Are you totally lost when it comes to certain of the shows I write about? Have you finished a story, and thought, well, that would have been better if I knew what she was talking about...

Well, wonder no longer! From Andromeda to The Matrix, almost every fandom I write in now has its own little cheat-sheet! This isn't the same as having seen the shows/movies in question, but it should help! (I haven't included The Phantom Menace. If you're not familiar with the basic precepts of the Star Wars universe...well...go rent the movies! <g>)

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"The Long Night has fallen..."

HarperRommie AvatarDylan and BekaTranceTyr

Top row, left to right: Seamus Harper, Andromeda's android avatar, Rev Brem Captain Hunt and Beka Valentine, Trance Gemini, Tyr Anasazi. Images from the official site.

The Systems' Commonwealth spanned galaxies, the greatest civilization created. Countless human and alien species lived together under its rule. Until it was betrayed from within.

The High Guard oversaw the peace of the Commonwealth. Its men and women (and other, depending on species) were highly trained, elite military and diplomatic specialists. They did their job perhaps too well, war had not touched the Commonwealth in living memory.

Then the people of the Commonwealth encountered the Magog, an alien species of cannibals. They attacked human and non-human settlements in swarms, devouring their victims. One group in the Commonwealth, a society of genetically-engineered humans known as the Nieztcheans, were hit hard by the Magog. When the Commonwealth negotiated a peace with the Magog instead of going to war, they were outraged--and planned an intricate, bloody vengance.

Answering a distress call from a Nietzchean outpost, the captain of the Andromeda discovers an armada of Nietzchean ships, bent on taking down the Commonwealth for their failure to avenge those slain by the Magog. He orders his crew to abandon ship and try to get warning to the High Guard. Rhade, the Nieztchean First Officer, attempts to kill Dylan but is fatally wounded. The ship, hammered by enemy fire, drifts a little too close to a singularity. The Andromeda is effectively in suspended animation for 300 years, until a salvage crew draws the Andromeda out of the singularity's field and back into normal time. The Commonwealth is only a memory now, and anarchy reigns among the stars. "The long night has fallen..."

Dylan Hunt is the captain of the Andromeda Ascendant, a warship of the High Guard. He is devoted to his duty, his ship, and his crew. He is still haunted by the memory of his fiancee, Sarah and the betrayal of his best friend.

Beka Valentine is the captain of the Eureka Maru, a salvage ship. She is hired to find and retrieve the Andromeda Ascendant, a warship unaccounted for during the fall of the Commonwealth. Tough-minded, independent, she eventually agrees to sign on with Dylan, and his mission to restore the Commonwealth. She is acting First Officer of the Andromeda, and spends no small amount of time arguing with Dylan, whom she still won't refer to as 'Captain.'

Rev Brem is also part of the Maru's crew, and a Magog. Unlike others of his species, he has forsworn acts of cannibalism, instead trying to make ammends for the acts of his people. He is a Wayist, a religion/philosophy that seems similar to Buddhism.

Trance Gemini a strange, purple-skinned female humanoid. She seems very naive, at times Pollyanna-ish, but there is far more to her than meets the eye. No-one on the Maru's crew knows what she is or where she comes from. She has a knack for "guessing right."

Seamus Harper Engineer and all-around fix-it man. He can interface with computers through a jack implanted in his head, and has some skill as a pilot. He's fond of the ladies, likes comfort, and projects a devil-may-care attitude.

Tyr Anasazi A Nietzchean mercenary hired by the same man who hired Beka and her crew. His reasons for staying with Dylan and the others are his own, but he is highly motivated by his survival instinct. His Pride (clan) was killed, leaving him without family. As required by Nietzchean custom, he must prove his genetic worth in order to become part of another family. The highest honor a Nietzchean male can receive is the title of Husband and Father.

Andromeda Ascendant/Rommie The AI that forms the heart of the High Guard ship. She has a humanoid body that allows her to move about in the physical world, and can also appear in holographic form. Sworn to the ideals of the Commonwealth and the High Guard, she is Dylan's strongest supporter in his quest to restore the Commonwealth.

