Date: 01 Jun 2013 21:55 Title: Chapter 30
And so we have the last chapter here, the last little view into this great family. Malcolm’s present to Lili, and to himself in some ways, was a perfect one. He built his own house! And he made it so she’s part owner of it, just as he’s part of her life. It was sweet and surprising moment, one that thankfully didn’t get really spoiled by Q and his flash-forward bits. If it did, I didn’t put it together.
Anyway, the house is there and a schedule it to be arranged … and they’re close to one another. They can visit anytime. They can say hi in the mornings or hang in the evenings. Family.
At the dinner table, as the fortune cookies are being exchanged (Lady Q is delicious here, love how she’s just outraged they’ve waited THIS long to open his fortune cookies) it’s all just perfect. The fortunes are tailored made for them and Q is nodding back to Lili here that maybe the timeline isn’t as set as she and he would like to believe. Maybe things can be changed … these are just fortune cookies, so perhaps they don’t tell anything super important, but Q’s gift is a good one. A little compliment complete with a peak into the future, a proper happy ending.
And a very well written poem, with a baby named Declan Charles Reed.
I struggled with what would be the perfect gift, and then I realized it would have to be a house, that Malcolm would have to have his own turf, and a way to be able to easily be there. And it's a commitment, too, to Lili, and to the family. And he doesn't know, but he'll be buried there, as the ultimate commitment.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 21:41 Title: Chapter 29
And now we move on. We all knew that Tucker was gonna die on that last mission, but his death still sucks. One of the worst moment in all of the series in my opinion (that entire episode really qualities over and over for that dubious honor). Trip dying, however, still has a noticeable effect here on the crew and the way Malcolm just comes right out and says it … well, it’s necessary. It has to be done and waiting around for it would have been bad form, I think. Say it, get it over with, and let the healing process begin for all.
Once that bit of bad news is delivered, the party really starts and Marie Patrice’s screaming “Mackum!” bit makes me smile every time. I love how she kinda mispronounces his name, even though I know it’s unintentional, it’s still humorous to me.
Jonathan staying on for a bit, getting chatted up by Miva who clearly has the hots for him, and gives him that bracelet (which I suspect he will use) was a great scene, as well as Archer’s uncomfortable feeling he got with Lili nursing right there (can’t blame him for that, it seems rude to just look, doesn’t it Archer?). Lili and Malcolm stepping into the dream state and saying high to that Tucker was a bittersweet moment … though it did finally give Malcolm that middle name.
Which has been a lingering question in my mind for many chapters but it keeps getting pushed aside for other observations. This story is chock full of things to think on.
That is my intention, and I'm glad it's hitting that mark.
Mackum was first put in as Joss's mispronunciation. I dislike writing children who screw up speech, but a small word here or there can make it easier to identify the speaker. So first it was Joss, and now it's Marie Patrice who says that, but it's also that Malcolm doesn't mind, and it's a special name for him, like Lili-Flower is for Lili. It's that secret language of family that outsiders cannot penetrate.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 21:21 Title: Chapter 28
This chapter would have to be the one that hits home to me the most. A lot of this is beyond my life experience … making families, falling in love not only once, but twice, figuring out dynamics with children and their parents, being at a birth, holding a child of my own in my hands, making love … I know nothing of these things. Well, not nothing, but certainly I have no firsthand experience. But this chapter I do have firsthand experience with … this chapter was about forgiveness. Was about coming clean and fessing up to the dirty, nasty things you’ve done.
Very much like Doug here, I was wholly resistant to the idea and put if off for years. I would rather avoid the subject, bury it, and was desperate not to talk about it. Very much like Doug, I had someone near and dear to me convince me that the truth was better told, not matter how horrible it might be, no matter how poor it might reflect on me … and very much like Doug here, I thought the worst of myself and my actions, I thought the worst scenarios would come to pass. They did not for me. They did not for him.
Out of all the things you’ve captured in this story, the need for forgiveness and telling the truth, taking responsibility for it, had made itself clearest to me. This chapter spoke to me, Doug spoke for me in many ways, and I thank you for it. You could have taken the easy way out, written the easy paragraph bit here about how he had his moment and got his forgiveness, you could have summarized the hell out of it but you didn’t. You let it play out, every anguished confession a little less tough, a little easier, and you made sure that in the end Doug got his … well … happy ending. Well done.
I humbly thank you.
Q had to show these scenes to Lili so that the reader would know that Doug is telling the whole truth here; otherwise, there's no confirmation, and you'd be left wondering if he were whitewashing things somehow, despite how terrible everything is.
The MU is often played for laughs (and I often make the Empress the butt of jokes), but it's tarted-up totalitarianism, I feel. It is a brutal place. Have you ever read Hobbes? He says life is nasty, brutal and short, and that is the mirror all over. It is harsh and it is unforgiving. But it is also a place with precious little justice. So Doug has gotten away with all of this, and has had no one to apologize to, no one to confess to, no one to atone to, and no one to even serve a sentence for.
