Joss and Kal/Amber and Jessica Merron:
Joss | Amber | Kal | Jessica | Religion | Career Paths | Story Hooks
Full Names: Joss Arthur Merron, Amber Marie Merron, Kalvin Luther Merron,
Jessica Danae Merron
Species: Androgyne (strongly bifurcated)
Allegiance: None (Joss, Kal, Amber); Church
of Hedonism (Jessica)
Religion: Meraist (Joss, Amber); Agnostic (Kal); Hedonist (Jessica)
Social Status: 4 (average income M200,000/yr.)
Age: 28 as of 4/01/1999
Hair: Reddish brown
Height: 185 cm (6'1")
Physical Notes: Tall, fit, very attractive in both male and female forms, with finely chiseled features and high cheekbones
Behavioral Notes: See separate sections, below
Supernatural Abilities: Standard shapeshifting abilities for androgynes
Joss and Kal Merron are a pair of identical twins who enter the lives
of our heroes in a rather innocuous manner: one of Morgan's
infamous double-dates with Kate. Morgan met Kal at a
photo shoot that she had volunteered for -- a fashion magazine's special on
"The Ladies of the Night" -- for which he was serving as the photographer.
They hit it off, and Kal later introduced Morgan to Joss. Morgan thought he
would make an interesting candidate for Kate, and the rest is history ... or
soon will be.
Like his brother, Joss is a photographer, but he moved out of fashion and into
photojournalism a few years back. Both of them are tall (185 cm,
or 6'1"), fit, and incredibly handsome, with finely chiseled
features, high cheekbones, and reddish brown hair. (Kal keeps his hair
short and a bit spiky on top, à la Angel; Joss's likes his longer,
letting it fall around his shoulders.) Both of them got into photography by
way of modeling, which they still do on occasion; Kal in particular likes to
use Joss for his pictorials in men's fashion magazines like Gentleman's Monthly.
As should be expected from anyone that Morgan is involved with, Joss and Kal have an unusual trait beyond that of being twins: both of them are hot-swapping androgynes, from a family with a long tradition of it. As sixth-generation gendermorphs who were "Cursed" at less than four weeks old, they are strongly but not completely bifurcated; their alter-egos, Amber and Jessica, share all of their memories, but their personalities and general outlooks on life are quite different. (See the Curse for details on the cause and effects of bifurcation in high-generation androgynes.)
Since Joss and Kal were born male, Amber and Jessica are technically the "dominant"
forms, meaning that the twins have to spend at least half of their time in their
female roles. (Joss and Kal are quite strong-willed, however, and will reassert
themselves if "the girls" have kept them pent-up for too long.) Each
alter-ego tends to think of his/her opposite number as a sibling with whom s/he
shares a body and a set of memories. Generally, they get along quite well, but
conflicts do emerge from time to time. Both Joss/Amber and Kal/Jessica share
a sizeable two-bedroom apartment on the second skyway-level of Metamor
Amber and Jessica both still work as models, and they are in no danger
of losing that job any time soon. Both of them are at least as stunning as their
male counterparts, and their towering height (also 185 cm) puts them literally
heads and shoulders above their competition. Jessica's hair is cut short in
a smart, sassy style; Amber's is a long, thick, flowing mane that has become
a staple of shampoo and conditioner commercials everywhere (though she often
keeps it braided, tied back or done up to keep it out of her eyes). Both of
them are as lithe and fit as their "brothers", and (predictably, for
teegees) their breasts are amply sized and very nicely shaped. While their names
are not well-known outside the modeling business, their faces (and bodies) have
been seen around the world in dozens of magazines and commercials -- and they
are among the most frequently-downloaded women on the WorldNet.
Joss is gentle, thoughtful, and inquisitive. He knows how to
treat a lady and is unfailingly courteous in his dates with Kate. He
has a keen sense of the absurdity of life in general and his own life in particular,
and he has a talent for self-effacing humor. He goes through life alternating
between smiles, smirks, and looks of bemused interest. He got into photojournalism
in a quest to add some variety to his life, and to see a bit more of the world
than just the studios and photo shoot locations that have been a large part
of his life since his teen years. Despite his androgyne heritage, he is very
strongly heterosexual, and is actively looking for "the right one"
to spend his life with.