Note: The Eureka Maru is still intact, and often serves as a survey vehicle or transport for the crew.

Crossing Jordan

Left to right: Dr. Trey Saunders, Anthony Cavanaugh, Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, Dr. Garret Mitchell. Not shown: Nigel, Lily, "Bug," and Woody. Images from the official site.


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

"Follow the evidence."

Front row, left to right: Catherine and Gil. Back row: Jim Brass, Sarah, Warrick, Nick. Images from the official site.

The Las Vegas Crime Lab is a busy place, especially for the graveyard shift.


Deepwater Black/Mission Genesis

The crew, from left to right: Lise, Zak, Reb, Yuna, Bren, Gret. Not shown: Gen

By the 21rst century, Earth has developed reliable, regular space flight. Colonies have been established on the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and many other places. All seems well...until a terrible plague begins to ravage Earth. Billions die from the Pandora virus. Desperate scientists gather at the Arraxis Base on Mars Colony. The Deepwater Black Project is launched in an attempt to save what they can of humanity.

Enormous ark ships are built (all named Deepwater Black) and fitted with gene banks and cloning modules. As the plague wiped out Earth's population and spread throughout the colonies, the ships were launched, programmed to travel in a long loop, arriving back at Earth centuries later. Hopefully, the virus would have gone dormant. Six people were chose to serve as crew. Their genetic material was placed in the cloning module, grown to near-maturity, then placed in cryogenic suspension. An AI was installed to watch over the ship and the clones. This AI had a unique EQ, or Emotional Quotient, which enabled it to empathize with the humans in its charge. The AI is called Genesis, or Gen, for short.

An attack by an alien ship brought the clones out of suspension early. Each clone has a memory implant that provides each one with a skill and knowledge base. At first waking, the clones had no memory of who or where they were, or what they were doing there. Clones are susceptible to prex episodes, a memory of "pre-existence" that are essentially flashbacks of significant moments in their genetic donor's lives. Prexes can be traumatic and stressful, putting the clone's physical body at risk.

Reb: the unofficial captain of the Deepwater Black, and a skilled engineer. His genetic donor is from Earth.

Gret: the ship's geneticist and communications expert. She considers the safety of the gene bank her first priority. Her genetic donor was an original member of the Deepwater Black Project.

Yuna: Ship's pilot and navigator. Her genetic donor came from Mars Colony.

Lise: Ship's medic , and immune to the primary strain of the Pandora virus. Genetic donor came from Luna Colony. The original Lise was also involved in the Deepwater Project.

Zak: Computer and mathematics genius, whose donor came from a totalitarian colony.

Bren: Ship weapons and security expert. His donor was a commander in the Sentinel Corps, and hailed from Jupiter Colony.

Gen/Genesis: Ship's AI program, projects a holographic image of a woman in her mid-30's.

Final note: this show was released as Mission Genesis in the U.S., and as Deepwater Black in Canada and on YYTV.

Gothic Nights

Gothic Nights was a roleplaying game created by a friend of mine in the early '90's. It focused around tribes of vampiric creatures, who were just one group of supernaturals in a falling-towards-cyberpunk world. Many of the tribes are part of the Order of Dark Knights, a covert organization of supernaturals that tries to prevent the forces of Chaos from over-running the world.

The Carpathians are descended from the infamous Vlad Dracul. Tribal history states that Dracul pacted with a powerful demon, who granted him immortality--but at a price. His descendants all bear the same price: they are repelled by holy objects, limited to the blood of living creatures, and require their native soil to rest in. Most "vampires" humans have encountered are from this tribe. Unlike "vampires" of myth, Carpathians can move about in sunlight without harm, though daylight weakens them.

Bean Sidhe are the restless spirits of those who suffered great injustice--or caused terrible wrongs. The emotional energy generated from such a state of mind drew them out of the grave and bars them from the afterlife. They tend to be loners, avoiding contact with other tribes whenever possible. Contrary to myth, there are as many male Bean Sidhe as there are females.

