Tag Archives: star trek emergence

Review – Hearts in Time

Review – Hearts in Time

Hearts in Time was born from a collaboration between me and trekfan.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Take Back the Night | Hearts in Time
Take Back the Night

Background

trekfan and I decided his character, Hank Harrison, would go on a blind date with one of my characters. Being the silly gal that I am, I paired him up with a Daranaean, Inta II.

Plot

Hank is looking for love and to start a family. Inta is looking mainly for someone ‘to be kind’. She is a secondary Daranaean female, so she has some privileges, but they are just not enough. Since this story ends up taking place before her admission to Oxford, her art is a kind of unrequited love in her life.

Hank is taken aback at the look of his blind date. At least she is humanoid, but otherwise he just plain cannot wrap his head around dating her. But they have a good chat and manage to enjoy each other’s brief company. They even give each other a little advice before they part.

Along with determining that Inta is an artist, I also learned, for the first time, what a Daranaean kiss is like. It’s the tiniest of licks, much like we would get from a real live puppy.

Story Postings

Hearts in Time on Ad Astra

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

This was the first time I had ever written Inta II as an adult. And it was also the first time she became an artist. It was a great find, and that led directly to her attending Oxford with Declan Reed.

We wrote the story in a chat, and it all went down rather quickly. If I were writing it again, I would probably spend some time outside of chat. Furthermore, I think we would have done better to have allowed for some time to elapse and for some editing. But it is a decent story, and it is certainly, on balance, a rather sweet one.

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Portrait of a Character – Seppa

Portrait of a Character – Seppa

Seppa is one of my favorite Daranaeans.

Origins

As a part of showing the oppression of Daranaean women, during Take Back the Night, I added insult to injury and included a child who was being kept illiterate due to her caste.

Portrayal

As with most Daranaeans, no one is really cast to ‘play’ Seppa.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa
Seppa, one of the Daranaeans, a third caste female, as a child

This picture is a photoshopped image of a white German Shepherd dog with caramel-tipped ears.

Personality

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa
Seppa as a young adult

Friendly and approachable, she is another homebody female Daranaean character.

This was not always the case. As a young child, Seppa is shown as being shy and scared, likely a function of being the absolute lowest on the totem pole while Arnis was still free. In Some Assembly Required, she is terrified that everyone will become angry with her, despite the fact that she has done absolutely nothing wrong. But after seeing Mistra falsely accused, that makes sense to a preschooler, that there would be guilt by proximity and association.

Afterwards, she sends a carefully printed thank you note to Jonathan Archer, and they become fervent pen pals. Until Rona Moran intervenes, the tabloid press even sees them as an item.

Relationships

Brantus

For most if not all third caste Daranaean women, there can be only one husband, even if he dies young. Fortunately for Seppa, Brantus is a good guy and he loves her dearly.

Mirror Universe

There are no real impediments to Seppa existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Seppa
Mirror Seppa (white wolf)

I see Mirror Daranaeans as being more vicious, somewhat more like wolves than dogs.

With power would come more confidence and assertiveness. I doubt she would just be what is essentially the equivalent of a stay at home mom.

Quote

“Vidam made sure I was sold to the man who would treat me the best. And you are, most assuredly, that man. But let us not speak of euthanasia. Instead, let us talk about our visit. Jonathan has never met you before! My own father is as good as gone. And I have known Jonathan Archer for a good fifteen years.”

Upshot

It was wonderful to be able to raise this character up from what would have been rather depressing depths. She has powerful friends, and deserves them.

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Portrait of a Character – Vidam

Portrait of a Character – Vidam

Vidam rises to greatness in my fan fiction.

Origins

During the Star Trek fan fiction story Take Back the Night, I wanted for there to be a believable witness who would be able to refute Arnis’s accusations against Mistra. But this person would have to be a little afraid of Arnis although ultimately they would do the right thing. Yet given the sexist nature of Daranaean society, this person would have to be male. In order to put him into the right position, I made him the Prime Wife, Dratha‘s, eldest son. Enter Vidam.