Amber is upbeat, unreserved, and friendly. Whereas Joss wants to see more of the world, Amber wants to experience it -- to get her feet wet and her knees dirty. She loves the photo shoots in exotic locations that her job often requires, and in between shooting sessions she squeezes in as much time adventuring in the surrounding areas as possible. Kayaking, hang-gliding, scuba diving, mountain climbing -- she's in love with the outdoors and with nature, and she's always planning the next big adventure on her wish list.
Romantically, Amber is impulsive and driven by her senses; she's not quite ready to settle down yet, since she's afraid that married life will get in the way of the adventures she still wants to have while she's young enough to enjoy them (and is making enough money from modeling to afford them). She is pretty much bisexual, which is a relief to Joss, since they have a standing agreement that they aren't going to get married unless both of them can agree on the person in question. Amber likes Kate, finding her to be both very smart and very sexy, but she avoids telling Kate that she and Joss are one and the same person for as long as she can -- she isn't sure how Kate would react, and she doesn't want to mess things up for Joss (or herself).
Despite her generally impulsive nature, Amber is the "good girl" in the family -- like Joss, she takes sex seriously and doesn't engage in it casually. While she's not a virgin -- she gave herself to a boyfriend she was seeing back in high school, and has regretted it ever since they broke up -- her past mistakes have made her decide to save sex for the right person.
Kal is a joker, and more of a "man's man" than Joss -- true,
he is a fashion model and photographer, but he has that sort of masculine
charisma that many women love and most men envy. He enjoys sports, swoops,
a night at the sports bar with his buddies, and charming the socks off of beautiful
women. While he likes being "one of the guys", though, he is also
able to connect with the women who model for him on a level that many
of them find surprising. Jessica's memories help him to remember a woman's perspective,
and when he's on the job he is unfailingly honorable and professional with them.
Of course, after the photo shoot, he tries to get to know them in a bit "friendlier"
Kal is, for the moment at least, utterly captivated by Morgan. He knows she's
a vampire, and maybe that mystique has something
to do with it, but he is legitimately and truly crazy about her as a person.
He's not thinking in terms of marriage at this point in his life, and Morgan
doesn't ask that of him, but he really, really enjoys their time together and
hopes that it lasts a good long time. He's not ready to become a vampire in
order to keep her, though; fortunately, she hasn't asked him to make the choice,
and doesn't plan to.
Jessica is quieter than either Amber or Kal, but she's quiet in the same way as a jungle cat -- not because she's timid, but because she's on the prowl. She's extremely perceptive and attentive, and has a talent for picking up on verbal cues and body language that most others would miss. Whereas Amber is most at home adventuring in exotic locales, Jessica loves the urban scene -- the runways of the fashion world and the nightclubs that never seem to be too far away from them. She's also a little bit in love with danger and the dark side of Metamor's nightlife -- she finds the thought of sharing blood with a vampiric lover erotic and intoxicating. Jessica is a sensualist and a dyed-in-the-wool lesbian, and she takes advantage of her connections in the modeling world to hook up with her partners. She often uses her masculine alter-ego as a front to establish connections with attractive women who are primarily heterosexual, and then introduces herself to them and works on persuading them to try an evening with her on for size. She downplays the degree of separation in her and Kal's personalities, emphasizing that they are the same person with the same memories, and moves from there into "Haven't you ever wondered what it's like...?" Of course, these techniques were largely unnecessary with Morgan, who finds both Kal and Jessica sexy as hell and sees the relationship as a golden opportunity for her to get the best of all worlds.
Jessica is nearly as captivated with Morgan as Kal is, but at the moment that's
more because of what Morgan is than who she is; "love" is a concept
that Jessica is still working out, and she has yet to fully understand that
loving a person is not the same thing as loving the way they make her feel,
though the two often go together. At this point, Jessica wouldn't see any problem
with having another relationship on the side in addition to Morgan, though that
would worry Kal simply because he wouldn't be sure how Morgan would take it.