They feed on the energy of the living as opposed to their blood, using their formidable powers of persuasion to lure in their victims. The infamous 'banshee wail' allows them to make the psychic connection that lets these tribefolk feed on the emotions of the living. Bean Sidhe are rail thin, pale, with white hair, and feminine features (even the males). They are vulnerable to sunlight and cold iron.

Gothic Child: These are the "hip, jaded, modern vampires." They stroll the cutting edge of modern life--however that is defined at the moment--with a deep passion for beauty and exotica. The Gothics are actually victims of a blood-disease that freezes the aging process and devours the Child's own blood supply. A Child must consume the blood and blood products of a living being to replace what is lost. Over time, the Children have developed a heightened metabolism that makes the most use out their limited physical resources. The Children tend to heal quickly from injury. They are, as a whole, albino-pale with little to no body hair.

Ch'ing Shih: Like the Bean Sidhe, these vampires are human souls trapped on Earth. Unlike the Bean Sidhe, they have lost their physical bodies. A Ch'ing Shih's natural form is that of a small, luminescent indigo cloud. At will, a Ch'ing Shih can form a physical body, but the process is quite draining. In its natural form, a Ch'ing Shih can't interact with its enviornment. The physical body serves as the main conduit for the human blood the vampire needs to survive. Unlike other blood-drinkers, a Ch'ing Shih absorbs blood through the skin rather than consuming it orally.

Incubus/Succubus: a race of half-human, half-demons. Like the creatures of legend, they seduce their victims, feeding on their blood during sexual activity. The males are Incubi, the females are Succubi. This tribe has difficulty moving through human society--their skin is pale blue, and their nails resemble black talons. Their dull red eyes betray their demonic link.

Rakshasa: These are the scavengers of the vampiric tribes--coarse and animalistic. They feed not just on blood, but on the flesh of humans and animals. Many Rakshasa take on the features of the animals they feed on. Their chief joy in delivering torment.

Highlander, the Series

Highlander collage

Left to right: Joe, Amanda, Duncan, Methos. Not shown: Richie Ryan

"In the end, there can be only one."

Important changes to note from the first movie to the series: the Gathering has not happened, the Prize has not yet been won, but Connor MacLeod did kill the Kurgan. In this version of the Highlander universe, Immortals have demonstrated the clear ability to sense each other, though this sense doesn't allow them to identify the other Immortal. Some Immortals have demonstrated abilities beyond the cessastion of aging and the rapid healing (referred to as the basic Immortal package by some fans ;) ), such as the ability to project illusions into another's mind, compell/hypnotize another through speech, shape-changing, etc.

Duncan MacLeod: A 400 year old Scottish Highlander. He believes in chivalry and honor. Like his kinsman Connor (his Immortal teacher), his weapon of choice is a katana. Unlike Connor, Duncan received his from a Japanese samauri, standing as the man's second when the samauri's lord demanded he commit seppuku. (Duncan swore to aid the man's family whenever they asked him.) His mortal lover, Tessa Noel, a gifted sculptor, was killed by a gunman.

Methos/Adam Pierson: the oldest living Immortal, over 5,000 years old. In his guise as mortal Adam Pierson, he hides out among the Watchers. His personal assignment is the Methos Chronicle. As he said to MacLeod when they first met, "I'm in charge of finding myself, so I make sure it never happens." Methos has kept a diary "almost since the time they invented writing," and has recorded many of his life experiences in its pages. He's been married 68 times, has known many of history's famous men and women (and is still unimpressed by them). He is motivated by survival. Has a fondness for beer, loathes boats, and is dead-set against being anything other than "just a guy."

Joe Dawson: MacLeod's Watcher. He's broken his Watcher's Oath time and time again for MacLeod, whom he considers a friend. Joe is a double-amputee, having lost both of his legs to a landmine in Viet Nam. He was recruited into the Watchers while still in the hospital (the man who saved him was an Immortal Joe had seen die). He walks with a cane, and owns a handgun, possibly a .38 pistol. He became aware of Adam's true identity, and is one of the few mortals who knows who Methos is. He runs a blues bar as his cover identity, and plays blues guitar himself.

