Portrait of a Character – Noemy Chelenska

Portrait of a Character – Noemy Chelenska

Noemy Chelenska started off as just a sounding board for Milena.


As a part of Rick Daniels meeting Milena Chelenska, he is originally hit by a car. Milena, a doctor, thinks she needs to treat him, but that’s unnecessary, given that his blood is spiked with stem cell growth accelerator. As she watches him rapidly heal without any intervention on her part, someone had to take pictures and be the person who she would bounce ideas off. Enter Noemy, who gets her name from a family friend.

Noemy is also seen in Day of the Dead; she’s only fourteen when Tripp Tucker and others liberate Dachau.


Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Klara Issova

Klara Issova as Noemy Chelenska (image is for educational purposes only)

Noemy is played by Czech actress Klara Issova.

I like to try to get actors of the same or a close ethnicity and Issova certainly fits the bill. It’s a bonus that she was in Anne Frank: The Whole Story, and plays a Holocaust survivor.


Brittle and damaged, Noemy and Pawel are constitutionally incapable of getting together, or so it seems. Even in the late 1960s, after having known each other for over twenty years, she still can’t call him first. They are at a stalemate until Rick arrives and turns their lives upside-down.


Pawel Balcescu

Noemy’s only known relationship is with Pawel. They meet after their liberation from Dachau when they are waiting, with Milena and Mrs. Klinghofer, at a transit camp. This puts their meeting after the end of Day of the Dead.

Mirror Universe

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

Portrait of a Character - Noemy Chelenska

Klara Issova as Mirror Noemy (image is for educational purposes)

As an artist (she is a portrait photographer), she would be in an elite class and could be rather wealthy indeed.


“What do you mean to do? We do not; I will not have you speed her along.”


Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Prague Spring | Noemy Chelenska

Prague Spring

For a character who started off as little more than a sounding board, she lives through the Velvet Revolution and even captures it in pictures.

Not bad for the ol’ gal, eh?

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Interphases series, Portrait, Times of the HG Wells series, 0 comments

Portrait of a Character – Herbie Shapiro

Portrait of a Character – Herbie Shapiro

Herbie Shapiro is a historical figure in my fan fiction.


I wrote Shapiro specifically for the Tripp Tucker end of life story, Day of the Dead.


Herbie is played by Jesse Eisenberg (although Herbie would be wearing glasses, this is how I see him).

Portrait of a Character – Herbie Shapiro

Jesse Eisenberg as Herbie Shapiro

It’s important to me that Herbie be played by a Jewish actor. Further, I think Eisenberg could convincingly be the voice of reason during a lot of the weirder changes that occur during Day of the Dead.


Intelligent and compassionate, when Herbie sees Milena Chelenska, her sister Noemy, and Mrs. Klinghofer while liberating Dachau, he immediately decides to try to help them. It’s possible that Herbie’s actions help Milena to survive long enough to meet Richard Daniels, thereby making him vital to the integrity of the timeline.


Herbie says he has a girl, but she is never actually mentioned by name. But he marries someone (and not necessarily her), as he is an ancestor to Ethan – and, by definition, Rebecca.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Herbie Shapiro

Jesse Eisenberg as Mirror Herbie

There are no impediments to Herbie existing in the Mirror Universe. For the Mirror, prior to First Contact, life had to be even shorter, more brutal, and nastier. For Jews in the Mirror, as I write them, if Herbie was to practice his faith at all, he would have to do so in secret, much like the Mirror Universe version of Leah Benson. I doubt he would be called Herbie, either. He might even change his first name in order to fit in better (but not his last name, as he is an ancestor to the Mirror Ethan, who is one of Doug‘s kills). Perhaps he’d be Henry.


“No, that’s not true. I got a letter from my mother. She saw on the newsreel when Auschwitz was liberated, back in January. …

“Nothing much, Tony. But we had heard rumors, you know? I got a cousin who got out in ’37 and he said he heard they was burning bodies in these places. My mother just wrote that it was, it was confirmed, y’see. Arbeit macht frei. I bet that’s a big old Nazi laugh.”


For a somewhat throwaway character, I feel Herbie packs a punch. He’s memorable, and not just for his place within the overall timeline.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Interphases series, Portrait, 0 comments

Portrait of a Character – Milena Chelenska

Portrait of a Character – Milena Chelenska

Milena Chelenska was originally a creation as a part of a wholly original time travel series. However, that series is no more.


