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Galactic Powers

     The Archduchy of Crius 
The state where the protagonist, Cassius Mass, was born and raised. It was a hereditary oligarchy controlled by genetically-engineered nobles which ruled much of its surrounding Sector. Its capital is destroyed in the opening chapter of Lucifer's Star and the government dissolved. Sort of.

  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Not quite but some people accuse them of it in-universe. Notably averted by the fact two of the main royals are black and one is gay.
  • The Atoner: A mild example of this as he mostly just wants to forget he was ever Cassius Mass in the first place.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The entire society is built around catering to the needs of its genetically-engineered cybernetically enhanced elite.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Initiated the war with the Commonwealth by blowing up Kolthas Station. This despite the Commonwealth being ten times their size.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: They're a ruthless group of conquerors, worship Satan (sort-of), practice feudalism, and wear black. Cassius, himself, comments this is a massive case of Values Dissonance.
  • The Clan: All of the Houses on Crius. They're actually all the same clan as Cassius mentions they're all pretty much related to one another via intermarriage.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Implied to have been a thing by the fact Cassius' own stepmother tried to kill him with an assassin and he was expected to kill his (half)siblings instead of befriending them.
  • Doomed Hometown: The destruction of Crius breaks their empire as well as their spirits. Until the fake Cassius makes them decide on Revenge Before Reason.
  • Duel to the Death: Technically outlawed but apparently common enough they're sporting events for crew.
  • The Empire: Pretty much a tailor-made case of this.
  • Expy: Has been stated to be a Composite Character of Dune's Great Houses, Klingons, and the Galactic Empire.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The society has picked and choosed the finest of traits for its nobility as well as workers. Oddly enough, it's farily egalitarian as we see virtually every race represented in the Crius nobility as well as mixed matches. The laborer caste is also physically and mentally superior to "regular" humans.
  • Fantastic Caste System: While not enforced on their subject worlds, all Crius are gentically engineered for their jobs to greater or lesser degrees. Munin is apparently from the laborer caste.
  • Fantastic Racism: Normal births are referred to as "Nats" (like gnats). Oddly, they were actually fairly good at the normal kind given their elite is multiracial and have nondiscriminated against queer membership.
  • Feudal Future: House Dumas rules the Archduchy with numerous feuding houses underneath it.
  • Germanic Efficiency: The Archduchy Repressive But Efficent society of Transhuman genetically engineered geniuses and incredibly fit superhumans. They have a Germanic Feudal Future vibe that easily dominates their neighbors. They're also defeated in the first chapter of the story with its survivors coming to realize the rest of the galaxy hated them.
  • The Good Kingdom: How they see themselves, which is not entirely inaccurate with its three moons and central planet. Its everywhere else they're The Empire.
  • Honor Before Reason: Personal conduct codes are deeply important in the Archduchy even though few seem to take it as seriously as Cassius.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Averted as the Proud Warrior Race element means they're constantly encouraging new technological innovations to keep their advantage over other societies. It almost works in defeating the Commonwealth.
  • Our Founder: Prophet Allenway is the founder of both the Cult Colony itself as well as the direct ancestor of most of the Houses.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The military is the only way one can end up joining the nobility and you receive a non-herediary title equivalent to your officer's rank. Cassius is notable as a man who earned his hereditary title's equivalent.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: The Archduchy has incredibly effective soldiers, brilliant science, and a functioning Empire. They're also complete bastards.
  • Secret Police: State Security, of which the name didn't help their reputation.
  • The Theocracy: They were founded as a Cult Colony by a man who sounds suspiciously like a combination of Joseph Smith and King Arthur.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Almost everyone hates them until they lose their planet, which causes quite a few people to reverse their opinion.
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     The Commonwealth of Interplanetary Systems 

The most powerful human society in the world after Earth's destruction. It controls a good fifty percent of all human territory and attempted to reunite all of it under its rule (for humanity's own good, of course).


  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Commonwealth is secretly created by a group of Cognition A.I. that created it to help rebuild humanity—or so Cassius has been told.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Not to the extent the Crius Archduchy was them but they assumed they'd have a short but victorious war after deliberately provoking them with military build-ups on their border. What they got, instead, was a protracted meatgrinder which they only won through attrition and an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
  • The Empire: A massive society which dwarfs all other powers in the Spiral that wishes to reunite all of mankind under its rule.
    • Hegemonic Empire: The majority of people agree they're better off under the Commonwealth than independent but most people who wanted to join have already done so.
  • Expy: Basically is the British Empire in Space with Parliament, an oligarchy, satrapies, and a capital named Albion. It also has some similarly to a very cynical take on the United Federation of Planets.
  • The Federation: The Commonwealth portrays itself as this with a democracy, the highest standard of living, and a general attitude of being the good guy Science Hero types. In fact, they're much closer to The Empire. The British Empire to be precise.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The Commonwealth's argument for why it was necessary to destroy Crius.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Commonwealth won the war against the Archduchy of Crius but doing so inflicting unimaginable casualties on their military, exposed their technological weaknesses, and vilified them throughout the Spiral. It also left them in charge of a war-ravaged nation which hated them.
    • Has another one of these when Cassius destroys the Free Systems Alliance. Despite being ready to surrender to them and gaining complete victory, this just results in the Community invading.
  • Reality Ensues: Overextending their military and industrial might across vast amounts of territory as well as trying to integrate hundreds of fractured societies into a single organization isn't working out too well for them either socially or economically.
  • Secret Police: Has a lot of these. Interestingly, their largest in the Watchers are the only reason they tend to survive as an organization.
  • Zerg Rush: Their tactics for defeating Crius. They had worse equipment, pilots, weapons, training, and tactics. They did, however, have a much-much larger economy as well as population pool to draw from.

