Category Archives: Emergence series

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

Background

Review – Eight. Aw.

So this is a mixed bag of stories intended to fill in a few small gaps and inconsistencies or untold stories. 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. 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

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

Stories cover In Between Days, the E2 timeline, the Daranaean Emergence series, the Eriecho series, 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.

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. 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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Portrait of a Character – Trinning

Portrait of a Character – Trinning

Origins

The Daranaean Trinning started off as a teenaged boy, one of Mistra‘s children. In later stories, I realized I needed a doctor character, so he was elected. He also ended up sympathetic, a family man with a loving home life for all three of his wives.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Trinning
Stock image of Anubis

Daranaeans aren’t really ‘played’ by anyone. I see Trinning as looking a bit like a Doberman with uncropped ears. As an adult, I picture him as resembling the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis.

He could be a rather handsome Daranaean.

Personality

Kind, intelligent, and loving, Trinning sees curing Thylacine Paramyxovirus as being his life’s work. But he comes home to a rousing, loving family life, where he does his best to treat his three wives as equally as possible. Even his third caste wife is treated with dignity and respect.

Relationships

Kathalia

Trinning’s Prime Wife is a high class Daranaean woman, and is a daughter of Acreon, their war hero. Sharp-eyed readers will remember her from Some Assembly Required, and her father from Take Back the Night.  In Some Assembly, Kathalia shows a particularly enlightened attitude by referring to her half-sister Morza (who is a secondary female) as her sister and dropping the half- prefix.

Jamae

In Some Assembly Required, this secondary confesses to her friends that she thinks Trinning smells the best of any boy. In Flight of the Bluebird, he refers to her as his first love.

Tamira

This third caste female is only seen in Flight. She is niece to lab ‘volunteer’ Fyra and mother to Erda, who is a toddler.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Trinning existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Trinning
Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian god of the dead

Because the Y Chromosome Skew is only confined to human (Terran) males, the Daranaeans would not necessarily have a population skewing heavily male (in the prime universe, their population skews heavily female, hence their caste system).

Therefore, it’s possible that he would have only one wife on the other side of the pond. Without a caste system (I have never written MU Daranaeans, but the idea is of some interest to me), he might just marry his first love, Jamae.

Quote

“The table has four legs, and none of them are any longer than the others. If they were, the table would fall. You are one of my loves, regardless of your caste.”

Upshot

When the first Daranaean stories were written, it seemed as if the men would invariably be the bad guys. Trinning, instead, is a hero.

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Focus on the Terran Empire

Focus on the Terran Empire

The Terran Empire is a huge part of my fan fiction.

Focus

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass | Terran Empire

A focus (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.

Of course, all of fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can be used in fan fiction.

Background

A lot of what happens in the Terran Empire absolutely defies logic (Vulcan pun only partly intended). Even in a multiverse with seemingly infinite (or thereabouts) universes with infinite variables, it makes no sense that our heroes’ counterparts would all be serving together.

Okay, so it’s really just a vehicle for tossing a bunch of evil twins onto the screen. Let’s run with that.

In order to make it all work, I decided on a few helper characteristics which would explain things better. Of course the real reason why there are a lot of men in the Mirror Universe is because of who was hired, particularly during the TOS era. For a show and a premise that were touting sex and violence, men would have to be hired in order to up the violence ante. For my fanfiction, I explain this away with the Y Chromosome Skew.

But what about the Terran Empire? First off, the TOS era would have undoubtedly showed a white man in power. Certainly, in canon, the person in charge is a man. But then ENT comes around, and Hoshi Sato declares herself Empress.  To my mind, she would have a need for a successor and she could succeed as Empress if she operated under Machiavellian principles.

Hall of Mirrors and the Succession

A review of the Mirror Universe stories I have written creates a semblance of a decent history of the place. The first story is The High Cost of Dissidence, where Lili‘s counterpart’s family dies. Under Emperor Phillip (tyrant Phillip Green in our universe),  Charlotte’s father is arrested as a dissident for daring to speak his mind.

Next is Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions, where Doug, a mere child, is sent away to a brutal school.

After ENT Canon

After the canon MU episodes comes Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, where Hoshi kills off all rivals (including T’Pol, Ian, and Phlox) and the Emperor, and consolidates her power ruthlessly.

