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Protagonists

    Dotty 
Dorothy Vaneman, daughter of Rebecca Ostfeld who in turn is daughter of Rabbi Jacob Ostfeld. Father is James Vaneman.Born in Amarillo, Texas. Round face, platinum-blonde hair to buttocks, usually braided, amethyst eyes. 19 years old. Range-hand, butcher, violinist, singer, and concertmaster of an extremely small orchestra. 5 foot 8 inches height, weight approximately 130, shoe size 9. Wears Keds. Cup size D. IQ in the mid-140's. Nicknamed "Dotty." Modern Orthodox Jew, as taught by her mother, advised by her grandfather.

  • Action Girl: In the original continuity her status was an action girl was ambiguous. In this continuity starts only in self-defense to protect the ranch from four-legged predators, but eventually participates in fighting real live people.
  • Ancestral Weapon: On the emotional plane. Dotty was trained since childhood to have technical mastery of the violin. Being rescued from near-certain death unlocks her ability to play by instinct. She doesn't know how to play anymore the way she used to, and this terrifies her. Her grandfather believes it time to pass down to her the family violin, one made by Guarneri del Gesu' for the liturgical players in the village synagogue in Boyberk. Dotty comments on the magnitude of the gift, likening it in the right hands as to an ordinary violin "like a lightsaber is to a butter knife". Grampa reassures her she'll soon be performing violins on a grand scale.
  • Angelic Beauty: In this continuity, no woman living has her natural coloring in skin, eyes, or hair. (See also her entry under Expy).She has an hourglass figure and is in perfect shape from hard physical labor and athletic activity. Under pressure to marry, she had been fruitlessly looking for husband material, and discovers him only by accident. The age difference concerns her, but decides to help him mature into a man she could later marry.
    • Being a practicing Modern Orthodox Jew she keeps covered up, learning long sleeves, long pants, bib overalls, and such. But Martin extrapolates even from that, that if she walks through a nearby city in a bikini she could cause cars to plow into fire hydrants.
    • When the teens are trying to escape from Nalboon's ship and change out from prison clothes, The Peeping Tom Martin peeks at an indirect reflection of her naked, wondering what about her could cause his friend Richard to turn down a free pass by Margaret with both his and Dotty's permission for helping to saving the ship, he concludes she's so beautiful even Michaelangelo's David would take notice. So does he. After everyone's dressed again and Martin and Dotty are marching side by side, she looks down and teases him for it.
    • Lamp Shaded by Dorothy herself. While her body is healing from her fight with DuQuesne, she asks Richard to become her personal attendant. She's setting aside the tradition for modesty because Margaret, the only other female aboard, is The Captain and too busy to play nurse assistant. She also declares her other purpose is to have him look at her through clinical eyes rather than romantic ones, to desensitize him to her beauty by getting used to being around it all the time, so he can eventually see her as her own personal self, not as a love or sex object. When Richard sees her nude for the very first time, she orders him to describe all of her physical features in detail. Richard summarizes afterward her body is "so far beyond gorgeous it's not even funny." She replies her looks are a gift from God, and are most definitely a mixed blessing.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Spiritually. At Lady Kondal's grave she declares God has now assembled in place three weapons to oppose the unclean spirits who hate God and who constantly manipulate events to undo His creations: Sitar, as Hope; Richard, as Compassion; and herself as Faith. Dorothy has them link hand with her and each other into a prayer circle, instructs them to focus on God, to focus on The Lady, and to focus upon the living world of Osnome. Dorothy says it's now time to take the fight back to the enemy, to attack. She gives the order, literally, to "lock and load". Sitar and Richard and Dorothy shout this phrase together prior to leaving the gravesite.
  • Badass Bookworm: She's never gone to college, but she's had tutors... excellent tutors. Fluent in both Hebrew and English, spoken and written. Recently got her high school equivalency certificate, being too busy to obtain it until now. For pleasure she reads philosophers and when warranted their faith-based fantasy novels. She vastly outranks Richard in knowledge of their shared traditions. All this, along with being steered by Margaret to Richard's substitute Bible gives her what she needs to begin rehabilitating Richard's attitude towards his heritage to be based on love rather than duty.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Indirectly alluded as anime royalty by a Japanese diplomat to explain her popularity in his country, in this continuity is considered in Japan to have an uncanny resemblance to Princess Yurisha Iscandar.
  • Determinator: After a little bit of help reigning in her despair and terror, she got herself put back together, got herself flown over to Jupiter, crept into the ship through the airlock, then with a little help from Richard whooped some ass as saved her friends.
  • Embodiment of Virtue: Faith. Knows it, and is determined to never lose it.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Her faith in God, her loving heart, and... her righteous fury. Everyone finds out about the last the hard way.
    "They can can this Jewess out of Texas, but they can't take the Texan of out this Jewess."
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: She's the only one of the teens who discovers she has it within her to kill to save her friends from DuQuesne. A Marine adviser notes she's only killed animals so far. Her response: "I love them. I'll kill for them if I have to. Then I'll throw up." The adviser thinks that's a good plan.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: When she finally does consummate her marriage (conceiving her baby at exactly the same time), the experience totally and completely rocks her world.
  • Good Shepherd: Her pastoral contributions are pivotal to the novel.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Inverted. For Richard's help in defeating DuQuesne she gives him a free pass to let Margaret deflower him, since she will stay a virgin until marriage, without consequences to their relationship. Richard turns Dorothy's offer down.
    • Also played straight. Finds out Richard while bathing had turned down flat a seduction attempt by Osnomian lady-in-waiting as part of a test of character by Dunark. She is extremely glad Richard passed.
  • Hair of Gold: From the original continuity, but taken Up to Eleven into platinum. Contributes to her Angelic Beauty. See also her entry under Expy.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Dorothy's response when she finds Richard in bed, catatonic, after saving Kondal. She orders the entire palace evacuated and its people well out of range, as she announces she's about to attempt "extremely dangerous magic" to restore Richard. She then uses Intimate Psychotherapy to reboot his mind.
    • The main 'danger' in the 'magic' Dorothy is about to use will be extreme culture shock.
    • Dorothy needs someone to keep supplies handy, and judges Sitar to have had the most exposure of all the Kondalians to Terrans, and therefore is the least vulnerable.
    • She steals a small amount of Margaret's honeymoon champagne afterward to celebrate, admitting to Sitar once she succeeded restoring Richard she's doing this because sometimes victories can be bitter ones.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Played with as a gag. A lifetime of killing rattlesnakes with a pistol at a modest distance gives her the ability to roll a perfect 300 game at a bowling alley. Her aim with firearms is ineffective beyond pistol or shotgun range, and she knows this.
  • Plot Armor: There's only one way out of Nalboon's flagship, and that's via a Mardonalian fighter jet which Dunark can pilot but has only one vacant seat for a radar-man. It's decided Richard will be the passenger. Dorothy feels it best to kneel besides the canopy and link hands in a circle with Richard and Dunark. She begs God to watch over them and to eventually find them safely reunited.
  • Prayer Pose: Dorothy suggests that herself, Richard, and Sitar kneel and pray to God at the Lady Kondal's burial site, so that God might stay the Lady's anger, in the hopes the Lady spares Richard's life for touching the Overlordship since he needs to use it not to conquer Osnome, but to preserve it.
  • Purple Eyes: From the original continuity. Contributes to her Angelic Beauty.
  • The Spark of Genius: Fully activates when Richard rescues her from almost being killed by a subway train. Amplified when her grandfather passes down to her his heirloom Guarneri del Gesu' violin.
  • Teen Genius: At ten borrowed a band fiddler introduced her to the fiddle while the band was on break. Dorothy awkwardly copied the first few bars of a classical piece she heard from her mother's record player. Everyone at the restaurant the band was playing noticed, including the band fiddler, who became her first tutor. She gets sophisticated violin training from masters and expands her repertoire from country into classical and liturgical music, and for variety studies old movie scores. She's now good enough to hold periodic clinics in a few major cities, for child violinists. That's how she met Richard in Philadelphia.
  • Token Religious Teammate: All four main characters believe in God to some extent, but she has the strongest intuitive sense of what God might want in any given situation. Not that she's perfect or believes in her own holiness. She's experimented both with forbidden foods and immodest (but not sexual) activity but now regrets having done these things. She's not at all sympathetic to religious legalism or its practitioners of it. She'd rather obey her traditions as the recipe God passed down to create joy in life, rather than obey them with resentment which she had been taught was blasphemous. She also was taught she may set aside all but a handful of traditions to counter a dire threat to health or to life.
  • Youthful Freckles: Golden skin toned from hard work in the sun, with tiny golden freckles generously sprinkled through face, neck, back, and limbs. Contributes to her Angelic Beauty.
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    Rick 
Richard Seaton, son of Deborah and Jack Seaton. Born in Westmont, New Jersey. Brown hair, sky-blue eyes. Nearsighted, wears oversized aviator frames. 16 years old. Height about 5 foot eight inches, weights 180 pounds. Shoe size 13. Usually sedentary, rides bicycle for transportation. IQ in the 160's. Sophomore in college, double-majoring in fine arts and in history, boarding except for weekends. Nicknamed "Rick".

