Category Archives: Emergence series

Portrait of a Character – Cama

Portrait of a Character – Cama

Origins

As I wrote The Cure is Worse Than the Disease,  the idea of a tripartite Daranaean society (four parts if you really want to get technical, and include the men) began to shape up. As a result, I needed to have a representative from what Captain Erika Hernandez ends up referring to as the ‘bargain basement caste’. And so Cama was created.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Cama
Irish Setter image, intended to represent Cama (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Like nearly all Daranaean characters, Cama isn’t really ‘played’ by anyone.

I tend to use images of dogs, so the idea here is that she would resemble an Irish Setter quite a bit. Despite her low status, she could potentially be rather beautiful in appearance.

Personality

Forced into a subservient role, Cama chafes under male control, and would prefer to be the architect of her own destiny. Hence she ‘proves’ her breeder value by selectively aborting any daughters she may be carrying. It’s not just for the selfish reason of wanting to be treated better; it’s also because she doesn’t wish her existence on anyone. But she’s also an old school third caste Daranaean female. Hence, she is illiterate.

When she turns menopausal, she is shipped to a research facility that is investigating a cure of Thylacine Paramixovirus. Fortunately, that facility is run by Drs. Trinning and Rechal, who care about their test subjects. In Flight of the Bluebird, Cama gets to show just how heroic she really can be, even in her own quiet way.

Relationships

Elemus

Just like Libba and Thessa, Cama can only have a relationship with the male she is sold to. That is Elemus. While he isn’t exactly kind, he is not actively evil, either, certainly not like the murderous Arnis.

Mirror Universe

In the Mirror Universe, life is rougher for every kind of female, and that includes humans and, of course, Daranaeans.

Portrait of a Character – Cama
Irish Setter as Mirror Cama (image is presented for educational purposes only)

But women are also, often, sexier. Maybe she uses her body to get ahead, or at least to survive.

Quote

“See, all you do is you take off a little sprig. And you stick it in your mouth and get saliva on it. It has turned grey, see? That means I am carrying another boy child, just like my pouchling.”

Upshot

I was so glad to not just leave it with her, and find a way to show Cama again, and make it obvious that she had survived her childbearing years. Plus maybe, at least a little bit, Elemus did care for her after all.

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Review – Education

Review – Education

Education is the cornerstone of our lives. It was a sweet little piece to write. I enjoyed giving a little unexpected learning to someone who might not have necessarily gotten much if her life had gone the usual way. But life did not turn out that way, and so things were improved. Inta‘s dream starts to come true, but with a slight complication.

Background

For a prompt of the same name, I decided to revisit the Daranaeans. More specifically, I wanted to go back to Inta and to write a direct sequel to Confidence. In that story, she starts at Oxford. But what happens next? Surely something is going to happen to our favorite sentient marsupial canid artist.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta | Education
Baby Inta, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

So on September 10, 2182, Inta’s Oxford education offers many new experiences.

With that as my idea, I decided to provide Inta with quite the memorable experience – she would have to sketch a nude man. For a girl who has led a rather sheltered life, and must, under the rules of her society, remain impeccably virginal until marriage (when she is bought and sold), the circumstances would be strange, exciting, educational, and maybe a little frightening.

I made sure to give her a far more eager classmate, too, who would speak up for Inta’s cultural sensitivities. However, that girl would also be a lot more interested in sketching ‘it’.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

In order to believably bring this visual artist to the fore, she needed to do a few things outside of her comfort zone. This absolutely was, but in the process, she makes a few new friends.

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Portrait of a Character – Inta II

Portrait of a Character – Inta II

Inta II almost didn’t survive her introduction story.

Origins

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta II
Baby Inta II, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

As I wrote Take Back the Night, I was torn between having Mistra’s pouchling live, or not.

Then, as I followed up with Temptation in particular, Inta showed so much spunky personality that I now cannot imagine the story going any other way. Not have Inta survive? Unthinkable!

What also helped to bring it all together was that this Inta is named for Arnis’s victim. The original Inta was a third caste wife, but Inta II is Mistra’s and, by definition, belongs to the second caste.

Portrayal

Like all other Daranaeans (except for Crita’s parents), I don’t really have anyone to ‘play’ Inta II. Images of flying foxes mainly stand in for an actress. For one thing, she’d need to be fitted with pretty large prosthetic ears.

