Tag Archives: daranaea

Daranaea is the home planet of the Daranaeans.

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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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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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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Portrait of a Character – Vidam

Portrait of a Character – Vidam

Vidam rises to greatness in my fan fiction.

Origins

During the Star Trek fan fiction story Take Back the Night, I wanted for there to be a believable witness who would be able to refute Arnis’s accusations against Mistra. But this person would have to be a little afraid of Arnis although ultimately they would do the right thing. Yet given the sexist nature of Daranaean society, this person would have to be male. In order to put him into the right position, I made him the Prime Wife, Dratha‘s, eldest son. Enter Vidam.

Portrayal

As with nearly all Daranaeans, I do not have anyone in mind to play Vidam.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vidam
Adult Vidam, one of the Daranaens and son of Prime Wife Dratha

This is an altered image of a Golden Retriever. As always, readers are encouraged to use their imaginations when thinking about the look and sound of most Daranaeans.

I actually envision him as being more fox-like in appearance, so the snout would be thinner and more pointed.

Personality

The name is Hungarian for “cheerful”, but Vidam is usually far from cheerful. Instead, much like the Calafan, Treve, he is an elder son with a great weight of responsibility on his shoulders. At the end of Take Back the Night, with Arnis taken away in the futuristic equivalent of handcuffs, the teenaged Vidam is suddenly responsible  for his family.  He insists that Dratha in particular help him, but it is he who makes the decision to allow Seppa to learn to read and write.

When he gets older, he becomes a politician, and is the standard bearer for the liberals in the Daranaean government, in his role as a Beta councilor.

Relationships

Like all wealthy Daranaean men, Vidam takes three wives, one from each caste.

Ethara

Unlike other Prime Wives, Ethara is more of an equal partner to Vidam. Like many human political spouses, she attends functions with him and is otherwise a part of a charm offensive.

Morza

The jokester secondary, as is seen in Temptation, is one of the daughters of the war hero (and eventual Alpha), Acreon. Morza is also a close friend to Vidam’s half-sister, Cria.

Kela

The least known of Vidam’s wives, Kela is a member of the third caste (and is named for one of my great-grandmothers, actually).

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Vidam
Mirror Vidam

The Daranaeans exist in the Mirror (Empress Hoshi refers to their planet as “always smelling like wet dog”).

I see them as more like wolves than dogs, and being rather vicious indeed. I doubt that Vidam would be so cultured and congenial in the Mirror Universe.

Quote

“Thylacine Paramyxovirus has devastated our population, yet we devastate it even more with compulsory euthanasia. Doctors, I know, are working around the clock to try to cure that horrible malady. My brother, the doctor, Trinning – he says that they are close to a true breakthrough. What will we do when they have finally cured it? Will we, then, decide to make a law to euthanize our secondaries? Where does it end? I say it ends now. It ends here! Third caste females who are menopausal can do all manner of things. They can still cook and keep house. They can still care for children. {and} They could, I dare say, do more if we gave them the opportunity. A vote for, for me, that is a vote against the euthanasia law. I say we end it now!”

Upshot

It was very important to me for the Daranaean men to not necessarily be bad guys. At least not all the time. Vidam is one of the first  male Daranaean heroes that I wrote. I will bring him back at some point.

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Review – Flight of the Bluebird

Review – Flight of the Bluebird

Ah, it’s the bluebird of happiness!

Background

As my Emergence Star Trek fan fiction stories were going to be ‘published’ on Issuu, I didn’t like the fact that I really didn’t have an ending to the series. While this story  doesn’t really end the series, it does bring it to a somewhat satisfactory point. But I will definitely write more in this series, as I just enjoy it so much. Although I have no idea when.

Plot

Barking Up the Must Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Flight of the Bluebird
Flight of the Bluebird

For Captain Malcolm Reed and his new ship, the DC-1505 USS Bluebird, they’ve left space dock and gone to Andoria. But now it’s time for their first true mission. And that’s to observe the elections on Daranaea.  Complicating matters is the fact that the two leading candidates seem to be polar opposites. Boestus, the conservative standard-bearer, would keep the Daranaeans traditional. Vidam, the son of the legendary Dratha, is the liberal candidate. But his earlier attempt, to introduce a bill to give Prime Wives the right to vote in Daranaean elections, was laughed out of the Beta Council chamber.

