The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Spies were all the craze from “Bond. James Bond.” to Hammerhead which is a really really bad spy movie.
A passel of Junior High girls in their tweens discovered Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. (Ok, at least one started watching because of Leo G. Carroll, the name she recognized in the show, but quickly discovered the Russian and left Alexander Waverly to the older crowd.)
From fan to fantasy to writing was a very short step. All five of the girls developed characters ... definitely Mary Sues, as they were, as noted, twelve and not familiar with fan fiction at all. The explosion from Star Trek: TOS was still several years away.
Thus Belle Carrelly, tall, blonde, lovely with a yen for Solo. Jinxie Curiacen, oh yeah, they did that, short, red haired, curvaceous and interested in Kuryakin. One whose name has long since vanished as did the inventor of the character. Suzannia Yuconovich, tall, blonde, undefined Master’s degree, and only 19. Nineteen was old from a twelve year old point of view, even if they were aware that the heroes they worshipped were, like their parents, in their thirties.
Then there was me, seventeen, blue black hair, green eyes, 5’7” (the minimum height for a model in the day and two inches shorter than Suzannia, my older sister), undefined Master’s degree and field agent. We were all field agents.
Yes, teen prodigies, geniuses all and in the field. In retrospect, that lacked logic. Then again, they were twelve.
MFU came and went and some of the fans went on to Star Trek, leaving their spies in oblivion. And there we would have stayed, as the future called for different skills and new characters.
Just about the time I got used to sitting in the dark being glad that my creator didn’t do cubby holes for forgotten memories, someone turned the light on and dragged me out into … a derivative universe.
Thinking about this, I actually surfaced a few other times. There were these two other characters, Tamara Taakin and Roxanne Theresa Montgomery, known as Ronnie Terry. My association with them was short lived as their creators and mine got together just long enough to kill off Ronnie Terrie in an interesting little item called the Ghost Riders affair. The latter’s creator wanted no resurrections of the character later and thus had a friendly fire death. She made everyone promise there would be no more use of the character. My creator has honored that promise for a very long time.
Luckily, Tam Taakin’s creator asked for no such assurances which has been definitely a boon to the further adventures of moi. Taakin was possibly the least Mary Sue of all and gave a great foundation to build on. More about that later, much more because the derivative universe we landed in took more turns than a D&D labyrinth designed by rolling dice at every junction.
Most of the original stories are gone. This is probably a good thing. The work up of The Ghost Riders Affair was fairly short. We were long on action, short on character development. After all, the characters we cared about were already developed. Only in retrospect did it occur to the creator that there were holes in that development.
The Ghost Riders contributed something more than a platform for Ronnie Terry’s extinction. It provided a villain who has been my arch nemesis for a very long time, although he did not start out that way. This was the introduction of Dr. Rand. I don’t believe he had more than a single name at the time and as we dropped an entire mountain side on him, the hazards of living in a massive cavern structure, the first outing did not survive to be recalled.
The story of his resurrection as a major player will be told in due time. For now, it suffices that after eleven years in storage, I was out to play again.
I was no longer the teen in the ultimately Mary Sue wrong place, I was older, wiser, endowed with feet of clay, sometimes right up to my neck and was no longer working in another author’s universe; except I was.
The universe started as the creator’s co-author’s idea. Instead of the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, we were part of the Organization. We were the good guys, based in Geneva and accepted world wide, except behind the iron curtain, of course, as the West was still in a cold war with the USSR.
Our opposition was nicknamed The Black Hats, which eventually turned out to be exactly what they called themselves, only much more romantically in French: Le Chapeau Noir. They were much more at home everywhere with tentacles spreading across the world. In some places, they were the good guys. No, really. They were feeding the hungry and educating children while planning on using them for world dominion.
So, developed in 1964, wandered through spy land for about six years and went dormant until pulled out of the closet in 1981 to play in a 1970s world. That was just my beginning.