Tag Archives: original character

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.

Portrait of a Character – Yipran I

Portrait of a Character – Yipran I

Yipran I now has a fate which differs from my original idea.

Origins

As I wrote Reversal, I needed a character who would, in our universe, be someone who the natives would mimic with Lili. In the Mirror Universe, she would be mimicked by Jennifer. She would be mother to Treve, Yimar, and Chelben. Enter Yipran.

Portrayal

I like Susan Sarandon for Yipran.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Susan Sarandon as Yipran I (image is for educational purposes only)
Susan Sarandon as Yipran I (image is for educational purposes only)

The actress is tough and smart, and is an Oscar winner.

She can play all manner of characters. Hence I feel she would easily be able to show a Yipran who is not yet healed. Yet she would also be one who is, in dreams, the spiritual leader of her people.

Personality

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Susan Sarandon as Yipran I (image is for educational purposes only)
Susan Sarandon as Yipran I (image is for educational purposes only)

Intelligent but damaged, High Priestess Yipran never fully recovers from what Chawev, Baden, and Polloria do to her. Essentially, by poisoning her with an excessive amount of potassium, they have cut off her dreams and eventually she becomes comatose.

In Bribery, Yimar and Treve express the desire to visit her in the main hospital, but are thwarted, as Chawev wants to bring in Polloria as their new stepmother – despite the fact that Yipran is far from dead.

By the time of Friday Visit, Yipran is slowly recovering, but her damage remains. In Fortune, she can speak clearly in dreams, but not during waking life.

Relationships

Chawev

In both universes, Yipran is the victim of her husband. He attempts to do her in, in order to pave the way for the ambitious vixen, Polloria. Treve, their eldest son, reveals in Together that Chawev and Yipran really can’t divorce, as no one wants to believe that the First Minister and the High Priestess would ever not have a perfect marriage.

Mirror Universe

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Susan Sarandon as MU Yipran I (image is for educational purposes)
Susan Sarandon as MU Yipran I (image is for educational purposes)

Just as in the prime universe, Yipran is the High Priestess of the Calafan people. As such, she is their spiritual leader, although her husband is their political leader.

In the mirror, Yipran’s life ends near the end of Reversal, as Polloria and Polloria’s cronies kill her. Hence her daughter, Yimar, succeeds her.

Quote

“Yes, and my time will be up soon anyway. But you will continue on, as planets form and die and break apart and become new things, you will watch. And as lives begin and end, you will bear witness. {And} when the last atom has been blown apart in the remnants of the Big Bang, as the last of the energy converts to dark matter, and the universe hits absolute zero, you will be there. And you will watch it, and go with it, as it turns onto itself, and again renews, in an endless cycle. For when it is all dark matter, and it has all recompressed, as it passes through another septum, one that does not yet exist, and it goes to another place, crossing another pond, there will be another Big Bang. As there have been countless ones before, there will be countless ones after.”

Upshot

Yipran spends a lot of time as a victim. However, that’s one of the main drivers of the plot in Reversal. At some point, I might write more of an origin story for her. Yet right now that is very much on the back burner.

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery

Origins

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery

This character originated in the old time travel series that I wrote several years ago.

However, he was originally a hipster who had missed the 1960s, having attempted suicide in 1960 by jumping off the Coit Tower in San Francisco.

Portrayal

I see HD as being played by Scott Bairstow.

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery
Scott Bairstow as HD Avery

This actor has been in a number of productions, and is best known for being the lead in the television series, Lonesome Dove.

He is also a troubled individual in real life.

Personality

Supremely talented musically, HD hides his natural shyness behind bravado. As he explains to Sheilagh, he is fine when singing to a large group, as he knows what to say and does not have to look anyone in the eye and address them directly. But when things get more personal, it’s a lot harder for him.

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery
Treble Clef. Hearing Music in Color. Mosaic …

He has an ear for music and can play almost anything, any instrument and any tune, within a single hearing. He also spins music in clubs, as a kind of futuristic DJ. He understands music theory, and music history as well.

