Fragments – Talk to the Ship


Every so often I’ll put up fragments of old stuff that didn’t make it into posted stories. The fragment in this post dates from 2009. A lot of these exist from when I was working on Sydney Satterwhite’s backstory from her time on the Pennsylvania, way before I formally posted anything. It doesn’t give me the squicky vibe you get when re-reading old work, but it scares me what I had once considered publishing.

Told from Sydney’s viewpoint.

I will neither confirm nor deny that the following ever took place. If I said “sure, I talked to the Pennsylvania and she talked to me”, y’all will think I have totally lost my mind. Which a third of the Adirondack crew thinks anyway.

“I hope I make a good impression.”

“I hope I make a good impression.” Well, you’re not making too good of one right now.

“Who said that?”

Who do you think?

(Sydney reaches out to touch a bulkhead)

No touchie!

“Are you talking to me?”

You see anybody else there? Of course, I’m talking to you.


Now you’re getting it.

“I don’t think we’ve been introduced.”

Oh, I know who you are.

“I’m not going to ask how. What do I call you? Penn? Penny?”

Ah-ah. You got to earn the right to call me by my nickname.

“How do I do that?”

Do what the Captain told you to do. “Trust”, “respect”? Do right by me, and I’ll do right by you.

“You’re bargaining with me?”

No bargain. That’s just the way it is.

“You this way with Captain Sutek?”


“And why not?”

Because he’s The Captain, rookie. I know my place.


Yes, really.

“So, you’re going to be purposely difficult with me?”

I’m difficult with all my helmsmen. I demand excellence, as the Captain does.

“He wouldn’t put me at your helm if he didn’t think I measured up to his–or your–standards.”

He’s testing you, kid.

“Testing me?”

To see how you react. In the beginning most will try to manhandle me in a misguided attempt to assert control. I don’t respond well to that. In fact, I go out of my way to embarrass them for their stupidity.


Oh, I have a lot of ways. My favorite is when they’re on thrusters and try to correct for starboard drift, I fool around with attitude and “dip” or “raise” the nose exactly 17 degrees. They overcorrect, so my tail starts sliding to port. There’s no earthly reason for that to happen. Sometimes, when somebody is really being a pain in the aft quarters, I won’t answer my helm at all. That usually signals the moment they get replaced with someone competent.

“So, I can get by if I don’t be a pain in the aft quarters?”

You got it.

“You’ll be good if I cooperate?”

Look, every ship handles differently. An Excelsior doesn’t handle like a Galaxy or an Akira. Even two ships of the same class will behave differently. You have to learn them, learn their ways, learn what makes them sing. But you know that already. Don’t you?

“Of course, I do.”

Then we shouldn’t have any problems, right?


I’ll still mess with you sometimes.

“I figure as much.”

Got to keep up my reputation, you know.

“Yeah, sure.”

Having a ship “talk” I usually leave to poetry or a first-person viewpoint.


Last night the flash drive I was using as a server went wonky. Some file or files got corrupted and Windows kept prompting to fix the file. Like an idiot I had put a program on it that was constantly on and I couldn’t shut it down to fix the problem. So I used the “shotgun to kill a fly” approach and reformatted the drive. Which meant everything was deleted. Including the Sector Gamma wiki. An older version is still on my web space, so it isn’t a total loss. I’ll put back the server software and download the wiki files later.

Moral of the story? Back up your stuff.

Reconstruction and Other Stuff

Last year the only real work I was going to do on the Intrepid Trek site was to rebuild Sector Gamma (the wiki). Now I feel like I want to redo everything. When I say everything, I mean everything. All of Intrepid Trek and Am I biting off more than I can chew? Yeah, I probably am. But it’s been two years since I made any wholesale changes to, and I’m getting sick of looking at it the way it is.

Not only is there new software to upload, but with my new Windows laptop I’m learning to use new tools to get my online work done. I’m able to run a portable web server from a USB stick so I can test things offline before I upload it to the site. Using Windows after many years of being a Mac person isn’t the jarring thing I thought it would be.

As far as writing… I really miss it. It’s been almost three years since I posted anything anywhere and I feel absolutely crummy about it.

Commentary: “Stand and Wait” (Part 1)

Before I open up the behind-the-scenes commentary of “Stand and Wait”, I’d like to start out with an overview of the Tales of the Storyteller universe in its earliest stages.

Falling to the Dark Side

The series was called something else. I hesitate to reveal the title because it’s very spoilerish for what I plan to do in the future. Let’s just say that the name of the universe came from my constant (relation)shipping of two individuals. I generated a lot of material, some of which was so syrupy that you could get cavities from reading it. I also experimented how a marriage could work out amidst the problems that could come up. Certain characters didn’t like or were miffed about the match, friends of one would be suspicious of the motives of the other, that sort of thing. It was fine for playing around when nobody was looking. When I decided to finally write fanfic for others’ eyes to see, a great deal of it had to be thrown out. Mostly to save myself a great deal of embarrassment. Some of the leftovers would be recycled into other stories.