She was always a doctor, and was always a Holocaust survivor, based on Franz Kafka’s real-life lover, Milena Jesenska. As a love interest for Richard Daniels, I feel that she shines even more.


Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking-Up-the-Muse-Tree-jespah-Janet-Gershen-Siegel-

Michaela Dolinova as Milena Chelenska (image is for educational purposes only)

Milena is played by Czech actress Michaela Dolinova.

It was very important for me, for the actress to be Czech in origin. This is because not only the ethnicity is important, but so is the accent.

I love that this actress is older, too, as Milena is meant to be worn down by the world.


Beaten down by the world and skeptical of the good in it, Milena survives more because she refuses to die than for any other reason. She experiences horrors at Dachau, including being a part of desperately trying to give a pregnant inmate an abortion before the Nazis discover the unnamed woman’s pregnancy. It all goes horribly wrong, and the unnamed woman dies. Milena vows to, if she survives, only help others. This also means illegal euthanasia for her neighbor, Mrs. Klinghofer, when Klinghofer’s inoperable cancer becomes truly intolerable.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Milena Jesenska (image is for educational purposes only)

The Real Milena Jesenska (image is for educational purposes only)

Milena first shows up, in the chronological order of the stories, by Tripp Tucker, during Day of the Dead, when he’s interphased to the liberation of Dachau in 1945. Milena and her sister, Noemy, along with Mrs. Klinghofer make friends with Tucker and other soldiers.

Milena is not seen again until Spring Thaw, when Rick is sent to 1969 in order to make sure that Prague Spring ends. By the time of He Stays a Stranger, Rick realizes that he’s in love with her.


Elijah Kohak

Elijah, a neighbor’s son, is Milena’s boy next door type. But he’s Orthodox, and Milena and her family aren’t, so his parents don’t agree to a marriage. Instead, Elijah is promised to another. When they are shipping to Dachau, only his father and her sister remain. This is because her parents have committed suicide. Also, Elijah’s mother has died as the result of a rape  and beating. At the time of selection, because his father is going to be killed, even though Elijah could have lived, he sacrifices himself. Hence he goes to the death side, and is gassed.

Milena admits that she has taken lovers since his death. However, she’s never really gotten over him until she meets Rick.

Richard Daniels

With Rick, she finds an intellectual equal and is able to unburden herself. He, in turn, unburdens himself about Jun. They work together to heal each other. By the time of He Stays a Stranger, he realizes that he cannot just leave her in the past. In Mirror Masquerade, they are together, and she is practicing a form of medicine in the deep future.

Theme Music

Rick and Milena’s theme is Jim Croce‘s Time in a Bottle.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Milena Chelenska

Mirror Milena (Michaela Dolinova)

There are no real impediments to her existence in the Mirror Universe. I feel she’d be carefree, maybe even wealthy.

She could even be one of the very few Mirror Universe women who didn’t have a lousy life.


“I have conclusive evidence that we are not alone in the universe. And I am well aware of exactly how insane that sounds, so I shall endeavor to explain.”


I love this character and she will definitely show up again.

Posted by jespah in In Between Days series, Interphases series, Portrait, Times of the HG Wells series, 15 comments

Complex Evil Characters

Complex Evil Characters

Complex evil characters make stories pop.
On Boldly Reading, it was recently asked, how do you write complex evil characters?

More specifically – how do you write evil characters who are not mere caricatures? Do you find ways to garner sympathy, even for the wicked (or the devil, perhaps?)? Do you surprise your readers by turning a character from good to evil, or evil to good? How grey is the shading?

Bonus questions!

  1. Which evil characters have you enjoyed writing the most?
  2. (also) Which evil character, created by another author, have you enjoyed reading the most?
  3. Which canon evil character do you enjoy watching or reading the most?


Like the creation of any other Star Trek fanfiction original characters, the bad guys spring up as needed. Some get more backstory than others as I make them. While others receive detail as needed, possibly stretched out over time. I get to know characters, as they begin to move me. And then I feel more comfortable giving them some specifics. They need motivations, and they usually need brakes of some sort. A lot of people may be good for the sake of being good. However, I believe that most people aren’t, truly, evil simply for the sake of being evil (perhaps I’m a little optimistic that way).

Hence I’ll answer this is by listing some of my favorite own evil creatures – I mean, creations, and will comment.

In Between Days/Interphases

Leah Benson (Mirror)

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mayim Bialik as MU Leah Benson | Complex Evil Characters

Mayim Bialik as MU Leah Benson (image is for educational purposes only)

The prime universe’s official Starfleet rabbi is an alcoholic in the mirror, and kills her lover, Leonora Digiorno, in an alcoholic fit, one of the more meaningless deaths in any of my stories (Fortune).