Belongs to a tightly knit group of families who in turn belong to a Conservative Jewish synagogue run along tightly authoritarian lines, including arranged marriage for teens. Richard is utterly repelled by the experience, and it doesn't help his emotional balance that his parents severely punish him for the least sign of deviance. Dorothy helps rehabilitate him based on her own far more loving outlook of the faith.

  • Badass Bookworm: Still a substantial reader, even if more limited in perspective than the others. Was a voracious reader in high school, usually science-fiction and fantasy, but in college is now limited to his studies as a history major, which include legends as well as fact.
  • The Call Left a Message: Based on what he knows from Dunark about the founding of Kondal, and based on how only the Overlordship (a necklace of 7 symbols functioning as a crown) can order the opposing emperors of Mardonale and Kondal to cease hostilities, and how the Lady Kondal will kill anyone attempting to lift the Overlordship from the Lady's grave, Richard concludes he has to play the role of Galahad, and explains the story to Sitar and Dorothy standing by his sides, as Galahad survived the Siege Perilous being on a mission from God. He hopes Lady Kondal will see him as being on a mission from the First Cause to preserve all life on Osnome.
  • Cincinnatus: He explains he promised the Lady Kondal he'd step down as soon as the crisis was over. He announces his successor will be the people of Osnome themselves, and explicitly abolishes the monarchy for this reason. He calls for elections to take place inside two of Osnome's solar years, and will assemble a five person temporary council to write a constitution and maintain order. He will step down the moment the council is in place.
  • The Coup: When Roban refuses to cooperate, Richard tells him he has just been pensioned, and has his son Dunark take the throne immediately.
  • Determinator: He's had a terrible childhood, both at the hands of bullies and by his own parents. He took advantage of an opportunity to skip grades into high school at 11, then created a three year option by cramming summers with electives plus remedial second year English.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Richard then addresses the world over their video network, saying he just prevented their world from being destroyed by malfunctioning nuclear missile control systems on both sides (not a lie, just using semantics), that with the Overlordship he outranks both emperors, and as such now rules the planet.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: He also had a private message intended for Dorothy's departing spirit which Dunark quoted phonetically to her as a couplet of Terran poetry. When she found Richard resting in bed, catatonic, she expressed soft astonishment how any man could be capable of loving so profoundly.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jack gets jealous of his son being in college and decides what was good enough for him, being trapped into marriage with a child and a shitty job, should also be good enough for his son. Richard will be allowed to finish his current semester before being put to work in the mail room, with a marriage to be soon arranged for him. Jack justifies this by twisting out of context the message there can be no life for a Jew outside obedience to God and His Commandments. Being yanked out of the sanctuary of college back into a hellish environment is more than Richard can live with.
  • Embodiment of Virtue: Compassion. Marc is the first to notice, and so yields to the terms of parole Richard wants to give him. Margaret is next, commenting to Marc the terms of parole Richard gave indicate his weapons-grade compassion. Shelmi notices after that, when he turns her seduction attempt down flat because Dorothy is who he really wants. Dorothy figures out the exact nature of his relationship to the universe touching the Overlordship kills him for only thirty seconds, after which he then can wear it safely. She reasons those times he exercises self-sacrificial compassion are the ones where he is Immune to Fate.
  • Finders Rulers: Richard first announces to the Kondalian emperor, Roban, that he outranks him. He orders Roban to destroy the missiles in flight he had his son Dunark launch.
  • The Gloves Are Off: Dorothy, actually not being sacrificed, now intends to reverse the damage his mind has taken thinking that he killed her. She'll do anything necessary, even defy God's laws, if that's what it takes to get him back.
  • God Is Evil: Richard's initial attitude. He believes his father. He therefore rages against God in his own heart, believing Him to be utterly hateful for abandoning him during his childhood. He declares, again in his own heart, that if there can be no life outside Him, then he will choose no life. He decides to suicide. God notices, takes pity, then acts. If Richard still wants to die, he will only be permitted to die a hero in a rescue attempt of a girl on the tracks in spite of ludicrous odds. Being Immune to Fate, Richard beats those odds. Network television new worldwide displays his act of valor. They also display, much to his mortified embarrassment, a security camera photo of Dorothy's reward to him for that valor (Dorothy is equally embarrassed when she sees it).
  • Good People Have Good Sex: When after he obtains written consent to marry he finally does consummate his marriage (conceiving his baby at exactly the same time), the experience totally and completely rocks his world. He also does some research at a public library to find something to rock his new wife's world too.
  • Hotline: Dunark promises to obey if the other side obeys at the same time, and patches Richard through to his opposite number, who quickly sees the logic of the situation. Both sides destroy their missiles on Richard's countdown.
  • I Did What I Had to Do When Nalboon's ship comes into attack range of Kondal, he's fully aware the other three teens still trapped on it are now his whole world. They ordered him earlier to sacrifice them if necessary to buy Kondal some time against a possible next attack from Mardonale. Detonating Nalboon's ship remotely breaks his mind.
  • Immune to Fate: Richard is unaware he has a form of luck operating in exponential proportion to his selfless willingness to risk injury, psychological trauma, or death for other people. He succeeds each time, but always takes some damage. By the end, Dorothy figures it all out, but resolves never to tell him.
    • Honoring his parents despite a dire fate they plan for him - sends copper candlestick holder into orbit, splashing him with nitric acid. He's protected by his jacket and his eye protection but his nerves are still shot even after a shower and a good night's sleep.
    • Rescuing a girl from being crushed by a subway train in spite of near certain horrible death if he fails - they both live and the girl falls in love with him instantly, but he can no longer finish out his final semester.
    • Sacrificing his fiancee' Dorothy under her orders, to save millions of people neither of them know - he goes catatonic, but Dorothy somehow survives and rescues him from it.
    • Touching a lethal artifact needed to save a world - he dies, but only for thirty seconds.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Because of the child abuse he experienced he swore he'd take his own life rather than grow up to become the kind of person who causes suffering. Essentially, he renounced humanity. This can be a very dangerous thing to do, not only for himself but also for everyone else.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Dorothy sees these as a direct gateway to his compassion and purity of soul, a promise of sweet heaven to any girl he would cleave to, therefore his most attractive feature in her opinion.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: As he holds the detonator in his hands to destroy Nalboon's flagship, he has a public message for his witnesses, informing Dunark about Trelaina, "as a storybook heroine he adored", and that he now understands how she must have felt having to destroy ones own world to save another's.
  • Lamarck Was Right: His biological father was a gifted art major from the high school his mother attended. His mother tricked a different boy into believing Richard was his.
  • Otaku: Escaped mentally from his Dysfunctional Family by a consistent addiction to old anime videos. One particular set of videos only indirect references from the book to this, aside from one single name helps him maintain his emotional strength while he endures the lonely and hurtful years, and he relies upon them like others would The Bible.
  • The Power of Rock: Dorothy then explains to Dunark it's from "the most tragic love song ever written on Terra", and he personalized the verse slightly for her, to beg her forgiveness killing her in the line of duty even on her orders.
  • The Promise: In musical form. Dotty is saying through her solo she's been clued in by his friends and now knows everything he's endured and how he's coped. She believes he embodies the Yamato Spirit. She will now aid him, comfort him, and fight for him. Richard now understands how much she loves him. He now feels exactly the same way about her.
  • The Runaway: He decides the best way to escape his alcoholic father and controlling mother is to map out a detailed plan over years to push himself to the limits of his intellect and endurance and accelerate academically to legitimately leave home early while still underage by boarding away at college.
  • "Save the World" Climax: Richard uses the Overlordship the way the Lady Kondal intended, to preserve all life on the world, not subjugate it to his will.
  • Secret Ingredient: He wrapped up his people's Ten Commandments into Hillel's single precept. That leaves four he can customize to begin Osnome's cultural advancement.
  • Slow Clap. Dorothy is in utter awe of her 16 year old friend who in only weeks has grown from boy to man. She is as proud of him as proud can be, grinning at him in delight and adoration through her tears. She stands only a few feet away and applauds him all by herself.
    • The others in the command center applaud with her. Dorothy increases the pace until the clapping and cheers becomes a solid wall of sound which hits him hard and makes him cry too.
    • Lamp Shade: She congratulates him for reciting one outstanding Bar-Mitzvah, even if the form and the language were off. She says he's a man now, and has her unconditional respect.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Richard's far more mature and reverent attitude after surviving his adventure to Osnome and returning to earth. In the safety of Rabbi Jacob's residence he finally has a nervous breakdown. He kneels, complains to God how devastated he feels, and begs that if He is a good God at all to please grant him a merciful death immediately. The Rabbi, in the meantime, calls an ambulance for him, where they place him in a psychatric hospital for a while. He gets better.
  • Space Jesus: He's desperate for something more than his religious upbringing can offer him and latches on to Trelaina as that something more. Her own storybook sacrifices of herself on behalf of humanity inspire him. He subconsciously models himself after her character.
  • The Spark of Genius: Took up sculpting from a young age. He showed such incredible potential in high school that the college he now attends offered him a full scholarship on a spot after viewing his portfolio on a campus visit.
  • Speed Sex: Subverted. Early in their discussions while courting, Richard confesses his great fear of Dorothy's physical beauty because he feels this would be the inevitable result of consummating the marriage in its due course. Dorothy later overhears to her horror psychological warfare waged by his mother against his father, accusing his father of always being "a one stroke wonder." She therefore determines to research a "no-stroke" method (coitus reservatus plus male and female kegels combined) for him to begin gaining confidence with her. It's one of the many things he loves her forever for.
  • The Strategist: He uses planning to defeat most situations others give up on.
  • Teen Genius: His determination got him into college early more than his intellect ever did, but his intellect is hardly chopped liver, either.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Dorothy can see in his eyes that his soul is under siege from the effects of child abuse. She's amazed at his endurance so far, but also realizes no child of his will ever be safe from him until that siege can somehow be lifted. With Dorothy's love, her grandfather's wisdom, a psychoanalyst's hard work, and their decision as a married couple to abandon Earth forever and settle on Kondal, he finally breaks the cycle of abuse.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Gone for a while. They kiss, completely tuning out the universe aside from each other, while the applause keeps going... and going... and going...
  • We Win... Because You Didn't: Richard and Dorothy intentionally select the song this couplet had been taken from as their wedding dance after exchanging vows, as a final defiant gesture of victory over the Angel of Death. They jitterbug to it with everyone watching.
    Cavaliers: "I know you'll be in heaven so I've got to be good, so I can see you baby when I leave... this world."

