Portrait of a Character – Freela

Portrait of a Character – Freela


Because Gina and Gabrielle Nolan were alone, and the seven stages of grief were finished, I decided I wanted their lives to go on in a somewhat unexpected manner. As a result, Kittriss and Freela were born. Freela was a linchpin character in the story line. Without her, Gabby and Gina never hear a crying child, and Gina and Kit never meet. So Freela is important to the series.



Saoirse Ronan as Freela (image is provided for educational purposes)

Freela is played by actress Saoirse Ronan. And this talented Irish-American actress is a two-time Academy Award nominee, as of the writing of this blog post. Much like is the case with Kittriss, I wanted Freela to not be the big, dominating warrior-type Klingon.


When we first meet Freela, she is an artistically talented first grader who commemorates her mother’s death in the Dominion War with an eerily accurate painting. And this eventually leads her (presumably) to drafting and then eventually to study engineering. So this talented and sensitive Klingon will not become a warrior; instead, she will become a builder and a designer.

However, she also expresses some anti-Breen prejudice, even as she fully accepts Gina and Gabby as new members of her family.


Freela has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

A Mirror version of Freela is impossible, as the Dominion War does not seem to have happened on the other side of the pond.


“You know, capital buildings and bridges, but also public monuments. There’s, um, there’s a monument to the honored dead from the Breen Attack on Earth. It’s being built on Keto-Enol. We’ve been studying it; it’s a steel and glass structure made to look like thousands of birds flying up into the sky.

The bottom is tall and wide enough for a class to fit underneath. Under it, the names of the honored dead are to be etched, and they can be highlighted either randomly or as the observer wants to see. So, if you wanted to only read human names, you could, or the victims who were in Paris or the like. And the whole thing is to be made of debris from San Francisco and Beijing and even from ships that crashed that day, that sort of thing. Mother’s name will be etched underneath, as will that of Michael Nolan, Gabby’s Dad.”


Although she demonstrates some anti-Breen prejudice in Wider Than the Sargasso Sea, Freela is essentially a decent person. Furthermore, she is the only sister Gabby really has. And the two women love each other as much as biological sisters often do.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Portrait, 0 comments

Review – Wider Than the Sargasso Sea

Review – Wider Than the Sargasso Sea

The Sargasso Sea? It might be a stretch. Or maybe not. The gulf between different people and different species certainly feels impossible to surmount.


Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Wider than the Sargasso Sea

Wider than the Sargasso Sea

So for a prompt about working together, I made a decision to revisit Gina Nolan‘s universe and wrap things up a bit. The best way,  I felt, was to try to bring the story more or less full circle. Hence the Nolan family would have to meet the Breen head on, but not in battle. Instead, in peacetime, they would have to deal with them, somehow. And for Gina and Freela in particular, that feels way too hard.


It’s about twenty years since the Breen attack on Earth. Gina and Gabby have more or less moved on.  Gina has even remarried, to the Klingon, Kittriss. Life’s going pretty well, and Gabrielle is in a special school for the performing arts. Freela, her Klingon stepsister, is starting college (she’s going into engineering).

Then a Breen family moves into the neighborhood, and Gina is one of the many people yelling, “Breen, go home!

Story Postings


The story is Rated K.


I don’t know if the solution was too pat. I didn’t want for there to be easy answers, but I don’t know. I’m a bit ambivalent about this story. I feel that the characterizations are good and the plot line is a decent one. But I do wonder if the story arc and its payoff are truly believable, and I welcome feedback (as I do for all of the things I write).

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Review, 1 comment

Review – Release

. Review – Release

Release constitutes another play on words. Hence it represents both an end to bondage and a sexual act. And Saddik himself considers the latter before the former.


With the destruction of Vulcan, Vulcans are sought in all sorts of remote places. And this includes prisons.


This was in response to a prompt requiring that we write in the Kelvin timeline (sometimes also called nuTrek or the JJ  Abrams universe). I made a decision to write about how the creation of a sentient endangered species would be handled.

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

Eriecho and Saddik’s Release from Canamar Prison

Hence the story opens with a pair of Vulcan convicts. They are being called into a commandant’s office at Canamar Prison, a canon institution.