Portrayal

As with nearly all Daranaeans, I do not have anyone in mind to play Vidam.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vidam
Adult Vidam, one of the Daranaens and son of Prime Wife Dratha

This is an altered image of a Golden Retriever. As always, readers are encouraged to use their imaginations when thinking about the look and sound of most Daranaeans.

I actually envision him as being more fox-like in appearance, so the snout would be thinner and more pointed.

Personality

The name is Hungarian for “cheerful”, but Vidam is usually far from cheerful. Instead, much like the Calafan, Treve, he is an elder son with a great weight of responsibility on his shoulders. At the end of Take Back the Night, with Arnis taken away in the futuristic equivalent of handcuffs, the teenaged Vidam is suddenly responsible  for his family.  He insists that Dratha in particular help him, but it is he who makes the decision to allow Seppa to learn to read and write.

When he gets older, he becomes a politician, and is the standard bearer for the liberals in the Daranaean government, in his role as a Beta councilor.

Relationships

Like all wealthy Daranaean men, Vidam takes three wives, one from each caste.

Ethara

Unlike other Prime Wives, Ethara is more of an equal partner to Vidam. Like many human political spouses, she attends functions with him and is otherwise a part of a charm offensive.

Morza

The jokester secondary, as is seen in Temptation, is one of the daughters of the war hero (and eventual Alpha), Acreon. Morza is also a close friend to Vidam’s half-sister, Cria.

Kela

The least known of Vidam’s wives, Kela is a member of the third caste (and is named for one of my great-grandmothers, actually).

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Vidam
Mirror Vidam

The Daranaeans exist in the Mirror (Empress Hoshi refers to their planet as “always smelling like wet dog”).

I see them as more like wolves than dogs, and being rather vicious indeed. I doubt that Vidam would be so cultured and congenial in the Mirror Universe.

Quote

“Thylacine Paramyxovirus has devastated our population, yet we devastate it even more with compulsory euthanasia. Doctors, I know, are working around the clock to try to cure that horrible malady. My brother, the doctor, Trinning – he says that they are close to a true breakthrough. What will we do when they have finally cured it? Will we, then, decide to make a law to euthanize our secondaries? Where does it end? I say it ends now. It ends here! Third caste females who are menopausal can do all manner of things. They can still cook and keep house. They can still care for children. {and} They could, I dare say, do more if we gave them the opportunity. A vote for, for me, that is a vote against the euthanasia law. I say we end it now!”

Upshot

It was very important to me for the Daranaean men to not necessarily be bad guys. At least not all the time. Vidam is one of the first  male Daranaean heroes that I wrote. I will bring him back at some point.

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Review – Debate

Review – Debate

Debate fills a small plot hole.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vidam | Debate
Adult Vidam, one of the Daranaens and son of Prime Wife Dratha

Background

As a prelude to Flight of the Bluebird, I wanted Vidam to try, but fail, at convincing his fellow Beta Council members that it’s time to allow at least Prime Wives to vote in Daranaean elections.

Plot

Review – Debate

Vidam, a newly-elected Beta Council member, introduces his first bill into the chamber. And it’s a doozy, for Vidam is hoping to convince his fellow councilors to allow voting for Prime Wives. As a foreshadowing of his eventual campaign for Alpha, Vidam’s chief rival is Boestus. When Boestus speaks, he jokes that Prime Wives would vote for frivolous things, such as more shopping holidays. His speech is intended to be somewhat reminiscent of many male politicians before human women got the right to vote here in the United States.

Voting on Daranaea

It was also an opportunity to introduce the traditional in-person method of Daranaean voting. I wanted something weird and alien, so I went with an idea about chairs. The Council would vote by having everyone stand. And everyone in favor would remain standing (as a play on the idea of “stand and be counted”) whereas anyone in opposition would sit.

This idea in part is taken from my experiences in I believe it was fourth grade, where we would stand and recite the times tables, going up and doing each row. E. g. one student would say, “Five times four is twenty.” The next would would say, “Five times five is twenty-five.” These would go on under twelve squared. However, if you messed up, you would sit down. Eventually only a few people would be left standing and we would duke it out until the last person messed up or time ran out or the teacher just decided that she’d seen enough. For the Daranaeans, the image of just Vidam and one of his fathers in law, the war hero (and current Alpha), Acreon, being the only ones standing is a fairly powerful one. It shows the utter lack of support for this – to the Daranaeans – rather radical idea.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I think the message gets across well, that times are changing, but it’s just not happening fast enough, on the planet of sexist sentient marsupial canids.

