Category Archives: Emergence series

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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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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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 – Third Worth More Than First

Review – Third Worth More Than First

Third Worth More Than First? Maybe so.
Third Worth More Than First

Background

Third Worth More Than First was a Daranaean story written by FalseBill when I ‘accidentally on purpose’ allowed others to play in my universes.

Plot

FalseBill went with the idea of a second, failed contact between humans and Daranaeans, and he decided it would end in a tragedy. In February of 2160, the Columbia makes second contact with the Daranaeans. And as a result, the hierarchy of Daranaean wives ends up costing that species a ship and everyone on board it. Because the third caste female has no say in what is going on, her wise counsel ends up being ignored. Much like slaves and other submissives, no one gives a damn about anything she has to say. And as a result, the Daranaeans all lose their lives.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Because the Daranaeans really have to be written in a particular fashion, I do not get too excited when anyone gets them ‘wrong’. After all, the hierarchy and the complexity of their relationships can prove daunting to even me. And I’m the one who created that species in the first place. Furthermore, the concept is sound, that a third caste female would be ignored and that could have tragic consequences. My main quibble is that it breaks my own fan fiction ‘canon’, seeing as the second contact technically comes from Take Back the Night.

However, if I see the story as taking place after Take Back the Night, then the timeline works out.  Again, the Daranaeans are really a particular species to write, and I am pleased that FalseBill took the chance and tried to write them.

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Portrait of a Character – Kathalia

Portrait of a Character – Kathalia

Kathalia came about as a counter to Thessa. Not all Daranaean Prime Wives would live as passive-aggressive villainesses.

Kathalia
Image of Italian greyhound dog as Kathalia (image is provided for educational purposes only).

Origins

Because wealthy Daranaean men marry three women, the Emergence stories need a ton of female characters. Furthermore, I loved the euphony of this name, a kind of mix of Katherine or Kathleen and Thalia.

Portrayal

Like the vast majority of Daranaean characters, Kathalia isn’t really ‘played’ by anybody.

Personality

Bubbly, beautiful, and maybe a little overly privileged, Kathalia might have it too easy. Yet that constitutes precisely the idea, that Prime Wives get all of the perks. However, she also has a kind heart, and includes her half-sister, the secondary, Morza, when visiting Cria and in all of her other activities.

Relationships

Trinning

Trinning loves all three of his wives equally, and it shows. While Jamae loved him first, he gives Kathalia and even his third case wife her due. A model of how a loving Daranaean home really should be, Trinning gives this lovely character a truly wonderful life.

Mirror Universe

There exist no impediments to Kathalia existing in the Mirror. Daranaeans don’t have the Y Chromosome Skew, but she probably would not receive different treatment at all. A Prime Wife would do well on either side of the pond.

Quote

“Humans? How interesting. My father says they fought together with us when he battled the Klingons. I am sure they helped him. I should thank them for keeping Father safe.”

Upshot

Delicate Daranaean beauties who can cook will always have advantages. And if they’re also Prime Wives, then the deck is stacked rather heavily in their favor.

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Portrait of a Character – Crita

Portrait of a Character – Crita

Crita, another female Daranaean artist character, should remind the reader of Inta II.

Crita

Origins

Because I love the Daranaeans so much, I wanted to bring at least one into the new Barnstorming series. Crita also carries through the idea of Inta II. Crita, being born later, has more independence.

Portrayal

Crita, unlike most Daranaean characters, has an attached actor (because she has so much screen time). So she is played by actress Mary-Kate Olsen.

Personality

A bit slight and timid, Crita still ends up being one of the more assertive female Daranaean characters I have ever written. And that is by design. Crita’s main advantage comes from being born later than Inta II, etc. Crita has experienced a Daranaean alliance with the United Federation of Planets her entire life. Hence she has always had the right to vote, for example.

Relationships

Senjarus

Much like happens with arranged marriages today, I wanted the character to have a limited choice of suitors but at least not just have one foisted upon her. Her overly eager parents would want a good match for her, and one part of that would be wealth. Of the three suitors, Senjarus does not win the wealth sweepstakes. Instead, she chooses him because he seems to value her artwork in a way that his two competitors simply do not.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to this character existing in the Mirror. Daranaeans don’t have the Y Chromosome Skew, but she probably would not be treated any better.