     Marge 
Margaret Spencer, parents unknown, started in foster care. Nicknames "Peggy" (as child), "Marge" or "Margie" (older), "Star Child" (husband's pet name for her).

Surrendered by parents to Washington State at age 3 for not talking. Bounced around the northern Idaho and eastern Washington foster care systems.

Discovered by Marc at an elementary school reinventing high school math and becomes his foster daughter for a few years. He has her educated by private tutors at roughly double the normal pace, supervising her mathematics instruction personally. He gets her into college at age 15, with himself as her academic adviser, with her major being mathematics. At age 16 she adopts then emancipates her, so she can care for herself on campus if something happens to him. That year, as a college sophomore, she discovers a flaw in his work. He rewards her with an instant promotion to the graduate department and gives her one of his pet projects to work on.

Margaret is 17 years old, 5 foot 10 inches, 120 pounds, rail thin, midnight black hair down to shoulders, grey eyes. Cup size A. Shoe size 8. Graduate student in mathematics and Marc's research assistant on a project to create clean energy but which even he never believe will work because the key substance responsible he does not believe exists; but organizing the math behind it in his opinion is a reasonable thesis topic.

But it does... only because an innocent kid from New Jersey, an art major in college, had found a test reagent having dissolved minerals from an abandoned mine owned by her dearest friend, Martin's, father. Marc's reaction: Oh... crap... Deistic, believes God exists as evidenced through the beauty of the mathematics describing space-time.

