Literature: The Lost Stars
The Lost Stars
is a hard SF series by Jack Campbell
, a spinoff of his The Lost Fleet
series. Taking place shortly after the end of the Alliance-Syndicate War, the Syndicate Worlds have begun collapsing following their defeat in the war. In the star system of Midway, two Syndicate CEOs revolt and free their system from the Syndicate Worlds, to face issues of controlling it themselves, and how to alter its oppressive practices, and defend it from the aliens only a star system away.
- Tarnished Knight
- Perilous Shield
- A Father to His Men: Drakon is willing to share the burden of combat with his men and avoid useless waste of lives. This didn't sit well with his aggressive and cold-hearted superiors but did wonders to his reputation with the common soldiers.
- All Men Are Perverts: Iceni and Morgan think this.
- Another Side, Another Story: The whole concept of the series, which explores the Syndic side of the end of the war, from Midway's perspective. Iceni and Drakon frequently speculate about Geary's motives and seem to assume he's running the Alliance now.
- Artistic License - Physics: Humans have faster-than-light travel but not communication, and FTL travel doesn't work within a solar system—so in the many space battles, characters' information is limited by the speed of light. Usually this is done properly, but on a couple of occasions, characters on ship A see distant-ship B's reaction to event C (such as a fleet arriving from hyperspace) before A actually sees C (and they'll even have time to wonder what caused B to act as it did). Geometrically, that just can't happen—no matter where A, B, and C are, A will be able to see C before it can see B's reaction to C.
- Assassin Outclassin': Anyone who's anything in Syndicate Worlds is either extremely good at this or dead.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension:
- Morgan and Malin. To the point where Drakon asks Malin if they're involved.
- Drakon and Iceni. Both of whom are constantly worried the other is going to stab them in the back while also having the causal sexual thought of the other.
- The Chains of Commanding: Iceni
- Colonel Badass: Drakon is this, but gets Kicked Upstairs to Four-Star Badass. Malin can also be considered this.
- Colonel Kilgore: Morgan is this. For obvious reasons listed on this page.
- Covers Always Lie: For the first time in the series, not the case. This time, the cover depicts Drakon holding a gun, something which he actually does often in the series.
- Dark Messiah: Morgan believes that she can raise her and Drakon's daughter to be a cunning mastermind who can take over all of human space.
- Deuteragonist: Iceni.
- Do You Trust Me?: Gwen and Artur to each other, frequently, in the second context. Artur has specifically said he would trust Gwen implicitly, because he believes she won't betray him. Gwen really wants to believe him.
- Drowning My Sorrows:
- Colonel Gaiene, who's developed a reputation for being a drunken letch due to seeing so much war.
- Drakon indulges in a little of this, leading to a one night stand he did not want to happen.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Rogero and Bradamont, neither of which ever expected to actually pursue a relationship together, but who were lucky enough to be able. They still need to keep it on the down low.
- Fantastic Drug: Drakon needs to lure some unsuspecting guards onto his ship. He instructs his subordinate to dress as a dock worker, go out, and try to pander some "Happy Stuff" to them, a legendary drug that's never been found.
- Fascist, but Inefficient: Syndicate Worlds had so much big-time corruption and petty fraud going on that any official data on anything were basically only useful as propaganda, with secret police being about the only thing that really worked (then again, they got overthrown in many systems, even with fanatically loyal troops, ubiquitous surveillance and near-perfect lie detectors at their disposal.)
- First Name Basis: Iceni finally gets fed up with their last name basis and insists Drakon call her by her first name, Gwen. Drakon then insists Iceni call him by his first name, Artur.
- Flaw Exploitation: ISS will believe any CEO is overconfident.
- Green-Eyed Monster: A subtle version with Iceni, who gets really mad when Malin tells her about how Morgan slept with Drakon, and then quickly turns around and wonders whether she was actually taking the news personally.
- The Syndics, regarding Geary and the enigmas. He found out more in a year than they did in a century.
- Grey and Black Morality: Both Drakon and Iceni have made and continue to make morally questionable decisions, but they're by far better than what they're trying to replace.
- I Gave My Word: Drakon, to four ISS agents.
- I Know You Know I Know: Comes up frequently, since everyone is expecting everyone else to backstab them.
- Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Not literally, but Drakon and Iceni decide they need to break with Syndic naming conventions as a way of distinguishing themselves as different from their former masters. Each decides to adopt the title General and President respectively, giving their military actual ranks instead of corporate titles, and even naming their ships.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Morgan is sexually attractive, and not afraid to use it to confuse or take advantage of men, Because All Men Are Perverts.
- It's Pronounced TroPAY: Readers may be tempted to read the name of the planet Kane as similar to 'cane', but it's in a group of Hawaiian themed planets and thus far more likely pronounced 'kah-nay', with long vowels.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Invoked in a passage leading up to a Title Drop in Tarnished Knight
- Knight in Sour Armor: Who's the Tarnished Knight? Drakon.
- Last Stand: ISS forces
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Inverted. Malin tells Drakon that he knows that Morgan is his mother. His adopted mother covered up the fact she took him out of Morgan's womb before her mission to engima space and acted at a surrogate mother, expecting Morgan would die.
- Majorly Awesome: Rogero and Gaiene are this, despite being Colonels. As they don't have quite the authority of Malin and Morgan (despite all of them having the same rank) and are actually in the fighting more often. Kommodore Mephisa might be this, or a Colonel Badass.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Iceni at one point tries very hard to argue herself into believing its a coincidence.
- Meaningful Name: The "tarnished knight" of the title is named Artur Drakon (cf. Arthur Pendragon).
- He had a one night stand with crazy chick Morgan, one of his closest advisor is Malin and his female counterpart is named Gwen.
- Mommy Issues: It's safe to say Malin has this. As he sought out transfer under Drakon specifically to find Morgan, and stayed with Morgan to protect her. As well as Drakon from her.
- Out with a Bang: A Snake gets taken out this way
"But the climax was a bit more intense then the snake was prepared for."
"The old tricks are the best" Iceni said dryly.
- Poisonous Friend: Morgan is this to Drakon in spades. Overlaps into Psycho Supporter range when Drakon figures out Her psyche eval was fake, and that given the Dark Messiah entry above, she has serious issues.
- Post-Victory Collapse: Kontos and his forces
- Powder Keg Crowd: The planet, after the security forces are destroyed.
- Pride: Drakon appears like this, for Flaw Exploitation.
- Properly Paranoid: Everyone, since the Syndicate system fermented this on purpose as a way to pit their underlings against each other, to keep them from rebelling against the Syndicate leaders.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: The general premise for why people end up stationed at Midway.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Hardrad exploits their inability to do this to humiliate.
- Shout-Out: To Honor Harrington series. When Iceni decides to name her cruisers for mythical creatures the first three names she settles on are "Manticore," "Gryphon" and "Basilisk."
- Spell My Name with an S: Iceni's new naval ranks.
- Spin-Off: Type 11. A few very minor characters in The Lost Fleet become the main characters for this series.
- Surprise Pregnancy: Inverted. Morgan knew she was pregnant and purposefully had sex with Drakon because she thought they would have an especially talented child. Drakon is the one who is surprised to learn this.
- Theme Naming:
- Midway and all the planets that surround it have Hawaiian themed names.
- The names 'Gwen Iceni,' 'Artur Drakon,' 'Roh Morgan,' 'Malin' and others allude to Arthurian legend.
- UST: Drakon and Iceni. With the subtly of a brick.
- The Vamp: Morgan.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Averted. Iceni and Drakon assume Geary is this, because they are so jaded, they cannot believe he is sincere.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Drakon with Morgan. When he wakes up he hopes last night had been a very vivid dream, until he feels the scratch marks on himself and sees the torn sheets.
- What Would X Do?: In the first battle, Iceni succeeds by pondering what Black Jack would do. Later, she has studied his battles more systemically.
- Of course, this does go a bit against the answer to that question she came up with in the first battle — "Not follow the rules."
- With Due Respect: "I have just contradicted a CEO to her face."
- Would Not Hurt A Child: Why Drakon protects the families of security agents.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Both Iceni and Drakon are the subject of this both directly and indirectly.
- You Are in Command Now: Kontos
- Your Head A Splode: CEO Hardrad
Morgan "He was working away at activating those detonation codes when his brains got turned into wallpaper"