All posts by jespah

Shuttlepod pilot, fan fiction writer, sentient marsupial canid.

Portraits of Characters – The World War II Soldiers

Portraits of Characters – The World War II Soldiers

World War II Soldiers? What do they have to do with Star Trek fan fiction? More than you might think.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Day of the Dead | World War II Soldiers

Origins

As a part of Day of the Dead, Tripp Tucker ends up in 1945 Bavaria as a result of a spatial and temporal interphase. So this anomaly dumps him into the United States Army, poised to liberate the Dachau concentration camp. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that three of the women who are liberated are Noemy and Milena Chelenska, along with their neighbor, Mrs. Klinghofer. However, this post concerns the soldiers Tucker meets. Of course, they all think he’s Chuck McBride, the man he displaced.

So those soldiers are Stanislaus Kuzawa, Tony Martinelli, Sergeant Randall McCoy, and Brendan O’Shaughnessy. I’ve already blogged about Herbie Shapiro, the most developed character of the bunch.

Portrayals

Stanislaus Kuzawa is played by Romanian actor Dragos Bucur. As much as Day of the Dead, at times, resembles old World War II films, I wanted the actors to be of ethnicities that closely resembled (if not matched) those of their characters.

World War II Soldiers

However, I reversed myself for the next role. Because Tony Martinelli is played by Christian Slater. Yet that’s more because of the Trek connection than anything else.

World War II Soldiers

Sergeant McCoy may not be played by an Irish actor, but the actor, Tom Berenger, certainly has played a soldier before (although the war was Vietnam and not WWII).

World War II Soldiers

Finally, Brendan O’Shaughnessy gets an Irish actor who has played a soldier – and he was even one of several World War II Soldiers in Saving Private RyanMatt Damon.

World War II Soldiers

Personalities

First of all, Stanislaus Kuzawa comes across as more of a jokester than the others.

Tony Martinelli recognizes the horror. However, he doesn’t do anything about it.

Sergeant Randall McCoy ends up an efficient killer, only following orders.

Brendan O’Shaughnessy also comes across as somewhat apathetic.

Relationships

None of the fellows have any known relationships.

Mirror Universe

Any of the guys could exist in the Mirror.

First of all, Stanislaus Kuzawa could take a different tack in life and be more of a family man.

World War II Soldiers

Tony Martinelli could even be religious, although MU religion might be more like televangelism than monasteries.

World War II Soldiers

Because a violent form of baseball exists in the Mirror, Sergeant Randall McCoy could conceivably play.

World War II Soldiers

Finally, Brendan might be an assassin.

World War II Soldiers

Quotes

Stanislaus Kuzawa: “That’s why there’s war brides. You shoulda chatted ‘em up, McBride. Nice young girls, maybe too young, but you bring ‘em to the states, and they learn English, and they get jobs like, like secretaries or somethin’. Or they marry some guy like, like Herbie here.”

Tony Martinelli: Something’s not right. It feels like things just changed, big time. And not for the better.”

Sergeant McCoy: “And all of those people here, all these bodies? You did see all those bodies, right? And you know why it smells like burning skin here? Do you know why, Private? McBride, we found crematoria. I guess they threw the bodies in there but it wouldn’t shock me if living people were sometimes tossed in as well. I, I don’t know what justice is, I guess. And maybe I never will. But I dare anybody who wasn’t here to say that this didn’t happen. It did. And I was here. And I will knock the block offa anyone who ever says differently. Call me what you like, but if we were here tomorrow and not today, you know what woulda happened? Do ya?”

Finally, Brendan O’Shaughnessy: “You know what that is. How can you know what that is? Ain’t nobody seen inside any of these camps, right?”

Upshot

For one-shot characters, these guys have a depth to them. However, I have no way to really write more about them. A pity.

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Review – Milk

Review – Milk

Milk is one of those stories which feels just a little bit too naughty. I mean, it’s a cartoon. But it feels a tad too much, as I look back on it these days. For this short story, actually, is a few years old. I have improved and changed as a writer since then – a lot.