He is a sensitive genius, misunderstood by his staunch, straitlaced farmer parents. In particular, they cannot understand why he wants to be called HD. His great-grandfather is Hal; his grandfather is Harry; and his father is Hank. He is referred to as ‘Little Hank’ (his father is ‘Big Hank’), and hates that, feeling that the appellation is childish.

Relationships

Sheilagh Bernstein

As far back as You Mixed-Up Siciliano, HD openly has a thing for Sheilagh.  However, he goes after Crystal Sherwood first. Not because he’s interested in her; it’s more that he wants to have some experience for when he can, eventually, end up with the true object of his affections.

Sheilagh and HD don’t get together until Shake Your Body, when they are both feeling low and are seeking solace in each other. The only later windows into their relationship occur in Happy Stuff 3111, when they spend the holidays together, and at the end of He Stays a Stranger, when the colony entity, Branch Borodin, reveals, a millennium later, that they wed.

Theme Music

HD is associated with any number of songs, and even sings the title tune from the musical, Oklahoma! and Big D from The Most Happy Fella. But the song I most associate with him is probably Queen’s Need Your Loving Tonight.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to HD existing in the mirror.

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery
Mirror HD (Scott Bairstow)

He would probably be just as talented, but would have to play and sing for the well to do in order to get by.

He might even be an entertainer for the Mirror Government.

Quote

“I saw her killed, and, and it was Marisol who confirmed it. Dammit, it was Marisol who confirmed it! It wasn’t real. They, they’ve been sending me on all sorts of wild goose chases. Every time there’s a main mission, there’s always a diversion, and most of them are musical. They’ve been peeling me off. And it was because I’m a witness. I saw what happened. And I hadn’t put it together. They didn’t want me to say, and to figure it out, I bet. And Beauchaine was there, he was with me.”

Upshot

The HG Wells series is filled with music, as tunes are used to set the stage and HD himself is diverted, over and over again, to musical missions to, often, assure that musicians such as Freddie Mercury and John Lennon die, or albums like Dark Side of the Moon, become successful.

HD is necessary for a lot of the red herrings in the overall plot arc to work. He is a truly indispensable character.

Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato

Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato

Takara Sato, the treasure, is very important to the timeline.

Origins

I wanted Empress Hoshi to have just one daughter, and one pair of twins. Hence Takara and Takeo were born. Takara was to be the elder of the two. These would be the children fathered by Chip Masterson. The only child younger than them is Izo. Jun, Kira, and Arashi are older.

Portrayal

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Zhang Ziyi as Takara-Sato (image is for educational purposes only)
Zhang Ziyi as Takara-Sato (image is for educational purposes only)

Takara is played by Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi.

I wanted a very beautiful Asian actress who could believably be the person to continue Empress Hoshi’s dynasty.

Without Takara, the House of Sato falls. She ends up being the only one of the six royal children to reproduce.

Personality

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Zhang Ziyi as Takara-Sato (image is for educational purposes only)
Zhang Ziyi as Takara-Sato (image is for educational purposes only)

Privileged and beautiful, Takara is the apple of her mother’s eye.

While Hoshi has no problem allowing her sons to run wild, she takes more interest in Takara, and who Takara is marrying. Part of this is some sexism on Hoshi’s part. However, that works with how I write the Mirror Universe, as most women are in low positions there. Hence Hoshi particularly wants Takara to marry well. Takara Sato’s choices multiply during the alternate timelines in Temper.

Relationships

Tommy Digiorno-Madden

Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato
Sailor Mercury

During Temper, Tommy in particular is interested in Takara, who often dresses quite a bit like the Sailor Mercury anime character.

He is so interested that he threatens to fight Joss for her. Joss wisely bows out, telling Tommy that she does not interest him and doesn’t want to fight. However, Takara favors Joss. But this is mainly because he is the first-born of his family. And, in this alternate timeline, he is a baseball star, whereas Tommy is a common (to Takara) soldier.