  • All Women Are Lustful: Once she's deflowered her sex drive makes up for lost time. Martin tells her she's "a lot of fun in bed", but when her alternate personality "Star Child" takes over she's "an absolute joy in the sack."
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Margaret has had a secret crush on Martin since childhood, since due to her autism and her obesity he had been her only true friend before high school. Martin did not reciprocate because he had a homosexual orientation. They remain the dearest of friends for years. Martin secretly pays for the weight loss surgery she wanted but couldn't afford, while she is still thinking he was saving up for a car. This makes her realise Martin regards her as far more than a friend but is afraid to do anything about it aside from this magnificent act of sacrifice as his Christmas present to her. She needs a miracle to convince he has physical feelings for her he is suppressing, actually being bisexual rather than homosexual. She gets that miracle, see trope for Stable Time Loop. See also the Childhood Friend Romance tag for Martin for his point of view.
  • Genre Savvy: She has a thorough knowledge of literature and she's not afraid to use it.
    • She uses this to her advantage to subdue Marc after the crew takes him prisoner.
    • She quotes lines Trelaina said while confronting Prince Zordar, against her mentor, to shore up her own personal courage and at the same time distract him while preparing to unleash a very nasty surprise upon him.
    • After retaking the ship with Dorothy's and Richard's help, she has Marc strapped down to a table while he's unconcious. When he wakes up, she recites lines threatening to let Dorothy execute him per Presidential orders unless he surrenders. He lets her know he understands exactly the role she is playing, exactly whose role she sees him in, Dotty's role in taking him down, and yields.
  • Gray Eyes: Represents an unearthly intellect hidden from everyone, including her... Her own intellect, however high, is merely ordinary in comparison.
  • It's Okay If It's You: Once she declares her Stable Time Loop as proof they were intimate, her gaze as she begins to seduce him makes feels like a deer mesmerized by oncoming halogen-bright truck headlamps about to be pulverized by selfsame truck.
  • Otaku: Caught the anime addiction from Richard.
  • The Reveal: After Martin and her first make love, she reveals to him the secret she has autism. He accepts her anyway and swears she will never be alone for so long as he lives. Hearing this promise shatters Margaret emotionally, exposing a lifelong suppression of emotional pain, loneliness, and anger against humanity's coldness and cruelty. Martin just lets her take it out on him physically. When she finally winds down he dubs her his "Star Child", as he was the only one with the courage to get close enough to the terrifying monolith other people thought she was, for it to open into a gate revealing all the stars inside of her for him to see. She kisses him tenderly and deeply for him accepting her as she is.
  • Sharing a Body: Caused by treatment at a charity hospital for aphasia. When Martin declares his love for Margaret and nicknames her "Star Child", the lovers use that as a codename for her uncanny intuitions. Nobody realizes until much later the source of those intuitions has an an actual life of her own, that "Star Child" is the original child, and that Margaret is armor that the original child built to protect herself.
  • The Spark of Genius: There, but not at its full potential. Margaret can do more or less routine number and theory grinding, but her ability to see math as holograms and also have laser-guided intuition come from elsewhere.
  • Stable Time Loop: She presents Martin with incontrovertible proof a descendant of their had interfered with the past to ensure Alouette's propulsion technology can operate at all. She strips herself stark naked while telling him she loved him as long as she has known him, crediting her feelings to his kindness, compassion, and acceptance since grade school. She removes his shirt, kneels loosens his belt, when his trousers are finally down she looks into his face and tearfully begs him to love her. She describes him as her only chance at having a happy future. By now he's emotionally overpowered by everything she's said and done. This immediately changes Martin's orientation from homosexual to bisexual. The couple makes mad passionate love on the laboratory floor.
  • Teen Genius: Marc accelerated her through 4 years of high school in just 2.

    Martin 
Martin Reynolds Crane The Third, son of Martin Reynolds (Robert) Crane The Second and his wife Sylvia. He answers to "Martin". Known in grade school by bullies as "Martian".18 years old, college freshman in the engineering department. Butter-yellow hair, dark (forest) green eyes. Height and weight not given but implied to be slightly taller than average and in excellent shape. Heir apparent to the Crane fortune resulting from The First's inventions but controls almost none of it. IQ in the 130's. Trained to brown-belt in Okinawan karate by family retainer Shiro Higa. Christian, liberal Methodist. Member of a church which accepts gays.
  • Beta Couple: With Margaret.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Unrequited for the longest time. His first clue that Margaret really cares about him is when she awards him her first kiss for defending her against bullies during recess. They promise to be each others' dearest friend as a consequence. Martin took her to his senior prom while Margaret was a sophomore in college, where they have a great time. He restates his friendship but declared he is gay and is afraid of disappointing his parents if he comes out. She understands. However, Martin crosses the line when he pays for Margaret's weight-loss surgery. She's furious he wasted the opportunity to buy a car and says so, also swearing she will screw him over big time someday as revenge for his martyrdom. He believes she's enraged at him for his presumptuous behavior. He couldn't be more wrong, even if she needs a miracle to prove that to him.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Zig-zagged. He well knows his father is rich but is teaching him how to make his own way in the world. While in high school he was working delivering pizzas to earn money to buy his own car, and his father promises to match funds with him for a Christmas present. However, knowing his friend Margaret is in dire need of weight-loss surgery through no fault of her own but has no insurance coverage, he anonymously pays the clinic to have the surgery done. Margaret had been aware he was saving up for a car, so after New Years Eve, she wonders where it is. He responds he was instead saving up for something even more valuable. She doesn't understand until the clinic calls her and says they're ready for her to come in any time.
  • Engaging Conversation: On the engineering deck, after Martin successfully levitates Alouette two inches to prove working engines, Margaret asks rhetorically if there can ever be any greater gift for her than a ship to explore the stars in. He says he has one final gift... his life. He kneels in the center of the engineering deck on one knee before her and proposes marriage.
  • The Engineer: Dreamed all his life of building a spaceship. With Margaret's brilliance and his father's money he actually accomplishes this.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Raised by loving and caring parents, and it shows in his sweet and generous nature to everyone.
  • The Heart: Has the most psychological balance and health of the main characters, and more common sense than any of them.
  • Mr. Fixit: A tinkerer since childhood, he's at his best implementing inspired technological solutions to other peoples' suggestions or specific requests. Alouette is his magnum opus.
  • The Pollyanna: Because of his upbringing in a loving home and his Christian background, he is usually the most consistently cheerful and optimistic of the four teens. When the missiles are flying between Kondal and Mardonale, Dunark finds him and his wife in a park together peacefully waiting for the end. Dunark is curious about his attitude. Martin tries to explain...
  • Teen Genius: Highest of the main characters in social intelligence.