They are about to be freed, yet they scarcely know why. All that Commandant Kerig will tell them is that Vulcans are endangered, and the home world is no more. This unsettles Saddik, the elder of the two.

But not so Eriecho, who  barely knows anything about Vulcans, or what it means to be one.  So as the story continues, her backstory comes to the fore, of her birth on a prison transport. Hence this is the only life she has ever known. Furthermore, the only mother she has ever known was a deceased Suliban woman, H’Shema.

The action follows Eriecho and Saddik off Canamar and to their new home, a sanctuary on Mars. Colonel Jack Shaw is in charge, and he’s ecstatic. Partly it’s because it was his idea to try to find Vulcans in prisons. But it’s also because the rebuilding of the population involves surrogate mothers and as much genetic diversity as possible with the limited remnants of a once-thriving species. Therefore, taking note of the Law of Supply and Demand, Shaw has something that others want. Hence he (and the administrators of the other sanctuaries, on places like Andoria) engages in a barely legal practice – gamete trading.

Story Postings


The story has a K rating.


I loved being able to introduce these new characters. People love Eriecho, and it’s been a joy to find her voice and follow her life as she adjusts to life on the outside.

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Posted by jespah in Eriecho series, Fan fiction, Review, 5 comments

Recurrent Themes – The Art of War

Recurrent Themes – The Art of War

War books have a place in my work. The Sun-Tzu work seems to be everywhere.


As a bit of background for Jay Hayes and Empress Hoshi, Sun-Tzu’s classic text proved to be the perfect manual for Star Trek fan fiction (not to be confused with Keith R. A. DeCandido‘s great book, The Klingon Art of War).


Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | The Art of War

This book has been everywhere, or at least it sure seems that way. I particularly like it as warrior shorthand, that the people who are reading it are looking to go into battle. But the battle might just be The Battle of the Sexes.

Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses

This story is loaded with quotations from two separate books, this one and The Prince by Machiavelli. Empress Hoshi’s moves are calculated, everything from killing off Ian and Phlox, to overpowering T’Pol while at her weakest, to turning the loyalties of Emperor Phillip‘s men, including Andrew, José, and Brian. The book is presented as more or less a user’s manual for overthrowing a regime and installing one’s own brand of tyranny.

Advice from My Universes to Yours

In Advice, the book is mentioned briefly in passing when trying to convince a socially awkward person that perhaps they could read romantic fiction in order to understand people better. The book is mentioned and, of course, rejected immediately.

The Three of Us

In The Three of Us, Jay is shown reading and rereading this book, and he’s even reading it when Lili visits him in his quarters for the first time.

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Jay provides two bequests. The lucky nickel goes to Lili, while this book goes to Malcolm.

In Memory of Kelsey Haber

During In Memory of Kelsey Haber, Malcolm refers to this book, and tells Hoshi that it was a bequest from Jay. Malcolm further notes that he had vowed, at that time, to get to know the people under his command, but he fell down on the job with Kelsey and never did.


This little book gets around as much as Jane Eyre! It’ll be back.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Themes, 0 comments

Review – Flight of the Bluebird

Review – Flight of the Bluebird

Ah, it’s the bluebird of happiness!


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.


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


The story is Rated K.


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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Posted by jespah in Emergence series, Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 4 comments

Portrait of a Character – Rayna Montgomery

Portrait of a Character – Rayna Montgomery

Rayna Montgomery spoke to me.


A call was put out, on Trek United, for short stories for a newsletter. I was currently writing more basic fare such as More, More, More!

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Freak School | Rayna Montgomery

Freak School

Then something turned in my head, and I came up with this odd character, a kind of Klingon Valley Girl.

Meet Rayna.


Amanda Seyfried as Rayna Montgomery

Amanda Seyfried as Rayna Montgomery

I like Amanda Seyfried for Rayna, particularly without heavy makeup.

But the truth is, Rayna could be played by a lot of young actresses.  Certainly Kaley Cuoco or Holly Marie Combs would have been fine in their earlier days.


Gawky and out of place, Rayna is as unsure of herself as many teenaged girls are. The difference is that Rayna, being half-Klingon, can do some serious damage if she becomes angered. Failing in school, she is taken out by her concerned parents and is moved from Connecticut to the Archer Academy on Oberon, where troubled hybrid teens can go as a kind of last stop before Juvenile Hall.