And then he gets here, and he suppresses it as being in the past (in all fairness, Lili is complicit in that, at least to start, as denying the past is easier, often, than facing up to it, as you are well aware). Doug goes along with it, he continues deferring to her (although he has said he won't do that quite so much anymore), and he is giving her all of the keys to the kingdom, but it's not helping him come clean. This is what, truly, makes me come clean, and become cleaner, and better. This is what makes the family survive, and this is a much better foundation for forever.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 21:01 Title: Chapter 27
And so everything has gone back to normal. Well, pretty much normal. The family manages to get to the hospital all right, the weird storm has dissipated, and Q and Joy/Lady Q are enjoying the show. Amazingly, certain things happen again in the timeline that happened before. It was nice to see Malcolm just about break down here, as I can imagine him being like that post-birth. Joss’s gift to his brother of the green dinosaur (which performed so bravely in the previous chapters) is a sweet touch, but this chapter really centers on Forgiveness, something that was taught to Q by Lili and now, in a cool reversal (hey, there’s that word again, hmm … ) Q is going to help Lili out with it.
Doug’s pleas about not telling the awful things from his past are sincere and heartfelt. I don’t blame him one damned bit for wanting to keep it all locked away because he’s had so much time to feel guilty over it that I know he’s thinking that the worst possible thing will happen to him, that he will lose his wife and his children, that his happiness he discovered by a fluke of chance will evaporate before him.
But the things Q showed Lili are still there in her, in a small way, and she’s convinced him otherwise and she knows forever means Forever. It does for all of them. Malcolm’s bit at the end, about now having a brother, is a touching one that shows just how much these men are family to one another and they family to everyone else.
They have to mean something to each other - they all do - or the whole mad scheme just falls apart. Doug has to know that everybody loves him, and that he is secure, before he can finally open his mouth.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 20:46 Title: Chapter 26
Wow, that was a mind bending chapter there. First, let me address the way you captured that awesome “I’m getting married!” vibe with Ethan and Karin. The proposal was sweet, nervous, all mixed up but totally done and Ethan’s reaction to it was utterly priceless. Bounding for joy, out in the corridor screaming out “SHE SAID YES!” is a great celebration. The fact that he forgot to give her the ring, even put it on her, is quite grin worthy but Hoshi’s scene at the end where she tells says the magic has hit again … many, I laughed. Hoshi so rarely got to deliver those one liner zingers in the series, it’s nice she gets to develop them here.
Moving on, we get back to Q and Lili. Q has returned successful and goes about paying the debt he owes her and he pays it to her now by granting her any awesome powers or preventing some future personal tragedy but by showing her how happy a family she had a part of building. Sure, the family is extensive and a bit confusing to the uninitiated but it’s a living thing. It’s not stagnant, it’s not dying, it’s thriving and as Q shows her it thrives on and on throughout the next many hundred years. Her influence, the influence of those she loves, and what they did is somewhat lost as the generations progress but the essence remains … they’re legacy remains.
I thought Lili would ask him to remove all the memories at the end. The various flash-forward sequences all hint at the people knowing about the things she saw but she didn’t exactly tell them it (and I doubt she would have even knowing it). I like that Q left a little something of the experience and that everything is back to normal for her, mostly.
Yep - there is a tiny nugget there.
Oh, I love writing Ethan and Karin, and have since The Light, and I wanted to give them a culmination. Plus, of course, how do we get Rebecca without this happening first?
Date: 01 Jun 2013 20:18 Title: Chapter 25
Wow. This chapter hits on two very important things here: the afterlife and forgiveness. Lili’s reasoning to be stuck in Kevin’s head is good reasoning in my view, despite my trepidation at the idea when I first saw it in print. I mean, going into the head of a dying person? Viewing the afterlife while they’re doing it? I would be afraid I’d get pulled in, even with Q there for Q has already proven that he can bleed. He can die. They don’t do this for a reason and that reason has to be a damned good one. But Lili once again proves herself courageous here, her curiosity getting the better of her but the answer providing a great comfort: yes, there is something tangible and real in the great beyond.
But Q exacts a nasty price. She has to view every death she and Doug caused, 16 mostly pointless deaths that were acts of barbarism and savagery by Doug. He was a product of his environment, he was a product of the nature of the times over there, but he changed for the better when he came to Lili. He made that change but she now knows all the nasty details of his past.
I can understand Doug’s reasons for not telling her. Often times, though, those reasons look awfully stupid when you tell the truth. Even if the truth is hard, which it sometimes is especially when you’re hiding things, it’s best to tell the truth. I don’t think Lili will leave Doug, I do think she’ll get him to tell the truth, but the point she makes here is a good one: once the truth is told, forgiveness is needed. Forgiveness has to be granted in that situation because if you hold out the wound will never close. It may not heal like you want it to, it may scar, but it will never get better if you don’t offer full and complete forgiveness.
