Janet Gershen-Siegel's writing, Untrustworthy Tathrelle Velexio Izalla Adger

Character Review — Velexio

Consider Velexio, One of My Original Characters

Who is Velexio?

I needed a true villain character for Untrustworthy. This was a character who would have exactly zero redeemable character traits. Enter Velexio.

Where Did Velexio Come From?

I realized I needed a villain for whom the reader could never possibly have any sympathy. Adger, at least, is someone doing things for love. Or at least lust. But not this guy. Nope. Never, ever this guy.

The Past is Prologue — Backstory for Velexio

While I do not really have a back story for him, my intent for 2022 NaNoWriMo (and possibly also 2023 NaNo, if I end up with too much material and not enough November), is to create a prequel story for this universe.

As a result, a lot of his motivation and history will come out in that prequel novella. But there isn’t a lot in Untrustworthy itself.


Velexio, like all Cabossians, is bipedal, but his genitals are a part of his hands. Both men and women can get pregnant, and the main idea behind this society is what it prizes. Caboss only prizes fertility. Same-sex unions give rise to sterile offspring—and that simply will not do.

But he does not have to worry about any of that. His two fertile children neatly prove his virility.

And so he has no problem looking down his barely existent nose on the sterile members of the population.


When we first see him, he is already in a position of power. But as the timelines shift, so do his roles. However, he is never truly out of power or out of control.


“Now, I do not have to tell you that things are rather dire indeed,” Velexio began. “The war is going rather badly, and we are definitely losing. Gentlemen and, uh, Tathrelle, we have been approached by the Cavirii about our terms for surrender.”

“Sir?” asked Tathrelle, “have they shown their faces yet? I know the people are most anxious to see what a real Cavirii looks like. There have been so many ridiculous rumors; I am sure no one really knows what to believe any more.”

“Uh, no, they haven’t,” Velexio said. He sighed. “I would like to speak without interruption now. It’s, it’s unfortunate, you see, for our Jacarollium mining operations have risen in efficiency to 26 percent.  We’d hoped to utilize it in our weaponry, but I am afraid that might not happen. And the percentage of steriles in the population is at 58 percent. All those potential soldiers! They could use that weaponry, I am sure of it. I, it’s rather troubling, and the people will understandably be alarmed.”

The general who was seated to the left of Tathrelle said, “It might mean rioting. We cannot have that. Order must be maintained, at all costs, for the security of Caboss.”

“All too true,” agreed the general on the other side of Tathrelle, “We cannot tell the people the details.”

“But that’s my job,” Tathrelle protested. “They elected me for the singular purpose of telling them the truth about the government – about how it’s run, about how things are going and all of that. If we outright lose the war, it’s going to affect everyone. You cannot tell me not to tell them.”

The general across from her, looking very smug, said, “You heard it; there’ll be rioting if we tell the people. We’ve got to be subtle about this sort of thing. You cannot just blurt it out, as if you were a child telling a secret in a schoolyard.”

“Do not, no, do not tell them all of it,” Velexio cautioned. “In fact, let’s do this, Tathrelle. I’d like for you to tell them that the war is going well and that the Cavirii are in communications with us and that the government needs to concentrate on those communications, so details will not be forthcoming.”

Outside, the disembodied voice intoned, “All steriles are strongly encouraged to volunteer for military service. Pregnant males are identified with orange clothing as they are carrying steriles. Females who are carrying steriles are strongly encouraged to voluntarily self-identify that they are carrying steriles by also wearing orange. Parents voluntarily sending their sterile infants to military rearing and service will be fairly compensated for their sacrifices. Remember, a self-sacrificing citizenry is a happy one.”

Tathrelle looked aghast at Velexio. “Are you suggesting that I lie to the people?”


He definitely had a wife before the start of the book, but I have nothing about her. As the Cabossian society continues to slide inexorably into fascism, it becomes harder to be single, even if you’re a widower. So, he decides to pick up women. But it doesn’t go exactly as he plans.


Because he has worked with Tathrelle, he knows her fairly well and can at least determine if he thinks they are at all compatible. Due to the application of a certain drug, he has about as much of a memory of older timelines as she does. He knows what she has been, and just what she could be.

The drug and the idea of memories crossing timelines, rather neatly predicts Time Addicts.


He doesn’t even know Ixalla and, when he comes onto her, she has fallen on hard times. But just like Pygmalion with Galatea, all he wants is to remake her. He wants no barriers to his enjoyment. He won’t allow for any.

Conflict and Turning Point

Just like with the other characters, the turning point is the rioting. As an alien Kristallnacht erupts, continues, and eventually dies down, he changes. Beyond being a man who wants political power, he turns into a killer. And into someone who wants to control, well, everyone. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, then it’s even worse when it crosses multiple timelines.

Continuity/Easter Eggs

Like with the other characters in the book, there isn’t a lot of continuity to tie him to any of my other universes.

Future Plans

He will—like the other three main characters—be a part of the prequel story, which I am tentatively calling Unreliable. I am toying with the idea of making that one multiple-POV, much like Mettle. His point of view will likely be as ruthless as I have been writing him all along.

Velexio: Takeaways

Every story needs some sort of a villain or at least some kind of an obstacle. This character absolutely takes to the villain character arc.

As my writing has improved, I can see that he should have more depth to him. Something, anything redeemable at all about him would have made for a better character. But in all, for a story I wrote when I had a lot less experience, I think he turns out well enough.

There is nothing easy about him.

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