Richie Ryan: a young ex-punk befriended by Duncan and Tessa. He was shot the same night as Tessa, but revived, undergoing his first death and becoming Immortal. He's hot-tempered, fond of racing cars and motorcycles, streetwise, and has some of the worst luck with women ever known.

The Watchers: A secret organization of mortals, dating back centuries, who know about Immortals and the Game. They've all taken a vow to observe, record, and never interfere with the Immortals. Watchers fall into one of two catagories: field agents who are assigned to Watch a particular Immortal, or researchers, who maintain the organization's archives in one of their headquarters. All Watchers have a tattoo of the organization's symbol on the inside of their wrist.

Other Immortals of note:

Cassandra: a witch who can beguile others with her voice, has prophetic visions. She can shape-change into a wolf. She has been intimately involved with Duncan. She was also once Methos' slave and prisoner after the Four Horsemen slaughtered her tribe.

Kronos: Leader of the Horsemen, a Bronze Age quartet of Immortal nomadic raiders. A vicious sadist with ambition. Killed by Duncan.

Caspian: Another Horseman, possibly even more sadistic than Kronos, but nowhere near as bright. Killed by Duncan.

Silas: Another Horseman, fights with an axe, and is most assuredly the dimmest bulb in the bunch. A kind of cheery brute who really, truly enjoyed his work. Killed by Methos.

Amanda: a 1,000 year old Immortal thief and schemer (but not all that bad once you get past the urge to kill her), who has had an on-again, off-again relationship with MacLeod. She met a detective named Nick Wolf and began a relationship with him. (Note: Amanda later became prominent in the spin-off series, Highlander, the Raven.) Her weapon of choice is her cunning, followed by her agility (she's been a trapeze artist in a circus, when she wasn't being a cat burglar) and a ring-rapier.

Kindred, the Embraced

KtE Collage

(From left to right: Julian Luna, Daedelus, Cash, Lily, Sasha. Not shown: Caitlin, Frank, Sonny, Cameron.)

This very short-lived series was based on White Wolf Game Studios' popular roleplaying game, Vampire: the Masquerade. My version makes use of terms and concepts from both the roleplaying game and the television series.

The setting is San Francisco, and vampires--some of whom refer to themselves as Kindred--live in secret among mortals. Their primary law is the Masquerade, which demands they keep their existence secret from mortals. If need be, Kindred will kill to keep their existence secret. That's an extreme response, as many Kindred have supernatural powers that allow them to preserve the Masquerade. The Kindred are divided into clans, with particular powers and rivalries.

Julian Luna: The vampire prince of San Francisco. He is a member of Clan Ventrue. Archon, the former prince, Embraced Julian not long after the death of Julian's wife. His mortal family settled in the valley, but their numbers have dwindled. As a Ventrue, Julian is limited to a very specific type of blood, as are all members of his Clan. Ventrue see themselves as being the aristocracy of the Kindred. Julian has many enemies, all of whom either wish him dead or deposed. He is currently romancing a mortal woman named Caitlin. He recently purchased the newspaper that Caitlin works for, in order to preserve the Masquerade.

Lily Langtree: Julian's Kindred lover, and Primogen (Elder) of the Toreador clan. She is jealous of Caitlin. Lily owns and operates a club called The Haven, which serves as an elysium in the city, a place where the Kindred can gather safely. All feuds are suspended in Elysium. Toreador are greatly attracted to art and beauty. Lily is older than Julian, and may be Blood Bonded to the Prince. (Officially, the character's name is spelled "Lillie" but I prefer the other version.)

Cash: Primogen of the Gangrel clan, Childe of the former Primogen, Stevie Ray. Cash is Julian's bodyguard, and is deeply in love with Sasha. The Gangrel and Brujah clans have been feuding for generations. Gangrel tend to be loners and drifters, with powers that include shapeshifting.

Daedelus: Primogen of the Nosferatu and Julian's closest friend and advisor. He is reclusive, and an accomplished painter. Like all Nosferatu, the Embrace disfigured Daedelus. He must hide his true appearance from mortal eyes, using his powers to conceal himself. Nosferatu attempt to keep a neutral position in Kindred politics, but are also staunch traditionalists.