Personality

Smart and creative, Inta is a survivor and is a reminder of just what Arnis almost got away with. Her mother reports on occasion that she is a bit naughty, whereas we would see that as the stirrings of independence. Some of that is fostered by Lili, Captain Reed‘s wife, sending books to the Daranaean girls that included not only Jane Eyre, but also the Lysistrata.

Inta is the one (unlike Seppa, who is more of a timid sort, as is befitting her third caste status) who sees that life for a female Daranaean can mean more than marriage and endless children. In a lot of ways, she’s a precursor character to Crita, but not an ancestor (Crita, from the Barnstorming series, is in the third caste).

Relationships

I have no known relationships for Inta, although she might have a small crush on Declan or even nude model Jake. I’m not sure, and sometimes I toy with the idea of making her a lesbian. A gay Daranaean would have to be deeply embedded within the closet. It’s a thought.

Mirror Universe

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

Portrait of a Character – Inta II
Mirror Inta (image of flying fox is provided for educational purposes only)

She would have to be considerably tougher. But as an artist, she has a chance to be an elite member of society.

Quote

“Oh, yes. I presume you are referring to Captain Reed. He and his wife have been most generous to me. I have, ever since I learned that their son, Declan, was to study art here, I wished to do so as well.”

Upshot

Every time I write about Inta, I learn something new about her. I’ll have to write some more!

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Recurrent Themes – Soldiers

Recurrent Themes –Soldiers

Background

For Reversal in particular to work, there had a to be a number of people ready and able to go to war.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | SoldiersIn particular, as the Mirror Universe is so different from the prime universe, a lot of people would be soldiers there who wouldn’t be so here. Or they would be more violent and less disciplined than in our universe. As it is explained to Lili, the percentage of military personnel is deliberately kept very high over there.

There are more MACOs in particular than the group listed here, but these people are seen the most.

Appearances of Soldiers

Aliwev

This Calafan recruit drills directly under Doug and, in the Mirror, in one of the alternate timelines, assassinates the Empress Hoshi Sato during Temper.

Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett

Doug, a trained killer, spends much of Reversal trying to leave the practice of making war. When he can’t find anything else to do with himself in Together, he eventually becomes the captain of a defense unit on Lafa II, and instructs recruits.

Daniel Chang

Chang, a canon character, defends the Enterprise but, in the E2 timeline, commits crimes.

Tristan Curtis

Curtis is another E2 timeline criminal. In the Temper alternate timelines, he’s named Craig.

Brian Delacroix

In the prime universe, Delacroix is a security guard who becomes a chef. In the Mirror, he nearly kills Doug.

Tommy Digiorno-Madden

Unlike the other five kids, Tommy joins Starfleet and goes into Tactical.

Thomas Grant

In the deep future, Tom is assigned to the Breen homeworld before he joins the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Deborah Hadden

Deb works in Security in both universes. In the Mirror, she kills Brian before he has a chance to off Doug. But her victory is short-lived, and she perishes when he leaves that universe.

Jay Hayes

The consummate soldier, Major J. Hayes is so committed to defending the ship that he has nearly no time for people.

Gary Hodgkins

Yet another E2 criminal, Hodgkins often pairs with Curtis, particularly in the Mirror.

Chandler Masterson

Chip is wasted in Security and moves over to Communications. This isn’t possible in the Mirror, so he stays in  Tactical. In the prime timeline, he escapes the Empress, but in one of the alternates, he rises to become captain of the Defiant.

Travis Mayweather

Travis is a soldier in the Mirror Universe only. He’s a poor soldier, though, and an even worse leader. In the alternate timelines, and in the prime timeline, he is fragged by his own troops.

Andrew Miller

Like Travis, Andy is only a soldier in the Mirror. When the Empress taps him for somewhat earthy duties, he manages to get himself reassigned to Science.

Malcolm Reed

The other consummate canon career soldier, Malcolm is more ambitious and tries for a command as soon as he can get one.

José Torres

José is another person who is only a soldier in the Mirror. He is not cut out for command at all and, in an alternate timeline, destroys his ship, the Luna, and everyone on board is killed.

Upshot

Star Trek fanfiction will always have a place for men and women (and other genders) in uniform.

