Tag Archives: original character

Review – Revved Up

Review – Revved Up

Revved Up rocks.

Because I have more or less run out of (completed) Star Trek fan fiction to blog about, I would like to introduce some of my wholly original fiction to this blog. I hope the insights will prove fruitful or at least interesting.

Background

Revved Up - Barking Up the Muse Tree
Revved Up

This story started because I had stayed at my childhood home and noticed something odd in the front yard. And the truth is, it was nearly nothing. However, I sometimes have an overactive imagination, and so I took this idea and I ran with it.

What did I notice? It was only a few ruts near a flower bed. They were nothing, really, and were most likely made by a hoe or a rake. However, in my mind, I decided they would be tire tracks. And then the fun started.

Plot

A holier than thou narrator tells the story to an unnamed police officer. The plot circles around the narrator’s elderly parents’ next-door neighbors. And the narrator refers to them as the POJ Family. That is, the “Pair of Jerks”.

As the story progresses, our narrator gets more and more self-righteous as the POJ Family continues to perform more and more outrageous acts in her parents’ sleepy, leafy Northern New Jersey suburban street (Note: my folks live on Long Island and they don’t even live in the inspiration house any more).

Sharp-eyed readers should be able to follow along at least in part. The narrator keeps a lot of information close to the vest, so it pays, actually, to read the book again. And no, I’m not trying to inflate read counts.

Story Postings

The story’s sole posting is on Wattpad, where it was named a Featured Story a few years ago.

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

This story has had better traction than nearly anything I have ever written. With (as of the time of the writing of this blog post) over 54,000 reads and over 400 comments (many of which referenced that surprise ending), Revved Up remains an unqualified success.  Of course having Featured Story status helped a great deal.

Could I sell it? I have toyed with that idea, but the story is so odd and it’s really too short for a novel. Plus it does not really lend itself to a sequel. While sequels are far from necessary, it helps if that’s an option.

In addition, do you like this page? Tweet it!


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Portrait of a Character – Jia Sulu

Portrait of a Character – Jia Sulu

Jia Sulu is a favorite.

Origins

First of all, I wanted a character who would be loyal and loving, and would leap into the BeckettMaddenDigiornoO’DayReed family without even looking.

Portrait of a Character – Jia Sulu
Faye Wong as Jia Sulu

Furthermore, I wanted someone to be with Malcolm at the very end of his life. Also, this person would outwardly seem to be a bit detached, as Malcolm is often portrayed in canon. But the connection would still be there, under the surface. However, the idea of detachment would be an illusion.

Finally, I wanted someone who would be one of the many living embodiments of just how different the Mirror Universe is from our own.  Because Jia’s father is Doug’s last male human kill in the mirror, a counterpart for Jia may or may not even be possible.

Portrayal

Jia is played by singer and actress Faye Wong. This beautiful woman is often described by the press as being a diva.

Personality

Kind to everyone, Jia is the extra daughter that the family never had. She supports Joss in everything, and is up for whatever he has to offer. He is her world.

Her most important moment in the series (so far) is that she is the only one present when Malcolm dies of old age, in Fortune.

Relationships

Joss Beckett

So there can never be anyone else for Jia apart from Jeremiah Logan Beckett. They are the kind of couple who meet as children and never, ever look at anyone else. There is never anyone else.

Mirror Universe

Jia cannot exist in the Mirror, as she is born in 2157. However her father, Geming, was killed by Doug in 2152. Plus she doesn’t even really have an analogue, like Marie Patrice and the other blood relative family members do.

Quote

“Father, when my own father died, my mother, she had the same visions. She would think he was out back clipping the hedges or at work. I guess it makes it easier.”

Upshot

So wherever Joss goes, Jia is sure to follow. And she’ll be back at some point, I’m sure.


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Spotlight on Azezans in Star Trek Fan Fiction

Background

Azezans were an early invention. In fact, this wholly original species was one of the first ones I ever made.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Adventures of Porthos | Azezans
The Adventures of Porthos

For The Adventures of Porthos, I was still at a stage in my Star Trek fanfiction writing where I was mainly just looking at one-off characterizations and species of the week. The Azezans were a part of that.

Characteristics of Azezans

Yellow badge Star of David called "Judens...
Yellow badge Star of David called “Judenstern”. Part of the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. The wording is the German word for Jew (Jude), written in mock-Hebrew script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peaceful to a fault, the Azezans allow another species, the Olathans, to run roughshod over them, to disastrous consequences and results. This vegan species is so peaceful that they don’t fight back when a far more powerful species comes in and takes over. The Olathans enslave them and have the Azezans self-select the Olathans’ next victims, in a sickening reminder of the Nazi Judenrat.

For physical characteristics, the only thing I gave them was purple skin. The skin, if sliced or bitten, is in lightening shades of purple. Other than that, I had no descriptions for them.