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Antagonists

    Marc 
Marc C. DuQuesne, Ph.D

Supporting Characters

     Star Child 
Margaret starting from infancy. Surrendered to Washington State by parents for failing to talk by the age of 3. Working diagnoses of autism and aphasia given. Turned over to a children's charity care hospital in Spokane where she was found to have off-the-scale scores in non-verbal and visual reasoning.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The team also creates a backup verbal cue, her first name, in case she loses her doll.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Unavoidable trauma forced by her doctors and therapists in injecting hypnotics and then bombarding her with information to teach her language caused an unintentional personality split. The child took the opportunity to designate this new personality as the one of charge of relating to others and protecting her. She designates herself as the new personality's subconscious.
    • The child now begins learning as expected, but inconsistently, so the team adjusts the regimen to plant a post-hypnotic command to allow Margaret to reboot each morning, and warns the child to keep the cue (a fluffy animal) by her pillow at all times as the first thing she sees upon waking up. If she doesn't, the default personality remains in charge.
  • Handicapped Badass: When she's in charge while she loses all ability to communicate either through speech or symbols, she gains her full intelligence and her complete physical coordination. If you threaten her friends or her husband, like Nalboon's son did Sitar on his father's ship, be prepared to become very dead, very fast.
  • "I Want" Song: Her entire bucket list consists of finding a mate who would accept her exactly as she was, be willing to stay with her forever, and through him become a mother. When bounced around by the foster system she listens to a song reflecting her exact feelings.
    • The potential for that fulfillment didn't begin until Martin swears Margaret she'd never be lonely again for as long as he lives. The armor which is Margaret crashes upon hearing this. Star Child emerges with the weight of a lifetime of built-up grief, anger, frustration and loneliness. Martin lets her take this out upon him physically. She gets better.
    • By prior arrangement Martin consummates the marriage first with Star Child. The results are extremely healing for her and unearthly for her husband. As she basks in the afterglow and drifts off to sleep, she hums this melody of the song.
    • Star Child later has a special conversation with Martin she enabled by talking through Sitar, borrowing her verbal abilities and eyesight briefly during the knowledge transfers aboard Nalboon's ship. She tells him "There is no home like the one you have since that home belongs to you". This is how she understood the song on the video Margaret constantly watched while in foster care.
  • Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: Averted. She's just doubly special, that's all! Her official diagnosis is atypical autism, a form which affects reasoning but not behavior.
  • The Rain Man: The combination functions as a give-or-take 'normal' profoundly gifted personality. Margaret does all the social stuff and routine intellectual stuff, and Star Child does all the intellectual heavy lifting.
  • The Reveal: From Star Child's point of view, she built the intelligent powered armor she's driving where Margaret is the armor's AI. It costs her 80 IQ points to power the armor, resulting in an adult IQ of 160.
    • Only Marc of all people, Margaret' mentor, is the first to know her adult score is extremely deceptive about her real abilities.
    • Martin is the next to learn. During his honeymoon, he observes his wife behaving differently. An innocent girl who can't talk or understand speech is standing before him instead. He deduces that this innocent girl is the real Margaret, and that since Margaret is profoundly gifted this girl who built Margaret is intelligent beyond human comprehension. That's when he begins to formally address her as "Star Child" the individual, rather than simply refer to her as Margaret's subconscious skill set.
    • During the memory transfers aboard Nalboon's ship, Martin learns more about her, because she has only one opportunity to actually use speech, borrowing Sitar's body while it's still connected to Margaret's by the teaching machine. She only has a minute to talk with Martin directly, and makes the most of it. She immediately tells him how much she loves him, ratifies her wedding vows she could not say as Margaret, then explains why she loves him so much. Then time's up...
    • Margaret herself is the last to finally figure it out, and concludes that Star Child is the real Margaret Spencer and Margaret just simply her pencil and her voice. Margaret finds the news to be completely devastating.
  • Sliding Scale of Beauty: Level I when she's in charge of Margaret's body. Just before Martin consummates his marriage with this side of Margaret by prior agreement, Martin observes her face while in her default pre-verbal mode reflects an unfallen humanity. It is her innocence which makes her this beautiful.
  • The Spark of Genius: From birth. This child eventually bootstrapped herself all the way up from severely impaired to profoundly high functioning using only her intellect. Her doctors and therapists accidentally provided her a pathway but took all the credit for themselves.
  • Sunny Sunflower Disposition: Because of this, Martin describes her as being "an absolute joy in the sack."
  • Super Intelligence: She has a raw IQ of 240 or higher, because that's how high the non-verbal test ceilings could go. Her raw IQ could be much higher than that.
  • Tested on Humans: The staff used an experimental technique playing to her strengths to help her learn how to talk. Marc eventually discovers it to be tainted research, brought to the hospital by a defector from North Korean protocols in charge of finding ways of re-educating prisoners forcibly using hypnotics and sensory bombardment. That scientist was trying to find a therapeutic use for it, to make it safer and more suitable for children.
     Rabbi Jacob Ostfeld 
Final surviving male descendant from people of the village of Boyberik in the Ukraine, famous for its synagogue violinist, of whom he is the grandson of the final one before the village got hit with a pogrom. Father of Rebecca, who in turn is Dorothy's mother, making Dorothy his granddaughter. Orthodox Jewish. Softens towards Modern Orthodox Judaism over time.
  • The Chosen One: Strongly averted. He doesn't know how to play the violin he inherited from his grandfather. He passes it on to Dorothy, who definitely can.
     Robert 
Martin Reynolds Crane The Second. He answers to "Robert", as he makes it clear he prefers that over Reynolds. Martin's father, Sylvia's husband, and eventually Margaret's father in law.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Current heir to the Crane fortune and therefore in complete control of it. Main occupation is angel investor.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Averted. His father gained great wealth through his inventions but decided to live simply and retire in a simple mining town rather than share the fate of Howard Hugues. His father taught this lifestyle to himself, and he in turn is now teaching it to his son.
  • Ensign Newbie: Started out during the Vietnam War. Shiro Higa, his Number Two, shaped him into a decent leader of men.