Christine Chalmers (mirror)

One of Doug‘s old girlfriends, Christine taunts him until he kills Ehigha Ejoigu, thereby committing his fifth murder (Fortune).

Tristan Curtis

This character is one of Patti Socorro‘s rapists (The Three of Us). He is sentenced to banishment on Amity, and then escapes custody.

Douglas Jay Hayes (Beckett)

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Steven Culp as Doug Hayes Beckett/Jay Hayes (image is for educational purposes | Complex Evil Characters

Steven Culp as Doug Hayes Beckett/Jay Hayes (image is for educational purposes

It takes a supreme effort of will for this killer to come clean and turn his life around. But until Doug does, he has personally killed fourteen men, is responsible for the death of one woman and has pulled the trigger for countless phaser bank deaths, including being a part of committing genocide on the Xindi people.

Once he comes to the prime universe, he has to rein in his temper, but he never kills again.

Jeremiah Hayes (mirror)

Committed to getting Doug into a good school and nipping any possibility in the bud of his only child becoming a mama’s boy, Jeremiah may or may not be abusing his wife, Lena, as Doug is thrown to the wolves at a young age (Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions).

Gary Hodgkins

Another one of Patti Socorro’s rapists, at least Gary confesses his misdeeds, before his death, thereby cracking that case wide open.

Edward Hudson

Never seen, but definitely felt, Edward raped and abused Pamela Hudson from age five until she escaped the family home (Intolerance).

Linda Morgan Hudson

As her husband abused and raped their younger daughter, Pamela, Linda did nothing to stop things and, eventually, lets her daughters know that she, too, was abused by Edward Hudson (Saturn Rise).

Randall McCoy

While liberating the Dachau concentration camp in 1945, Sergeant McCoy participants in firing squads which execute Nazi guards without the benefit of trial, thereby committing a war crime (Day of the Dead). Later, he bears witness against Holocaust deniers.

Cyril Morgan (mirror)

A kindly grandfather in the prime universe, the mirror Cyril commits medical malpractice regularly and participates in the torture deaths of Phlox and Ian (Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses). Later, he attempts to persuade Travis to allow him to let Hoshi die on an operating table, thereby ending her reign of terror (Coveted Commodity) but also killing the unborn Izo.

Jefferson Davis Paxton

Paxton furthers his own political agenda and vengeance by raping Ruby Brannagh and leaving her for dead (Shell Shock).

Arashi Sato


Empress Hoshi’s third-born is a whiz at numbers and collects the taxes in the Terran Empire. Arashi is probably the most feared, and is most likely to become a 1984-style tyrant (fortunately, he never comes to power) (Temper).

Izo Sato

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Hiru from Exile as Izo Sato (image is for educational purposes only) | Complex Evil Characters

Hiru from Exile as Izo Sato (image is for educational purposes only)

Empress Hoshi’s youngest, Izo enforces the collections of both taxes and gambling debts from Game Night, and tries unsuccessfully to force Leah Benson to service him (Bread). In an alternate timeline, he bullies Pamela Hudson, but she turns the tables on him (Temper).

Sandra Sloane

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Leighton Meester | Sandra Sloane | Complex Evil Characters

Sandra Sloane (image of Leighton Meester is for educational purposes only)

This character is something of a village gossip, spouting off homophobic slurs and generally making everyone uncomfortable (Reflections Down a Corridor, Entanglements). Her tongue is so sharp, and her remarks are so cutting, that Ethan Shapiro becomes distraught, and attempts suicide, in part due to her nastiness.

José Torres (mirror)

José, a sweet and gentle giant in the prime universe, is rewarded for a massacre of innocents by being given three women as playthings – Pamela Hudson, Blair Claymore and Karin Bernstein, who he regularly abuses (Temper).

Times of the HG Wells/Multiverse II

Daniel Beauchaine

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jason Alexander as Daniel Beauchaine (image is for educational purposes only) | Complex Evil Characters

Jason Alexander as Daniel Beauchaine (image is for educational purposes only)

This Section 31 operative and Temporal Integrity Commission employee (Dan is a survivalist specialist) alters time for the counter group known as the Perfectionists (Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain). This eventually all catches up with him, and he commits suicide (Shake Your Body).

Marisol Castillo

A psychopath, Marisol keeps it together for a while, but eventually throws off her assignment to seduce Boris Yarin and begins to blackmail him, threatening to tell his wife everything (Shake Your Body).

