World War II

Portrait of a Character – Herbie Shapiro

Portrait of a Character – Herbie Shapiro

Herbie Shapiro is a historical figure in my fan fiction.


I wrote Shapiro specifically for the Tripp Tucker end of life story, Day of the Dead.


Herbie is played by Jesse Eisenberg (although Herbie would be wearing glasses, this is how I see him).

Portrait of a Character – Herbie Shapiro

Jesse Eisenberg as Herbie Shapiro

It’s important to me that Herbie be played by a Jewish actor. Further, I think Eisenberg could convincingly be the voice of reason during a lot of the weirder changes that occur during Day of the Dead.


Intelligent and compassionate, when Herbie sees Milena Chelenska, her sister Noemy, and Mrs. Klinghofer while liberating Dachau, he immediately decides to try to help them. It’s possible that Herbie’s actions help Milena to survive long enough to meet Richard Daniels, thereby making him vital to the integrity of the timeline.


Herbie says he has a girl, but she is never actually mentioned by name. But he marries someone (and not necessarily her), as he is an ancestor to Ethan – and, by definition, Rebecca.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Herbie Shapiro

Jesse Eisenberg as Mirror Herbie

There are no impediments to Herbie existing in the Mirror Universe. For the Mirror, prior to First Contact, life had to be even shorter, more brutal, and nastier. For Jews in the Mirror, as I write them, if Herbie was to practice his faith at all, he would have to do so in secret, much like the Mirror Universe version of Leah Benson. I doubt he would be called Herbie, either. He might even change his first name in order to fit in better (but not his last name, as he is an ancestor to the Mirror Ethan, who is one of Doug‘s kills). Perhaps he’d be Henry.


“No, that’s not true. I got a letter from my mother. She saw on the newsreel when Auschwitz was liberated, back in January. …

“Nothing much, Tony. But we had heard rumors, you know? I got a cousin who got out in ’37 and he said he heard they was burning bodies in these places. My mother just wrote that it was, it was confirmed, y’see. Arbeit macht frei. I bet that’s a big old Nazi laugh.”


For a somewhat throwaway character, I feel Herbie packs a punch. He’s memorable, and not just for his place within the overall timeline.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Interphases series, Portrait, 0 comments

Review – Gainful

Review – Gainful

Gainful comes from a prompt about first jobs.


I wanted to show someone who wasn’t so young entering the workforce for the same time.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Before Days | Gainful

Before Days

I particularly wanted to pay tribute to my maternal grandmother. She had only worked outside of the home for a few years, and that was all during the Second World War, as a part of the war effort.

Yes, my grandmother was a kind of Rosie the Riveter type (she worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard).

Enter Mary Reed.


Review – Gainful

We Can Do It poster for Westinghouse, closely associated with Rosie the Riveter, although not a depiction of the cultural icon itself. Pictured Geraldine Doyle (1924-2010), at age 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I figured Mary would be as driven to help out during the Earth-Romulan War as my own grandmother had been during World War II.

But Mary seemed to not be as strong as my part-Polish grandmother, so it would be more of an intellectual pursuit. Furthermore, this is the future of Star Trek, and so brute force or assembly lines would not be in the cards.

I recalled a character I had created while writing two pieces for Dispatches from the Romulan War – pop singer Kurt Fong. I hit upon the idea of Fong needing a new person to help open his mail and respond to it, and so I was able to attach Mary and her diplomatic skills to this project. It would be a fun job for her, but also a challenge. She would be reminded, as others wrote to Fong, that Malcolm could be injured or killed at any time, too. Her boss, Ehigha Ejiogu, would be a Nigerian man young enough to be her son. Her coworker, the Tellarite Cympia Triff, would have an impressive beard.

Sharp-eyed readers will recall that Ejiogu and Fong are, in the Mirror Universe, two of Doug‘s kills.

Story Postings


The story is Rated K.


I really like how this one turned out, and was  pleased to write a sequel, The Tribe. As for whether I’ll revisit Mary at work, the question remains up in the air.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 2 comments

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood

Crystal Sherwood is the kind of person who people often underestimate in the world. Her education has some limitations. But she knows more than a lot of people probably think.

First introduced in A Long, Long Time Ago, Crystal is busy cutting Temporal Agent Richard Daniels‘s hair when he asks her if she knows anything about historical fashions and haircuts. Her reply indicates not only knowledge, but interest in the subject matter, so Rick presents her as a candidate for the Quartermaster job opening at the Temporal Integrity Commission.


I wanted Crystal to be a bit petite and young, but also very attractive and stylish. I hit upon the idea of Marnette Patterson after seeing her in Charmed.  She looks a woman who is secure in her looks but not necessarily in her training or her intelligence. This is not a slam on the actress; this is just the look that I was seeking.


Crystal SherwoodWhile a computer could, conceivably, put together a look that would be consistent with a particular time period, I wanted for there to still be some room for error. For Crystal, the job is less about matching the obvious to a time period than it is to also match it to a particular effect needed. When Rick goes to a 1970 college campus in Ohio, she doesn’t just give him sideburns, she also makes sure that he looks young enough to be a graduate student, but old enough to be able to exert a little authority if necessary. She makes Sheilagh Bernstein (who also goes on that trip) look more like a typical coed, as Sheilagh is a trainee.

In Spring Thaw, she outfits Rick in a more old-fashioned style, despite the fact that it’s only a few years before the scenario in Ohio, as Rick is going to a Soviet bloc country.

Other Talents and Ideas

In Spring Thaw, she spends time helping with the decryption. It’s a particularly frustrating task for her, but her confidence is buoyed by Deirdre Katzman encouraging her. By The Point is Probably Moot, she’s actively looking at alternate timeline scenarios.

In Ohio, she’s also busy fending off the attentions of HD Avery. By the time of He Stays a Stranger, she goes on her first mission, and has an excellent idea of where the team can meet while planning to restore the main timeline.

Mirror Universe

Crystal Sherwood

Mirror Crystal

There are no impediments to Crystal Sherwood existing in the Mirror Universe.

But as I write Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, Mirror Universe women are mainly chewed up and spat out. Unfortunately, I see that as her fate on the other side of the pond.


“After the Second World War ended, people didn’t have a lotta money, so it’s reflected in the fashions. They just didn’t have a lot of details. Look at the fifties – just a decade later – and it’s more youth-oriented, and then fast-forward another decade and it’s even more youth-oriented. There’s suddenly all these patterns.”


Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood


Behind that pretty face, there’s a keen mind and a sensitivity and kindness. Book learning isn’t the only thing of value in the thirty-second century.

Underestimate Crystal at your peril.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Portrait, Times of the HG Wells series, 14 comments