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Review – Confidence

Review – Confidence

Confidence is not a trait I normally link to Daranaean females.

Background

As a means of bringing some positivity to the Emergence series, I added this Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction about a Daranaean, the younger Inta, as she realizes her dreams of studying art at the collegiate level.

Plot

For Inta, prior to the events in Take Back the Night, her future isn’t looking too terribly rosy. And this is obvious even though baby Inta is just a pouchling.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta | Confidence
Baby Inta, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

Her mother, Mistra, is one of the Alpha of Daranaea’s (Arnis) three wives. However, Arnis is cruel, and is abusing the secondary wife (Mistra) and the third caste wife, who is also has the name Inta.

When the elder Inta is killed, the younger Inta – who was originally going to be named Bayla – experiences a profound life change. And so does everyone else in the family. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of the elder Inta’s life and that of her (the elder Inta’s) unborn male child. But for the rest of the family, with one glaring exception, life improves.

As the younger Inta grows up, it becomes clear that she is (a) headstrong and against the idea of marriage and (b) artistically talented. I haven’t decided whether she is a lesbian. She might be. Gay Daranaeans would be in the closet by definition, as that society is utterly committed to marriage and reproduction.

Review – Confidence

But it doesn’t really matter for the purposes of our story.

In Confidence, Inta realizes her dreams and begins school at Oxford. And on her first day, she surreptitiously sketches her classmate, Declan Reed. She sends the sketch to Malcolm, as it is his birthday, and the families have remained close for years.

Some reviewers have said that Inta is showing, with the drawing, that she has a  crush on Declan. I’m not so sure.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I like this relatively simple story. The younger Inta is a favorite character, but she’s only a small child in Temptation. In Hearts in Time, the ending is a bit bittersweet. Here, she gets a far happier ending, although the possibility exists that she will never find love.


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Portrait of a Character – Rona Moran

Portrait of a Character – Rona Moran

Origins

The Dispatches from the Romulan War series covered this unseen Star Trek canon war through the eyes of news outlets. It had been going on for a few years and was winding down by the time I had an idea to contribute to it. And so I decided I wanted a gossip columnist with a heart of gold.

Portrayal

Rona Moran (excuse me, Verona Linda Moran Dodd Fisher D’Angelo Sherwood) is played by real-life gossip columnist Cindy Adams.

Personality

Larger than life and overly

Portrait of a Character – Rona Moran
Cindy Adams

dramatic, Rona is every bit the air-kissing celebrity watcher. She’s been married (and divorced) four times, and occasionally digs at her third ex, Maurizio. She has a British background.

She seems as if she’s very shallow. But the truth is, she isn’t.

In Soldiers’ Marriage Project, she reveals that she’s in charge of a charitable trust that provided all the trappings of a group wedding for 1,000 couples where both members were going off to war. The charity provided all sorts of things, including celebrity waitstaff like actress Alyssa McKenna and shortstop Lefty Robinson. Food and hotel rooms were donated, and rings were provided at cost.

As a reporter, Rona concentrates on one couple, as the huge ceremony is otherwise far too overwhelming. And the story she tells about them is sweet, full of hope for their new life together.

Because of her understanding, Jonathan Archer seeks her out during Flight of the Bluebird in order to dispel a rumor, and it’s revealed that Malcolm and Lili talked to her when the Cochrane was launched as they had had to explain their arrangement in a way that would be understood by the free and open press and would not tank Malcolm’s career.

Relationships

She’s got four ex-husbands, but only the third one, Maurizio D’Angelo, is ever mentioned in any detail (the others are, in order, Dodd, Fisher and Sherwood. Dodd and Fisher are two of Elizabeth Taylor‘s real-life husbands, and Sherwood is a shout-out to HG Wells character Crystal Sherwood). In Flight of the Bluebird, Rona is a lot kinder when mentioning him.