  • Heads or Tails?: Being the financial backer of Alouette makes him the legal owner of the craft. Before the newly married Martin and Margaret depart, Robert uses his prerogative as owner to choose who will command. Since they're both equally talented, he chooses Margaret based on a coin flip. Martin warns his wife not to let it get to her head.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: He bought an abandoned building to hide Alouette in during construction. Cover story for the building was that Robert was giving back to the local community and starting a vocational technical school. The plan is to gut the building to make room for the hull as it's built.
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: He decided to spend a part of the Crane fortune to fund his son's (Martin's) construction of the Alouette.
  • Obligatory War-Crime Scene: Served in South America during the Iran/Contra affair. Marc was a civilian government operative embedded in his unit. Witnessed first hand Marc's ruthless side as he interrogated a village jefe' (chief). When the jefe' refused to talk Marc marched out the villagers then torched the place. When the jefe' still refused, Marc executed the villagers. When the jefe' refused yet again, Marc executed the jefe'. All Robert could do was report the incident through his chain of command, but he now hates Marc with a passion.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Career Army officer who retired at a final rank of colonel.
  • Team Dad: Of the entire Crane family and all of Martin's friends.
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     Sylvia 
Sylvia Crane, Martin's mother, and Robert's wife.
  • Team Mom: Of the entire Crane family and all of Martin's friends.
    • She puts her foot down to forbid Robert from deriving financial gain from Margaret's research, since Marc would discover that and kill everyone involved.
    • She does allow the construction of a spaceship, "for recreational purposes only."
    • Sylvia takes offense when Dorothy lies to her. Dorothy would not share the family's breakfast and would rather eat Rice Chex instead, "to keep her figure." Richard explains Dorothy holds to traditions much more stringently than he does, and would rather offend a friend by refusing hospitality than offend God. Dorothy had tried to be tactful rather than confrontational regarding her traditions, and she's genuinely remorseful for not being honest. Sylvia chalks it up to a misunderstanding and absolves Dorothy.
    • During final preparations for Alouette's departure, Margaret delegates to Sylvia the responsibility for furnishing the craft with frozen food, beds, freezers, and other applicances.
    • She also creates "uniforms" for Martin and Margaret to wear using her sewing machine to embroider the ship's name and logo onto pajamas from Wal-Mart.
     Debbie 
Deborah Seaton, mother of Richard, wife of Jack Seaton. Sometimes called "Debby" or "Debbie".
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Debbie observes the entire conflict between herself, Richard, and Dorothy resembled Texas Hold 'Em. Richard revealed four aces - economic power. Debbie revealed a Smith & Wesson (beats four aces) - parental authority. Debbie observes Dorothy revealed a "hado ho" - made of selfless love. Debbie announces that against Dorothy's hand she is toast, and folds.
  • Abusive Parents: Her own father was a violent alcoholic. This made her codependent to the degree that she married a man who also became a violent alcoholic.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Debby felt intense guilt for tricking Jack into marriage and accepting another man's baby as his own child, which soon transformed into an intense contempt for the man. She ceased having sex with him after the first trimester, she treated him in a cold and demeaning manner throughout the marriage, and she would not accept counseling as that would reveal her deed. Out of both a career ceiling due to no college diploma, and sexual frustration being denied by his wife, he became a violent alcoholic. Both remain in the marriage out of a sense of duty to their faith as they understand it, and as a duty to their child. She accepts her beatings from him as her just punishment for her sins.
  • The Baby Trap: In high school defied her father by dating a Gentile, a gifted art major. Believing themselves in love they went all the way. The boyfriend got seduced away by an extremely attractive classmate. Debbie is devastated by the betrayal. She breaks up with him, then later discovers she is pregnant. She had to quickly salvage the situation before she started showing. She found a boy her family approved of, Jack, took him to the senior prom, and had sex with him in the car with a condom she sabotaged in advance. Jack took one look at the broken condom afterward, made the conclusion she hoped he would make, and then resolved to do the honorable thing by marrying her. Jack accepted Debby's explanation of Richard's arrival being a premature birth.
  • Beauty Is Bad: She has a major hangup over this, having lost her boyfriend in high school whom she loved to someone much prettier.
    • She believes Dorothy will corrupt Richard and take him away from her.
    • She also believes Dorothy is far too pretty to be Jewish.
  • Big "NO!": Dorothy gets a strong intuition from her subconscious link with God that while this is justice his parents deserve mercy. She shuts Richard down in mid-recitation.
  • Emancipated Child: Debbie first tells Richard she would not grant consent for him to marry for a million dollars. Richard counters with "what about ten?", then offers all his movie rights of his journey. Shaken by his display of economic power, she still says "no." He denounces her as being too evil to be his parent, he declares she has also denied him a real father as well, then begins reciting the Kaddish at both his parents. He had earlier declared his intent to seek emancipation in court if denied permission to marry.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Debbie is awestruck by Dorothy's gesture. It changes her view of Dorothy from a tramp trading on her beauty into a girl who finally found the boy she deserves She grants consent.
  • Genre Savvy: After enough years of eavesdropping on his TV habits she understands enough to realize much of how Richard thinks. She never let Richard know this until now.
  • I Will Wait for You: After the Big "NO!" Dorothy declares to Richard she will wait rather than see him destroy his own family, however deserving they might be. He fears they may drift apart over the next two years. She asks him to have courage, as against her love for him two years is nothing. His mother has rights over him that take precedence.
  • My Beloved Smother: Highly authoritarian and punitive attitude toward everything her son is expected to do. Will yell, scream, and even physically abuse him to enforce her will.
  • The Reveal: After returning from Osnome to Earth, Richard must ask his parents for consent to marry Dorothy as he is underage. Debbie is so extremely possessive of her son that she finds Dorothy to be a threat, and in a fit of unthinking rage denounces Dorothy as a "bad girl" like the kind who led her boyfriend astray after making her pregnant. This declaration of the real truth after so long is not lost on Jack...
  • White Sheep: Richard believes his family deserves destruction for their cruelty.
     Jack 
Jack Seaton, father of Richard, husband of Deborah.
     Shiro 
Shiro Higa, a now constant companion of Robert Crane, starting an as Army platoon sergeant for Robert's first command. Increased through ranks to warrant officer to fly helicopters. Switch to navy and took officer cadet training for fighter aircraft. He rose in ranks to abandon flying and switch to ship command track, making it as far as Lt. Commander before deciding to retire. With all his family gone, the Cranes took him in, and in gratitude acts as the family bodyguard, retainer, and sometime chef.

