original technology

Review – Untrustworthy

Review – Untrustworthy


Untrustworthy - Barking Up the Muse Tree


Untrustworthy is my first-ever published novel. Much like Reversal, it begins with a dream. And that makes perfect sense, as a dream inspired it.


As Tathrelle begins the part of her life related by the story, the reader sees flashbacks of what seems like a dream and then seems like an earlier existence. However, the older life gets cut short in favor of the new. Tathrelle’s life, instead, centers around her wife Ixalla, and the children they are about to have.

The Cabossians, a species made up by me, can have children in any combination, so long as both parties are fertile. Hence both mpreg and all varieties of marriage (same- and mixed-sex) figure in the plot.

Furthermore, Tathrelle’s new job drives a lot of the action, as she has won an election and represents the people in what obviously starts off as a military dictatorship. Also, in the background, a disembodied voice tells the people what to do. The first statements come out more as helpful hints and requests, such as to thank the public transportation driver or set the thermostat to a particular setting.

But that’s all about to change.


The inspirational song for this book is Bastille’s Pompeii. Years later, and I am still incapable of hearing the song without thinking of the book, and vice versa.

Story Postings

Unlike any other works in this blog (as of now), this story is for sale and is not truly ‘posted’ anywhere. Even on the NaNoWriMo site, all you can find is a short snippet.


The story is Rated T.


Without giving away more of the plot, I think the story is okay but the truth is, I have written better since then. However, it is a great first effort for publication. Furthermore, I feel it works in some ways to get me into the publishing game, but then what? I feel the book was promoted pretty well but not very well. I know it has more reviews than a lot of other indie works, but not as many as others. Sales come few and far between.

In the meantime, I write about different things. Can Untrustworthy serve as an entree for diverse works such as the space opera of The Enigman Cave, the science fiction detective stories in The Obolonk Murders and its two sequels, the Victorian urban fantasy of The Real Hub of the Universe and its two sequels, or the odd science fiction dystopia of Mettle?

Stay tuned, and thank you, as always, for your kind and unwavering support.

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Posted by jespah in original, Review, 2 comments

Spotlight on Chi Band Radiation

Spotlight on Chi Band Radiation

Chi Band Radiation Background

Chi Band Radiation can do anything.

Chi Band Radiation

Image of background radiation

I needed a garden variety phenomenon. Chi Band Radiation  would have to be able to stand in for a lot of almost magical properties. It had to be a kind of technobabble thing. Hence I needed for it to sound just mysterious enough.

The idea would cover all sorts of issues. This would include crossing people over from one universe to another. Or it would be the kinds of temporal switches and shenanigans shown in Concord and Crackerjack. However, for both of those stories there were other explanations for their issues.

Chi Band Radiation particularly comes to fore in the Barnstorming series. I used it to show how and why the Mirror Universe was attempting to cross over and potentially invade our own. The Emperor would have been deposed and fallen on hard times. The radiation would be, to him, a  godsend, a means of regaining his past glories. Therefore, he would be itching to use it.

Instead of living the high life, he’s living in a shack. He depends upon the kind charity of the native Calafan people. This would be quite the harsh reality for a proud man.

The radiation would also be a means of almost communicating. It would be a way of knocking on the door of another universe, as it were. This would attract the attention of weird ADHD-addled temporal engineer Levi Cavendish. Giving Levi a means of investigating all possible universes was a fun idea. The way to fulfill his mission to find the ultimate pumpkin pie (spoiler alert: it’s in the universe with a 49 centimeter radiation band on the hydrogen line) proved irresistible.


This Swiss Army knife has stood me in good stead. I am sure I will be using it again in the future.

Chi Band Radiation

Chi Band Radiation

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Posted by jespah in Barnstorming, Fan fiction, Spotlight, Times of the HG Wells series, 0 comments

Spotlight on Dark Matter Flare

A dark matter flare was a fun idea. Dark matter, by definition, is mysterious.

Spotlight on Dark Matter Flare


In order to resolve the issues in Temper and bring everyone back to the correct side of the pond, I needed for there to be some way to signal Richard Daniels.

I particularly wanted to make the technology not look like anything special, and have it potentially work in other areas of Star Trek fan fiction, in case I ever needed it again. I am not a big fan of technobabble, so I wanted the technology to not turn into something that the typical reader would not understand. While it is not necessarily the most plausible piece of fictional technology out there, it is certainly easy to understand without having to go into any long, drawn-out explanations.

An Idea for a Dark Matter Flare

Spotlight on Dark Matter Flare

Dark Matter Flare (really a black Christmas cracker)

Hence I hit upon the idea of Christmas crackers, except these would be black.

Doug is given a pair of these before he and Lili are sent forward in time and to the Mirror Universe.  The first one is a signal to Rick Daniels to bring them from the Mirror to the Prime Universe and also back from 2178 to 2166. The second dark matter flare used is to signal Rick to bring the family back from 2166 to 2161. However, in the second instance, the only traveling is in time. This is because the family is already on the correct side of the pond.


I like the idea of something so small and simple. Adding to the dramatic tension is the tiniest sound of snapping. Lili and Doug can barely hear it, and it almost feels as if it did not work. But Rick senses it with his far more sensitive instruments. These little devices get the family home.

Now I am wondering where I can possibly use them again.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, Spotlight, 0 comments

Spotlight on an Original Technology – Pulse Shot

Spotlight on an Original Technology – Pulse Shot

Pulse shot?