Tommy’s wrath also extends to Charlie Tucker, son of Tripp Tucker and Beth Cutler, but Charlie is on the surface of Lafa II and doesn’t experience Tommy’s threats first-hand.

When the timeline is restored, they meet as children, in Fortune. And, later, Norri bequeathes her callidium-laden earrings to him, urging him to use them for dream contact.

I will explore this later, as the idea intrigues me.

Charles Tucker IV

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Zhang Ziyi as Takara-Sato (image is for educational purposes only)
Zhang Ziyi as Takara-Sato (image is for educational purposes only)

When the prime timeline is restored, Chip and Lucy are able to smuggle the twins to the forests of Lafa II. With Tommy and Joss gone back to the Prime Universe, Takara’s sole prospect is Charlie. Fortunately, they fall in love, and wed later, and become parents.

Their son, Charles V, marries the daughter of Takara’s half-brother, Ken Masterson, and Charlie’s sister, Betsy Tucker. That daughter is Denise Masterson (in the Prime Universe, Ken’s daughter is Kelly, and her mother is as yet unknown).

It is their grandson, Charles Tucker VI, who succeeds Jun and Kira as the Emperor Charles I. Takara’s family is presented to Hoshi on Hoshi’s deathbed, in Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown? and Hoshi complains about the pollution of Tucker blood into the Sato genome.

In He Stays a Stranger, Takara helps to get her mother out of the Lafa System, in exchange for agreeing to return to the royal fold.

Theme Music

Her theme song is Tori Amos’s God.

Prime Universe

It’s impossible for Takara to have a Prime Universe counterpart. Her analogue is Marie Patrice Beckett.

Quote

“You already had the fight. Everybody got a prize.”

Upshot

I like Takara Sato, who has a kind of chameleon personality, depending upon which timeline she’s in. I’m not so sure where else I can feature her, though.

Review – An Announcement

Review – An Announcement

An announcement to the family – a big one.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Norri| Red | An Announcement
Norri (Red)

This was a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about family. Rather than have Leonora come out, I decided to instead have her announce that she had met someone special. That person is Melissa Madden. Leonora is, of course, happy.

Plot

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only) | An Announcement
Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)

In Fortune, I had rather vaguely established how the two women had met (and then more detail is offered in Red, which was written much later), but not the aftermath.

This was a good chance to show that scene, particularly since I already had a bit of background of Norri’s father disapproving to some extent. While Dino isn’t necessarily homophobic (albeit some people read him that way), the way I see him is that he’s a bit huffy that his little girl is growing up perhaps a bit too fast. After all, her brothers, Alex and Phil, have not yet declared their love for anyone. So this statement of hers changes everything and upends his world a bit.

Hence I feel it is more that Dino is a bit blindsided by the declaration. Belinda, his wife, sets him straight, and the story ends with a promise to have Melissa over, and soon, so that she can meet the family. There is even a brief reference to her brother Phil’s violin playing, another shout out to Fortune.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

In particular, to get Norri in front of more readers, I think the little story works pretty well. At some point, I’ll write their first dinner together, I imagine.

The Aftermath of an Interview

It’s time to blog as a character again, to write about what happens after an interview.

Deutsch: Logo der Science-Fiction Serie Star T...
Deutsch: Logo der Science-Fiction Serie Star Trek: Enterprise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

To me, this meant it had to be a character from the Times of the HG Wells Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction series. I hadn’t written too much about HD Avery so here’s a chance to get to know him a little better.

This is Who I Am and Why I’m Here

Today is, uh, August 25th, 3109. My name is HD Avery. Well, uh, my full name is Henry Desmond Avery IV. So you know I call myself HD ‘cause the rest of it is completely lame-o.

Yeah, like, so this is me, HD Avery.
Yeah, like, so this is me, HD Avery.