Enterprise’s Involvement

Normally, there would be no involvement whatsoever. Under the Prime Directive, it’s likely no one would visit such a system. This is because I never said whether they were Warp-capable. Instead, the Olathans secretly offer the Azezans as slave laborers. This is because of overpopulation on Azezi Prime.

Jonathan Archer watches the exchange between First Governor Siont (an Azezan) and Settlement Engineer Dar (who is secretly an Olathan), and determines from their body language that they don’t enjoy working together. As they are questioned about the work arrangement, Siont doesn’t appear to believe any of the platitudes he’s sprouting about cheerful, healthy workers. Whereas Dar is more than happy to talk profits.

Phlox enters with Porthos, in order to provide a quick break. Siont pets the animal, who seemingly without cause bites Dar in the ankle. The ruse discovered, Dar takes  what is very much like a cyanide capsule, also a reference to the Nazis.

Siont explains that to return with a dead Dar means that he and his entourage will be suspect. Archer, suspecting that there are more hidden Olathans, probably working as informants and Fifth Columnists, ends the matter with assuring that he will have humans sent as advisors with a number of hound dogs. The dogs, presumed to be primed to behave just like Porthos just has, should quickly rout the Olathans. It’s an imperfect and slow solution, but at least it’s a relatively peaceful one that the Azezans can condone.

Upshot

I have never written a sequel to this story, and it’s high time I did.


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Portrait of a Character – Neil Digiorno-Madden

Portrait of a Character – Neil Digiorno-Madden

Origins

As a successor character in Star Trek fanfiction, I needed someone who would have a head for business. That led directly to Neil, although he started off as a somewhat troubled teen, within the alternate timeline as played out in Temper.

Portrayal

I see Brendan Fraser for Neil. I like the actor’s affable charm.

Portrait of a Character – Neil Digiorno-Madden

I think I like him even better, now that he’s a bit heavier. He just seems more like a normal, regular person, which is more or less how I see Neil, who even refers to himself as the hippopotamus among the gazelles (his siblings).

Personality

Neil’s the guy with the head for business. He is also the only one of the BeckettO’DayReedDigiornoMadden offspring who cooks. Although he has no biological relationship with Lili whatsoever, he is her heir in this regard, and she sells him Reversal when she retires. Neil is also the only one who runs 5Ks and, while he’s slow and he finishes last, he does finish. After Melissa and Leonora’s death, Neil retains their Fep City apartment.

He is the only one of the five children who does not cross over to the Mirror Universe during Temper. Instead, bereft and lonely, he becomes troubled.

Relationships

Unlike his siblings, Neil embraces the Calafan ideal of both a day and a night relationship. He never marries, but he loves his two women deeply.

Ines Ramires

The daughter of Jenny and Francisco is Neil’s daytime woman and is as close to a wife as he ever has.  They have two children together, Jennifer Leonora, known as Jenny Lee, and Martin Kevin, who is named after the prematurely deceased Kevin Madden-Beckett and is also a direct ancestor of canon character Martin Madden.

Yinora

The daughter of Yimar, she is married to Fepwev, with whom she has three children.  Yinora and Neil, who are both named for Norri Digiorno, mainly meet in their dreams. However, Yinora and Ines are cordial with each other and live the Calafan ideal of a harmonious day and night in perfect alignment.

Theme Music

In Temper, he’s the only one of the principal characters who doesn’t get a theme!

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Neil Digiorno-Madden

A mirror counterpart is impossible for Neil. Instead, he has a mirror analogue, Arashi Sato, as they both have heads for business.

Quote

“Ha, the next time you eat at Reversal, I’ll be sending you a bill.”

Upshot

I loved giving this guy a bit of a later life, where he runs his race and has his family close. He has all of the solid and dependable qualities of Doug without any of the violence. I like him, and he will return, I am certain of that.


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Portrait of a Character – Polly Porter

Portrait of a Character – Polly Porter

Polly Porter, originally, had a larger role.

Origins

Long before I started writing Star Trek fanfiction, I wrote parts of a wholly original time travel series. A character who was supposed to understand psychology and therapy was named Polly Porter. Polly originally was the middle child of two sisters, Penelope and Paris. I kept Polly and her specialty but ditched her sisters, for the most part.

Portrayal

Polly is played by veteran actress Kathy Bates.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Kathy Bates as Polly Porter (image is for educational purposes only)
Kathy Bates as Polly Porter (image is for educational purposes only)

I like this smart, older Oscar winner.

Personality

Warm and friendly, Polly is the epitome of almost a Frasier Crane-type of character (e. g. “I’m listening.”). However, very much like Frasier, she is also a rather detached individual, not really that close to anyone.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Polly Porter
Mirror Polly

In the Mirror Universe, I feel she’d be a much more informal advice-giver. But women are often in secondary roles there, at least in my Star Trek fanfiction. Would she still be among the living? It’s possible that she wouldn’t be, seeing as she is aging and is not a great beauty. In the Mirror Universe, where a woman’s looks (at least in my fan fiction) are often valued far more than her brains or her kindness or other skills, Polly would more than likely come up short, even in the deeper future.

