Focus – Vulcans in Star Trek Fan Fiction

Focus on Vulcans

Vulcans are the backbone aliens of Star Trek.


A focus Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass | Vulcans (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.

Of course, all of fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can be used in fan fiction.

Vulcans – Background

Because the series that speaks to me the most is Enterprise, I have had to deal with Vulcans all along. The truth is that I always found T’Pol to be wooden. As for Spock in the Original Series, I have read far too much of him in fan fiction. I never got into Voyager, so my experience with writing Vulcans was limited and difficult. That is, until Eriecho and the Alternate Original Series. Thank you, JJ Abrams.



Focus – Vulcans

Joanna Cassidy as Aviri (actually an image of the actress as T’Pol’s mother, T’Les, courtesy of Memory Alpha)

Lili is admitted to the Mars Culinary Institute based upon the strength of a meal prepared for Admissions Director Aviri.

Charles Tucker IV

Focus – Vulcans

Charles Tucker IV (actually an image of an infant Spock, from a deleted scene in Star Trek 2009)

In the E2 timeline, during the first kick back in time, Tripp and T’Pol have twins. Charlie becomes captain after Jonathan Archer’s death.


Focus – Vulcans

Mariel Hemingway as Eriecho

My favorite Vulcan, Eriecho never learned true emotional suppression while at Canamar Prison, and only tries it in a mistaken effort to please Sollastek.


Focus – Vulcans

Kefris (this image is from the Star Trek Online wiki)

This character is named but rarely seen, and is often paired with T’Pau when I write Mirror Universe Vulcans. In the prime universe, he is T’Pol’s eventual husband.


Canon character Lorian is seen during the second E2 kick back in time.

Focus – Vulcans



Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Saddik


Eriecho’s foster/adoptive father cares for her as if she were his own.


Spock’s father is overwhelmed by the changes wrought by Nero in the JJ Abrams timeline, but he rises to the occasion and accepts his new child.

Focus – Vulcans

Ben Cross as Sarek


Focus – Vulcans

Sollastek (this image is from the Star Trek Online wiki)

Eriecho’s mate is a lot younger than she is and was not a good student. Leaving class early saved his life during Nero’s attack on Vulcan. He witnessed the death of Amanda Grayson.


Focus – Vulcans

Gary Graham as Soval

When Soval is a lot older, he experiences difficulty in maintaining emotional control, as I show him in Biases.


Iconic and sometimes hard to pin down, I do better with this classic character in the JJ Abrams universe than in the prime timeline.

Focus – Vulcans



Focus – Vulcans


Spock’s canon half-brother is redeemed in the Eriecho universe.

T’Les Elizabeth

Focus – Vulcans

T’Les Elizabeth (this is actually an image of Elizabeth Tucker from Star Trek: Enterprise)

In the E2 timeline, during the first kick back in time, Tripp and T’Pol have twins. T’Les is Charlie’s twin.


Often paired with Kefris in the Mirror Universe, T’Pau is brought aboard Empress Hoshi‘s ship when she proves she is a genius in mathematics and physics.

Focus – Vulcans

Kara Zedicker as T’Pau


Focus – Vulcans


This canon character is easiest for me to write when I remove her emotional control.


Saddik’s love interest also catches Sybok’s eye. In the JJ Abrams timeline, Valeris acts as a Pon Farr comforter, a kind of Vulcan sex worker.

Focus – Vulcans



E2 timeline

  • Jolene Tucker Hodgkins
  • T’Mir Ryan
  • Daphne Tucker

All of these characters are on the older version of the NX-01.

Freak School

  • Stellak – Rayna Montgomery’s love interest.
  • T’Bek – one of Rayna’s teachers (I’ve used this name in a few other places).
  • T’Mia – one of Rayna’s classmates.

Eriecho universe (JJ Abrams timeline)

  • T’Moona – in canon, Spock is the child of Sarek and a Vulcan princess. Her name is  the Hebrew word for picture.


For a species that I often have difficulty writing, I’ve sure got a lot of instances. Maybe I’ll get this species right someday, without having to strip them of their emotional control.

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Posted by jespah in Eriecho series, Fan fiction, Focus, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Interphases series, Mixing It Up Collection, Times of the HG Wells series, 3 comments

Recurrent Themes – Criminals and Prisoners

Recurrent Themes – Criminals and Prisoners


Criminals and prisoners matter. They creep into all of my series, except for Mixing It Up (and D’Storlin is possibly telling his story from custody, anyway). Their fates have varied rather dramatically.
Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Criminals and Prisoners


Eriecho, Saddik, and H’Shema

In the Eriecho series,  as is explained in Release, she is born on a prison transport as Saddik and her parents (who are both killed on that transport) are framed for crimes they did not commit. In Double Helix, H’Shema’s mother, L’Culturra, reveals that her daughter was a drug addict and likely was in Canamar Prison for good reason.