 

So, anyway, I was contacted through these weird channels, and I was brought in, by shuttle, and we went through a bunch of way stations and I dunno what they all were but I’m thinking that was the idea. And we got to what was the headquarters of – get this – the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Now, I am used to playing it cool, of course, but it is apparently this group job interview.  And there are, like, twenty or so people. We’re all human or mostly, ’cause otherwise you can’t travel to Earth’s past ’cause that’s the kind of help they’re looking for.

So I meet this hot honey and she turns out to be the boss, get this, Admiral Carmen Calavicci. And she’s, you know, she’s telling me about the job and stuff, and all I can think of is that she is just this total MILF. Know what I mean? Are you hip to the 21st century lingo? ‘Cause not everyone is, yanno.

Total hot tamale. Er, pasta, or something. Ethic honeys of any sort are just, you know, they are nuclear.

Then she passes me off to this guy who’s, like, the size of a shuttle and he’s part-Gorn, I think. And he’s okay, but we don’t have much to talk about as he’s the Chief Engineer. Name’s O’Connor. Then they bring in some of the other candidates, and I don’t think any of them are in direct competition with me, but you never know, know what I’m sayin’?

We Had This Project to Do

And we’re made to pair off and try to work out a problem. We are given this holographic scene, everybody’s got their own suite, and it’s me and this totally prim and proper honey, she’s like Miss Priss and she’s named Alice Trent and she knows all about – can you believe this? – manners and protocols.

So anyway we have to figure out where we are, and what year it is.

Las Vegas (creative commons)
Las Vegas (creative commons) (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))

And we are not allowed to just come out and ask. We have to blend in, as if it was real, okay? It’s all bright lights and big city and it is beyond glitzy.

But it’s older, yanno? So Alice, she says 21st century, and I am thinking maybe, maybe not ’cause it’s in real good shape and the people look healthy and there’s all these fancy cars and I think they’ve even got those old internal combustion engines.

And then, we’re walking along, see? And we gotta figure out the year and the place and there is this holographic honey wearing these – man oh man I know it ain’t real but the effect’s the same, okay? – these hot pants.  So I ask her if she’s a pro and she says yes and Miss Priss is just about ready to have a cow or something. Then I ask the holo-honey if it’s legal there and she says yes again and wham! I know it’s Nevada.

There’s slot machines and wheels of fortune, if you go into even just the foyers of buildings, so it’s either Reno or Las Vegas. So I start singing the only song I know about Nevada, and that’s Viva Las Vegas.

Viva Las Vegas (song)
Viva Las Vegas (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, the holo-honey, she looks all sad and I ask her why the long face and she says it’s a pity that he died so young. And then the holo-honey tells me she won’t talk to me no more unless I pay her. But we ain’t got no money, so she, like, disappears back into the program.

By now, Miss Priss is totally mortified but I tell her to get Arctic ’cause I know we’re in either Vegas or Reno and it’s after, I think, about 1979 or so ’cause Elvis is dead. Then Miss Priss finally starts to look around and she’s picking up clues, too, and she says it’s before The Third World War ’cause the air is clean and all the holo-people don’t look sick. I’m all polite and stuff and I don’t tell her I already figured that part out. I mean, honestly. Duh.

Then we walked some more, and there was this place with karaoke and so we went in there, and I can tell Miss Priss hates it in there, so I am, you know, totally stoked.  And I start asking what’s the really new, cutting edge stuff they’ve got, and there’s a DJ there, and he punches up, it looks like it’s maybe one of those monster kinda rap-R & B-type hits that were really popular during those decades.

It takes me a little while to figure out the beat and by then Alice is asking one of the holo-people some stuff about the President of the United States, and somebody says – stupid holo-people – says that the President is not a citizen, so we know it’s Obama and that is, I think, somewhere between 2000 and 2020 and that works with the music.