Quote

“Let’s get you some keratin accelerator for your hair, and some newer clothes, okay? And as for the rest of it, heh, well, our department needs a new traveling doctor, right?”

Upshot

Polly is one of those characters – and there were a few of them in the HG Wells series – who I just ran out of room, time, and interest for.  This is a perfectly good character, but a lot of her lines, shall we say, ended up on the cutting room floor. Perhaps I’ll be able to do her justice later. I don’t know.


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Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

Origins

After the Star Trek 2009 film came out, eventually there was a challenge to write a story in the JJ Abrams universe (also called nuTrek). Hence I created Eriecho.

When Eriecho and Saddik are originally released from Canamar Prison, they are brought to a Vulcan sanctuary on Mars. That sanctuary needed an administrator, and that person became Jack Shaw.

Portrayal

I like Kurt Russell for this role, particularly his no-nonsense hyper-military look in Stargate.

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw
Kurt Russell as Jack Shaw

Personality

Tough but fair, Shaw is responsible for a ton of Vulcans and they are an endangered species.  But underneath, he’s a bit of a softie. He watches over his charges like a mother hen. And he pines for reporter Julie Parker.

Relationships

Juliet Parker

When we first meet Shaw, one of the things he is doing is mulling over a house that Julie loved. With no ties to her, he puts a payment stop on it. It’s a foolish thing, a lark, and he has no hope of anything happening between them. But he does it all the same. And when she learns he has done this, she is amused and then touched.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

There are no impediments to Shaw existing in the Mirror Universe, either in the JJ Abrams timeline or the Prime Timeline.

I like to think he would be more relaxed, and would maybe have a family, despite the harsh conditions on that side of the pond.

Quote

“I’m lousy at this. But I don’t drink to excess, not any more than a beer or two after work. I don’t gamble. I don’t run around. And I, uh, I won’t look at anyone else. Hell, I haven’t since I met you.”

Upshot

He could be better explored, I imagine. At some point, where Eriecho goes (and at some point I will marry her off to Sollastek), Shaw will follow. He’ll be back.


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Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

Origins

I wanted a bit of an author surrogate here. I loved this spelling of Sheilagh ever since I saw it in the old book, The Harrad Experiment. That was about the only thing, other than the sex scenes, that was interesting about that book, but I digress.

Sheilagh was written to be a specialist in ancient computer systems, as time travelers would need that sort of expertise.

Portrayal

I see Leelee Sobieski in this role.

Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

I like the actress’s look, she seems brassy and I feel that Sheilagh would be a bit like that. Smart but also maybe a little pushy.

Personality

A genius, but often isolated, Sheilagh is older and could use some friends. When things trouble her, she has no one to talk to and, in Ohio, ends up talking to a random guy in a park.

Sheilagh was born on September 19, 3062. She lives on Mars. While growing up, she had a Mastiff named Jake. She is an only child, born in New Brasilia, on Callisto.

Relationships

Richard Daniels

While some flirting goes on in Ohio, it isn’t until You Mixed-Up Siciliano that they hook up. The relationship is mainly physical and they often meet in each other’s bunks in the middle of the night. Just before Spring Thaw, Rick ends it, and Sheilagh does not object.

HD Avery

In Shake Your Body, after seeing some difficult things, they get together. HD has been interested for quite a while, referring to her (when speaking to Daniels) as being, “the best one”. In He Stays a Stranger, Branch Borodin states that HD and Sheilagh eventually marry.  A quick scene of them dating is showing in Happy Stuff 3111.

Theme Music

Although the spelling is wrong, this song works. It’s from 1962, so it’s a little bit after Ohio.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Sheilagh Bernstein's file photo at the Temporal Integrity Commission
Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Sheilagh Bernstein’s file photo at the Temporal Integrity Commission

In Ohio, Sheilagh confirms that she has a Mirror Universe counterpart, who is a government official.

I see this woman as being smart, yes, but even more withdrawn than the Prime Universe Sheilagh. After all, who can you trust?

Quote

“Home is, is on Mars. Yeah! I’m one of those little green men you’re all so worried about. Uh, little green woman. And him? He lives near Saturn! We come from the future to, to eat your Pasta Alla Puttanesca and drink your Campari!”

Upshot

I like Sheilagh Bernstein but she’s had few occasions to really work. She did some work in Another Piece of the Action, but the personality was not explored. I need to try to rectify that at some point.


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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.

Portrait of a Character – Branch Borodin

Portrait of a Character – Branch Borodin

Branch Borodin is such a wacky character, he’s also in some wholly original writing.