Q finally gets to the point where he understands. He finally gets it and goes to be with Lady Q, to forgive her for the death of Amanda Rogers parents (nice reference, again) and to mate with her. My question is how will he repay his debt? If a near God owed you a favor, what would you ask?
What would you ask, indeed?
When Doug comes over from the MU, he does so with hope and love and feels his future is a good one. But he suppresses all of this, and they get busy with life and he keeps not telling her. Over and over again, Doug doesn't tell, and Lili doesn't ask. But they should.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:59 Title: Chapter 24
And so we find Q here, continuing to mull over the decision he has to make. There has to be compromise in a relationship and Q isn’t so comfortable with this, after all he did state earlier that people in the Continuum like to be one way and one way only: atop one another (not sure if that’s in a metaphorical or literal sense, knowing the Q, probably both) but Lili is quick to point out that compromise is necessary, that there has to be someone who’s a peacekeeper in the relationship … even if it’s someone outside the relationship.
Q seems to take this point and whisks Lili again to the future, again to the final scene of one of her dearest family members. Here, Norri is saying her goodbyes to everyone. She’s surrounded by loved one and that’s the way she wants it. Her words aren’t profound, no, but they are very meaningful. The family theme is uttered here “Forever” and it’s appropriate for the moment.
I’m glad to see Dexter has found someone, even if he’s not quite yet ready to have children, but Norri’s final moments are laced with a bit of hope. She’s at the bridge, everyone else is there, and they’re striving towards something, working towards something … it’s nice to think that, in the afterlife, it’s not all about sitting around and patting yourself on the back for making it there and picking the right faith/beliefs … it’s a sense of community, something formed greater than yourselves striving for a purpose.
And now Norri has that purpose again, with her love by her side.
Yes; it's purpose.
I wanted what's beyond the bridge to have purpose. Harps and clouds and haloes are lovely; but I think meaningful work and family togetherness is more.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:47 Title: Chapter 23 (Part 2)
Ah, more pictures! My, people age well in the future, but I suppose superior medical care and access to better food helps that. Everyone is so happy in these pictures (well, minus that one with Melisa as she’s staring out into the sunset … she looks very contemplative there and obviously has a great weight on her, as Norri mentioned). Norri speaks about them with a lot of love and a lot of compassion, and she seems to be holding up pretty well during the slideshow. Were I her, I wouldn’t be holding up so well … seeing all those that I lost would wreck me, I think. I’m not much a person for pictures (I have a pretty damn good memory for that, too damn good if you ask me) so I don’t take a lot of them.
But these pictures each express what was so good about the person in them. The most striking picture to me, out of all of these, was Malcolm smiling so broadly, the one where he had spent his two years of leave time with Declan. I found that picture to be the best because it speaks to me about how much Malcolm loved the boy. It bugs me to sit here and think that he’s going back into space at the end of all this … I just don’t get it. Starfleet is a lot of things, sometimes it’s even family for people, but when you have your own flesh and blood there, waiting for you Malcolm and you leave?
It wouldn’t be what I would have done. But I’m not him.
The final point Lili makes here, about how the history may not be right but the meaning of it was, the essence of their tale was, is poignant. Q is over analyzing again, trying to find some way not to commit to a course of action he isn’t sure about (dude, been there, still doing that, it sucks, just get it over with it’s much better that way!) but Lili will have none of it. It’s not like history gets anything right anyway all the time … history probably gets more wrong than right, honestly. Again, it’s about the perspective of those living it and the perspective of those who are seeing it in retrospect.
Q doesn’t want his decision in either case to be seen in a bad light but he has to take that chance. As he gets more desperate, he’s going to be forced to make that choice I feel.
This is close to him being forced. And he will be.
As for the images - Doug is from the mirror and so a part of his fitness (he's got major evolutionary advantages) is for him to be more youthful even as he ages. Culp is in his forties in I think all of these shots. Lili doesn't have those advantages, and she does have laugh lines and the like. Naomi Watts is in her forties in I think all of those pictures. Melissa (Catherine Bell) is younger, but she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. As for Norri, there are no middle-aged images of Allison Hannigan as she kind of isn't middle-aged yet. The pic of Doug and Melissa is Culp and Bell from an episode of JAG.
And then there's Malcolm. He is honor-bound and duty-driven. And this is the choice he makes. And it's not necessarily the best one, but he's needed, and he doesn't really know any other way to be.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:36 Title: Chapter 23 (Part 1)
Q is a stubborn beast. Lili’s right, Q, stop getting so defensive about things. She’s proven this point time and again but he’s not quire desperate enough yet. As I read this and remember the episode in my head, I think we’re at the point where he’s been taken to the enemy camp and Kathy is negotiating his surrender/compromise (and failing because Q don’t surrender). If we’re not at that point, we’re damned close to it and I have to say you’re given some serious depth to the episode with the coordination of events here. Q’s deeper understanding he gets in that episode between scenes isn’t due exclusively to Janeway (though she does help) but is due a lot to what he’s learning from Lili.