When the idea was first germinating, I had been away from Star Wars fandom for a few years. I left because of the disappointment of the Prequel Trilogy, plus writing SW fanfiction was terribly frustrating. Fanfiction there is tidal locked on canon characters, and it’s difficult to next to impossible for a writer of original characters to get read. OCs aren’t treated well, getting the “Mary Sue” tag. Or no comment at all. In the SW forum I posted my stuff in, I was among a handful of people who fought for solutions to the problem of getting exposure for non-canon writers. We were ignored, and it was implied that if we weren’t getting readers, it meant we weren’t good writers. Somebody actually said that. I was so disgusted by the whole episode that I put a note to my website saying I had stopped writing SW fanfic for good.

Then I fell to the Dark Side. I went back to my first love: Star Trek.

Origin of Sydney Satterwhite

Sydney started off as part of something I entertained myself with. I guestimate she came about around the time of TWOK, with that movie making an impact on me. If I like a TV show or movie enough, I often made up characters to interact with the principle characters or do their own thing in that ‘verse. Because I was the sole audience for these adventures, they only had to make sense to me. So they did things like forming musical groups, from which was born a twelve-member superband called the Dirty Dozen. Only one of the Dozen had a permanent name (not Sydney). Over the years I put them away and brought them out several times to play around with, especially when ST came back to TV. None of their exploits were ever written down, but I tried to make sense of having a group of twelve Fleeters managing to hang in a more or less cohesive group long enough to make any recordings–and not strain disbelief to the breaking point.

The Dozen had a gimmick: a set of identical twin sisters who played rhythm and bass guitar. They didn’t wear exactly the same thing, and one of them always colored their hair. African-American and in their 20s. It was a long time before they got a last name, and longer still before either of them got first names. I settled on Satterwhite for their last name, to play off their ethnicity and because, to my ear, it sounded “down home-like”. The “oldest” twin began to stand out–sneaky, snarky, giggly–so she got named first. Then she had adventures away from the band more often than not.



After my little trip to the ER yesterday, I’m still pretty sore. The only thing I’ll do this week is go refill some meds. I’m really not of the mind to do any writing. So the piece that I intended to submit to the monthly challenge won’t be ready.



What I’m Up To

It looks as if filling my jewelry box has drawn the attention of my long-missing muse. I don’t like making posts like this without having anything officially written down, but maybe this way I can see that there is actually something going on in my brain.

First is something I have wanted to do for a long time: a story of the moment Sydney first met Sutek. I did have the idea of making the story part of “Into The Inferno”, but the three chapters that exist felt contained and didn’t need anything else. In the back of my mind, though, I wanted to hear Sydney tell it in her own words. If I really work, I could get the story ready for this month’s challenge.

Second, a trip through TV Tropes struck up a very weird idea. Two words jumped out at me: ninja captain. Wait and see how that turns out.


I'm Detecting a Win!

Brent Spiner is a total nut. 😉

(h/t This Is


Due to sheer laziness, the story I wanted to do for the February challenge won’t be ready. Guh. 😐

I can’t really say I’ve made progress on trying to get a handle on what keeping me from writing. The only thing I found out was that the problem goes back a lot further then I thought. Anyway, I spent a lot of time on the web looking from something that might speak to what I’m going through, and I found something that might help me. Maybe it will help somebody else.

10 Ways to Harness Fear and Fuel Your Writing

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Spread the love. 😀


Damage Report

Last year, I didn’t have a working computer for two months. Hurricane Irene came through in August, which took out the electricity for a day and a half. I kept my computer on all the time because if the power cut out for more than an hour, it would take popping the power switch on and off for a long time before it came on. So after the power came back on, no computer.

This was very bad, and not just because I couldn’t get online. My money’s always funny, so I couldn’t get it fixed or a new computer. Because of the lazy way I back up my files, only the oldest and the near newest files had ever gotten copied to the external drive (which is still working). That includes a huge file of images I’ve collected over years for photomanipulation work. All of my finished fan fiction work is online somewhere, either in archives or on my own website. But the drafts–mostly gone. Or ostensibly gone. The problem with the computer could be something like a busted power supply, which can be replaced. If it’s the hard drive, then all bets are off.

Now I’m using my sister’s old iMac, which is kind of weird. I’m scared to install new software, even though she said I could download and install what I want to.

Originally posed at Intrepid Trek.