Origins

Coral Reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife ...
Coral Reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife …

I conducted a thought experiment, thinking about what it would be like if someone’s cells were sentient. Hence they would almost be a pocket-size version of the Borg, but without the cybernetics and without the nasty assimilation issues.

Instead, they would be more of a colony of like-minded microscopic individuals. Unlike canon shape shifters, they would have no real central consciousness, and would have to find some way to agree on whatever it was that they wanted to do. Hence they would also be overly committed to democracy.

The character is quite a bit like a walking, talking coral reef, except the individuals in the colony are a lot smarter. Polls and straw votes are common, and the individuals sometimes hold caucuses. Furthermore, just like in real-life voting, there is no guarantee of 100% participation. In fact, it’s rare. After all, the cells have other jobs to do. Much like in you or me, the cells are also conducting respiration, etc. They don’t always have the time to just drop everything and vote.

Portrayal

Branch is played by actor Keanu Reeves.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Colony Alien Branch Borodin in Human Form - Keanu Reeves as Branch Borodin (manip is by STPMA's An-Gel Sakura) Image is for educational purposes
Colony Alien Branch Borodin in Human Form – Keanu Reeves as Branch Borodin (manip is by STPMA’s An-Gel Sakura) Image is for educational purposes

I love how this actor can seem at sea at sometimes, and thoughtful at others.

Yes, there is a bit of a stoner look and feel, and a wooden air. But that’s the idea; Branch isn’t exactly Mr. Personality. I mean for him to be very, very alien. Excuse me, they.

Found by the Temporal Integrity Commission during a meeting, the entity touches Deirdre Katzman, and picks up her memory of her first boyfriend, Anatoly Borodin. Since the entity needs a name, and it had just been a branched tree, Deirdre dubs the colony Branch Borodin. The name sticks, and it also evokes Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances (“A Stranger in Paradise”). A fitting reference for someone who is more of a stranger than other aliens.

Personality

Confused Keanu Reeves
Confused Keanu Reeves (Photo credits: Giphy)

Hence Branch’s personality is whatever is convenient and reasonable at the time, more or less. For an entity that has been a tree, a coat of paint, and a chair, that would more or less tend to follow.

Branch just is. Er, are.

Relationships

The colony is not exactly capable of a relationship like you or I would have. Because every decision, every argument, every expression of affection – these would all require a vote. But Branch might relate to the Var-gi-yeh, who I envision to be more or less a female version of the same species.

Theme Music

Branch reminds me of jazzy, funky, weird rhythms and things that sound off and strange.

Mirror Universe

In a way, the Var-gi-yeh are the mirror version of Branch. They’ll get their own blog post, some time in the future.

Quote

“The cuff of Lo passed to the descendants of Thomas Grant and Eleanor Daniels Grant. The family eventually donated it here. The key charm and Xindi initiation medal passed to the children of Richard Daniels and Milena Chelenska Daniels.The museum has facsimiles as that family is retaining those pieces. This sword is Ironblaze, once owned by the Empress Hoshi Sato. It passed to her descendants, and the descendants of Charles Tucker VI, and was kept in trust by the adopted descendants of mirror High Priestess Yimar and her consort, Joshua Rosen. The original is in the mirror’s version of this museum – what is being shown to you is a facsimile.

The wedding rings worn by Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett and his wife, Lili, passed to, eventually, the descendants of Henry Desmond Avery IV and Sheilagh Bernstein, who retain them. The wedding rings worn by Lili O’Day Reed and Malcolm Reed passed to their descendants, who are with us today – the Ishikawa family of Dawitan. That family also retains the rings although we do have facsimiles. As Deirdre Katzman Ishikawa had said, ‘Wedding rings are to be worn.’”

Upshot

Branch is my oddest character creation. I really like them.

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

The Best Things Come in Pairs Background

Pairs. They can refer to playing cards and couples, and this little story touches on both as a play on words and for a little bit of humor. In response to a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about losing, I wanted to write a story about a losing poker hand that, instead, ends up being a winner.

Plot

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

It’s maybe a year after the end of Fortune, and Treve has taken Pamela home after a date. They have been going out for a good year. She’s been a bit pushy about getting physical, but he’s been pulling back. As of the time of Saturn Rise, they have exchanged ‘I love yous’.

This is the first time that Treve has actually gone into Pamela’s new apartment on Lafa II. She’s immigrated there, partly to be near her elderly uncle, Doctor Cyril Morgan, and partly to be near Treve.

They’re a little drunk, and there are playing cards on the table. Pamela suggests a game of strip poker. Since Treve has no real idea of how to play, she feigns losing and, as a result, gets her man. Treve certainly does not object to this!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is meant to be a little silly, maybe, and a little amusing, and it segues rather neatly into Complications. A touch of happy ending mixed with some humor? Sign me up.