Quote

“I do. It’s probably got more to do with me being unmarried than anything else. Daranaean men aren’t generally fond of third caste females who are anything but submissive all the time.”

Upshot

Because the Barnstorming series is on hold, and it doesn’t look like I will ever finish it, poor Crita has been more or less abandoned. And that’s unfortunate, as I do like the little puppy girl.

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Review – Hearts in Time

Review – Hearts in Time

Hearts in Time was born from a collaboration between me and trekfan.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Take Back the Night | Hearts in Time
Take Back the Night

Background

trekfan and I decided his character, Hank Harrison, would go on a blind date with one of my characters. Being the silly gal that I am, I paired him up with a Daranaean, Inta II.

Plot

Hank is looking for love and to start a family. Inta is looking mainly for someone ‘to be kind’. She is a secondary Daranaean female, so she has some privileges, but they are just not enough. Since this story ends up taking place before her admission to Oxford, her art is a kind of unrequited love in her life.

Hank is taken aback at the look of his blind date. At least she is humanoid, but otherwise he just plain cannot wrap his head around dating her. But they have a good chat and manage to enjoy each other’s brief company. They even give each other a little advice before they part.

Along with determining that Inta is an artist, I also learned, for the first time, what a Daranaean kiss is like. It’s the tiniest of licks, much like we would get from a real live puppy.

Story Postings

Hearts in Time on Ad Astra

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

This was the first time I had ever written Inta II as an adult. And it was also the first time she became an artist. It was a great find, and that led directly to her attending Oxford with Declan Reed.

We wrote the story in a chat, and it all went down rather quickly. If I were writing it again, I would probably spend some time outside of chat. Furthermore, I think we would have done better to have allowed for some time to elapse and for some editing. But it is a decent story, and it is certainly, on balance, a rather sweet one.

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Review – Advice from My Universes to Yours

Review – Advice from My Universes to Yours

Advice for all! Well, kinda.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Advice From My Universes to Yours
Advice From My Universes to Yours

Background

As a holiday gift, I decided to put together a number of disparate characters. Since these are characters of my own invention, I could and did have them say nearly anything. The idea would be to act as a kind of helpful team but with the same quirkiness a reader might have come to expect.

Plot

Six characters land in some odd place. And for sharp-eyed readers, they might recognize a similarity to The Puzzle. This was deliberate, as I wanted a storyline similar to Travis‘s. Furthermore, I have far better writing skills than I did then. Hence I felt this would be a better story, and I believe that to be the case.

Background

When Jay and Lili (in the prime timeline), Dratha, Eriecho, Levi, and Branch land, they have no idea what is in store for them.  Because this takes place more or less right after Penicillin, Jay is still rather gruff but he’s trying. For Levi and Branch, this is later in their timelines. Eriecho is already on Mars. And Dratha’s husband, Arnis, is already incarcerated.

Serious Help

The characters then proceed to help out ten characters created by others. The first is kes7’s John Quigley, who gets help (sort of) in his love triangle. Then Bethany Reeves (trekfan’s character) is up, and the characters talk to her about her parents separating in one of the few serious vignettes. The next caller is Jessica St. Peter (Templar Sora’s character), and the so-called experts kind of, sort of, help her with asserting authority.

Not So Serious Help

For Andrew Corrigan (SLWalker’s character), it’s all about how to spend his first date with Abby (I managed to get in a sushi as bait joke).  Aurellan Markalis (Enterprise1981’s character) also has a problem with a date but it was probably, the advisers agree, for the best that it ended early. Srena (CeJay’s character) comes up next. She is told how to create a calming ritual to help her get to sleep at night.

Mysterious Help

Then Jasto Dax (CaptainSarine’s character) calls. While most of the group doesn’t even know what a Trill is, Dratha provides good information about how to essentially pick your battles. She tells him not to answer every single summons. The next caller is Dr. Veronica West (thebluesman’s character); she learns she should become more creative. Then Spock calls (while this is a canon character, the gift was for littleblackdog) about a canon situation, the end of the TOS episode, Requiem for Methuselah. The last caller is Emmylou Galyaski (FalseBill’s character). She talks about mourning her late husband and, in their own odd ways, the so-called experts help, at least a bit.