Meanwhile, his half-sister, Seppa (she’s on the cover of the book) is traveling with her husband, Brantus, and their family. But Seppa is a third caste female. Eventually, she’ll be euthanized, a fact that doesn’t sit well with Reed, or with Jonathan Archer, who has maintained a correspondence with the young woman and is rather fond of her.

At the same time, Dr. Trinning, half-brother to both Seppa and Vidam, is fighting to cure Thylacine Paramyxovirus. His test subjects are third caste females, a fate that’s not much better than mandatory euthanization after menopause.

This warp-capable culture is in a strategic area, near Klingon space. Will they be allowed into the Federation? Do they even want to join it? Stay tuned (although I probably won’t get to the answers to these questions any time soon!).

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I was pleased to be able to continue the Daranaeans’ story and try to give it some happiness, and to follow Seppa, Vidam, and the others. Boestus even gets to return later, in Bread. I also liked that not everything is a triumph. Some things work out, but there’s still a lot more to do. And that’s reality.

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Recurrent Themes – Politicians

Recurrent Themes – Politicians

Politicians seem to be everywhere.

Background

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

Star Trek canon is loaded with politicians and political leaders. Here are the ones that I’ve gone to the most in my fanfiction.

I decided to not include monarchs in this group. Instead, these people have been elected to office.

Currently, they are all male, although that was not my intention, to only have elected male rulers. A lot of this skew is due to the fact that most of the politicians showcased herein are Daranaeans.

Appearances

Acreon

The war hero of Daranaea is in power at the start of Flight of the Bluebird.

Jonathan Archer

Johnatan Archer

In canon, Jonathan is eventually elected to the presidency of the United Federation of Planets. I have not shown that, but I have shown him as a representative in Flight of the Bluebird, and as a retired former president in both Bread and A Hazy Shade.

Arnis

Arnis, the Alpha of Daranaea, is disgraced and sent to prison for murder at the end of Take Back the Night, proving that even he is not above the law.

Boestus

One of the pieces of the plot of Flight of the Bluebird is the elections for Alpha, as Acreon is retiring. Boestus is the conservatives’ standard bearer.

Chawev

At the end of Reversal, Chawev is hauled off to jail (I seem to incarcerate my leaders a lot), for the crime of poisoning Yipran with potassium.

Elemis

This Beta Council representative is elected in a special election after Arnis is disgraced at the end of Take Back the Night.

Todd Stratton

Boris Yarin‘s brother-in-law is an official, high up in the deep future government. He is the only politician I have written, so far, for the HG Wells series.

Ubvelwev

In Voice of the Common Man, on Election Day, Lili votes for him to become the First Minister of the Lafa System, whereas Doug remains undecided by the end of the day.

Vidam

In the elections for Alpha in Flight of the Bluebird, Vidam represents the liberals on Daranaea, and is known to the electorate as the man who, during Debate, first brought to a vote the issue of granting the vote to Prime Wives (he lost, by an overwhelming amount).

Upshot

I need to write some female (and nongendered) politicians and political leaders, I think!


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Review – Temptation

Review – Temptation

Temptation gave me the idea of … cookies.

Background

In order to lighten the mood surrounding the Daranaeans, after the heavy plotting of The Cure is Worse Than the Disease and Take Back the Night, I decided to go with a light family comedy. The story works as pure fluff and little else. Because sometimes, you just need some fluff in your life.

Plot

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

It’s after Mistra has been exonerated, and the newly-configured Daranaean family, with Vidam as the head of the household and his mother, Dratha, quietly helping him, is getting along pretty well.

Most of the family has gone on a day outing, except for Mistra, her eldest daughter, Cria, and the baby of the family, Inta. The two eldest boys, Vidam and Trinning, are at the big school. When Cria finishes her home schooling homework, she asks to have friends over, and Mistra agrees.

Cria invites over Kathalia, Jamae, and Morza. The four girls have a wonderful time, until Cria, ever mindful of being a good hostess, goes to procure little cakes (cookies) for each of her guests. But there aren’t enough cookies. She is sure she counted right. So, what happened? Surely someone is a petty thief….