But Rayna is also smart, and her poor grades are more a reflection on her not fitting in than on any lack of ability. Once she gets to the Archer Academy, she begins to blossom, particularly in English. But she still can’t quite get the hang of advanced Math. But that’s okay; she’s about to get a tutor.



I haven’t decided whether this will actually go anywhere, but I like the idea of Rayna having a fellow in class who she can relate to, or at least strive for. Because not only does she want to fit in; she also wants to get the guy and, at the same time, defeat her arch-rival, Tellifa.

Mirror Universe

There are really no impediments to Rayna existing in the Mirror Universe.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel |  Amanda Seyfried as Rayna Montgomery (image is for educational purposes only)

Amanda Seyfried as Rayna Montgomery (image is for educational purposes only)

I like to think she’d be more graceful, and maybe even beautiful.

But she’d still be crafty.


“If I had more Klingon in me, I guess I’d be more intimidating, but most of the time I’m just a creampuff with cranial ridges. I swear I have never told anybody that before. Group is useless, but I feel I can at least mention it here.”


I love this character but I really haven’t done enough with her.  After Freak School, she was mainly forgotten, which is a shame. I’ll have to find something to do with her one of these days.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Mixing It Up Collection, Portrait, 2 comments

Lessons from Fan Fiction

Personal Background

Lessons? Yes.

I have been writing (with considerable time off), in some form or another, for the past 4 1/2 decades, no exaggeration. My initial writings were crudely drawn images in old calendar books that would have otherwise been discarded. Inevitably, they were all about more or less the same thing – anthropomorphized dogs going on adventures.

I used to own (many of them used to be in my parents’ house) little plastic farm animal toys.



Plastic animals

Many of these came from my father’s business trips to Munich, and they were fairly well detailed. When not drawing picture books, I would play act stories for these toys. Usually, it was some sort of journey.

The toys still exist, but the old calendar books are long gone, in some landfill somewhere (they were discarded before recycling was really mainstream).

As a teenaged girl, I had diaries, but all of those are also gone to a landfill. I did not get back to writing anything resembling fiction until my senior year in High School, when I had an AP English teacher who encouraged such things. I took Creative Writing in college, and a Law School boyfriend also encouraged me to write. Then I set it all aside until maybe 2000 when I did some short works and then started writing fan fiction in 2004.

After a few more short works, I set it aside until 2010. Ever since starting up again (with Reversal), I have written something pretty much every day, whether it’s Star Trek: fan fiction, wholly original works, blogging and/or fiction outlining.

Lessons Learned (in no particular order)

Write to keep writing

While I suffer from writer’s block, just like every other writer, I suffer from it less than I probably should, because I make an effort to write nearly every single day. This keeps it all going.

Take and Keep Notes

I have a large timeline for fan fiction, spanning a few millennia. I have other timelines for wholly original fictional universes. These are kept with MS Excel. Timelines are incredibly useful, as you immediately know things like ages, and if character lifetimes overlap.

Fiction Stacks lessons

Fiction Stacks

I keep wikis (more like informal detailed outlines, as I am the sole contributor) for all major series, and separate ones for wholly original fiction. These are for world-building, and they contain everything from character heights to birthdays to naming conventions for various items. It’s all decided once and the references are at my fingertips.

I also keep a list of plot ideas, which also contains possible titles, species ideas, possible character names, etc. (Eriecho was originally going to be Klingon). This ‘parks’ new ideas so that I can concentrate better on the story I am trying to finish.

Don’t Throw Anything Away

Character names from 1986 have shown up in fiction written in 2011, no lie. A quarter-century later, and in a different universe, the names still work.

Your Work Should be Shared

I belong to several writers’ groups online, both for fan fiction and for wholly original work.

Fan fiction in the making lessons

Fan fiction in the making

There are a lot of people who are terrified of sharing their work with others. These are not people holding back because it’s work they want to try to have published. They just plain aren’t ready to share anything.

And that’s unfortunate, as their work can stagnate with no feedback. Fiction isn’t meant to be hidden away, locked in a drawer somewhere.