Quote

“I want you all to know, darlings, that there is nothing greater in the galaxy than love. The love in this family is self-evident. As for my exes, you all know, darlings; that I have spoken less than kindly of them in the past. But to all of them and, particularly, to my third ex-husband, Maurizio D’Angelo, I want to apologize. At the very least, in the name of the love that we once shared, I do hope that you can forgive me, Maurizio. And for my part, whether or not forgiveness is forthcoming, I swear to you I will not belittle you again.”

Upshot

I have been trying to find a way to give this rather unique character more air time. She’ll be back, darlings!

Spotlight on Original Species – Daranaeans

Spotlight on Original Species – Daranaeans

Daranaeans are a wholly original sentient marsupial canid species. Pronounced: Da-ra-NAY-un.

What’s a Daranaean?

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mistra | Daranaeans
Mistra, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

Daraneans are residents of Daranaea, a Minshara-class planet located near Klingon space, hence it has a tactical advantage.

As for the Daranaeans themselves, they are sentient marsupials with foxlike triangular faces and fur on most of their bodies. They are very canid in a lot of ways, including packlike behaviors for their social lives, but also their battle plans and even their ship designs.

I tend to use pointy-faced dogs, foxes or bats for pictures. Naturally, the reader will need to use his or her imagination a bit.

Castes

Females divide into three separate castes, depending upon the intensity of their smells. Prime Wives have the most privileges and the most education. Secondaries tend to do most of the reproductive heavy lifting. They also act as primary educators. Third caste females are generally relegated to manual labor, and may be illiterate. All females are sold into marriage, but Prime Wife marriages are generally from private arrangements without the need for a public auction. Wealthy Daranaean males, including members of the Beta Council and most higher-ranking military men, have a wife from each caste.

Pregnancy and Pouches

For Daranaean females, pregnancy has two parts, versus our three trimester configuration. There are about six months of a conventional-type pregnancy, and then another six with the infant in the mother’s abdominal pouch. Much like marsupials on Earth, the infant (called a pouchling at birth) is born very small and helpless. Unlike Earth’s marsupials, a Daranaean mother places the baby right inside the pouch, as opposed to requiring that it crawl there on its own.

Pouchlings nurse and sleep most of the time, and it’s important for the mother to keep the top of the pouch clear of obstructions. Therefore the tops that the women wear can be tied. This allows for air passage. The mother also sleeps on her back or her side while pouch feeding. When the pouchling is a good five months old or so, the mother can lift the top of the pouch to peer at the infant, if she wishes. However, the infant can get cold while doing so. This shouldn’t be done too frequently.

During this time, the mother sleeps with a soft baby blanket in order to pass her scent onto it.

Pouch Emergence

After about six months in the pouch, the pouchling is ready to emerge. First, a hand comes up and holds the top of the pouch. Then, the pouchling generally pushes down so as to get leverage, and may even use the front tied piece of its mother’s top in order to pull up and out.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta | Daranaeans
Baby Inta, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

Once out, the mother cleans the infant and swaddles it, and wraps it in the blanket. Newly-emerged pouchlings can be called infants. They don’t hear or see very well, as a parallel to what newborn puppies are like.

After a few weeks, the infant attempts crawling, and soon will begin cruising and walking, much like a human infant. The baby still nurses, but solid foods can be introduced at a young age, as slightly pointed teeth erupt not too long after emergence. Because Daranaean women have four breasts (two inside the pouch, and two where we would normally see them), the emerged infant can still nurse for a while.

Childhood

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa | Daranaeans
Seppa, one of the Daranaeans, a third caste female, as a child

Very young Daranaean children are kept at home and cared for by the older females. For a very young child, life at home is filled with basic learning such as getting along with others. The family may visit other families or go on trips, which can be educational or just for recreation. Seppa, at right, is only four years old in this picture. A somewhat typical day for Seppa is a part of Some Assembly Required.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cria | Daranaeans
Cria, a tween secondary female Daranaean

Young Daranaean children are home schooled. After several years, the males are sent to a big school, as are the Prime Wife females. This is for more advanced learning, such as is necessary for space travel. The other female children remain at home and can continue to be home schooled.

