T is for Tetra (Not the Fish) #AtoZ

Because I am nothing if not responsive to reader requests, I’m answering Leslie Lee’s call for more from FORCE OF HABIT. Last week, I gave you an interview with Quatro Petrie. Today, we have his sister, Tetra. Tetra, if I may step outside the frame for a moment, was created by frequent commentator to this blog Jane Peyton, my very same friend Jane whom I meet for lunch every month. She also drew the picture of Tetra in Regency attire which I’m using in this post and which she uses as her avatar. One wonders if she’s read the dedication of FORCE OF HABIT. One will wait while she does.

So, Tetra:

Tetra and Quatro Petrie had been spawned in the same dish, ripened in the same incubator, and reared in the same household. Both were pale, with thick and resilient but easily sunburned skin and both had gills on either side of their necks, but there the resemblance ended.

Tetra had full, baby-fine black hair, in loose curls two inches long. It never grew longer, and never would. She had webs between her toes, but not her fingers, and she always wore a high collar or a scarf to conceal her gills. She stood 5’2″ in her little webbed feet.

MA: Quatro tells us he signed on aboard the St. Gregory the Wonderworker teaching ship in order to tone down your “madcap” tendencies. Why did you sign on?

TP: In a vain attempt to escape Quatro’s dampening oversight. I do not require it, nor do I relish it.

MA: So you’ve never done anything to justify his conviction that you have wild woman tendencies?

TP: Quatro would consider it wild to have chocolate and butterscotch sauces on ice cream.

MA: So you’ve never done anything to justify his conviction that you have wild woman tendencies?

TP: If you will review my personnel files, you will find nothing to justify his conviction.

MA: So you’ve never done anything — Look, this is my blog: I can ask the same question all day. All I have to do is cut and paste.

TP: Be my guest, if that is what floats your boat.

MA: We (and by “we”, I mean “I”) notice that you don’t use contractions. It can’t be cultural, because Quatro uses them. Would you care to share that particular secret with the readers?

TP: It is hardly a secret, since you revealed it in FORCE OF HABIT. I do not use contractions because I find that humans tend to trust anything said to them by people who do not use contractions. It is as if they subconsciously believe that someone who cannot elide syllables cannot elude veracity.

MA: That’s mighty fancy talk, little lady.

TP: You have been watching reruns of Firefly again, have you not?

MA: I’ll ask the questions around here, if you don’t mind.

TP: I do not mind, if your readers do not.

MA: Okay we’re done.

Tetra appears in FORCE OF HABIT. FoH began life as a Star Trek fan fiction story. Several of these, featuring Tetra, appear at my old WEBLAHG. They may, in future, be turned into FoH novels.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Interview the sibling of a fictional character, one of your characters or someone else’s.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “T is for Tetra (Not the Fish) #AtoZ

  1. Jane

    April 23, 2012 at 9:53am

    Heh, heh, “dampening effect.”

    Tetra may come over and play with you any time, my dear friend, . And while SHE may not recall any wild woman activity, I most certainly do. 🙂

    BTW, I think my favorite Tetra bit in Force of Habit is the description: Tetra may have been short, but she was never small. Thanks for that. Right on. And write on.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      April 23, 2012 at 10:05am

      Heeee! Oh, Tetra RECALLS plenty, she just doesn’t admit to any. 😉

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  2. Leslie

    April 23, 2012 at 2:15pm

    Excellent! Tetra is indeed a wild woman. Maybe you can ask her to do a centerfold for us?

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  3. MARIAN ALLEN · A Very Special Day

    May 5, 2012 at 9:01am

    […] high and high school, fellow fanfic freewriter, artist and author, lunch companion, creator of Tetra Petrie and so on and so forth JANE PEYTON was born! Yes, on this very day as ever […]

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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