Constructive Criticism is Gold

English: Crystaline Gold lessons

English: Crystaline Gold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyone providing constructive criticism of any sort is fantastic. Being told that I need to define a character better, or provide more details, or that a scenario is not credible – any and all of these criticisms makes me a better writer. Learning to take constructive criticism graciously was an enormous lesson for me.

Destructive Criticism is Dirt

While not everyone will love what I have written, I’ve learned to separate critiques into constructive and destructive, and can tell the difference.

Vermont dirt, up close. lessons

Vermont dirt, up close.

There are those who go into reading a fan fiction who are biased against a particular series, or character or character pairing, etc. They might dislike a certain plot point (e. g. not everyone likes time travel), or they just might dislike all fan fiction.

Most of what these folks say is not worth reading, or repeating. Fortunately, I haven’t run into too many of these folks in my travels.

As for those who engage in personal attacks, they should be blocked without a second thought. No one needs to be trashed in order to be effectively critiqued. Ever.

Do Your Research

In one of my first-ever fan fictions (There’s Something About Hoshi), I misspelled MACO as MAKO, and a reader corrected me. At the time, I was overly sensitive and felt it was petty. I have since come to realize that of course this person was correct. They were only trying to help me get better.

Pay it Forward by Reading and Reviewing Others’ Work

Sitting back and expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting of reading and reviewing is pretty selfish. Writers, of course, should take care not to steal from each other, or plagiarize. But the building, nurturing, and sustaining of writer communities means that you, the writer, need to also become the reader, and the critic. Always be a constructive critic.

Practice and Edit

Not writing does not make you a better writer. Only writing, and reading, can make you a better writer. So do both.

Don’t Crowdsource Your Ideas

I see this a lot, where potential writers, terrified that they have a bad idea, ask their peers for a judgment about whether something is a ‘good’ idea.

This is bass-ackwards. Instead, writers should be writing. Their ideas are, likely, perfectly fine. Why do I say this? Because most ideas are fine; it’s their execution that demonstrates quality, or the lack thereof. Consider the following story idea.

Kafka lessons


A suddenly disabled man is late for work one morning. Ignoring his new infirmity, he tries to go to work, as he is the sole supporter of his mostly ungrateful family. When they become, by necessity, more independent, they abuse and neglect him and, unappreciated, he eventually dies. They go on without him.

Don’t know that plot? It’s Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, easily one of the top 100 (if not 50) works of fiction ever written. Ever!

But that plot summary isn’t too promising, eh? It’s in the execution where Gregor Samsa comes to life.

Your ideas are fine, except for the idea that you need others’ approval before you can start writing. Nonsense! Write anyway.

You’re Better Than You Think

Unless you are out and out plagiarizing someone else’s work, there is probably someone out there who will like your writing. That leads to my next point.

Find Your Ideal Audience

Sites which cater to, say, only Star Trek: Enterprise will not appreciate Star Trek: Voyager fan fiction as well as sites that focus on it. That may seem obvious, but it’s a point that people sometimes seem to miss. If your work isn’t being read, try other sites. You might do better elsewhere.

Fix Your Technical Problems Before Posting

Always look over spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word choice (e. g. make sure you are using the right words, and they mean what you think they do), and grammar. A few stray errors are fine, but try to fix most of it before posting. This is a courtesy to your readers.

Not Everyone Wants to read your entire Saga

Readers’ time is as precious a your own.

Busy lessons


Their not wanting to read your entire 10 million word saga is less a reflection on your abilities (or their love of your work), and more on their own busy lives.

Expecting your audience to read your entire saga is a discourtesy. You are not being respectful of their time. Respect their time by mixing in some short stories as most people can find the time to read something less than 10,000 words (even better, less than 5,000).

Compete With your Peers

This ups your game considerably. Put yourself out there, and don’t expect to win. Competitions are also a great way to get more people to read and review your work.

Keep Track of your Stats

You don’t have to be as analytical as I am, but it pays to at least have a handle on what’s popular, and what isn’t. These findings will probably differ from site to site, and having objective data means you’ll have a better idea of whether a story will go over well or poorly at a particular site.

Use Your Time Wisely

We all have lives, so writing time often has to be rationed. Determine what you want and need, and how well various sites satisfy those wants and needs. Do an informal cost-benefit analysis – does a site offer ease of posting? Better critiquing? A bigger audience? A better-matched audience to your work?