Crew of the Melampus

     The Melampus 

A town-sized starship containing over a thousand crew and massive cargo space. It also functions as a Q-ship or disguised battleship.


  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Cassius implies the majority of the crew are either this or a Ragtag Band of Misfits depending on whether it's a good or bad day.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Justified as Ida recruited cynics and criminals who knew what they were doing. Several are actual geniuses at their job.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The crew have no problem with the captains replacing each other with treachery.
  • Only in It for the Money: The crew has this attitude and doesn't question orders as long as they get paid.
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: It is deliberately invoked as Ida recruited people comfortable with regularly breaking the law and willing to follow orders as long as they were paid.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: It's considered a ship you only join as a last resort.
  • Space Pirates: Invokes a lot of this, though they're actually smugglers who do a little bit of piracy on the side.
  • Space Trucker: The Melampus is supposed to be this. Instead, it has a rotating crew of oddballs.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The ship is a Q-ship (a freighter modified for war) and actually functions like a warship.

     Cassius Mass 
The son of Cassius the Elder, Chancellor of Crius and Propaganda Hero of the Archduchy during the Commonwealth-Archduchy War. Cassius was believed killed during the Battle of Hoshi's Point but was actually Faking the Dead so he could live a normal life. It didn't quite work out.


  • Abusive Parents: His father cloned him to disinherit his biological children and his siblings' mother tried to have him killed on multiple occassions.
  • The Ace: Beautiful, superhuman, rich, and charming war hero of the Archduchy as well as one of their highest ranked nobles. It was all downhill after that.
  • Ace Pilot: The pilot of the Archduchy of Crius and probably one of the best in the universe.
  • The Alcoholic: Becomes this after the destruction of Crius and never quite gets over it.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted. Albeit, Cassius has nothing but contempt for his own people's system by the end of the war.
  • Broken Ace: The process for becoming this is a long and difficult one. After Crius' destruction, he becomes a revolutionary only to realize his side is a bunch of terrorists, and later he becomes a scavenger only to become a murderous criminal. Oh and he also discovers the Archduchy were engaged in mass murder of political dissidents among other crimes.
  • Cain and Abel: His relationship to his siblings was supposed to be this. It became a lot more complex.
  • Char Clone: Ace The Red Baron-esque Ace Pilot for an Aristocrats Are Evil colony? Also, has some Darth Vader Clone and Han Solo/Malcolm Reynolds elements. See Expy.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: A rare heroic example, Cassius hates just about everyone around him and dislikes their attempt to manipulate him. As such, he always turns against them at the first opportunity. Given his Undying Loyalty to the Archduchy's results, it may be understandable.
  • Cloning Blues: Averted to a large extent as he doesn't really seem to think of himself as anything other than Cassius the Elder's son.
  • Colonel Badass: A High Colonel which is apparently also The Brigadier, technically making him a Four-Star Badass. Later becomes The Captain.
  • Cultured Warrior: Has an immense amount of class which comes from being an Officer and a Gentleman in a society of them. Unfortunately, it backfires on him as it means just about everyone recognizes him as former nobility.
  • Cyborg: A relatively mild-case as his enhanced brain and nervous system gives him much faster reflexes and the ability to sort through information at a much faster rate. This makes him able to serve as a navigator on the Melampus, which is a specialized trade even in the future.
  • Doomed Hometown: Manages to outlive his home planet.
  • Duel to the Death: Is fond of these both with sword as well as starfighter. Other people tend to be less formal about it during attempts to kill him.
  • Expy: Has quite a bit of similarity to Han Solo and Malcolm Reynolds in addition to the aforementioned Char Clone and Darth Vader Clone elements.
  • Famed In-Story: Comes with being a Propaganda Hero of the Archduchy. He's had several movies made about him as well as well as was the subject of numerous biopics. Cassius' reaction is disdain at best and outright anger at worst (particularly since they glamorize his actions while ignoring the actions of his squadmates).
  • Jaded Washout: Fully intended to come this and came damn close before the events of the book changed it.
  • Heel Realization: Cassius has one of these when he finds one of State Security's facilities for incinerating dissidents.
  • Lady and Knight: Cassius' relationship with Isla. Clarice is more A Lady Knight and a Knight.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Cassius is extraordinarily fast but also stronger than most humans. It gives him a slight edge in space combat.
  • Master Swordsman: A tool much more useful in a future with shields.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Has this reaction after the war after he realized he not only campaigned for war against the We Have Reserves Commonwealth but actually fired the first shot. Worse, he led his True Companions squadron to their complete destruction. Then there's the fact the Commonwealth did a Colony Drop on his hometown.
  • The Only Believer: Seems to have been one of the few in the Crius aristocracy who took his obligations to the peasantry seriously.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Averted. Cassius had his face changed via plastic surgery. Unfortunately, he didn't change his blood or DNA so he was easily identified once people became suspicious of his King Incognito habits.
  • Red Baron: The Fire Count. Also The Butcher since he's known as "The Butcher of Kolthas."
  • Reformed But Not Named: He made a Heel–Face Turn by the standards of the rest of the galaxy but he's still a criminal and holds disdainful views of most of the Crius' former enemies.
  • Royal Rapier: His favorite weapon is a proton sword.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Cassius could have sat out the war but chose to fight against the Archduchy from the beginning.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: What he becomes after the war due to being the Sole Survivor of his squadron, losing his planet, and then having his efforts to overthrow the Commonwealth turn bad. Also doubles as a Trauma Conga Line.
  • Transhuman: A genetically engineered Super Soldier and Cyborg from a planet of them.
  • War Is Hell: His view on the conflict after events.
  • Warrior Prince: A good example of it despite actually just being a Count.
  • Worthy Opponent: What the Commonwealth viewed him as. The feeling was not returned.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Subverted as he didn't want to be the former so he quit being the latter when it was clear his former associates didn't care about the distinction.