Jessica, for her part, would be happy to work out some sort of threesome/foursome
arrangement if it came to that.
Jessica is a member of the Church of Hedonism,
a fact that Kal has kept hidden from both Morgan and Joss/Amber. She finds that
its principles of liberation of the self through sensual delight (both sexual
and otherwise) meshes well with her outlook on the world, but she is careful
to make sure that Joss/Amber remains unaware of her activities within the Church.
She has brought several fellow models into the Church at various times in the
past, but she doesn't consider Morgan a likely candidate -- and anyway, she
wants to save this remarkable woman just for Kal and herself.
Religiously speaking, both Joss and Amber are currently operating on about the same level as Kate: they know Eli is real, have no serious doubts about Him being the Creator, and attend service on Sundays. While they are genuine Followers of the Meraist Church, there isn't much passion or intimacy there, and while their faith has shaped their morality it doesn't always direct their day-to-day actions -- their sexual experimentation in high school being a good example.
Kal, on the other hand, has wandered away from the faith practiced by his brother/sister
(and, for that matter, by their parents), losing himself in the ways of the
world and the sexual allure that runs as a constant undercurrent through the
modeling industry. Kal isn't sure what he believes, if anything; while it's
blatantly obvious that there's a Creator, he doesn't know if he really believes
that He cares about the world or any of the people living on it. Jessica has
gone even further, throwing herself into the pursuit of sensuality and Suspira's
philosophy of life, hoping to find something more real to her than what she
grew up with.
Both Amber and Jessica would like to get into acting more extensively,
since that profession tends to have a slightly longer "shelf-life"
than modeling. Both of them have been featured in commercials, but these were
not really "acting" parts so much as "show off our product"
parts. Jessica has appeared in a few soft-core erotic pictures, mostly for the
opportunity to make out with beautiful women, but she has limited opportunities
to progress in that area because she has made it clear that she won't do scenes
with men (and, perhaps more significantly, she won't let the sleazy directors
and producers of such pictures lay a hand on her body).
Kal finds the whole porn industry tasteless and predatory, seeing it as a corruption
of his art. While he has shot nude pictorials for men's magazines on many occasions,
he puts artistry first in his work and focuses on showing off the beauty of
his subjects in unusual, almost elegant ways. It's not about showing specific
body parts or a maximum amount of skin, it's about showing off the various aspects
of a woman's beauty in ways that are beyond the blatantly obvious, and doing
so within a background that adds to the composition rather than distracting
from it. The hard-core porn business, by contrast, cares nothing for art or
even beauty, in his opinion -- it's all about displaying sex in the most graphic,
prurient way possible. It's naked and tasteless and, in his opinion, bland,
and he wants no part of it.
Joss is blatantly disapproving of his sister's participation in pornography,
even soft-core porn, and this has been a source of tension between them. Jessica
loves her brother, but she wants him to butt out of her affairs -- the way she
sees it, she already has a brother to protect her if things turn ugly, and he
can be there at any moment and in any situation, which Joss obviously can't.
Amber doesn't say much about it, figuring that Joss says enough for both of
them; she just wants to be Jessica's pal, the way they always have been.
Morgan's relationship with Kal/Jessica will be an opportunity to look at her forays into the world of modeling, and there should be some interesting consequences when Jessica's activities with the Hedonists come to light. Joss's job as a photojournalist will put him in the same spots as Kate, as he shows up to investigate the news stories surrounding the crimes that she investigates. There is some potential here for Joss to get into trouble as he pokes his nose in too deeply to places where it isn't wanted. And, of course, there's the whole situation that will happen when Kate figures out that Joss and Amber, whom she has been hanging out with separately, are sharing a body. Having to reconcile Joss-as-boyfriend, Amber-as-pal, and Amber's desire to be part of her romantic life should keep Kate's poor tortured brain tied in knots for a long time. :) All of this gets down to the consequences of transgender issues in individuals with a truly dual-gendered upbringing, and the real-world impact that it would have on people's relationships. It also has the bonus of giving us a colorful set of secondary characters for Kate and Morgan to interact with.