Daniel Chang, Tristan Curtis, Neil Kemper, Victor Brown, Brooks Haynem, Gary Hodgkins, and Sandra Sloane

During the E2 timeline, all sorts of bad behavior occurs. During The Three of Us, the men are responsible for an attack on Patti Socorro as Sandra takes note of the law of supply and demand and rents herself out for cheap.

Polloria, Baden, and Chawev

In Reversal, the former two conspire to kill High Priestess Yipran. Chawev is the only one who hesitates, and Polloria chides him for being too squeamish.

Jeff Paxton

The real perpetrator is not revealed until just about the end of Shell Shock.

Marisol Castillo, Anthony Parker, Von, Helen Walker, and Milton Walker

Of the villains in The Times of the HG Wells series, only Anthony Parker is at all decent, and that’s only in an alternate timeline, when he has a chance to help Otra get out of Milton Walker’s prison. As for Marisol, she’s a psychopath, eager to kill whoever she can.

Arnis and Rechal

In Take Back the Night, Arnis blames Mistra for the death of the elder Inta. Rechal, a physician, takes a bribe and helps him frame her in exchange for research funding. In Flight of the Bluebird, because Rechal’s ideas have assisted Trinning and the other researchers find a cure for thylacine paramyxovirus, he is allowed out of jail and is released into Trinning’s observational custody. Arnis (who I wasn’t sure whether I wanted him to be alive or not) complains to his second son, Trinning, and is told that it’s a good thing he’s staying in prison as Daranaea is changing and he won’t fit in anymore.

Mack MacKenzie

Planted with Etrotherium against her will while on Keto-Enol, Mack is framed for the drug problem on that planet.


Without villains and criminals, stories have few drivers and little to recommend them. Prisons provide great fodder for storytelling and drama. I know that I will go back to these themes again.

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Posted by jespah in Emergence series, Eriecho series, Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Interphases series, Themes, Times of the HG Wells series, 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

Portrait of a Character – Saddik

Portrait of a Character – Saddik

Saddik came together quickly.


Eriecho needed a benefactor in Star Trek fanfiction, a person who could care for her as a child. Her first caregiver is Saddik, who essentially becomes her adoptive father. Like Eriecho, Saddik is a product of the Kelvin timeline, where Vulcan is no more.

He is a falsely accused prisoner at Canamar, with no hope of release until the destruction of Vulcan spurs the Federation to look for Vulcans anywhere they may be in the galaxy. This ends up including prisons.


Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Saddik

Saddik (image of Mandy Patinkin is for educational purposes only)

Saddik is portrayed by actor-singer Mandy Patinkin.

For a character whose name comes from the Hebrew word for righteous, but is actually an ex-convict, this actor fits well.

This photo manipulation was done by the terrific ArtItUp! on the STPMA.


When the reader first sees Saddik, he’s wondering what to do about Pon Farr, as H’Shema is dead and the only other female at Canamar is Eriecho. It feels odd to him (as it should to the reader), but he’s going to have some very real needs. He doesn’t want to fulfill Pon Farr with her, but he recognizes that he might not have much choice when the time comes. But they escape from this fate when the two Vulcans are released from prison and brought to one of the many sanctuaries set up for Vulcans by the Federation. The idea is to protect people who have essentially, overnight, become a sentient endangered species.

Saddik takes it all in stride. Things are far better than they had been at Canamar, so he’s not one to complain. All he really wants is to have his own mate and for Eriecho to have one as well. But he won’t complain about the sanctuary. His life has improved in the extreme. He’s not about to upset the apple cart.



This elderly Suliban woman was the only other female in Canamar Prison, and helped to care for Eriecho. The three of them lived as an approximation of a family unit, and H’Shema assisted Saddik during his bouts of Pon Farr. Did they love each other? Eriecho clearly loved H’Shema like a mother. I’m not so sure about how Saddik felt about H’Shema, although he was certainly grateful for her existence, her compassion and her resourcefulness. In Release, he does mourn her a bit, in his own way.


In Recessive, as Eriecho is bonding with Sollastek, Saddik looks around at the various single women at the sanctuary. He’s interested in all of them, but the one who really catches his eye is this much younger Pon Farr comforter who has recently been transferred from another sanctuary. As a fellow misfit, she and Saddik have that in common. So as that story ends, the two of them are only beginning to get to know one another.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Saddik

Mirror Saddik

There aren’t any impediments to Saddik existing in the Mirror Universe (or even in the prime timeline, for that matter).

He would very likely not be a prisoner and would probably live a more or less normal Vulcan life. In fact, he could very well be one of the few of my characters whose lives would be better in the Mirror Universe than in the prime universe.


“She is my daughter.”


So for a character who starts off as a bit of a horny Vulcan, he turned into someone who could be Eriecho’s true father. He cares for her and listens to her problems, and helps to shield her from the worst of the disapproving glares and statements of the Vulcan matrons who also live at the sanctuary. He’s had to step up again and again, and he has, even if he’s a little skeptical of his own abilities.

He’ll be back.