Anyway, we have Q pop into another scene from Lili’s distant future and Norri is giving a speech on how she first came to settle on Lafa II. The story, in its entirety here just about, is quite a sweeping one but it doesn’t drag. You give me enough details to educate me on things but don’t spend too much time riffing on stuff. Q gets impatient (but he’s like that) but I was quite pleased by it all. The slideshow is a welcome part of the story, now allowing me to put faces to these people I’ve come to know and like over the last 23 chapters or so. It’s good to see them in all their glory here, back when they were young which seems ages ago, especially considering it was … sort of.
Sort of ages ago, sort of not.
It was a kick to put the pictures together. For Doug, to find pictures of Steven Culp not wearing a tie - for Lili, to find images of Naomi Watts not next to Liev Schreiber and not too overly sexy - it was a fun challenge.
But, yes, Q is almost there. Almost.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:23 Title: Chapter 22
Well, first let me address what Malcolm and the gang tried to do, which was escape. I’m thankful that Dino was not harmed any, merely bounced back, nor did anything else super bad happen to it and by extension those tossing it against the funnel thing. It has to suck that they’re stuck in that place, that there is really no way out, but at least they’re not being killed by a twister, right? They tried and gathered some data, but they’re not gonna get out of there until Q lets them out of there.
Back with Q, he’s getting hurt, he’s feeling vulnerable, and now I think he’s getting desperate. Desperation, often seen in a bad way, is a great emotion for taking action. Some of my better actions in life came from a desperate need to make a change and here Q needs to make a change. He needs to go from being sure of what’s going to happen and being complacent to learning how to trust, to have faith, and hope for the best. You can’t love without trust, without faith, and you have to make that leap.
If Q is to make that leap and help save his species, he’s going to have to heed Lili’s lessons (which he’s beginning to do here). Q’s progression over the course of the last many chapters has been a good progression, one that has been well paced.
Taking a moment to address the theme of the chapter here … poor Melissa. She’s living the life all of us, at some point or another, fear for ourselves or our loved ones: a life where she is forgetting all she has known and loved, and she’s becoming a burden on others. Norri is broken up about it all, not sure what to do, but Melisa does know what to do an ultimately, I feel they make the right choice. It’s a super sensitive issue, a really tough one to tackle, but you did it here and I’m glad. This story has addressed a number of tough to tackle issues and it’s almost as much an education to the reader as it is Q. At the very least, like Q, it makes us think and that’s the hallmark of a good story.
Oh, you honor me.
I wanted one ending to be not so nice. Something to be a hard decision, because I think most of us will face up to that at some point, either for ourselves or for someone close to us. The hardest bit to write was Norri offering orange juice instead of water for the end, so that the last moment of Melissa's life would have a small bit of pleasure in it, a final act of kindness and consideration.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:02 Title: Chapter 21
Oh, Q, you do have a heart. The war is not only affecting Janeway’s time but also all time (which makes so much sense considering the Q are pretty much immortal and can pop in/out of whatever time period they would like) and having smaller effects on this time period. Q threw the funnel thing around her house to protect the loved ones inside, to protect those she cares for, not to trap them. I’m hoping Malcolm and the gang don’t get out. If they do it could make things a lot messier.
We move onto Melisa being late for her own birthday party, unable to remember where the damned building is (been there, done that, hate that movie). She has a PADD but probably can’t/won’t remember how to use it and then she witnesses an accident. She doesn’t hesitate at all, she jumps into action. The revelation she had what old Picard had in “All Good Things” was a great reference. The family scene in the restaurant where they’re all wondering where she is and concerned is well done, capturing that tenseness, worry, and anger at the older relatives health deteriorating.
The point here Q makes is a good one, that not all actions will have good consequences, but it’s just more reason for him to procrastinate and second guess making a move. You’ll never know until you try Q, and even if you try there’s no guarantee of success … so go ahead and get on with it! Obsessing doesn’t help. Take it from a lowly human ;)
Ha, very true!
This is what's drawing out the conflict, that Q is hesitating, and he's resisting all of the risks and uncertainties that go along with a leap of faith. And yes, Irumodic Syndrome. They weren't going to all go through old age unscathed.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:50 Title: Chapter 20
It was good to get back to the kids and Malcolm and them. They seem to be stuck in this funnel thing without the notice of anyone else and Malcolm has set his mind, his vast tactical skills, to figuring out how this thing works and how to get out of it. I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to do that (or if it’s even possible, let’s be honest) but whatever the case, I like the fact they’re not sitting there twiddling their thumbs anymore. They are taking action, they are going to make a play and that play may free them. Maybe.
Back with Q, Lili is imparting a big lesson here and that’s one of trust. Q claims to know everything but even he is forced to admit he doesn’t know EVERYTHING and he has to learn how to make a leap of faith. Asking Lady Q (or Joy) to mate with him is a scary prospect for the Q man. I mean, what if she says no? What then? It’s the question that I myself struggle with often … if you commit to one action and it doesn’t turn out as you hope or even as you predict, then what? How do you move on from that?