In order to make some of my Star Trek fanfiction work, I needed a means of stepping from our universe to the Mirror, and vice versa. So in Reversal, this is accomplished via shared dreaming, and a crossover is performed by the Calafans by using power from the NX-01, the ISS Defiant, the amplifier dishes on Point Abic, Calafan group meditation and the sodium vapor flares emanating between the two smallest stars in the Lafa System, Fep and Ub. All of this, acting together, brings Doug from there to here, over the course of several hours. The Mirror High Priestess, Yimar (a teenaged girl) decides to leave the doors open in perpetuity. This has the effect of allowing Calafans to pass back and forth between both universes although other species still cannot.

However, the sodium vapor flares in particular are somewhat uncommon occurrences. Plus I wanted a technological solution.

Having read about dark matter, the truth is that it’s exotic and there’s an awful lot of it. It is ripe for fan fiction treatment, as it’s abundant and mysterious. Hence I decided that I would use it for the purposes of heading from here to the other side of the pond, or back again.


In Temper, the Empress Hoshi Sato has her Science Ensign Lucy Stone, with the help of Vulcan slaves T’Pau and Kefris, devise a means of moving from one universe to the other. In canon, she (Hoshi) is well aware that the Defiant is from another universe. It is an advanced design, with superior firepower, defenses and accommodations. It makes sense that she would be looking for a spare or two or two hundred. Hoshi is a person who wants to be known as a conqueror. So she may have realized it could very well be easier to subjugate our universe, instead of going out to hidden corners of the Mirror.

Three Shots

Therefore, in Temper, in 2161 the Defiant‘s main phaser is calibrated to twenty-one centimeters. And it initially fires a pulse shot into seemingly empty space. Because this works, Richard Daniels is summoned to the Temporal Integrity Commission, as he and Eleanor notice the time change immediately (an ornate sword she was lecturing about, Ironblaze, vanishes). This causes the first alternate timeline, and time becomes incoherent.

Spotlight on an Original Technology – Pulse Shot

The Defiant

Due to temporal incoherence, a few years later, in 2166, another pulse shot opens a second passageway. But this time they fire it near the amplifier dishes. This shot opens things up more widely and it’s not just Calafans who can pass back and forth. Now humans and all other species can as well. At this stage, four people pass from our universe to the Mirror. This act changes history enough, and that triggers Daniels sensing the change but not the specifics.

Then there’s a third instance in 2178. But this is not new. Rather, it’s vestiges of incoherent time. The first repairs to the timeline need to happen in this time period. Richard knows this instance well as it coincides with a major, independently verified historical event in that alternate timeline. After fixing 2178, there is a fix for 2166. And once that is all done, Richard himself repairs 2161.


Beyond the temporal incoherence, the other effect happens later. Some of the pulse shot is, simply, “lost”. But energy can be neither created nor can it be destroyed. This is according to the Law of Conservation of Energy (Thermodynamics). So where does it go?

The correct question isn’t where it goes. It’s when it goes. And when does it land? 2366, and it hits Wesley and Geordi’s shuttle, thereby causing the toss back in time in Crackerjack.

I have yet to write further aftereffects. I might use this plot device again.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Spotlight, 2 comments

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

Two universes, two radiation bands. If you need to know who belongs where, you’d better do some testing.


In Reversal, and then in Temper, the concept of two universes and crosses between them, comes to the fore. There has to be some means of checking a person’s universe of origin.

Radiation Bands

The concept comes from two TNG episodes. In Galaxy’s Child, a spaceborn life form known as “Junior” is threatening the Enterprise and is absorbing its energy.

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

In order to “sour the milk”, the energy signatures are changed to a different background radiation band. It is revealed that the band for our prime universe is twenty-one centimeters. This comes from a very real concept known as the Hydrogen Line.

In Parallels, Worf steps through several quantum realities (e. g. several universes), but eventually a quantum signature is matched and he can be returned to his correct universe. I have taken the ideas and combined them.

Here, There and Everywhere

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

If we are a twenty-one centimeter background radiation band universe, then surely there must be a twenty, a twenty-two, and so on. For my fanfiction, the twenty centimeter band universe is the mirror. The twenty-two, as is revealed by Eleanor Daniels in Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain, is a place where, on Earth, the dinosaurs never died out. Hence a mirror-type situation could not develop there.


Radiation bands are inherited, and a cross-bred child will split the difference.

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

Hence the children of Doug and Lili and Doug and Melissa have a twenty and one-half centimeter band, reflecting his twenty and the women’s twenty-one centimeter bands. Per Eleanor, until crossovers became more common, a radiation band of anything below twenty-one was a sure sign that someone was one of Doug’s descendants.

Calafans, who can easily shuttle back and forth, and who have origins that are readily determined by the color of their skin (silver for here, copper for the mirror), are not tested, as there is no need.


Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

Tabletop wand scanner

Testing is accomplished in a few ways. During Temper, on the mirror side of things, the testers are table-top devices with wands. Eleanor is in possession of one (she is a docent at the Temporal Museum, with a specialty in the Terran Empire) and she demonstrates its use during Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain. The image shown is actually a bar code scanner. Imagine it plugged into some sort of a tabletop device, possibly something appearing to be a lot like a personal computer or the like.

Spotlight on Original Technology – Radiation Band Testers

Pendant scanner

For our side of the pond, the scanner is a pendant worn around the neck, but devoid of any charm or decoration. The pendant is worn and then placed against a person, much like the mirror universe’s wand, so that a determination can be made as to which universe is the origination point for a particular person. The image at right is actually a UV tester. Imagine it attached to a longer cord and worn around the neck, although with the shorter cord it could conceivably be worn around the wrist.


While the eventual future of these testers is as a curio, their history is far from pleasant for, during the war between the universes in Temper, anyone with the wrong band, on either side of the pond, is often shot on sight, with no questions asked. This shameful heritage is meant to drive home more of the horror of the Mirror Universe.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Spotlight, Times of the HG Wells series, 5 comments