Background

The prompt was to write a crossover story. I went with TOS and TAS, just to be different.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Milk
Milk

So the story, told from Scotty’s point of view, is about him getting ready for a date with a newer crew member. She is friendly and pretty and he is a lonely, kind of awkward guy. Furthermore, he admits he can’t quite understand what she would possibly see in a guy like him. And that works out a bit with the canon character, at least in The Original Series. Scotty does not get a lot of chances for romance (Mira Romaine is one such chance, as I recall). But usually he is just called on to be the miracle worker and that’s that. It is not until the films where he gets a romantic interest, and that person is none other than Nyota Uhura.

Maybe that’s even weirder than this story.

In addition, I had not realized that, in the Animated Series, this kind of a relationship was explored a little bit. However, it was not like this, as Scotty is having thoughts which are definitely not for children on a Saturday morning!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

Finally, for Scotty, often seen as a ‘eunuch in a tunic’, I wanted him to have some sexiness in his life. At the very  least, I hope that came across!

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Spotlight on Bicoulamine

Spotlight on Bicoulamine

Bicoulamine, a wholly original drug, needs to be explored more.
Bicoulamine

Background

As a part of the plot of Multiverse II, the collapsed American government needed addicted soldiers to fight. And Coulamine proved to be a great invention, the ‘candy’ pacifying the masses. As I had written them, humans of the post-World War III time period would do just about anything to get their hands on the ‘candy’. They would go without sex, shelter, food, or water, all in the name of just another fix. Furthermore, they would fight as soldiers. However, they still had a small measure of free will, aptly demonstrated by Rita Spinelli. Rita’s breaking of her addiction meant others could do so as well, if they only had enough will, and someone to help them through it. This was one of the reasons why she tried so hard to help Seymour Sonia break his own addiction to the stuff.

However, because I had already created and used my Tricoulamine (a fatal nerve gas) in the Intolerance story, that begged the question: what had existed in between the two chemical compounds, and covered the time period from around 2053 to 2158? Hence I came up with a truly twisted drug which would not pacify the masses. Instead, it turned them into homicidal psychopaths. That had the capacity to make for some really wild writing. However, because the story was never completed, Bicoulamine never really lived up to its fullest potential.

Upshot

While the drug turned out to be a really good idea, I did not get a chance to truly explore it. Hence I feel there is a lot more to tell about Bicoulamine and the post-World War III American landscape.

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Portrait of a Character – Varelle

Portrait of a Character – Varelle

Varelle came about as a means of kicking off the queasy feeling you should get when reading The Cure is Worse than the Disease.

Varelle
Scottish Wolfhound puppy representing Varelle (image is presented for educational purposes only).

Origins

First of all, Varelle is a medical character, and he is one of the first Daranaeans ever seen. Furthermore, his refusal to treat an ill Libba (because she is a second caste female) sets not only the plot of The Cure is Worse than the Disease in motion, it also helps to set off the entire Emergence series. Hence, by definition, Varelle is a rather important character.

Portrayal

As is the case with nearly all Daranaean characters, no one really ‘plays’ Dr. Varelle.

Personality

Overly superior and more than a little bit smug, the doctor won’t sully his furry hands treating the lower classes. Just like with Thessa, his behavior helps to really drive the point of the plot home. He is less of a healer and more like one of those people who gets into medicine solely for the purpose of making a lot of money.

Relationships

Dr. Varelle has no known relationships. However, like any other wealthy Daranaean male, he would take a wife from each of the three castes.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to this character existing in the Mirror. Daranaeans don’t have the Y Chromosome Skew. However, a doctor could potentially have cachet and be able to afford three wives.

Quote

“Well, she was purchased for nine hundred and thirty Stonds. As for the other one, well; you get what you pay for.”

Upshot

Finally, this character works well and has no redemption like Dr. Rechal does in Flight of the Bluebird. Why? Because some people just plain stay evil.

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Review – Revved Up

Review – Revved Up

Revved Up rocks.

Because I have more or less run out of (completed) Star Trek fan fiction to blog about, I would like to introduce some of my wholly original fiction to this blog. I hope the insights will prove fruitful or at least interesting.

Background

Revved Up - Barking Up the Muse Tree
Revved Up

This story started because I had stayed at my childhood home and noticed something odd in the front yard. And the truth is, it was nearly nothing. However, I sometimes have an overactive imagination, and so I took this idea and I ran with it.