A Daranaean tween or teenager becomes interested in marriage and all that it entails, but marriages generally don’t occur until about ages eighteen to twenty or so. A young Daranean tween girl such as Cria, right, continues her home schooling and helps with chores and the care of her younger siblings, but also has time for some fun and for learning the household skills she will need as a wife. A fairly typical day for Cria is a part of Temptation.

Young Adulthood

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa | Daranaeans
A Young Adult, Seppa

Young married Daranaeans are much like young marrieds in any culture or species, enjoying their new lives and working toward the future.

For young Daranaean wives, this means pregnancy or preparing for pregnancy, as the species suffers from Thylacine Paramixovirus and, as a result, big familes are needed in order to replenish the population. A young wife such as Seppa, aged eighteen here, might become pregnant very quickly, and be expected to begin raising a household full of children.

Daranean women of wealth do not work outside the home, as the care of children is paramount.

Daranaean men hold jobs, and there is still a monetary system in place. Doctors include Varelle and Trinning, reporters include Craethe, and Beta Councilors include Boestus and Elemus.

Later Adult Life

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Dratha | Daranaeans
Dratha, one of the Daranaeans (legendary Prime Wife)

For Daranaeans, later life changes, depending upon caste. Prime Wives, such as Dratha, pictured here, can live fairly long lives. For wealthy families, the Prime Wife is treated like a queen and is not expected to help with child care, although she can if she wishes.

Secondaries, such as Mistra and Cria, above, have children on a regular basis until menopause. The expectation is they will continue helping the young adult children prepare for life in their own households.

Third caste females, like Seppa, above, have children until menopause, when they are either euthanised or are donated or sold for medical experiments.

Daranaean men live out their lives and have the longest life expectancy of all.

Politics, Government and Justice

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vidam
Adult Vidam, one of the Daranaens and son of Prime Wife Dratha

Daranaens have a government composed of an elected Alpha who is advised by an elected Beta Council, which meets regularly and is very open to the press. None of the women can vote, not even Prime Wives.

As a member of the Beta Council, Vidam (right) is expected to present bills, debate on them and vote. Voting in the Council Chamber is open and is accomplished by all of the representatives standing. Then the opponents of a bill sit. Anyone left standing is then counted as supporting the bill in question. A simple majority rules, but the Alpha can break ties. Abstentions are rare – much like dogs on Earth, Daranaeans mainly see their issues in black and white. A debate about granting Prime Wives the right to vote is part of Debate.

Trials are public, and the trial of a wealthy Daranaean, even a Secondary, is fodder for the press. There are no juries, rather, an accused is judged by a judicial panel. A trial is part of Take Back the Night.

Medicine

Aside from the generally fatal Thylacine Paramixovirus, most Daranaeans are usually in good health. Prenatal care is available for Prime Wives only. The other two castes are expected to care for each other. Their infants are delivered at home. Prime Wives deliver in hospitals.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Young Trinning | Daranaeans
Trinning, one of the Daranaeans, as a child (son of a secondary)

Researchers, such as Trinning, at about age six here, work diligently to try to find a cure for the virus. Research is limited by budgets, training and time. The virus is somewhat similar to canine distemper and Newcastle Disease on Earth.

Daranaean Third Caste wives who are menopausal are sometimes sold for medical experiments,  as doctors need them to test vaccines.

First Contact, Friendships and Relationship with The Federation

First Contact was between the NX-02 Columbia and a pleasure craft owned by a wealthy Daranaean man, Elemus. It occurred in February of 2160, and did not go too well. First contact is a part of The Cure is Worse than the Disease.

Second contact went considerably better, and is a part of Take Back the Night. This generated some friendships between Daranaeans and humans, including Jonathan Archer and Seppa, and Malcolm Reed and Mistra.

In 2191, a young Inta went on a blind date with a human, Hank Harrison. While things did not work out romantically, the two became friends. Their date is a part of Hearts in Time.

Daranaeans became allies with the Federation, and called upon them later, and made themselves available as well.

Daranaean Future

Such a sexist society will need to change in order to continue to grow. Stay tuned. Big things are in store for the galaxy’s only sentient marsupials. I will post more insights!