Departures

Then it’s time to leave. Dratha volunteers to go first as it looks dangerous. Eriecho leaves next. Jay and Lili leave together and she touches his arm. Then Branch and Levi depart, and the following graffiti is shown:

As the last of the reluctant travelers/advisors departs, the room disappears and is swallowed into the vast vacuum of space, leaving but one final thought.

 Happy holidays across all galaxies, all timelines, all universes and all realities.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I liked showing off the weird characters and trying to get them to work together. As a bonus, I was able to cross over just a little bit with others’ works.

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Review – Eight

Review – Eight

Eight was a labor of love.

Background

So this is a mixed bag of stories intended to fill in a few small gaps and inconsistencies or untold stories. And the truth is, I was most likely the only person who ever noticed or gave a damn about these little untold moments or inconsistent bits. No problem. Because it is always important to keep writing. Hence I was able to do so with this small set of exercises. Furthermore, it may serve as an introduction to my work for some people.

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

As a gift for the Chanukah holiday (to myself), I decided to write eight little family-centric stories taking place within my various universes. The various characters would interact, or not, but the main idea was for each story to be related to family somehow.

Plot

So even in the future, and regardless of species, it is all about family. Home and hearth abide, even in space.

Hence the stories cover In Between Days, the E2 timeline, the Daranaean Emergence series, the Eriecho series, The Times of the HG Wells, Hold Your Dominion, and there is also a second HG Wells story which focuses on Levi Cavendish and Otra D’Angelo. Hence this story brought together a number of somewhat disparate timelines and casts in order to give a reader some perspective on what I write.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Unfortunately, I am not so sure if anyone can relate to this series of stories as well as I can. Hence maybe they’re more like inside jokes? I don’t know.

These stories. And these worlds. Plus these timelines. And the same number of universes. And in all of them, home and hearth abide.

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Recurrent Themes – Childcare Workers

Recurrent Themes – Childcare Workers

Background

While regular ships generally don’t have children on them, generational ships most certainly do.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Childcare Workers

For all of those times when someone had to look after a kid, there are some similar threads that run through my fanfiction.

I am not including the Daranaeans here, mainly because their acts of childcare are generally a part of parenthood and not as unrelated professionals.

Appearances

Maria Elena Torres Archer

In Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, Maria Elena, daughter of Lili and José, steps in when Victoria is killed.

Beth Cutler (Mirror Universe only)

When Reversal begins, Beth has the unenviable position of babysitter to the Empress Hoshi Sato‘s lone royal brat, Jun.  Without being able to escape, Rick Daniels eventually reveals Beth would have been the first person killed by Jun.

Victoria Dietrich

Part teacher and part babysitter, Vicki cares for the children during Entanglements and The Three of Us, eventually giving some of the babysitter duties over to others.

Aidan MacKenzie (Mirror Universe only)

After the conclusion of Reversal, Aidan is tasked with siring the Empress’s second son, Kira, and is also made to become the royal babysitter. Embarrassed, catcalled, and humiliated, Aidan lays low for the most part. With Chip, he gets a small degree of revenge in Brown. But in Gilded Cage, the Empress essentially gets him back by placing him under house arrest. In the alternate timelines in Temper, and in the correct timeline in He Stays a Stranger, it’s revealed Aidan stayed on as the sitter although, as the children grew up, he became one of their only de facto parents, along with Susan. Susan is never really a sitter and instead is a skilled teacher, even in the Mirror Universe and even during alternate timelines.

Ethan Shapiro (alternate timeline only)

During Entanglements, after Ethan‘s suicide attempt, he can no longer adequately perform tactical duties. As he recovers, he becomes capable of working with the Quartermaster, Sekar Khan, and also performing some minor babysitter duties. This only happens during The Three of Us and not during Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.

José Torres (alternate timeline only)

As Ethan recovers, José becomes his roommate, and takes on babysitting duties as a means of trying to attract female attention. As with Ethan Shapiro’s connection to childcare, this only happens during The Three of Us and not during Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.

Upshot

Childcare is of course still needed in the future, and I’m pleased and proud that it’s a profession tackled by any gender.

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