Posted by jespah in Eriecho series, Fan fiction, Portrait, 13 comments

Scenes, Settings and World Building

World Building for Fan fiction

Does world building matter in fan fiction?

The fourth Boldly Reading blog prompt for Star Trek fanfiction asked the following questions –

For your fourth blog prompt I am going to ask you to consider the setting. I’ve written a post touching on this before where I find that settings/locations often shape a story. So tell me, how do you choose your settings – be it planet, ship, ship class, heck Trek era even? How does the setting shape your story? What world building lengths do you seek as a writer / as a reader? Do you like descriptions and to paint the scene or do you leave it to the imagination of the reader. However you choose to interpret this prompt, have at it.

A Sense of Place

The location of a story is, easily, just as vital as its characters. After all, the characters interact with it as much as they interact with each other. Do they duck their heads as they walk? Are they breathless because the locations are far-flung? Is it cold in there?

Sensory Perception

When we go to various places, we experience them in manners that are not purely visual. Hence I’d like to talk about five rather dissimilar story scenes in the context of the five senses.


Eriecho‘s life is a jumble of various visuals.

Compass | World Building


In Release, she goes from Canamar Prison to a transport and then, eventually, to a Martian Sanctuary. Putting together the look and feel of Canamar involved describing elliptical things, such as a reference to hanging up laundry, or her adoptive mother H’Shema’s fondness for the color green.

The sanctuary has its own visuals, like the temporary-style buildings that look like quonset huts, to the benches and rough-hewn tables at the community dinner (a reference back to the eating area when I attended a small summer camp in Maine in the 1970s).

The people are also indirectly described, including Colonel Shaw referring to a female Vulcan who looks like a runner and a guy with great teeth (her adoptive father, Saddik). The reader should get a sense of place and people, but not a perfect one. There’s still a little mystery. The characters still get a little privacy.


Shrapnel | World Building


In the Multiverse II storyline, the best use of sound is in a collaborative post with Templar Sora, called Spin.

Templar Sora’s character, Seymour Sonia, is injured, badly, the bones of his left arm shattered by an exploded grenade. He is pulled out of the war zone by the head of Resistance Cell #4, one Rita Spinelli.

Rita is tough and angry and more than a little damaged. But she needs good soldiers and, even with wounds, Sonia is probably a better bet than most others. She brings him to a small, rough cabin. And begins to remove the shrapnel from his arm.

Every now and then, as the two characters talk, the sounds clink or thunk punctuate their statements. The reader does not have to be told what’s going on, or at least not that much. Instead, the reader can almost hear it.

I write plenty of musical fiction, where character actions reflect song lyrics, but I believe that Spin gets across the sounds of an unfamiliar scene better than just about anything.


For Daranaeans, scent is so much more of an indicator of feminine attractiveness than anything else. So much so that the females are divided into three castes, and it’s based on smell rather than visuals.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cria | World Building

Cria, a tween secondary female Daranaean

In Take Back the Night, the legendary beauty, Dratha, is described by the panting popular press as having an extraordinary aroma. They are far less concerned about what she says than about the air about her. This is in line with the overall sexism of the Emergence series – women are second-class citizens.

What’s their planet like? I like to think that it’s got a great deal of what we would call natural beauty. Part of that would be to promote Daranaean health (and the lower caste females practice some forms of folk medicine in The Cure is Worse Than the Disease and Flight of the Bluebird, so hedges and whatnot are necessary), but also for Daranaean comfort. I cannot see this world as having any sort of pollution – Daranaeans would notice.


Chicken soup | World Building

Chicken soup

For Penicillin, the premise was, to me, irresistible. Major Hayes is sick, and he doesn’t want anyone to know. Lili, of course, figures it out when she hears him coughing. And so she vows to make him something that will help him feel a little better, and keep quiet about his minor illness, but extracts a return promise from him. He’s got to smile more.

The story ends with a spread of chicken soup (and vegetarian vegetable soup for the vegan characters) with all sorts of trimmings. Hayes is last in the chow line and thanks her for her thoughtfulness and discretion. I revisit this scene at the end of Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, when Hayes wills her his lucky nickel, in payment for his outstanding chicken soup debt.


Touch can be thrilling, and it can also be awkward. For Treve and Pamela Hudson, in  Complications, it’s both.

Touch | World Building


For their first time making love (which may very well be the first time that any human and Calafan ever had sex), Treve and Pamela become, well, there’s no good way to say this.


Without becoming pornographic, the reader gets inklings of this, as Pamela talks about normally getting up afterwards for various reasons, and Treve letting her know that it’s just not going to happen in this case. At least, not anytime soon.

The reader, again, does not need to have a perfectly clear picture painted in order to have an idea of what is going on.


Where it all happens is as vital as when, and what happens, and who it happens to. Before even starting a fiction, the world building is one of the first things I think of. If I can’t work world building out to my satisfaction, I’ve found, that can often hamper my creative efforts considerably.

Location matters.

Posted by jespah in Boldly Reading, Fan fiction, Meta, 2 comments