This story is really giving a lot more depth to “The Q and The Grey” and it’s good that it is, as that episode was pretty fast paced and should have really had a bit more explanation on how Qs though processes work.
Fall. Step into space, and fall. And Q doesn't want to admit it, but that scares the pants off him - and off all the Q.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:35 Title: Chapter 19
The mirror universe. A messed up place in pretty much any story. Here Lili wants to see them, for some reason, and Q is obliging. I think more than anything he just shows this to her to prove the point that, yes, the mirror universe is a pretty brutal and senseless place. Norri gets snapped like a twig over a bottle of booze, and Melissa, bless her, is carrying a child by one of the Empress’ lovers but dies in a horrible shuttle crash (which I feel was caused by the Vulcans. Nice use of T’Pau here though, I was quite pleased at seeing her name). Andrew tries to go back and save her but ultimately she dies … a bridge to nowhere she says. Perhaps that’s where those who have done horrible things go when they die, to a bridge that leads to nowhere and nothing.
I find myself questioning, very much like Lili, the afterlife here and what it means, all these bridges people see. The ones that Doug and Lili see when they die seem to be filled with people of good taste, happiness … the one that mirror Melisa sees seems to be full of nothingness. Is nothingness hell? It seem that way to me … as Lili so aptly observes, Andy makes a connection to Melisa in the mirror and its in that connection they he finds himself in the position to be willing to father a child.
Perhaps hell is a place where no connections can be made, where you are isolated for all eternity. A bridge to nothing, as it were.
For the mirror, there is a connection to us. But they have sinned so much more than we have, that what they see is bound to be something frightening. I think everyone has to atone; I don't think any of us escape that. But I also think that everyone is, ultimately, redeemable. But for the denizens of the mirror, the path to that is a lot harder, and a lot darker.
Norri's end is referenced in the story, Bread, when the MU Leah is older and talks about quitting drinking.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:19 Title: Chapter 18
And so ends Malcolm Reed. I’m with Lili, I’m glad he didn’t suffer long nor did he have to be alone so long. It seemed that her death took a lot out of him … I don’t imagine he would be hunched over and leaning against the doorway before her death. I feel like he wanted it to happen and he admits as much. Still, it’s sad to see him go. After all, he has his entire family there, extended and all, and he’s the father of them all in one way or another. The companionship, the lack of togetherness he felt early on, it has gone away now. He had this perfect togetherness here … and he has to go.
It was his day and he says it with a strange mix of finality and acceptance. I get that, he wanted to be with Lili and that desire seemed to override any desire he had to watch his grandchildren grow up and get married on their own. It was a sad way for Malcolm to go but he went happily I feel. Jia being the last one with him and the dialogue between the two was the highlight of the chapter for me. Malcolm’s crack about spies being felled by such temptresses … that made me smile.
I wanted this scene to belong to the two of them. Jia is someone only seen a little bit (I really should write her more), and she's almost an outsider, like he was almost an outsider within the arrangement (Leonora is the other outsider).
When he talks about how he thinks Lili is there, but she isn't, and he rationalizes it to himself over and over again, this really happened with an aunt of mine when my uncle suddenly passed (it's 7 years now, whoa). She said she would think of him as being in the back yard, or the car coming into the driveway, and it comforted her for a few split seconds.
Malcolm's end is a bit like Michael Corleone's in the third Godfather film. Corleone is alone in a garden and his chair just tips over and all sorts of scenes play by, scenes from all three films, of course. But Corleone was alone and I didn't want Malcolm to be alone. So he is with Jia, who can listen to him and even ask him for advice at the end, and help him to feel the things he didn't feel during the series - that he is loved, he is wanted, he is listened, he is appreciated, and he is family.
One thing, which is mentioned in the last chapter, is about all of the quotations. These are the words that Q has been playing back in his mind. Words make sense at the time. And sometimes they're predictive. But they can also come back to haunt you.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:05 Title: Chapter 17
And so we finally see the last day for Lili. I feel bad for Malcolm here, He’s waited so long to marry her and only gets about 20 odd years or so. He’s been faithful, loyal, patient, and loving … but I suppose that was really the best they could hope for. Neither of them is a spring chicken and both are up there in years. The last moments the elder Lili has, of sweet love with Malcolm evolving into some fun wordplay (which has consistently been good in this piece all around, the wordplay), and then something she see that Malcolm doesn’t … a bit of heat lightning.
You portray the way she just slowly drifts off quite well. I don’t know if that’s how it happens, I’ve never been in a situation like that, but I assume that’s pretty close to it. The soon to be departed seeing things that aren’t there (I see things that aren’t there all the time, should I be worried? ;) )and the strength leaving them. Lili went the way Doug did, much the same, and I feel that Q’s influence on events in the past (by him taking her there) played a part in the way she went. She left all the things and she bid Malcolm farewell, but was happily greeted by Doug and Kevin.