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vanessa Marcil as Marisol Castillo (image is for educational purposes) | Complex Evil Characters

Vanessa Marcil as Marisol Castillo (image is for educational purposes)

She also kills Perfectionists operative Anthony Parker to keep him quiet (You Mixed-Up Siciliano). Also, she attempts to kill Richard Daniels and Sheilagh Bernstein.

Otra D’Angelo

Only evil in Multiverse II, Otra is a Witannen, with symbiotic chavecoi on her head. When they are possessed by evil Chilo, she is pushed to commit bad acts. However, she eventually throws off control, and makes an effort to redeem herself.

Liesl Green

Colonel Green’s wife is the power behind the throne. She is one of the few constants as the Colonel is replaced over and over again. This happens to appease the Eastern Coalition. It is also to make it appear as if everything is just peachy in North America (Multiverse II).

Jared Riley

Mostly a puppet of Liesl Green and the Chilo, Jared has no qualms ratting out the heroes of Multiverse II.

Helen Walker

After her death is faked in a shuttle crash on Berren One, Helen performs various missions for the Perfectionists (although she never sullies her hands with murder, like Marisol does), eventually taking over when her father, Milton, goes into hiding in the mirror universe (The Point is Probably Moot).

Milton Walker

A misguided philanthropist, Milton thinks he’s doing good by altering history and, allegedly, improving it. But when Parker is killed under his direction, and Otra is kidnapped by his people (Spring Thaw), the Rubicon is crossed. He begins to realize that he is not much better than a mobster (He Stays a Stranger).

Boris Yarin

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Henry Rollins as Boris Yarin, MD (image is for educational purposes only) | Complex Evil Characters

Henry Rollins as Boris Yarin, MD (image is for educational purposes only)

The doctor in the Human Unit is cheating on his wife, Darragh Stratton (Ohio), with Marisol Castillo. When she begins to blackmail him, he ends up murdering her.



When his third-caste wife, Inta, refuses to have sexual relations with him, this Daranaean beats her so hard that she dies (Take Back the Night).


This physician helps to cover up Arnis’s crime, in exchange for research funding. After their trials, he goes to prison. He secures an early release by assisting Dr. Trinning with finding a cure for the killer disease, thylacine paramyxovirus (Flight of the Bluebird).

Other Star Trek Fan Fiction Stories


In a fit of rage, precipitated by bullying, this hybrid human-Xindi Reptilian blinds a classmate (D’Storlin).

desc Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Human-Xindi Reptilian hybrid D'Storlin | Complex Evil Characters

Human-Xindi Reptilian hybrid D’Storlin

Canon Characters

Victor Brown

Victor is another one of Patti Socorro’s rapists. However, he does his best to redeem himself, for the sake of his marriage.

Daniel Chang

Dan is another one of Patti Socorro’s rapists, and is the ringleader in the group. He is also particularly nasty, rating the women on their looks and presumed sexual prowess, during both kick backs in time (Reflections Down a Corridor, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere).

Colonel Green

This tyrant is responsible for the deaths of some 37 million individuals. In Multiverse II, we learn there have been fourteen separate versions. Their elevations are all to fool the masses and the Eastern Coalition.

Brooks Haynem


While Brooks aids and abets Patti Socorro’s rapists, he does not commit the deed himself.

Neil Kemper

Neil is another one of Patti Socorro’s rapists. Much like Victor Brown, in order to save his marriage, he works hard to make up for his crime.

Leland Loomis

Sent to a mental institution because he’s seen lizard people and a chick with a ray gun, Loomis pleads his case for sanity, until he’s reminded that a finding of sanity would result in him being put on trial and likely found guilty of battery and murder (Detroit Rock City).

Travis Mayweather (mirror)

A petty thug raised to dizzying heights by Empress Hoshi, Travis commits his own petty and not so petty cruelties, including killing Brian Delacroix and trying to get Deborah Haddon to service him immediately afterwards (Reversal).

Marlena Moreau (Mirror)

After killing the Captain’s Woman, Janice Rand, Marlena moves right in, just after seducing James T. Kirk (That’s Not My Name, It Had to be You).

Hoshi Sato (mirror)

Probably my favorite of all canon evil characters, because there is so much potential there, Hoshi is the mouse that roared, turned the slut who took over.