What did I notice? It was only a few ruts near a flower bed. They were nothing, really, and were most likely made by a hoe or a rake. However, in my mind, I decided they would be tire tracks. And then the fun started.

Plot

A holier than thou narrator tells the story to an unnamed police officer. The plot circles around the narrator’s elderly parents’ next-door neighbors. And the narrator refers to them as the POJ Family. That is, the “Pair of Jerks”.

As the story progresses, our narrator gets more and more self-righteous as the POJ Family continues to perform more and more outrageous acts in her parents’ sleepy, leafy Northern New Jersey suburban street (Note: my folks live on Long Island and they don’t even live in the inspiration house any more).

Sharp-eyed readers should be able to follow along at least in part. The narrator keeps a lot of information close to the vest, so it pays, actually, to read the book again. And no, I’m not trying to inflate read counts.

Story Postings

The story’s sole posting is on Wattpad, where it was named a Featured Story a few years ago.

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

This story has had better traction than nearly anything I have ever written. With (as of the time of the writing of this blog post) over 54,000 reads and over 400 comments (many of which referenced that surprise ending), Revved Up remains an unqualified success.  Of course having Featured Story status helped a great deal.

Could I sell it? I have toyed with that idea, but the story is so odd and it’s really too short for a novel. Plus it does not really lend itself to a sequel. While sequels are far from necessary, it helps if that’s an option.

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Progress Report – October 2017

Progress Report – October 2017

October 2017 was another slow month as I had a ton of preparatory work to do for NaNoWriMo, I wanted to do more original writing anyway, and work clobbered me. But by the way, Happy Halloween (AKA Declan‘s birthday)!

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | October 2017
First of all, on Wattpad, I posted Shake Your Body. And I also submitted Atlas for a contest.

And on Fanfiction.net, I posted the end of He Stays a Stranger and started Deep Future, which is the post-Stranger H. G. Wells stories. Since the Wells series is winding down there, I am starting to think about the E2 stories, as they are always fun to write and post. The stories in Deep Future start with It’s Not Really a Reset if you remember it and then The Sweetest Universe and then Eight.

Finally, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing as that has never hit a resolution so there is no place to post fan fiction there anymore. And I strongly suspect that that will be the case for the duration.

Milestones

So see the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

In addition, I worked on some short stories, kind of throwaway fiction tidbits for a possible future writer newsletter. Because if I do start an author newsletter, I am going to need a ton of content and a lot of ways to save time.

Prep Work

Plus I spent time getting the Mettle wiki together for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Furthermore, I spent time working with beta readers on The Real Hub of the Universe. I also edited The Real Heart of the Universe.  Furthermore, I continued to plan out the final work in the trilogy, which might be called The Real Honor of the Universe. It is weird that even I don’t know that!

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Oh God, it was work, work, and more work. So I barely got a breather.

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Portrait of a Character – Thessa

Portrait of a Character – Thessa

Thessa came about as an alien version of the quintessential spoiled, rich hausfrau.

Thessa
Scottish Wolfhound puppy representing Thessa (image is presented for educational purposes only).

Origins

When I first started writing The Cure is Worse than the Disease, I knew I wanted for there to be three wives in a wealthy Daranaean man’s marriage. The secondary, Libba, would end up as the focus of the piece, and the third caste female, Cama, would be little better than a slave. But what could I do with the Prime Wife? In order to create a contrast, this character originally came about as a means of sickening the reader. The idea worked, and the character fulfills her purpose well.

Portrayal

Like nearly all Daranaean characters, no one really ‘plays’ Thessa.

Personality

Imperious, haughty, and privileged, Thessa shows her true colors and bullies Libba and Cama into doing her bidding. However, that’s business as usual for Daranaean Prime Wives. When I came up with the idea of Thessa ordering everyone around, and even clapping her furry hands, and openly and crassly bragging about her price, the image was complete.

Relationships

Thessa’s only possible relationship is with Elemis.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Thessa existing in the Mirror. Daranaeans don’t have the Y Chromosome Skew, but she probably would not be treated any differently. A Prime Wife would be sitting pretty in either universe.

Quote

“I was very expensive.”

Upshot

This character ended up being a huge reason why The Cure is Worse than the Disease works so well. While I do redeem her a bit in Flight of the Bluebird, the truth is that she is meant to be hard to like.