Aliens

     Dunark, Crown Prince of Kondal 
     Sitar, Crown Princess of Kondal 
  • Babies Ever After: Able-bodied men above a certain age MUST serve in Kondal's military upon call up. Able-bodied women MAY serve, and are provided an incentive. Kondal's population All girls get an intra-uterine device which may only be removed upon contract of lifetime marriage. A married woman may replace herself and her husband. She may have another child for every recognized act of valor in military service. When Richard Seaton ends the Kondal-Mardonale conflict once and for all, she decides to to quit and become a mother. Her adventure with the Alouette and its crew will earn her a third medal. Sitar is thrilled to be allowed to have five children. Her position as Crown Princess, gained about the same time as earning her second medal, means her children by Dunark will want for nothing.
  • Bling of War: Reworked from original continuity. The Order of Kondal, Kondal's highest award, is awarded for any act of extreme self-sacrifice whose outcome saves the kingdom. Only awarded once every few generations, as warranted.
  • Cosmic Keystone: "Sitar", in common spoken Kondalian, is one of many synonyms for "Hope". In ancient written Kondalian studied only by scholars, her name means "Despairing Hope." This in turn is an abbreviation for the title of an even more ancient Kondalian story entitled "That Hope Which Lies Buried Beneath Despair."
  • Culture Clash: The very first Kondalian to observe an exotic Terran practice, performed by Dorothy upon a catatonic Richard to try to bring him back to reality. She's initially shocked and disgusted, then fascinated. She realizes the rest of her people are simply not ready for this. She'll keep this secret to herself for now... and Dunark. Dorothy explains to Sitar before she begins, that what she's about to do is indistinguishable from magic, and that's why she explained it as magic, to discourage curiosity seekers.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Sitar as a weeks old baby girl is the only survivor of a purge where thousands of her kinfolk are systematically slain by a usurper having absolute power.
  • Embodiment of Virtue: According to Roban, Sitar is a miracle in the flesh, created by the hopes and dreams of thousands of people who died so that she might live. He likens her to a weapon created by the First Cause from the power of Hope to challenge Fate.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Lost princess unaware of her origins and hidden in plain sight. Her social rank is earned posthumously by her mother, a laboratory technician gathering nuclear weapons secrets begging in her final message to home to save her baby before killing herself to avoid capture and torture. The then crown prince, Roban, brings her to Kondal into a closed adoption to foster parents of gentle birth. Enlists to avoid boredom,and stays enlisted until suddenly promoted to Crown Princess by now crown prince Dunark shortly after Princess Triani gets killed in action.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: Once the emperor learns Dunark chose Sitar, he judges that as Crown Princess she will have a high enough clearance to learn of her mother's sacrifice.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: While helping the Alouette crew escape Nalboon's flagship, they try to sneak past the guard sitting at a desk in front of the interrogation room. The guard notices something isn't right but the moment he does, Sitar jams the muzzle of her pulse rifle behind his ear and fires. The body topples, smoke rises from his head, and blood pools out of his eyes and ears upon the deck. The main characters are horrified at the sight, but Sitar had been recently raped by Nalboon's son on the flagship, and she'll exercise no mercy upon the prince or anyone under that prince's command.
  • Standard Hero Reward: The award's winner, or if awarded posthumously his or her eldest child, is an automatic lifetime peer to royalty, fit to marry to any royal or noble line.
  • Succession Crisis: Sitar needed some convincing to let herself become Dunark's consort.
  • Suddenly Suitable Suitor: Mardonale was secretly developing nuclear weapons technology. Sitar's mother made her way into a sensitive research post and gained several years worth of information. Because she gets advance warning, she and her husband immediately suicide rather than have Nalboon's men capture them and torture Sitar's location out of them. Under the circumstances, Sitar being known or knowing herself as a winner of the Order of Kondal would endanger the kingdom, so she was fostered by ordinary people. Her royalty is the deepest of secrets known only to the emperor and his wife.
  • The Tag: Implied by example throughout the novel. Even when life seems at its absolute worst, miracles can still happen, if one 'hopes despairingly', with all one's might and then some, never giving up.
  • Tender Tears: Margaret was captured and taken to a luxurious chamber, where she wakes up as Star Child since she's received no verbal cue to wake up otherwise. Star Child wanders around and discovers Sitar, waiting in tears. Even though Star Child cannot communicate her concepts by speaking, reading, or writing; she can communicate in gestures, quickly learning Sitar is waiting to be raped once again by Nalboon's son, flag captain of his father's vessel. Star Child cries in sympathy. She reaches out and tastes Sitar's tears... the tears resemble salt-substitute she vaguely remembers her sister-self (Margaret) using to season her food with. That is to say, Sitar's tears are potassium based. Sitar touches Star Child's face and tastes one of her tears in return, to get the shock of her life. Star Child's tears are based on SALT, a grain of it worth an ounce of gold, wealth others of Sitar's kind would kill for since it's essential for making armor with. Sitar figures out quickly that one of Star Child's tears could help cure an arenak enclosure the size of a house. It drives home the concept of the preciousness of sentient life in any form being more precious than anything: her kind, alien kind, and eventually even her enemies.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Once the first session of the temporary ruling council has been convened by Richard, she takes the floor. She reveals the Order of Kondal awarded through her mother, astonishing her husband. She explains to him didn't want to cause her husband any further hurt from learning the circumstances of her birth. Now that the war between Kondal and Mardonale is over, she believes everyone on Osnome needs healing, so she proposes the creating of a truth and reconciliation committee so that all atrocities can be recorded, forgiven, and never ever repeated. She announces she will take the first step. She drops the precious spun-glass gem and summons all her inner strength to crush it to dust under her foot while screaming her forgiveness of Mardonale. Richard, with Dunark's permission, comforts her, then take a page from Margaret when she recognized Dorothy's enormous courage aboard the Alouette, congratulates her on her enormous personal growth, and says while he has no medals he could give, for being the first Osnomian to put the war behind her he asks it be recorded she has earned the Overlord's love. He appoints her head of the committee she just proposed.
  • Unobtainium: Played with. In this continuity, the Order is a handmade gem spun from soda glass. Sodium being so rare on Osnome make such a gem more valuable to Osmomians then a fistful of cut and polished diamonds.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Sitar is deeply affronted upon learning this, claiming her whole life as she knew it is therefore a lie.
  • You Are in Command Now: Lampshaded. Neither Dunark nor Sitar realize her mother earned the status of honorary royalty, which passed to her daughter since it was a posthumous award. With Princess Triani killed in action, Sitar finally confesses she loves him passionately, and since she knows her feelings are inappropriate requests a transfer away from him. Dunark decides a promotion to Crown Princess is more in order. Sitar refuses, she doesn't want to be Dunark's consort for any reason less than love. Dunark confesses he loved her as much but was spoken for and had to set a good example as her commanding officer. The palace staff eavesdrop on them close by his bedchamber, then report to his father all is now well again.
     Roban, Emperor of Kondal 
     Tural, Express of Kondal 
     Nalboon, Emperor of Mardonale 
     Valdoon, Prince of Mardonale 
     Shelmi, palace lady-in-waiting 
  • Archetypal Character: As a Sage she realized Richard was an archetype of Compassion. She knew long since Sitar was an archetype of Hope. From Dunark's briefings she understood Dorothy was an archetype of Faith.
  • Court Mage: Her specialization is psychotherapy. When Shelmi was first awarded her title, the emperor Roban approached her to offer her his son as her only patient. She had the right to say no but joyfully accepted the job as the outstanding honor which it was.
  • Fantastic Rank System: Shelmi, being a full Sage (a ruler over knowledge), is not obliged to answer to or obey anyone while operating within her capacity, even the emperor.
  • Intimate Psychotherapy: Played straight. Sages of the Psyche also have training in sexual therapy and sexual surrogacy is an important tool in the sage's arsenal.
  • The Mistress: Expected by custom to always be there for Dunark any time he needed her even after he married his betrothed.
  • Old Retainer: Dunark's betrothed was killed in action. He chose Sitar as her successor. Once they married Shelmi was no longer needed in her original role. She could live in the palace for the rest of her life, and do whatever she wanted. It was a luxurious form of pension. The only thing it lacked for... was what Dunark provided her all these years, but she'd settle for no one less than him.
  • Parental Substitute: Shelmi saw her job description thusly.
    "I'd live in the palace to be always available for the young Kofedex. I'd initiate him, instruct him, counsel him as needed, be his friend, help develop his conscience, and one day release him to his betrothed."
  • Secret Test of Character: Shelmi wanted to know what a Terran man felt like. Shelmi stood next to his bathtub naked and smiled at him in invitation. Richard turned his back on her, gained control over himself, then very graciously declined her offer, saying he was promised to another. Shelmi was astonished at his moral strength. Any other boy his age would leap at the chance to be 'initiated' by her.
  • The Shrink: Shelmi is not just your average chambermaid. She holds the equivalent of a doctorate in psychology, or in Kondalian terms, is a Sage of the Psyche.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Shelmi was aware of how an archetypal character is used in children's stories, they only appear to defend against an upcoming great evil. One present in real life should frighten any sensible Osnomian. THREE AT ONCE implies a cosmic-level opponent is soon to arrive for them to oppose.
  • Surprise Checkmate: Pun intended, and Marc is the target. A final banquet is being held in the palace before the teens leave Osnome to return to Earth. Dorothy sees Richard and Shelmi together in a final conversation. They embrace, then Richard whispers something in Shelmi's ear which earns him a kiss on the cheek. Richard then turns to Dorothy, nervous at being seen this way. Richard would be in big trouble with Dorothy had she not known earlier from palace gossip he had turned down a seduction attempt by this extremely attractive and intelligent chambermaid. He feels obliged to explain since Marc was staying behind, he gave Shelmi a little advice about Marc's personal trauma of his long-ago fiancee' being brutally murdered, and how the best way she could help him would be to surprise him just after he turned in for bedtime tonight, Lady Kondal style. He advised Shelmi to pound away at his barriers first then talk to him afterward. Shelmi said "outstanding idea!", and kissed Richard on the cheek.
    Triani, Princess Of Kondal 
  • Lady of War: Officer serving with Dunark's personal hand-picked squad.
  • Noodle Incident: Hopeless Boss Fight to destroy a plague agent being developed by the Mardonalians. Mission accomplished, but she got killed and her friends Dunark and Sitar barely survived.