Sasha Luna: Julian's last mortal descendant. She was forcibly Embraced by a member of clan Brujah, in an attempt to get at Julian. She struggles with her new existence, and the tendency to rage that is the legacy of all Brujah. This has put an immense strain on her relationship with Cash.

Cameron: He rose to lead the Brujah clan after the death of Eddie Fiori, and killed Archon, closing another chapter in the Brujah-Ventrue clan war.

Sonny: Julian's Childe, maintains a "mortal" identity as a police detective.

Frank Kohaneck: a mortal police detective and Sonny's partner. While unawre of Sonny's true nature, Frank has learned about the Kindred, and bears them considerable ill will. He was in love with a Ventrue woman named Alexandra, a Childe and lover of Julian Luna. She was killed by Julian for violating the Masquerade. Frank saw her die, and desires vengeance.

Lord of the Rings

I could not begin to summarize this...

The Lord of the Rings is an epic in the old tradition. The Forces of Good vs. the Forces of Evil, temptation, mystery, wonder, courage, romance, betrayal...it's all in there. For background on the recent film put out by New Line Cinema, visit the official site. My Tolkien fiction is mostly inspired by the books: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Read them and love them.

Max Steel

Left to right: "Max Steel," Berto Martinez, Josh McGrath

Set in the city of Del Oro Bay, this series (a CGI animated series) revolves around an organization called N-Tek. On the surface, N-Tek is a sporting goods supply company. In reality, it is a covert ops security organization. After being attacked by an intruder at N-Tek, Josh was accidentally dumped into a vat of experimental "max probes." (Like nano-tech.) The probes integrated into his system. They require trans-phasic energy--also called T-juice--to survive--and now, so does Josh.

The probes give Josh superhuman strength, agility, and speed. He can also induce a stealth/chameleon mode, which allows him to pass unseen when needed, and alter his appearance. (I know, sounds corny, but what do you expect from a show based on a computer game and a few action figures?)

Jefferson Smith: director of N-Tek and foster-father to Josh McGrath.

Josh McGrath/Max Steel: As Josh, he is a blonde-haired, easy-going college student and extreme-sports athlete. As Max Steel, he's a dark-haired, daring secret agent, always ready with a sardonic comeback. He is, however, quite good at his job, for all his attitude.

Dr. Roberto "Berto" Martinez: Another employee of N-Tek, and one of Josh's best friends. Berto rides "shotgun" when Max Steel goes into the field, communicating via bio-link and monitoring Josh/Max's surroundings from a heavy-duty computer station. Berto isn't that much older than Max.

Laura: Josh's girlfriend, totally unaware of her boyfriend's other life. Their relationship has become more and more strained as the pressures from Josh's secret life continue to mount.

The Matrix

Matrix Cast photo

Left to right: Apoc (behind Trinity), Trinity, Neo, Morpheus, Switch. Not shown: Cipher, Tank, Dozer, Mouse.

"Have you ever had a dream that you were certain was real? What if you were unable to awaken from that dream? How would you tell the dream world from the real?"

Machines have taken over the world--and they're not kindly dispossed to humans. A handful (relatively speaking) of human survivors lie low in Zion, the last city left to humankind, near the Earth's core. Small groups of rebels wage a guerilla war against the Matrix, the machine-generated false reality that keeps the rest of humanity enslaved.

Vampire Princess Miyu

"Return to the Darkness, shinma!"

Miyu fics on this site are (for now) limited to the TV series.

Miyu: A Guardian, one who protects the human race from the stray shinma who have escaped the Darkness. She has the appearance of a 13 year old girl, but is actually centuries old.

Chisato: One of Miyu's mortal friends. Vivacious, direct, and friendly.

Hisae: The quiet member of the group, another of Miyu's mortal friends. The 'bookworm.'

Yukia: The strongest of the mortal girls, something of a martial artist.

Larva: Miyu's guardian and companion, once a stray shinma himself.

Reiha: Part snow-demon, part-shinma, full-time enigma. She is either angling for Miyu's role as Guardian, or trying to be helpful--but keeps running into problems because of her total lack of human empathy.



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