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Portrait of a Character – Hamilton Roget

Portrait of a Character – Hamilton Roget

Origins

While writing Take Back the Night, I was struck by an idea that would be strange for Daranaeans – where are the gay sentient marsupial canids? I decided that they would exist. Further, given the female-centric skew to their population numbers, and the male-centric skew to their positions of power, I would think that gay culture would make a great deal of sense. Females would bond as they toiled almost below decks, whereas males would bond almost like the ancient Greek intelligentsia.

Except on Daranaea, no one would ever admit to same-sex attractions and relationships, given the overwhelming pressure to reproduced.

Gay Daranaeans would all be in the closet. Enter Hamilton Roget.

Portrayal

Hamilton is played by veteran soap actor Jack Wagner.

Portrait of a Character – Hamilton Roget
Jack Wagner as Hamilton Roget

This good-looking actor seems to resemble an older David Bowie more as they both have aged.

I wanted someone good-looking but older, a kind of wise counselor to Erika Hernandez. Even more than most humans, Hamilton would be appalled at how Daranaean society is run.

Personality

Aloof but very competent, Hamilton is Erika’s First Officer. He’s got a Tactical background, and somewhat of a counterpart to Malcolm after Tripp‘s death and T’Pol‘s return to Vulcan, and Aidan while Malcolm commands the USS Bluebird. As First Officer, he and Lucy Stone run scientific scanners on Daranaea, so he’s got a bit of a scientific background as well.

Relationships

Hamilton’s partner is mentioned, but not by name. That is his only known relationship.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Hamilton Roget
Jack Wagner as Mirror Hamilton

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

Because he would not be in competition for the few women in that universe, he might be able to form decent relationships with men, even heterosexual men with whom he would have no hope of a romance.

That is, he would have, perhaps, a more cooperative life than most. He could rise in the ranks quickly and, like the MU Mark Stone, could find himself in a decent and even a relatively safe position of some power.

Quote

“But what about families where they can’t have children, or maybe they won’t? …

“Not everyone does, or can. My partner and me – if he and I wanted to become parents, we would adopt, or work with a surrogate mother. And we would love our child but, together, we can’t biologically have one. Are we worthless to you?”

Upshot

Intellect and IDIC are valued in Star Trek. Hamilton fits rather neatly into both areas. I should write him more.

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Portrait of a Character – Libba

Portrait of a Character – Libba

Libba takes on a life of her own.

Origins

In The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, I wanted a kind of sandwich wife, who would get the worst of both worlds. Enter Libba.

Portrayal

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vizsla Libba
Libba (image of a Hungarian Vizsla is for educational purposes only)

Like nearly all Daranaean characters no one really ‘plays’ Libba. This is an image of a Hungarian Viszla. Readers are encouraged to use their imaginations.

Personality

Timid, oppressed, not very bright, and more than a little frightened much of the time, Libba is the very definition of stuck. Her position as a secondary wife requires her to do much of the reproductive heavy lifting. At the same time, she is also in charge of homeschooling the children. She is tired and weakened from her burdens. All she wants is for it to stop already.

Relationships

Elemus

Like all other Daranaean women of her time, Libba marries once and that’s it. There are no other options or prospects for her. If Elemus predeceases her, she will not have an opportunity to remarry.

Mirror Universe

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mirror Universe Libba
Mirror Libba (Vizsla)

I have never explored Mirror Universe Daranaean women.

The idea of the women possibly being in charge or assertive is intriguing and I may write it some day.

Quote

“I will, one of these days, I will die. I keep getting more and more tired, and weaker. The last time, it was less than a month from when I gave birth to when I became pregnant again. I was sick and weak and still pouch feeding, but already moved onto this one,” she indicated the baby in her pouch. {and} “I do not think I can do this anymore. I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Upshot

At the end of Flight of the Bluebird, things have considerably improved for the third caste women. But secondaries don’t get a lot of improvements to their lives. To Dr. Nguyen, Libba looks tired. She undoubtedly is.

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Portrait of a Character – Mistra

Portrait of a Character – Mistra

Mistra works as a braver character than Libba, although there are similarities between the two secondary female Daranaean characters.

Origins

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mistra
Mistra, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

After writing The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, I got a lot of requests to follow the story and see what else would happen to Daranaean women.

