore, he wants to find out about that memory, which he realizes is something that he suppressed.
Returning to Regular Life
Wesley is essentially beamed to his mother’s quarters. He has been gone longer than the regular passage of time would indicate, an idea I had because his time with The Traveler has to be odd and unique and special. For Beverly Crusher, this is sort of a dream, and sort of not. She tells him that it’s a few hours before Will Riker and Deanna Troi’s wedding (another canon event).
Wesley is hurriedly given a uniform, and it does not necessarily show his correct rank (that is canon, in the film, Nemesis). A little bored with the proceedings, his eyes alight on a young girl playing the French horn for the Starfleet Academy band, which is providing the music for the event. With some confidence mustered up, he talks to her, and realizes that this is why he left The Traveler. It is to meet Lakeisha Warren and begin a new phase of his life.
Where is it that the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain? Why, it’s Oklahoma, of course. Yet if stories about terrorism trigger you, you might want to back out now.
To continue Richard Daniels and the Temporal Integrity Commission’s investigations in time, I decided the Perfections would prevent a truly horrific act, and then the commission would have to, sadly, put it back.
9/11 was (and still is) too close in time, and felt wrong. But this event isn’t too much better, and I can understand if a reader finds it a distasteful topic for Star Trek fanfiction, still.
For anyone who does not know the musical, the title of the piece refers to Oklahoma! And so the story line can only be about one thing.
A lot of writers, when tackling a subject like this, focus on the Kennedy assassination. But I wanted something more contemporary. And this particular terrorist act is even worse, given the high number of lost innocents.
This is the last of the stories in the Complications subsection of the HG Wells timeline (the first part is Repairs; the last part is Unravelings).
As Rick recovers from meeting Milena (and falling for her), the Perfectionists, an opposing faction, pull off their most audacious act so far. But preventing the Oklahoma City bombing means that a number of people will live who aren’t supposed to. And this includes several preschoolers. Hence the timeline becomes horribly damaged.
At the same time, in an effort to distract musician time traveler HD Avery, the Perfectionists avert a 1977 plane crash that killed half of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd.
And as a third piece of the temporal shenanigans puzzle, the Perfections prevent the 1983 assassination of Benigno Aquino.
So as a result of these changes, the NX-01‘s pilot is not Travis Mayweather; it’s Shelby Pike. She works as the ship’s Botanist in the Prime Timeline. In this alternate, she and Tripp Tucker have a relationship, and Otra D’Angelo sees Pike pregnant with Tucker’s child.
Yet another temporal alteration concerns Wesley Crusher‘s death from a plague. So this causes the destruction of the Enterprise-D by a Borg cube because Jean-Luc Picard cannot stop playing a game and Robin Lefler cannot save the crew by herself.
Hence due to the ever-present Borg threat, the Federation obtains rather expensive help from Dawitan, Otra’s home world. The Federation pays tribute every year. However, the masses are kept appeased with generous daily rations of fortified wine.
But protesters, including Anthony Parker, break into the USS Saint Eligius in order to destroy the wine casks (they’re behaving a lot like real-life temperance advocate Carrie Nation).
However, in the largest of the crates they smash open, they find an emaciated Otra. She has been kept imprisoned by the Perfectionists. Upon the eventual restoration of the timeline, Otra ends up back prison but retains a phaser that Anthony has given her.
I liked putting this one together, as it ended up quite a puzzle. Daniel Beauchaine‘s actions have to be accounted for. In addition, I had to research and write dialogue for Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. As a piece of the Complications subsection of these stories, the book lives up to the idea of being complicated all right. But it sometimes seems overly so.
Hence numerous strands, from the three temporal alterations, to all of the consequences, need correction. But it ends up a lot for a reader to follow, and I admit I probably rushed through this one too much.
Wesley Crusher divides the fandom, or so it seems.
This character is, of course, canon to The Next Generation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Wes meets Lakeisha, it’s pretty close to love at first sight.
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.
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.
“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!”
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.
Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat
Tarisian Dreams suggested that I somehow find a way for Spot and Porthos to meet. The only methods were, I felt, either time travel or a holodeck simulation. I chose the former.
It’s during the Xindi War, and Lili has only recently been hired. While starting dinner, she brings Porthos to the galley. He sits, hoping that’s she’ll drop something tasty. Will comes in and scolds Lili, as this is a Health Code violation.