Build a Readership

Book reader lessons

Book reader

When I learned I was going to be published, I told pretty much everyone in my network. A lot of people said they were excited about potentially seeing my wholly original work in print. This is not only ego-gratifying, it’s also, potentially, a source of reads (and even sales) and reviews for professional work. I’m not saying to become a writing mercenary.

Rather, cultivate and nurture your most loyal fans.

That doesn’t just mean being kind to them (which should be a given), and thanking them (another given); it also means listening to them. Do they want to see more original characters? A new horror story? More time travel? Do they think your last book dragged in the middle? Take them seriously. They are really trying to help you succeed. Let them.


I have come a long way from picture books that I showed to no one, and stories that I left to rot in a trunk and are no more. Fan fiction has improved me as a writer, and has taught me to believe in myself. It has led me to becoming a published author. I owe it a lot.

Thank you.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Inspiration-Mechanics, Meta, 6 comments

Portrait of a Character – Kittris (Kit)

Portrait of a Character – Kittris (Kit)

Kittris is an everyday hero kind of character.


In Hold Your Dominion, a somewhat earlier Star Trek fanfiction piece, Gina and Gabrielle Nolan experience immeasurable loss when Gina’s husband, Michael, loses his life in a senseless Breen attack before Gabrielle is even born.

But life goes on, and eventually it’s five years since the attack. Gabby and Gina go to Gabby’s school, where they are having a presentation of artwork commemorating the attack. Gabrielle’s artwork is a little disturbing, but there is a much better piece done by a little Klingon girl, Freela, who has lost her mother. When Gina finds a Klingon man who seems to be looking for something or someone, he turns out to be Kittris, Freela’s father. Gina immediately starts calling him Kit.


I like wrestler Chris Jericho for Kittris.

Portrait of a Character – Kittris (Kit)

Chris Jericho

The actor is affable and intelligent and seems a better mate for Gina than a lot of the more standard Klingons would be. He seems to be a guy with a sense of humor and timing and grace, and not just a grappler with brawn.


Kit is a butcher by trade, but he does his best to assure that the animals he has to slaughter don’t suffer. When he and Gina first talk, he’s tentative (he doesn’t speak English very well yet). They make conversation as well as they can, and Gina can see how Kit interacts with Freela. He doesn’t belittle her when she’s afraid, with some notion of insisting that a little girl somehow behave like a Klingon warrior. Instead, he’s kind and patient.

After they have wed, he takes in Gabrielle and treats her as if she were his second daughter. He insists that the two Nolans be a part of any family events or activities. This includes the wedding of Lannis’s younger sister, Lukara. Freela and Gabrielle even share a bedroom. When the girls are older, and Gabby has to act opposite a Breen, Kit is supportive. He also checks to make sure that the Breen actor treats Gabby all right.



Just like Michael Nolan, Lannis is killed in the Breen attack. However, Lannis was no civilian. Instead, she was a bombardier on a two-person Daranaean ship, and was shot down during a fire fight over San Francisco. When Kittris and Gina first meet, he intimates to her that he did not always get along with his first wife’s family, but he was dependent upon them to help with Freela, who was an infant at the time of her mother’s death.

Gina Nolan

With Gina, Kit finds a willing and equal partner in life. They blend their families in such a way that I often refer to them as the Klingon Brady Bunch. The union is respectful and as equal as it can be.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Kittris (Kit)

Mirror Kittris (Chris Jericho)

In Smash Your Dominion, the meeting in the Mirror Universe between the Mirror versions of Kit and Gina goes far differently as Gina, a Captain’s Woman, has to get her rambunctious daughter out of trouble before the Captain Keller (who is not Gabby’s father) finds out.

In exchange for a little something fun, Kit keeps quiet about Gabrielle getting into a small scrape. But Kit knows that it’s a bad idea to get involved with a Captain’s Woman. Unless one is a captain, of course.


“We realize that you must rehearse. But, well, everything about that boy disturbs me.”