By this time, the boys are home, and Vidam and Trinning figure out why baby Inta has been so quiet and just where those cookies have gone to.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is meant to be a gentle family comedy, and I think it succeeds. When I read it to my husband for the first time, he yelled out, “Busted!” when the plot came to its little climax. And that made me laugh.


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Portrait of a Character – Dratha

Portrait of a Character – Dratha

Dratha is a force of nature.

Origins

As Take Back the Night unfolded, I wanted a character who would be an assertive woman.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Dratha
Dratha, one of the Daranaeans (legendary Prime Wife)

So many of the Daranaean women I had been writing were utterly passive, accepting of their fates and not questioning. But Dratha wasn’t going to be like that at all.

She would be glamorous and sassy, the Daranaean version of a legendary beauty.

Portrayal

As with all Daranaean characters, there is no actress chosen to play Dratha.

Portrait of a Character – Dratha

Instead, I suggest her as looking quite a bit like a greyhound, although I do see her as darker than this image. But she is regal and beautiful, a model of sleek perfection.

Personality

Tough and assertive, Dratha is the most expensive Daranaean woman – ever – at the time of her life. When she’s questioned under oath, she’s asked what her price was. After evading the question, and insisting on revealing her name before her purchase price, she finally reveals the shockingly high figure. Arnis, the Alpha of Daranaea, clearly desires her, as do all Daranaean men.

But she’s also kind. In Some Assembly Required, she comforts and cares for Seppa, even though the little girl is not her own. By the time of Flight of the Bluebird, she’s elderly and is slowing down.

Relationships

Arnis

The Alpha of Daranaea, like all of the men of their world, has the hots for Dratha. But she’s a Prime Wife, so she can (and often does) refuse relations. They have at least one son together, Vidam, so she has fulfilled her marital obligations to him. After the arrest of Arnis, it is unclear whether Dratha takes up with anyone else, but she probably doesn’t. She may be a trendsetter, but she’s not a revolutionary, like Mistra quietly is.

Mirror Universe

The existence of Daranaeans in the mirror seems a certainty.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Dratha, the Daranaean Diva
Dratha, the Daranaean Diva

Such a beautiful female would still be quite the object of desire but, like a human woman, she might suffer even more oppression. I see her as vainer, as someone who enjoys her luxuries because she’s got nothing else. In the mirror, even more so than in our universe, I see the Daranaean women as being without rights, almost stateless.

Quote

“You couldn’t afford me, anyway. I was purchased for four thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three Stonds.”

Upshot

This tough old gal has a lot of life left in her. She’ll be back.

Review – Take Back the Night

Review – Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night!

Take Back the Night Background

Once The Cure is Worse Than the Disease was posted, readers began asking me about a sequel. Nobody wanted to leave it the way it had been left, which was with Doctor An Nguyen becoming disillusioned and the Daranaeans left to their own devices and sexist ways, with lip service being paid to the Prime Directive.

I decided I wanted a small piece of a revolution, and so I got an idea. There would be an injustice, and the women would rise up.

Plot

Review – Take Back the Night

The real Take Back the Night movement is about women holding forth against violence against women, including rape, particularly date rape.

For the Daranaean, the elder Inta, this would be a form of marital rape that would spark the powder keg of a plot. I had already established that third caste women had no right to refuse sexual relations, and so the beginning is her refusing to sleep with her husband, Arnis. In fact, the first word of the story is simply her saying, “No!”

That is the only word she says in the entire piece. And in fact, that is the only word I have from her. Yet it is enough.

Violence

For her refusal, she is hit, hard, and she falls to the floor, hitting her head. This causes her death and, just as importantly, the death of her unborn fetus.

While her death is not actionable, the first legal question is whether the death of the unborn child is. This is, of course, distasteful to most of us, but I figure that alien cultures may very well have rather alien ideas about justice and mercy.

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

As the story unfolds, someone other than Arnis gets the blame. Hence the Cochrane and the Columbia both play a part in helping that person be exonerated. And they also help in having the real killer charged with the crime.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I think this is one of the better stories I have written, as the action moves from Daranaean home to both starships, a space battle, and eventually a courtroom and even the Beta Council chamber on Daranaea. Perhaps the best part about the story is that, while it resolves the immediate issue, it doesn’t fix all of the Daranaeans’ problems overnight. There’s plenty more story fodder, and many injustices remain. But at least there are a few less of them. I’m very proud of this story.