We should all be so lucky to go so peacefully, but Malcolm’s loss is felt here at the end. The piercing wail and the tears. He’s alone now. He’s lost his heart and his soul, his day and his night, and I don’t see him living much longer without her. I see him dying of heartbreak and heartache at the end, the kind of couple that just can’t see to go on without one another.
So, Q, what was the lesson here? Till death do us part? I’m curious to see how it ties it all back together.
It's about eternity.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 17:44 Title: Chapter 16
And we have the lessons continue here, with Q becoming the pupil once again. I’m enjoying how you’re letting these two teach one another about things. In this lesson, we have Q being taught about communications and working a kitchen is, perhaps, one of the more communicative areas of life. Kitchens are a hectic somewhat chaotic place. I’ve worked a few at a few events, and as rewarding as it was to me it was also quite stressful and exhausting. Lili is still at it, even in her 80s, which is impressive all things considered, and she’s preparing a very important meal … the 30 year anniversary of the founding of the Federation.
The way the elder Lili and Brian explain the meaning of each and every item in their salad is appreciated (as I wouldn’t have known lettuce from one world or another) and how she gets across the message, once again, that communicating in different ways-whether through food or lovemaking (or both if someone is really good) is necessary to foster individualism, to foster love, to become more human.
Which Q desperately wants the Continuum to be and he wants to take the quick way to that end by mating with Janeway. But it’s more than just DNA, it’s about culture … it’s about an environment that promotes such things and right now there is no such environment in the Continuum.
To begin to make such an environment, Lili is gonna start small: one couple to serve as an example so Q and lady Q (or Joy here) are going to have to be the pathfinders I feel.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 17:24 Title: Chapter 15
Well, Lili rightly lays into Q for showing Doug’s end. She didn’t HAVE to see that but I agree with Qs reasoning, to a point, that life isn’t pleasant and seeing future events might temper her response, perhaps even blunt the pain. Q wasn’t doing it to be a dick, far from it, he did insist the child stay and Lili accounts for this after she gets done raging against him.
Q changes strategies here and shows her a happy scene, one in which the day is quite joyful for her. She marries Malcolm, finally, and I’m happy the two of them get together after such a long time being only for each other during nights. Yes, they’re both of advanced age, but love is ageless, as they say. The vows exchanged hit the right spots for me, including the acknowledgment of Doug and his contribution to the process. Yes, he was kinda an obstacle there for Malcolm for awhile but the two ended up becoming close friends. Malcolm has assumed his duties in Doug’s absence.
It’s good to see this and good to see Q is valuing Lili’s opinions so far. He’s at war, and he’s not doing this strictly out of the love that she refers to … maybe out of the love for his species. I don’t know for sure but certainly, he wants his cause to succeed.
Q is finding that there might be some value to what she's saying after all - and that just warring isn't solving the Continuum's problems one whit.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 17:05 Title: Chapter 14
Q. Hard truths to come by, he seems to be teaching her lessons now rather than the other way around. Taking her to see Doug, in his final moments, to drive home the point that comfort need not just be given to children when changing diapers (which, hey Q, you’re 100 percent right about is a nasty thing) but can also be given to adults in their final moments. Watching Doug and Melisa here, you know what’s coming and so does Lili. But, as Q says, it’s inevitable. It’s a hard truth for humans to comprehend that, some day, those we love most will die. And we will be without them.
That truth is thrown right into Lili’s tear stained face here as we watch Doug go down (hey, he was talking about getting active later anyway) with Melisa by his side. Melisa’s desperation at keeping Doug fighting, at keeping him alive, is all too apparent here but Doug seems to know this is it. Modern medical tech may have saved him, maybe, but Doug was done.
You portrayed his final moments rather poignantly and him, seeing the bridge, seeing it filled with people he didn’t know but then a few very important ones he did (notably Kevin) was both sad and happy. He went on to a place where he had company.
And at the end, he did die with Lili’s name on his lips … because she was there and he perceived that in his final moments.
I write the MU and the prime universe as being rather intimately entwined. Maybe it's Lili he sees. Maybe it's Charlotte.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 16:52 Title: Chapter 13
Oh, poor Captain Archer. He’s definitely feeling the sting of regret and envy here. He wishes he could have committed to Deb and the happiness and togetherness she has and that’s a fine wish. Some people aren’t meant for it but I hope he did find that at some point in his life. You capture the regret and envy here well … it’s something I wish no one had to feel but we’re human: we all feel this eventually.
We get Q fast forwarding to the future once again and once more we find him taking Lili to see one of her two beaus, this time Malcolm. Malcolm’s quarters and ship are nice, I’m thinking it’s a Dadealus class by its registry. Seeing him give that speech and admit to his crew that the nature of his relationship doesn’t conform to what most humans would see as “normal” was heartwarming to me. He didn’t hide from it, he wasn’t ashamed of it, he didn’t push it to the side, he faced his crew and the people he was going to get to know and he told the truth. He wasn’t bashful about it and he wasn’t ashamed of it, it was his family.