     Isla Hernandez 
An escaped bioroid who serves as the Melampus's medical doctor.

"Snow Queen" past and was programmed with the personality, which influences her still.
  • Handsome Lech: Is sex crazed as part of her programming but still a capable doctor and ass-kicker.
  • Hospital Hottie: Was made to be beautiful as part of her role.
  • Polyamory: Sees no problem being in a relationship with Cassius and Clarice both while also having sex with other people.
  • Sex Slave: Was one of these before she managed to escape.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: A Black Comedy joke is the fact she turns out to be an adult model of the universe's version of Elsa from Frozen.
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     Clarice Rin-O'Hara 
A former princess turned mercenary who is the chief security officer on the Melampus.

  • Action Girl: One of the toughest people onboard the Melampus.
  • The Atoner: Wants to make up for the fact her family are a bunch of slavers and pirates.
  • Bi the Way: Is seeing both Isla as well as Cassius.
  • Fantastic Racism: Has a big case of this toward the Chel who captured her and brutally tortured her for weeks with their Psychic Powers. Averted in the fact she broke up with William Balder because he was racist against future lover Isla.
  • Heel Realization: Had one of these when she visited one of her family's "factories" and discovered they were kidnapping and brainwashing people to be slaves.
  • Heroic BSoD: Suffers one when confronted with a Chel she wanted to torture to death.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Is implied to be of mixed Japanese and Irish descent, just a thousand years in the future with a few more ancestries beside.
  • Polyamory: Has multiple lovers both male and female including Isla and Cassius.

     Ida Claire 
The 200 year old captain of the Melampus and a spymaster for the Commonwealth.

  • Batman Gambit: Planned to use Cassius Mass as a tool against the Free Systems Alliance while also employing his sister since both are related to the leadership. It doesn't work because they're both completely uncontrollable.
  • Cool Old Lady: Is 200 years old and looks like an elderly black grandmother. She's also a brilliant spymaster and political strategist.
  • A Mother to Her Men: More or less a grandmother to her men and the Melampus crew (which is a Ragtag Band of Misfits at best and an Army of Thieves and Whores at worse) reciprocates.
  • Black Boss Lady: Is the captain of the ship, a spy, and has had a successful career as an arms smuggler.
  • The Chessmaster: Planned to play the Free Systems Alliance, Shogun Slavers, and her various agents against one another. It doesn't work out at all due to Cassius being harder to control than she suspects.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: After finding herself unable to sway Cassius with honor, redemption, or patriotism—she offers him cash. It works.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: As nice as Ida is, her manipulations infuriate Cassius to the point he hacks the Watchers' database with the help of a Cognition A.I. and burns Ida as a spy. He also steals her ship, though he drops her off at allied territory. Cassius speculates it will be years before she sorts out the fallout.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Has deliberately assembled a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and controls them through their personal damage and pain.
  • Punny Name: "I declare" is a Southern expression and she seems to come from a planet based on it. It's also an alias.
  • The Spymaster: Is one of these for the Commonwealth and tasked with observing the former Archduchy.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Is a genius and The Chessmaster but also from a planet strongly influenced by the American South by all evidence.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Does this to Cassius and it results in her being Hoist by His Own Petard.


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