Alien Ancestors

     The Lady Kondal of Mardonale, Foundress of Kondal 
  • Angel Unaware: Most Kondalians interpret this metaphorically to mean be polite to strangers, as they may one day help you.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Once she discovers the First Cause, the First Cause immediately lets her read its mind. She understands a remnant of Mardonalians will be rescued from their civilization's upcoming collapse.
  • The Call Left a Message: Richard will bet his life the Lady is reserving her symbol of authority for whoever needs it most.
  • Came Back Strong: Using terms she knows Richard can understand after scanning his mind, she explains just before she leaves Osnome forever she is awarding him +2 Charisma. She says it's the most the First Cause will permit her to bestow upon him as a gratuity for services rendered.
  • Death of the Old Gods: She despairs how Mardonale is sliding into barbarism, and how the various gods of the land seem unwilling to answer. Still, there has to be some First Cause that created everything and everyone, who has to have compassion since people were created to have compassion.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: She never wears her shroud again after her first night with Dunark.
  • The Fatalist: Dunark is the youngest son of the previous Domak, or Overlord, of Mardonale. He swears to her if he can become the Overlord, he will be an enlightened ruler. Kondal tells him he won't survive, and even if he did, the people are not ready for him.
  • Finders Rulers: Richard comes up with an idea to save all life on Osnome: borrow the Overlordship from the Lady Kondal so he can outrank both emperors and order them to stand down their respective nuclear forces.
  • Genre Savvy: Richard explains to Sitar about Terra's legend of the Seige Perilous and how it relates to the Overlordship.
  • Guardian Entity: She was the only one to wear the Overlordship in her capacity as First Empress of Kondal. Once she passed on, it was left at her grave Time Abyss for her to guard forever, and soon became lethal to even touch.
  • Humans Are Diplomats: Said aliens' compassion and faith are as priceless as the salt they are made mode.
  • Inexplicable Cultural Ties: Richard remarks to Dunark upon hearing the tale of Kondal's founding, of the amazing parallels between The Lady Kondal and of Abraham. They both were destined to found independent nations whose laws were based on mercy and justice rather than simple might, the instant they each had worked out the concepts of monotheism.
  • It Has Been an Honor: She prophesies Richard will have a long restful marriage, filled with children and happiness. She blesses both his and his intended wife's loving hearts, then departs Osnome forever.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: With the royal line having died out and their symbol of authority taken away, the people of Mardonale descend into three thousand years of civil war.
  • Made of Phlebotinum: Human biology, being sodium based, means their tears are made of salt, the rarest and most precious substance on Osnome. Sitar is shocked to her core the moment she tastes a human tear. She now realizes ALL sentient life is precious everywhere in the universe.
  • The Migration: Once she witnessed the final two scions of Mardonale's royalty kill each other off, Kondal confiscated the Overlordship, decreeing none would wear it again without her leave. She led all the people who would follow her to the opposite side of the the world by sea, to found a new homeland.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: No one visited her temple for many years as Mardonale's society began sliding down into barbarism, since all who are corrupt or selfish fear greatly her ability to see inside their hearts or minds.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: In the wake of Richard's destruction of Nalboon's flagship that almost laid waste to Kondal, the emperor of Kondal orders a nuclear missile strike in revenge. Richard begs him not to but his pleas fall on deaf ears. Mardonale responds in kind. A potential extinction of all life upon their world through Nuclear Winter seems inevitable.
  • Near-Death Experience: Richard touches the Overlordship and becomes clinically dead for about half a minute. During this time, he has a conversation with Lady Kondal. He tells unless he can somehow use her symbol of authority, all life on Osnome will end, and begs her to see for herself. She sees the missiles in flight and agrees.
  • Patron Saint: Her gravesite in the center of the continent, under a mountain, is the holiest place on all Kondal, where no one may walk with feet covered. Her children often pray to her as an agent appointed to act on behalf of the First Cause.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Dorothy realizes the Overlordship is deadly to touch, and begs Richard not to take it. Richard quotes from Hillel to reassure her that this really is his job. Dorothy then suggests they pray to God to stay the Lady Kondal's anger against Richard.
  • The Prophecy: Her last words before she died: "The tears of a stranger will one day save our land."
  • Proud Beauty: Everyone else who has ever met has has seen her only in a head-to-toe shroud with only her eyes showing, so her beauty does not distract her listeners. Even Dunark sees her only this way at first while being tutored by her regarding the First Cause.
  • Regent for Life: In this case, for a very good reason: she ruled by right of the life of her unborn son inside her, Dunark the First, by her lover Dunark the Martyr, the final scion of Mardonale's royal line. Even after Dunark was born, Kondal had to stay alive and continue ruling until her son firmly established the royal line by fathering several children. Dunark's first child founded the royal house, the second child founded the cadet branch, and the others the first noble houses.
  • Screw Destiny: Literally. When Dunark accepts her prophecy of death and thanks her for helping him face his upcoming death with dignity, she is touched to tears. She bids him to rest for a while. Then, in the middle of the night, she takes a candle to his room, drops her shroud, then awakens him. He sees her full beauty by the candlelight. They both lose their virginity with each other and make love until dawn. Even if Dunark is not meant to survive and escape Mardonale, perhaps his seed can. She turns out to be absolutely right.
  • You Are in Command Now: She's concerned how Richard can withstand the temptation of the absolute power of the Overlordship. She also says even if he destroys it, the same crisis would one day happen again but with no one available to outrank the emperors. Richard replies he intends not to destroy the artifact but its meaning, by abolishing the right of royalty to rule and allowing the people to rule themselves. Lady Kondal considers this as plan as brilliant as any her late husband might have come up with, and charges Richard to be the last Overlord of both Kondal and Mardonale.
     Dunark, The Martyr of Mardonale 
  • Badass Normal: Dunark the Martyr had finished studying at the feet of all the major philosophers of Mardonale, while his brothers were all hunting, raiding, and wenching. One of his teachers was a master of empty-handed combat.
  • Delaying Action: The oldest brother discovered them and would exterminate the people and set fire to the ships, but his army would not follows those orders until he first killed Dunark in a proper duel. As the challenged party, Dunark the Martyr chose bare hands. Both brothers met on the sand and began fighting. The visibly pregnant Lady gave the order for all ships to set sail and take to the sea. The oldest brother expected an easy fight, but the younger brother used his skills to delay and humiliate the older for as long as possible.
  • Dirty Coward: The elder brother only cared about being the ruler, not about winning honorably. He had a picked archer shoot the younger in the chest.
  • Duel to the Death: When the old ruler of Mardonale died, it was traditional for his sons to duel each other for his title. Dunark the Martyr was the youngest brother still surviving after the eldest killed all the others.
  • Great Escape: They decide to gather a secret following had and escape across the sea to found a new kingdom. They found a secret cove and built ships.
  • Hand on Womb: After ten nights of making love with the young man, Kondal discovers she is pregnant by him and tells him.
  • Merlin and Nimue: Gender reversed. The proprietor of the Temple of Fate and Mercy, where he sought sanctuary, sees Dunark listening intently to everything she has to say. As Oracle, she has powers granted by the First Cause, among them to see into the hearts of people. She must wear a head-to-toe shroud to hide the great beauty she has which would otherwise distract people from her prophecies. She sees into Dunark's heart and is stunned by his inner beauty. She now realizes he is the one destined to be her husband and the father of her son. One night, she wakes him in his quarters by candlelight, drops the shroud, and makes sweet love to him, leaving before dawn.
  • My Own Private "I Do": The Lady Kondal says his unborn child will found a new kingdom, if he takes her to wife. With a price on his head so high even a priest who might marry them would betray him for, he invents the concept of private wedding vows. He swears before the First Cause he will love her for all eternity.
  • Seeking Sanctuary: After finishing his education, at about Richard's age, Dunark the Martyr sought sanctuary with the Oracle of Fate and Mercy. He finds he's very eager to learn more of her discovery of the First Cause, because of monotheism's implications towards the sanctity of life which the other pantheons in Mardonale are clueless about.

Extras

     The President of the United States 
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Does what presidents generally do. She uses her executive powers to negotiate with diplomats (Naruhito), clean up rogue agencies (HEAL), deputize a civilian into the Marshal's Service (Dorothy), bring a pilot back to active duty (Shiro), hold press conferences, and so forth.
     Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan 
     Hideaki Akiyama, Japan's charge' for Houston 
     Atsuchi Takahashi, Akyama's assistant 
     Colonel Alexander Silverbaum, USMC 
     Master Gunnery Sergeant Brian Carstairs, USMC 
     Texas Police Inspector Diane Carstairs 
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