Category Archives: Emergence series

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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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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