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now we’re cookin’ but we still aren’t at a year yet. I mean, a two-decade range, it’s just not good enough, am I right? So Alice and me, we set about trying to figure more of it out. And nobody’s reading a newspaper, so that’s no good, and they’ve all got little PADD-like phones but that doesn’t narrow it down much although I’m thinking it’s later in our two-decade window.

Then I Sang

So I go to sing the song and there are, I dunno, maybe sixteen or so holo-people in the room. I am used to performing in front of tons more, but that’s okay.  And I said, “This is for Elvis, Viva Las Vegas!” And they all cheered so I think that kinda helps to confirm that it’s Vegas and not Reno.

I sing the song, and Alice is looking everybody over, and somebody mentions that they think Miami won’t repeat as NBA Champions. And we look at each other and we both get it, ’cause Miami wasn’t champs after 2014.

And she said out loud that it was 2014 Las Vegas and the program stopped and we were told we were right. Then we had to go home.

The Flight Home

This was tricky and bad as I went back with these honeys named Helen Walker and Marisol Castillo. There were other people, but that’s who I was noticing, okay? But the shuttle crashed on Berren One.  And we had a casualty – Walker didn’t make it. I know I should talk more about it, but I didn’t know her and it all feels just kinda weird. I dunno. You know?

So it’s been a really full day and I am beat and maybe I should be sadder because of Walker’s death but I just feel tired and strange. I guess they’ll contact me and tell me if I got the job. I dunno.

Thanks for listening, and here’s the song I sang in case you’re interested, okay?

 

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Portrait of a Character – Preston Jennings

Portrait of a Character – Preston Jennings

Preston Jennings is one of my earlier creations.

Origins

Before Lili, I needed someone who would serve meals to Captain Archer. This does not only mean before she joined Starfleet; this would also be for before I had even created the character. Preston predates Lili, and goes all the way back to More, More, More!

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Billy Zane as Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)
Billy Zane as Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)

Preston is played by Billy Zane.

I like the actor’s suave charm and handsome air.

Personality

Pleasant but sometimes prone to meltdowns, Preston is just trying to get ahead. He’s also one of the four gay men on the ship (the others are Dave Constantine, Lucas Donnelly, and Frank Todd). When the Xindi War breaks out, he seizes the opportunity to do something different, and transfers to Navigation. He is the first person to admit that Lili is a far better cook than he ever was. This is put on display in Before the Fall, where Will Slocum pretty much misuses his talents in a cooking competition with Lili and her partner, Brian Delacroix. Will continues to joke about burdening Preston with Lili’s work, in The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat.

Relationships

Lucas Donnelly

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Billy Zane as Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)
Billy Zane as Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)

During both kicks back in time, Preston and Luke end up together.

Neither of them are 100% thrilled with this; Dave Constantine is considered to be more of a prize. But they make the most of it, even though they aren’t necessarily compatible.

Hikaru Sulu

It’s only in Mirror Masquerade where this happens, and only in the Mirror Universe, in an altered timeline.  Preston is, just like in the Prime Universe, serving food. But there is no Lili (her counterpart is dead), so he still has that job, whereas in the Prime Universe, he switches over to Navigation.

When Sulu and Mayweather are switched, Sulu flirts with him in the chow line, and Preston gets a major promotion, to Captain’s Man. But it’s all for naught, as Carmen fixes the timeline and everything goes back to the way it’s supposed to be.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Billy Zane as MU Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)
Billy Zane as MU Preston Jennings (image is for educational purposes only)

In the Mirror Universe, Preston never stops serving chow, both in the correct timeline and in the Mirror Masquerade alternate timeline.

However, in the Temper alternate timelines, he is not seen working in the kitchen. Is he dead? Absent from the ship? Working elsewhere? The truth is, I just didn’t write him. But there’s no reason why he can’t end up in a related story, at a later date.

Quote

“Are you sure we don’t have to prep for this?”

Upshot

I don’t really know this character well enough, and would like to rectify that at some point.

Stay tuned.

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.

Origins

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.

Portrayal

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.

Personality

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.

Relationships

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.

Quote

“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.”

Upshot

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