I haven’t really thought about what else to do with this family, at least, not for a while. The situation may present itself, but right now Kit is on hold with the remainder of his blended clan.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, Portrait, 7 comments

Portrait of a Character – Boris Yarin

Portrait of a Character – Boris Yarin

Boris Yarin was fun to create.


I wanted a character who would be paranoid, itchy and dangerous. And I wanted him to be a healer, too, a paradox. I further decided that he would be a combination of human, Klingon and Xindi sloth. The sloth part would make him paranoid. The Klingon part would make him physically powerful. And the human part would make him all-too emotionally vulnerable.

I stumbled across his surname quite by accident (and nearly literally), as I used to walk in an area where a Toyota Yaris always seemed to be parked.

Portrait of a Character – Boris Yarin

Toyota Yaris

It was not due to any great affection I had for this vehicle.  Rather, I just liked the combination of letters. As I sometimes do for foreign or alien names, I did a bit of brainstorming/free associating with sounds. Yarin, apparently, is Turkish for tomorrow, a fitting surname for a character who lives and dies in the thirty-first and thirty-second centuries.

And so Boris Fyodorovich Yarin was born.


For a man who was almost constantly jumping out of his skin, who would be better than Henry Rollins?

Portrait of a Character – Boris Yarin

Henry Rollins as Boris Yarin

I had initially seen Boris as being somewhat slight, like a Klingon with menace but no muscle behind it. But the more I thought about Rollins, the more I liked the idea. Rollins always seems to be on fire just underneath his skin. Boris, too, is often barely this side of exploding.

In addition, Boris’s intelligence is masked by a severe lack of confidence. He doesn’t think he can do the work, so he gets his job through his wife’s connections. And then he decides he wants to retain his post, so it’s even more imperative that he tread a fine line with his wife. If he’s out of the marriage, he reasons, he’ll also be out of a job.


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

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

Paranoid and angry, yet wildly intelligent, Boris is problematic from the start. He marries for prestige and position, and not for love. As a result, he’s vulnerable when Marisol Castillo seduces him. And then he’s considerably more vulnerable when she begins blackmailing him. For him, what started as hanky-panky has turned into something more, and he is not only desperate to keep his marriage together and retain his job, he’s also genuinely hurt because he actually loves Marisol.


Darragh Stratton

Boris’s wife is mentioned in passing but she is not seen until Ohio when, in an alternate timeline, she isn’t his wife at all. They have a marriage of convenience for the most part. Whether Darragh loves Boris is debatable. Whether Boris loves Darragh is obvious – he doesn’t.

Marisol Castillo

For this femme fatale, Boris is an easy conquest. At first, it’s sexual (and in A Long, Long Time Ago, that’s one of the first times they’re seen together – in flagrante delicto). After a while, though, Boris realizes he has feelings for her, calling her his “angel” (which he also calls Darragh). By the time he figures out that he’s been betrayed, in Shake Your Body, there is but one endgame for him and Marisol.

Mirror Universe

Boris does not yet have a Mirror Universe counterpart.

Portrait of a Character – Boris Yarin

Mirror Universe Boris Yarin

But that would be pretty scary, eh?

I have always wanted Henry Rollins to portray a Klingon, and I wonder why he never has.


“My name is Boris Fyodorovich Yarin. I am forty-six years of age, and of sound mind. This letter will be farewell, confession, warning and will all in one.

First, to my wife, Darragh Stratton Yarin, I leave everything I own, with no exceptions, to do with as she wishes. It is all I can offer, for apologies are worthless. I have acted completely without honor. I owe you many things, and cannot repay that debt. All I can hope is for you to live your life without any thought of me – no sorrow, no mourning, no regret, no compassion and not even memory. If I could erase our time together, and spare you, I would.”


I hope Boris conveys as much menace as I’ve envisioned. I think more of his backstory could be explored, and a Mirror Boris would be, perhaps, even a revolutionary.

May thanks again to FltCpt. Bossco of the STPMA site. The photomanipulation is truly stunning and is exactly what I wanted.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Portrait, Times of the HG Wells series, 12 comments

Portrait of a Character – Gina Nolan

Portrait of a Character – Gina Nolan

Gina Nolan is more than a widow.