Hence the idea of a protest was irresistible, but the protesters needed something to, well, protest.

Enter the innocent, Mistra.

Portrayal

I generally don’t have anyone ‘playing’ Daranaean characters. Mistra is no exception. But if anyone has any ideas, feel free to put them into the comments section. These images are, of course, of German Shepherd dogs.

Personality

Meek and mild, like most Daranaean secondary wives, Mistra isn’t one for leading like Dratha. But she isn’t completely helpless, like Cama. Instead, she’s in the middle, the filling in the sandwich. And like most secondaries, her job is not only homeschooling the very young sons and most of the daughters (but not the third caste daughters, who are often kept illiterate), but also with the reproductive heavy lifting. It is a difficult and tiring life at best.

When she’s accused of murder, there’s all she can do to keep it together. Confused and frightened, she’s about ready to resign herself to an unfair, unjust, and cruel fate, when others step in.

Relationships

Mistra’s only known relationship is with her husband, Arnis.

Mirror Universe

I have never written Mirror Universe Daranaeans, but the idea is an interesting one.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | MU Mistra | German Shepherd Dog
MU Mistra (image of a German Shepherd Dog is for educational purposes only)

Would the women be in charge there? All I have on them is Empress Hoshi complaining that their planet always smells like wet dog, plus it’s the scene of the faking of Richard Daniels‘s death. Maybe something else could come out of that. I’m not sure.

Maybe Mistra’s intelligence would be celebrated. Maybe she’d even have some confidence.

Quote

“Arnis! Please! I am, am, I am innocent!”

Upshot

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Recurrent Themes – Criminals and Prisoners

Recurrent Themes – Criminals and Prisoners

Background

Criminals and prisoners matter. They creep into all of my series, except for Mixing It Up (and D’Storlin is possibly telling his story from custody, anyway). Their fates have varied rather dramatically.
Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Criminals and Prisoners

Appearances

Eriecho, Saddik, and H’Shema

In the Eriecho series,  as is explained in Release, she is born on a prison transport as Saddik and her parents (who are both killed on that transport) are framed for crimes they did not commit. In Double Helix, H’Shema’s mother, L’Culturra, reveals that her daughter was a drug addict and likely was in Canamar Prison for good reason.

Daniel Chang, Tristan Curtis, Neil Kemper, Victor Brown, Brooks Haynem, Gary Hodgkins, and Sandra Sloane

During the E2 timeline, all sorts of bad behavior occurs. During The Three of Us, the men are responsible for an attack on Patti Socorro as Sandra takes note of the law of supply and demand and rents herself out for cheap.

Polloria, Baden, and Chawev

In Reversal, the former two conspire to kill High Priestess Yipran. Chawev is the only one who hesitates, and Polloria chides him for being too squeamish.

Jeff Paxton

The real perpetrator is not revealed until just about the end of Shell Shock.

Marisol Castillo, Anthony Parker, Von, Helen Walker, and Milton Walker

Of the villains in The Times of the HG Wells series, only Anthony Parker is at all decent, and that’s only in an alternate timeline, when he has a chance to help Otra get out of Milton Walker’s prison. As for Marisol, she’s a psychopath, eager to kill whoever she can.

Arnis and Rechal

In Take Back the Night, Arnis blames Mistra for the death of the elder Inta. Rechal, a physician, takes a bribe and helps him frame her in exchange for research funding. In Flight of the Bluebird, because Rechal’s ideas have assisted Trinning and the other researchers find a cure for thylacine paramyxovirus, he is allowed out of jail and is released into Trinning’s observational custody. Arnis (who I wasn’t sure whether I wanted him to be alive or not) complains to his second son, Trinning, and is told that it’s a good thing he’s staying in prison as Daranaea is changing and he won’t fit in anymore.

Mack MacKenzie

Planted with Etrotherium against her will while on Keto-Enol, Mack is framed for the drug problem on that planet.

Upshot

Without villains and criminals, stories have few drivers and little to recommend them. Prisons provide great fodder for storytelling and drama. I know that I will go back to these themes again.

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Portrait of a Character – Seppa

Portrait of a Character – Seppa

Seppa is one of my favorite Daranaeans.

Origins

As a part of showing the oppression of Daranaean women, during Take Back the Night, I added insult to injury and included a child who was being kept illiterate due to her caste.