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Review – Multiverse II

Review – Multiverse II

Multiverse II was a great round robin that, unfortunately, we never finished.
Multiverse II

Background

First of all, Multiverse II came about as the denizens of Ad Astra wanted to work on a round robin style story together. While the story got interested, complex, and convoluted, it was never really completed. However, it did give me some terrific insights into my own characters.

Plot

During the time period just after Shake Your Body, Branch Borodin, Levi Cavendish, and Otra D’Angelo and characters from other authors’ stories are called upon to save the universe.

Music

There was a ton of music in this one as everyone receives inspiration in their own way. However, rather than repeat it all, I’d like to just showcase the theme songs for my three characters.

Otra’s theme ended up as The Talking Heads’ Nothing But Flowers. While the flowers references obviously presents itself, I really loved the line, “I wish I had a lawnmower.” Furthermore, the song images a post-apocalytic time, and that is exactly where Otra finds herself.

In addition, Levi’s theme ended up as Wall of Voodoo’s Mexican Radio. Because his mind is a session of Google Chrome with 1,000 open tabs, a fast-moving number with hard to hear lyrics made the most sense.

However, for Branch Borodin, I went with Us3’s Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia). Branch can be hard to pin down, but jazzy and funky rhythms seem to fit the best.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I truly wish that Multiverse II had been completed. It held a ton of fascinating original ideas, and could have been truly epic. Hence it ended up as merely great. Which is not so bad, eh?

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Portrait of a Character – Rechal

Portrait of a Character – Rechal

Rechal worked well as a plot device in Take Back the Night and Flight of the Bluebird.

Rechal
Viszla representing Rechal (image is provided for educational purposes only).

Origins

Because Take Back the Night started off with Inta I’s death at the hands of Arnis, I needed a medical examiner. However, working directly with the coroner would have meant, perhaps, getting to the truth too quickly. Instead, I needed someone who Arnis could bribe with research funding. And then in Flight of the Bluebird, I needed for Trinning to have a colleague with an unsavory past who could be given discovery credit more readily than the steadfast Trava. This character fits the bill rather well for both purposes.

Portrayal

Like most Daranaean characters, no one really ‘plays’ Rechal.

Personality

Dedicated to medicine, but not above cutting a few corners, this character shows an unethical side when he accepts research funding in exchance for keeping quiet about Arnis’s role in Inta I’s death.

Relationships

Dr. Rechal has no known relationships. However, like any wealthy Daranaean male, he would take three wives, one from each caste.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Rechal existing in the Mirror. Daranaeans don’t have the Y Chromosome Skew, but a doctor could conceivably be wealthy and well-connected enough to take three wives.

Quote

“Very well. I will check right now. But if I find it was a boy child, well, you know the consequences.”

Upshot

While writing the Daranaean stories, one theme which emerges can be one of men being evil. And I didn’t want that. Hence, it was great to be able to allow Rechal some measure of redemption in Flight of the Bluebird. As a result, his sentence is commuted, whereas Arnis never gets out of prison.

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Review – Victory in Maine

Review – Victory in Maine

Victory in Maine came about quickly and with little thought.Victory in Maine

Background

Victory in Maine was written for Steff and takes place in her Arc of the Wolf series and universe. However, the truth is, these days I feel it ended up as a bit too flip. Furthermore, I was trying to be too clever by half and also provide a ‘cheer you up’ type of story rather than anything with any sort of a recognizable, coherent, consistent, or compelling plot. And that does not make for a good story at all.

Plot

So with very little plot, the story mainly centers around one of the few events I knew had happened in Steff’s timeline and in her universe – Corry and Scotty more or less just shooting the breeze. Furthermore, the prompt image felt kind of silly and I had to work within those confines.

Therefore, I learned one big lesson from this one: an odd prompt generally does not a good story make. In fact, while odd prompts may feel original and even clever, they just do not work well for decent story telling.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Because the prompt image really just weirded me out, I had very little to go on. Furthermore, some of that ended up being my own damned fault as I did not perform enough research on the characters or on Steff’s overall story line. While her own true story line interests and often dazzles, my own feels pale in comparison. While I do not hate this particular story, I also, most certainly, do not love it. Not one of my better efforts, not by a long shot.

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