Portrait of a Character – Gina Nolan

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 came closer, I found myself thinking about that day. I wanted, in particular, to write about women who had been pregnant at the time of the attack. The Breen attack on Earth seemed a good backdrop for that. Plus it was a chance to learn about a part of Star Trek that I really didn’t know anything about. Therefore, I began with a story of a pregnant woman, and framed it against Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief.


Portrait of a Character – Gina Nolan

Gina Nolan (Elisabetta Canalis)

Gina is portrayed by Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis, currently best known in the United States for dating George Clooney.


Brassy and no-nonsense, Gina becomes a widow. This is when her husband Michael, a Xenobotanist, is instantly killed at his Beijing laboratory. She has been at home on Proxima Centauri, safe from the attack, but bereft all the same. Most of her story is told in Hold Your Dominion, although a portion is told in Wider Than the Sargasso Sea.

The Five Stages of Grief


Keeping away the soldiers tasked with informing her of the death seems her only logical move. Of course that doesn’t bring Michael back; it just prolongs the moment of learning of his death.


On Andoria for a memorial service, Gina loses patience with just about everyone.


To get across the idea of bargaining, I had her haggle with a Ferengi merchant. Still on Andoria, and still run ragged, she gets redbat at a decent price. This is particularly after a security officer intervenes.


Returning to Proxima, smells and rudeness overcome Gina Nolan. But it all comes to a head when she sees the destroyed tree in her front yard. A symbol of her and Michael’s love, it was killed when a military shuttle landed on it and its inhabitants told her of her husband’s death. It’s all too much for her, and she spirals downwards.


She spends her first Christmas after Michael’s death with her parents. She takes them to a crossing of streets now named Michael Nolan Square. A dedication plaque reads, “This square is dedicated to Xenobotanist Michael G. Nolan, born July first, 2341. Nolan died on October tenth, 2375, at his lab in Beijing, when the Breen attacked Earth. He left a wife and a daughter.”



Five years after the attack, someone pulls Gina Nolan along to look at artwork. Whose artwork? Her daughter’s. The children at Decker Elementary have all drawn something about the Breen attack. While there, they spot a lost child. She’s a little Klingon girl who is a bit older than Gina’s daughter, Gabrielle. The girl, Freela, is crying for her father. When they are back together, there is a ribbon award for the best drawing in the first grade. It goes to Freela. Gina suggests ice cream, and Freela’s father, Kittris, agrees.

Ice Cream

As the grownups talk and the girls play, it becomes apparent that there might be a chance for something more than just a pleasant afternoon.


Ten years later, a milestone in Kittriss’s family is an occasion for Gina Nolan and Gabby to again try to fit in.


Five years afterwards, Gina is part of an interview for a commemoration of the attack. She remembers Michael, but not with sadness.

The Next Generation

In Wider Than the Sargasso Sea, much of the action shifts to Gabrielle. But Gina is still there, still fighting, and is a part of a large crowd protesting Breen moving into their neighborhood and, as that story begins, yells, “Breen, go home!”


Michael Nolan

I never show him alive, although I might write a flashback at some point. Their marriage was a decent one, but they worked on different planets, and that could not have been easy.


Originally, shared grief draws them together. But then it becomes something more. Together, they raise their daughters – and I often (albeit not actually in my fan fiction) refer to them as “The Klingon Brady Bunch”.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Gina Nolan

Mirror Gina Nolan

In the Mirror Universe, Gina is a Captain’s Woman, to Alexander Bashir (In The Point is Probably Moot he’s the captain of the ISS Molotov). But she does have a taste for Klingon men, and meets Kittress under very different circumstances, in Smash Your Dominion.


“It wasn’t meant to be fair, and that’s not just because of the Breen. It’s, in general. (so) It’s never meant to be fair. It’s death, and while I think it holds account books, I also don’t kid myself. (so) It’s not a simple equation. It’s not like we gathered all the bad people together, and then told the Breen to have at it. (so) It’s not that. And it’s not God taking the most righteous or that kind of bull, either. It was just a bunch of people who drew the unlucky card that day. If I didn’t have my teaching job here, I would have been living in Beijing, too. And then Gabrielle and I would be gone, too.”


I think the Sargasso Sea story mainly wrapped up this story line. But I don’t know. Gina Nolan often surprises me, and she may yet do so again.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, Portrait, 16 comments