Portrayal

As with most Daranaeans, no one is really cast to ‘play’ Seppa.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa
Seppa, one of the Daranaeans, a third caste female, as a child

This picture is a photoshopped image of a white German Shepherd dog with caramel-tipped ears.

Personality

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa
Seppa as a young adult

Friendly and approachable, she is another homebody female Daranaean character.

This was not always the case. As a young child, Seppa is shown as being shy and scared, likely a function of being the absolute lowest on the totem pole while Arnis was still free. In Some Assembly Required, she is terrified that everyone will become angry with her, despite the fact that she has done absolutely nothing wrong. But after seeing Mistra falsely accused, that makes sense to a preschooler, that there would be guilt by proximity and association.

Afterwards, she sends a carefully printed thank you note to Jonathan Archer, and they become fervent pen pals. Until Rona Moran intervenes, the tabloid press even sees them as an item.

Relationships

Brantus

For most if not all third caste Daranaean women, there can be only one husband, even if he dies young. Fortunately for Seppa, Brantus is a good guy and he loves her dearly.

Mirror Universe

There are no real impediments to Seppa existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Seppa
Mirror Seppa (white wolf)

I see Mirror Daranaeans as being more vicious, somewhat more like wolves than dogs.

With power would come more confidence and assertiveness. I doubt she would just be what is essentially the equivalent of a stay at home mom.

Quote

“Vidam made sure I was sold to the man who would treat me the best. And you are, most assuredly, that man. But let us not speak of euthanasia. Instead, let us talk about our visit. Jonathan has never met you before! My own father is as good as gone. And I have known Jonathan Archer for a good fifteen years.”

Upshot

It was wonderful to be able to raise this character up from what would have been rather depressing depths. She has powerful friends, and deserves them.

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Recurrent Themes – Jane Eyre

Recurrent Themes – Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre figures in a lot of my work.

Background

When I first began writing again, I had fairly recently read Jane Eyre in its entirety for the first time. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Jane Eyre This triggered the addition of that story, at times, into my Star Trek fan fiction. Lili O’Day and Reversal, in particular, are in some ways a space version of at least parts of that story.

The idea of bringing together two people who are from rather different walks of life or at least professions, and giving them a future (but not giving them an immediate happy ending) was a challenge. For the heroine to not be a great beauty, but to still be independent and insist upon a relationship on her own terms was irresistible. These threads can be seen in any number of places in my work.

Appearances

Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions

In Paving Stones, a young Doug is taken away from his parents and sent to a rough, unpleasant boarding school by a Mr. Brocklehurst.

Reversal

Recurrent Themes – Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre (2006 miniseries) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Lili and Doug first get together, her situation is quite a bit like Jane’s. She’s a low-level crew member and is isolated, and is not very attractive.

As the quietly serving one who cleans up, Lili is supposed to be the sort of below decks person who fades into the background. And she often does. For the ship to send a search party out for her, and to nearly have an interstellar incident with the Calafans when she is abducted, is a big, big deal. This is a person who most of them underestimated, who turns out to be rather important indeed.

Fortune

At Norri‘s deathbed, she gives away her paper books, including Jane Eyre, which is given to Marie Patrice, because Empy is the “strong, independent heroine of her own life.”

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

When clearing out Malcolm‘s quarters, Lili comes across the book and takes it, vowing to read it.

Flight of the Bluebird

Seppa reveals that Lili and Malcolm sent books to the young Daranaean girls, including this one.

Wider Than the Sargasso Sea

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel |  Toby Stephens in Jane Eyre
Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Toby Stephens in Jane Eyre

Several years after the Breen attack, Gabrielle Nolan stars in this play, with Desh, a Breen, playing opposite her as Mr. Rochester.

But can Gabby act opposite a boy whose father fought in a devastating war, as her enemy? And what about the townspeople? The Breen are kept in a separate section, which Gabby’s mother, Gina, dismisses as a ghetto. Is this any way to normalize relations?

Advice From My Universes to Yours

When providing advice to Aurellan Markalis, Lili suggests reading a classic love story like Jane Eyre. Jay comments that he doesn’t read such things.

Upshot

I really loved weaving this story line into my own fiction, with little shout outs that are almost like literary Easter Eggs. Jane Eyre will return.

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