It was really cool to see Declan’s various paintings around and they were described very well. I’m a bit saddened though that Malcolm didn’t stay at home and stay with Declan … he seems to indicate that Doug was the man in the boy’s life, as he indicated would be the case upon Declan’s birth but I had hoped two years with the baby would have changed that feeling in him.
Even Archer himself admits that togetherness, happiness of that sort, is really final frontier. The coordinates of it are hard to find and harder still to plot, but Malcolm did find them … it seems though that he’s fine with it. If he is, all the better for him.
There are influences on Declan that Malcolm probably didn't realize were happening at the time, and they mainly are going to come from Doug.
In another story, the Bluebird is a doomed ship in a lost cause. Here, it's hopeful. The DC was for DC Fontana; I wanted a ship between the NX-01 and its first successor, and the eventual Pike Enterprise. I'm not much of a ship designer, but this one is set up to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone, mainly.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 16:23 Title: Chapter 12
Well, an interesting example Q brings forth here from the future. Responsibility a parent has to his family, to his children, and how that’s going to factor in any conversation about breeding. Qs right, starting a family is inherent with responsibilities and you have to be prepared for that. You have to accept that and understand that, when it comes to priorities, you have to put around you at the top of the list.
But Q seems to miss the bulk of this point and instead focuses on the big gestures that Doug uses to convince Uhura (relation to canon? Seems likely) to stand down from the horrible course of action he’s thinking of taking. Q has already tried big gestures (well, big to us humans but not to him, I imagine he can do bigger and better) and Lili is right that, ultimately it’s the little things that add up to make grand gestures. It’s not something done in one moment but something done in many moments, something done over time.
I’m very much enjoying the philosophical and deep discussion you’re presenting here on a number of fronts. This is a story that makes me think and I like thinking this deep. It takes skill to bring up these themes and not beat the reader over the head with it but rather let the story take a natural course.
Oh, I'm glad.
I studied philosophy lo these many years ago, and was always dying to add it to a story. Fortune is that story.
The scenes with Uhura are, in part, Doug defends his personal choices, and also speaks for opening up your heart to the differences among people, despite their species. Ultimately, anyone who's sentient cares about the future, about their own personal fortunes. And that usually leads to caring about family, whether it's your own or the greater family of man.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 16:00 Title: Chapter 11
Oh, Q. You are a clever dog, you. Using your powers to heal Lili up and then turn her much younger … well, that’s a pro move. I’m pretty sure every guy in existence was like “Damn, I wish I had those powers!” because it would make things so much easier … at least it seems to.
But Lili rightly points out that for some, not all women mind you, a few cosmetic changes and some bribery won’t get them to get in bed with you. Q wants a lesson in the beginning stages of romance and Lili, who seems to be warming up to him, is nice enough to give him that lesson. The musical choice is inspired and adds a lot to the scene. The way your portray the two dancing about, cheek to cheek, with Q as stiff as a junior high math geek (I may have just insulted myself) in his movements was quite entertaining and made me grin.
Ultimately, the lesson imparted here is that, yes, some physical contact can lead to making love but doesn’t necessarily mean that the two parties are in love. Q seems to be having difficulty grasping this but I think Lili is beginning to crack through that denseness Q has. Here’s hoping he takes some lessons from her as she’s quite adept at giving them.
Oh, thank you!
Junior high math geek - I hadn't thought of that, and now I can't stop.
I wrote this story a few years ago and - if I may egotistically point it out - my fave line is - "Smile, this isn't a root canal." ;)
Date: 01 Jun 2013 15:50 Title: Chapter 10
Ah, you continue to brilliantly weave in the episodes here. Now we see Q trying all the things Lili is suggesting (proving that he can be in two places at once) and we have him trying his damnest to win Kathryn Janeway’s heart. Unfortunately, Q lacks patience and isn’t content to sit around and wait for things to run their course as far as the conversation is concerned. He’s going to go and do things.
Reminds me of Doug and, speaking of him, he and Malcolm return and dish on what’s going on out there. Norri giving Malcolm a lesson in how not to show kids things they don’t need was good of her, considering Malcolm knows little about children and how to keep some things from them. He seems of the mind that there’s really no point in hiding things from them but, Malcolm, as you’re discover some things kids just don’t need to know.
Back to the very well played out conversation between Q and Lili about hooking up and how love isn’t necessarily required but definitely makes things better. Deeper. Q is pretty sure that he just needs to properly impress Janeway enough to get in bed with him but Lili’s right, there has to be some mutual interest there.