He insists that she return the beagle to Captain Archer‘s quarters. Lili does so, and departs as the ship is hit by a spatial anomaly. This creates a hull breach on B Deck. But this anomaly is temporal as well as spatial, and so it also results in Porthos being whisked away, over a century into the future, to the Enterprise-D, where Data, Spot, Geordi, Wesley Crusher, and Captain Picard all are.
On the NX-01, they fear Porthos has died. On the Enterprise-D, they try to get him home.
Plus the whole thing is told from the perspective of Porthos, including his conversations with Spot.
Does Porthos get back to the right time period? Who helps him? And what happens to him and Spot, before he departs?
I love writing animals’ points of view, and Porthos is always great fun. Spot was much more of a challenge, but readers have told me that I got cat POV correct. That was rather satisfying to read. Will they return? Absolutely, although I’m hard-pressed as to how to (if ever) get them back together again.
In response to my own monthly prompt about YOLO (You Only Live Once), I posted the Eriecho/Sybok story, Across the Universe.
I added a Stats page to capture all read and review data.
The Stats page has all significant read counts. No new milestones were attained this month.
I continued to work on Time Out, and on the wholly original story, The Obolonk Murders.
I overhauled the website and the blog considerably, adding all of the casting information here on the blog. This did not just bring more information directly to where I am getting the most views and feedback. It also served to help declutter the index for the site. I added a little to the Star Trek Expanded Universes Wiki, too.
This Month’s Productivity Killers
Apart from working on the jespah website, I also worked on my own professional website and did some social media blogging. It was a snowy January, and snow shoveling tends to give me wrist pain, thereby making it difficult to type. Furthermore, I started social media classes at Quinnipiac University.
In response to my own weekly free write about secrets, I posted Overture, a Wesley Crusher story which will serve as a prequel to the upcoming Barnstorming series. I posted The Sweetest Universe, which pulled in elements from the Multiverse II collaboration (see below) and the HG Wells universe. Plus I also added Consider the Lilies of the Field, an In Between Days story that takes place after Fortune. I also added a dream story taking place between Together and Temper, Equilibrium.
The collaboration story, Another Piece of the Action, was posted. This was written with the bluesman, who created a cover for it. It was the sole entry in the collaboration challenge so, by default, it was the winner (hey, we’ll take the win). We both decided to donate our winnings to Ad Astra.
I also contributed to the Multiverse II, which was great, great fun and allowed me to add some depth to HG Wells characters Branch Borodin, Levi Cavendish, and Otra D’Angelo. How will it end? I have no idea. It’s like the best game of D & D, bar none.
On The Delphic Expanse, their drabble game was revived and so I wrote an E2 tidbit about Lili, Jay and Joss, called Marbles, an E2 story about Jay and Lili (a drabble version of Penicillin, actually) called Cough, and another E2 tale about Sekar Khan and Hoshi, called Quartermaster. I also added an HG Wells prequel, Briefing. The Drabble game and E2 are fine playgrounds, but they are keeping me from working on other things.
On Fanfiction.net, I finished spinning out Conversations with Heroes. The story received my best reception on Fanfiction.net so far, clocking in with 9 reviews and over 900 reads. While other stories had higher read counts, no others were reviewed as much or read as quickly as this one. I added To Wish, To Want, To Desire and We Meet Again.
Individual Read Counts
For individual read counts, the following stories have 10,000 or more on one URL –
The bluesman and I completed our collaborative piece. I worked a bit on The All Stars but there is still quite a bit more to do. I did loads of work on Multiverse II.
Issuu changed their formatting and it is now considerably more difficult to search for materials which are M- and MA-rated – and that means not only Reversal and Intolerance, but also the Adult Anthology. Hence this creates a question as to whether it would be a good idea to post the second Anthology on Issuu at all. Issuu also seems to have eliminated most free metrics; hence I will need to do some work to determine where to post the second Anthology.
One possible landing site is Deviant Art. The first Anthology is already there, and M. D. Bruffy is happy to post the second Anthology there as well. I’d like to see if there are any other decent places to put that work. In particular, I am looking for where I can post it with a two-page flipping book type of interface, as Issuu has that and it looks very good.
I spent more time on the overall timeline, trying to make it a bit less daunting to read, and adding more visual interest.
This Month’s Productivity Killers
There were some family issues (I won’t go into them here), and they were rather distracting. I was also laid off from my freelancing job. Inspiration was sometimes difficult to come by.