From throwing her favors around in order to liven up the gene pool (First Born, Reversal, Temper, Fortune), to demanding that educated people act as exterminators (Brown), to deliberately erasing and rewriting a lover’s suicide note in order to make herself look better (Escape, The Point is Probably Moot), to systematically killing off any threats (Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses), to pushing people into promotions they’re not ready for, and bullying those who fail to meet her standards (Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions), to controlling all aspects of her crew’s personal lives (Temper, The Play at the Plate, The Pivot Point) to, finally, hectoring and bullying and insulting her children while on her death bed (Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?), Hoshi has been a delight to write and tease out her rocky future.

Others’ Evil Characters

Give it up for trekfan’s Maria!

I don’t know her as well as I’d like to. After all, there is a great deal of backstory. But between Chronicles and Multiverse II, Maria is … scary. She’s manipulative, she’s a temptress and she seems to embody everything that hero Hank Harrison wants. But he realizes she would rip him asunder.

And who doesn’t like that in a villain?


Looking over this post, it feels, a little, as if all I write are killers, rapists, abusers, blackmailers and tyrants. And then I remember, I’ve created over 300 original characters. This list just nicks the surface.

But I hope these people, like their benevolent brethren, have a depth and a meaning to the reader. I hope that they feel real.

Posted by jespah in Boldly Reading, 4 comments

Review – Day of the Dead

Review – Day of the Dead


Day of the Dead. More than just a holiday, it also references the horrors of a particularly infamous period is history. On Ad Astra, there was a prompt about the burdens of command.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Day of the Dead |

I had been kicking around an idea about Tripp Tucker being caught in a temporal interphase (which is canon in Star Trek) and liberating the Dachau concentration camp. Hence I decided to put that together with the prompt.

Tying In

The idea about Dachau was to tie into Milena Chelenska, who is Richard Daniels‘s love interest. For her, there would be a bit of a back story, as Tripp would deal with the problems that come along with witnessing just so much horror.

Furthermore, there would be a tie into Wesley Crusher, as I liked the little family and backstory I had created for him in Crackerjack and wanted to revisit some of that as well.

The backdrop to it would be Halloween, and then the Day of the Dead.


As Halloween rolls around – and this is the last Halloween of Tucker’s life, although of course he doesn’t know that – Tripp arranges with Chip Masterson to have a number of classic horror films shown. On the actual day, they show John Carpenter’s Halloween.

But before that, the NX-01 goes about some of its regular business. And the reader should be seeing that life is going on, and they are all moving forward with their lives.

Malcolm is on Lafa II with Lili, for Declan‘s birth, and Aidan MacKenzie is running Tactical in his stead. Travis has just met Ellen Warren. Jonathan is talking about his new ship, the Zefram Cochrane. Lucy Stone, the new Science Ensign, is catching the eye of both Andy Miller and Chip Masterson, even though Chip is married to the pregnant Deborah Haddon. In short, everyone is going somewhere. But Tripp Tucker is living in the past.

Movie Night

For Movie Night, he can’t ask either T’Pol or Hoshi to join him, as they are both exes of his. These are references to the Star Trek: Enterprise canon relationship with T’Pol and the fanfiction relationship in Together. But he sees MACO Corporal Amanda Cole, and begins to flirt with her rather openly. Phlox is also present, and they talk about the picture.

But then Commander Tucker vanishes.

Meanwhile – well, meanwhile in the story, but not in history – Wesley Crusher is considering the aftermath of a static warp bubble experiment where his mother, Beverly, could have lost her life. But he’s lost the warp bubble, and doesn’t know where it went.


Review – Day of the Dead

Nope, it’s just another temporal-spatial-somatic interphase, much as happened in Concord.

So, where does Tucker end up? Why, he’s in the Forty-Second Infantry Division, and it’s April 29th of 1945. They are about to liberate the Dachau concentration camp.

The remainder of the story deals with Tucker’s displacement, getting him back, and how both the NX-01 and the Enterprise-D work to solve their own, respective, problems.


As the plot unfolds, classic spooky music shows up, and each chapter begins and ends with lyrics as follows –

Story Postings


The story is rated K+.


I added a number of questions about command and promotions, as characters flirt with garnering more responsibility, and how they will deal with such things. In addition, the changes made during the story have the potential to affect the principals for years to come. The burdens of memory and the horrors of war intersect, as Tucker discards his love of horror, and Wesley thinks outside of his own personal bubble, and they both think and act outside themselves.

This story won the challenge; it was my second win (after Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions). I am immensely proud of it, and have featured it in the second Adult Trek Anthology.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Interphases series, Review, 25 comments