One more thing I’d like to add I forgot to last chapter: Travis and Phlox and their conversation about children, about the consequences children must face. Phlox is right to point out that kids don’t ask to be born and shouldn’t be seen as being “trouble” or causing any sort of harm. Travis’ situation with Jennifer nicely parallels what happened with Doug and Melisa down the line: both couple had relations, both were gifted children that ultimately didn’t make it because of circumstances out of their control (I’m giving Jennifer the benefit of the doubt here). That was well done in my view.
Thank you - I wanted all points of view to be present here. You stay together. You don't. You keep things going. They go. They don't. And on and on.
Yes, Q acts a bit like Doug here - the doer, not the talker. But Q can't just swoop in, and he kinda knows that, too. After all, if he didn't think that, he wouldn't be asking for advice, or trying to court Kathryn. He would have already moved on.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 15:34 Title: Chapter 9
Well, Lili does as I expected her to do: try and bargain with Q to get little Kevin to live. She is the selfless sort and the interplay between the two is just golden. Q seemingly does his best work when talking about these types of things with humans … tackling these bigger and grander themes. It’s nice of him to be able to do this here, even if the mystery he’s tackling is one that we, as humans, don’t quite seem to get ourselves.
Malcolm and Doug head back up to the house while that’s going on and discover that this storm, this twister, is not the kind that happens naturally. Snow? Blue skies behind it? Yeah, this is weird but at least they can get food and stuff to bring back down. The situation is not immediately threatening and that’s a good thing for them.
But it could get immediately threatening if Q doesn’t get his answers. Once Lili understands that Kevin’s death is part of the timeline and unpreventable (I disagree, Q, the future is not yet written!) he still wants her to explain what’s going on. Even after he drops the bombshell that Doug dies of natural causes and she remarries to Malcolm (good for them both). I hope, really, that she can manage to give Q some answers because that storm over the house makes me nervous. As it well should make Lili the same.
Lili's participation is not fully voluntary, and Q knows this, so he is essentially holding her captive in all of this. He demands his answers, and she won't give them to him, so he's going to - in his own way - force her hand.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 15:21 Title: Chapter 8
Wow, okay … well, we do have dark Q here, don’t we? He’s really driving hard this time. He whisks Lili into the future to see a very aged Doug and an equally aged and tired Melisa, both suffering from some serious heartache. Baby Kevin … conceived when both were at an advanced age, already fighting the odds on that front, is born with a number of defects. I see Q’s point here all too clearly … why didn’t they stop? Why didn’t Doug or Melisa get it medical taken care of so this wouldn’t happen?
This is one of those horrible questions that you have to consider … is a child born like this, destined to die in weeks time, one you should have? Is that the humane thing to do, the right thing to do? Love made this possible but was it right to begin with? Medical tech at that time diagnosed him with what he was going to suffer from. They had ample opportunity to end it … but they saw it through.
Despite the suffering of poor little Kevin, they did what I would have done. They gave life a chance and that’s all you can do. The actions you took produced this life and you have to give it a chance, at the very least one chance, to let it live. To give it a shot in the dark that maybe, against all odds, it somehow survives. It happens in this day and I imagine it happens in their day too.
But it was still painful to read about and it was still sad to watch unfold. Lili might be quite shaken by this, I don’t know, but given that she knows the future now I wonder if she’ll tell Doug and Melisa. That seems like the right thing to do, to spare them the pain, but wouldn’t she just be denying little Kevin that chance? The future isn’t written in stone, as much as Q would like us to believe it is … rough stuff. Tough choices. All while that ominous funnel cloud hangs over her house and her loved ones, preparing to drop down on them.
What’s Q’s play here?
Kevin is ... he plays a role. But yeah, it's harsh.
One thing I disliked about later Trek (later in the canon timeline, that is) is that a lot of things are so damned easy. And our lives are so not like that. Innocent infants live and die; people are separated. The world is lovely but it is an imperfect place. Kevin's fortune is not so bright, it seems.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 15:04 Title: Chapter 7
AHHHHHH, It’s Q! Oh, I do love a good Q story and here we are, embarking an adventure that just begs for Q. He’s up to his usual tricks, popping in a captain’s uniform, and making people nervous with his powers. You’ve got his “I’m annoyed but totally curious about some things” tone down and you did nicely weaving this together with “The Q and the Grey”. Having Q come here asking Lili about love and all the romantic dynamics that are going on in her life is cool idea. I mean, if you’re gonna ask anyone about love then why not ask the woman who’s loved by two men, shares her husband with another woman and her wife … it’s a intricate, confusing thing even for a Q it seems.
Back at the house, we see people getting tense and nervous, particularly Doug who’s antsy behavior might send Melissa into labor or cause a panic with the children. Malcolm’s right to point out that Doug needs to take his own advice and just chill … after all, if starts breaking down the who exactly is gonna be there to help keep things together? Malcolm’s capable in battle situations but this is not a battle.
And who is Kevin and what poor child of his dies soon? This has dark, ominous Q all over it.
Yes, indeed. And .. Kevin .. next chapter.