In between, Hoshi and Rick Daniels hook up during The Stranger, and she becomes pregnant. His death is faked and she gives birth to Jun.

In Reversal, the Empress Hoshi is ensconced in power but is bested by Doug as Jennifer, Tripp, and Beth also escape.

Next up is Brown, where Hoshi is pregnant for a second time (by Aidan), and Chip holds back while José and Frank sniff around her.

In Ceremonial, Tripp and Beth have their own child, Charlie, as they become citizens of the MU Lafa System.

By the time of Coveted Commodity, she is pregnant by Travis.

Next is Gilded Cage, where Aidan is further disgraced and is planning to leave. The Conspiracy advances that subplot.

In Temper, when Travis is killed, Hoshi taps Andrew to take his place. When Andy meets Melissa for the first time, it’s shown in The Play at the Plate. He plans his escape when Melissa dies, in Escape, a deed that is seen from another angle in Shake Your Body.

Fortune shows more of the Mirror, including fast-forwarding ahead to not only Melissa’s death, but Norri‘s as well.

At about the same time as The Play at the Plate, Susan is looking to give up drinking, in The Pivot Point.

Much later, in Bread, a Mirror Leah Benson escapes to Andoria and is reunited with Diana Jones.

HG Wells and the Terran Empire

The royal family is reunited in He Stays a Stranger.

The Empress’s less than dignified death is shown in Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown? She is succeeded by Jun and Kira.

During TOS, the Captain’s Woman, Janice Rand, is killed by Marlena Moreau in That’s Not My Name. The crime is investigated as Rand was allegedly the Emperor’s niece, in It Had to be You.

And finally, in Mirror Masquerade, Travis and Hikaru Sulu are switched, and it’s up to the Temporal Integrity Commission to put everyone back where they belong.

Upshot

With my fanfiction, Hoshi’s life reads a lot like Caligula’s or Nero’s, and that was by design. In bits and pieces, it ended up being a somewhat epic saga. It could use more development in later years. In the Barnstorming series, I add a Mirror connection, but the Empire is supposed to be gone by then. But I  like it and will find a way to bring it back.

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Portrait of a Character – Boestus

Portrait of a Character – Boestus

Origins

For Flight of the Bluebird, I wanted there to be Daranaean elections. Much like the United Nations does today, the USS Bluebird and its captain, Malcolm Reed, would be brought in, in order to observe and prevent violence at polling places. Vidam was already going to be the liberal candidate. He needed an opponent, so I created the conservative standard-bearer, Boestus (pronounced beast-us).

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Boestus
Irish wolfhound puppy

Like most Daranaeans, Boestus isn’t really ‘played’ by anyone. He is an older fellow so I see him as being gray. This image of an Irish wolfhound works well.

Personality

Traditional and somewhat unyielding, Boestus feels that the traditional Daranaean life and home are important. He wants them to continue. But he is directly confronted by its inherent injustices. Unlike a lot of present-day real life politicians, he is capable of seeing the error of his ways, and learns how to change.

Relationships

Nitha

Like all Prime Wives, Nitha was very expensive. But she is concerned when the end is coming for Shura. Unlike what happens in other traditionalist Daranaean households, she may be higher up in the food chain than Carya and Shura are, but she isn’t cruel to them.

Carya

The secondary wife of Boestus is also somewhat defiant and is protective of Shura, who cannot defend herself.

Shura

In a traditional Daranaean household, a third caste female is called ‘last caste’ and is euthanized at menopause and seen as being useless. But Shura stands up for herself, an act that helps Boestus to see the error of his ways and change his mind.

Mirror Universe

As with many other characters, there are no impediments to Boestus existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Boestus
Arkin’s, chiot Irish Wolfhound, propr. L. et S. Pruvot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The MU is a tougher place, but the Y Chromosome Skew only affects human (Terran) males and not Daranaeans.

With a more balanced society, at least in terms of the gender of children being born, Boestus might end up with just one wife. For a conservative looking to better himself and social climb, he would likely only end up with Nitha.

Quote

“I am supposed to protect you. Acreon is taking on these humans’ ways far too much. You have seen what their women do, and how they act and how they dress. It is; it is not right.”

Upshot

I really loved working with this character, understanding him as a person and making him a rival but not a bad guy. Boestus is the very essence of people who can disagree without being disagreeable, who can admit when they are wrong, and who can change. I would like to write him again some time.

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