Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Old Man's War

Go To

A list of characters appearing in John Scalzi's Old Man's War series.

    open/close all folders 

Colonial Union

    Colonial Union in general 

The Colonial Union is the governing body of the majority of humanity. Based on humanity's oldest interstellar colony, Phoenix, its primary business is ensuring humanity's ability to survive and thrive in an exceptionally dangerous galaxy. It also intentionally isolates the Earth from wider galactic affairs to maintain it as an inexhaustible source of manpower for colonists and soldiers.

  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The CU's policy, at least at the beginning of the series, is basically to shoot anyone and anything remotely in their way. The CU's extreme aggression is one of the factors leading to the foundation of the Conclave, a United Nations-like organization designed to reduce the amount of conflict in the galaxy.
  • Designer Babies:
    • Prior to coming up with Brain Uploading technology, the CU still needed a way to fight Alien races, and regular humans just weren't going to cut it. So they implanted genetically engineered fetuses in the hopes of creating a genetically engineered army. This had two problems: first, it takes nearly 20 years for a human to grow to adulthood, so this army took a while to create and second, when they did grow up, not all the genetically engineered kids wanted to go out and die for humanity.
    • The Special Forces soldies are this, aged up in a short period of time.
  • Everyone Has Standards: One of the CU's truly redeeming qualities is that its soldiers do not eat other sapient beings (isolated incidents notwithstanding, which are not actually condemned). Many of humanity's enemies enjoy human flesh, and even raise humans as livestock.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The CU is a tremendously ruthless organization, but every one of its enemies would gladly wipe out humanity without a second thought. This changes around the middle of the series, when a large number of alien races, driven partially by the human threat, form the Conclave, which aims to bring a measure of peace to the galaxy. It also happens to led by reasonable and decent people, which make the CU's policies seem increasingly evil by comparison, and indeed force it to begin engaging regularly in non-violent diplomacy. This also breaks what amounted to a military dictatorship, since virtually all of the CU's policy was dictated by the strength and mobility of the CDF, and the civilian side of the CU becomes much more important.
  • The Federation: The CU is a true federation. The CU government is spectacularly uninterested in the government and policy of the individual planets, and indeed is mostly independent of them. It relies on the Earth for its soldiers and colonists, and so all it really needs from the individual planets is enough wealth to equip said colonists and soldiers. As a result, the individual planets of the CU are left entirely to their own devices, unless their actions interfere with CU policy, which is rare, and from what we've seen of their governments, they seem perfectly free and democratic.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: The CU is pretty damned evil, at least at the beginning, when it's been pursuing a policy of essentially nonstop war with every other sapient species it can find. It also brooks no disagreement from its own citizens, and regularly deploys the CDF to quell rebellions on its own worlds, and even uses the CDF to break labor strikes. The CDF, which does nothing by half measures, typically uses extremely ruthless tactics resulting in huge body counts. That said, the CU has not been shown to seek the actual extinction of any other sapient species (though this is possibly only because they have not been in a position to perpetrate such a genocide).
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Humanity, even 200 years since the second foundation of Phoenix (the first time didn't go so well), is still extremely new and small, compared to the 'established' races (of which there are about 600). However, the CU punches way above its weight, due to the enormous reserve of manpower provided by Earth, and the CU routinely trounces much larger and equally sophisticated races and forces (which is not to say that the CDF wins every fight; their casualty figures are staggering). This, combined with the CU's unbridled aggression towards the rest of the galaxy, presents a clear and present danger to the violent but relatively stable status quo that predominated in the galaxy prior to human arrival, which leads in part to the foundation of the Conclave.


    John Perry 

The series' first main character. A man from Ohio who enlists in the CDF on his seventy-fifth birthday and swaps his aging body for a highly advanced genetically-modified cyborg version.

  • Badass Bureaucrat: In "The Last Colony", he is tapped along with Jane to lead a new colony.
  • Brought Down to Badass: By "The Last Colony", he and Jane have both been given normal human bodies. Of course, Perry still has the considerable experience he gained as a soldier, which puts him a full level above almost everybody else in the colony.
  • Call to Agriculture: "The Last Colony" reveals that he has enjoyed the past few years living a quiet life as an ombudsman and farmer on Huckleberry.
  • Dad the Veteran: To Zoë, particularly in "Zoë's Tale".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like every other character in the series. John Scalzi loves writing sarcastic dialogue, and so spreads the snark about with a heavy hand.
  • Demoted to Extra: After The Last Colony, when Perry gets swept up in massive galactic affairs, he becomes an oft-talked about but never seen character, and his old friend Harry Wilson becomes the protagonist.
  • The Everyman: All this CU and CDF crap is as new to him as it is to us, having lived his entire life on Earth, which has been intentionally sequestered by the CU from the wider galaxy to keep it quiescent as a source of manpower.
  • Good Parents: Along with Jane Sagan, he adopts Zoë after the events of "The Ghost Brigades" and they do an evidently excellent job of raising her to be a very snarky but responsible teenager.
  • The Lost Lenore: His wife, Kathy, who died before she could enlist in the CDF. He meets a CDF soldier clone of his wife, Jane Sagan, later.
    Jane: What is it like when you lose someone you love?
    Perry: You die too. And you wait around for your body to catch up.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: The plot of "The Lost Colony" centers on him getting selected to lead a new colony, partially due to his military experience.
  • Messianic Archetype: For Earth, since he's the one that breaks the CU blockade of the planet.
  • Put on a Bus / The Bus Came Back: He is given a promotion and put on a bus for a goodwill tour of the colonies after he becomes a war hero in the first book. The third book reveals that the bus eventually dropped him off at Huckleberry, where he and Jane would spend the better part of a decade raising Zoë.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • Nearly so, of an ill-fated counterattack that the enemy, using technology provided by the godlike Consu, were able to predict and nearly utterly destroy. This throws certain suspicion on him, but also makes him invaluable, since his experience, no matter how limited, with this new technology is crucial to the workaround the CU ultimately achieves.
    • He's also nearly the sole survivor of the Old Farts, a group that Perry formed when he was first inducted into the CDF. After approximately ten years in the service, only he, Harry Wilson and Jesse Gonzales, survive. Both Gonzalez and Perry retire from the CDF (not that it lasts for Perry), but Wilson re-ups and takes Perry's place as the main character.
  • Space Marine: The whole CDF is a shout-out to the Mobile Infantry of Heinlein's Starship Troopers, so this trope is a must.
  • Telepathy: The BrainPal allows this. He loses the ability before the events of "The Last Colony", due to his being given a new unenhanced human body.
  • Your Cheating Heart: John reveals that he cheated on Kathy once. It nearly led to her divorcing him, not because of the cheating (a hormonal weakness), but because he lied to her about it (a conscious choice). Fortunately, love won out. Besides, she ended up cheating on him a few years later, so John considers them even.

    Harry Wilson 

The series' second and current main character. Came up with Perry on the same beanstalk, and became his friend. Survived the series thus far by getting himself attached to CDF Research and Development, and later, as a CDF technical advisor to the Colonial Union's civilian diplomatic corps.

  • Ambadassador: Becomes this after being attached to the CU diplomatic corps, where (despite being a technical advisor) he develops considerable, if blunt and unsophisticated, diplomatic skills.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the snarkiest character in the series, which is really, really, saying something.
  • Foil: To John Perry. Like Perry, he's a huge Deadpan Snarker whose every other sentence is some kind of smart remark or quip. However, while Perry managed to use this behavior to endear himself to everyone, Wilson mostly just gets on people's nerves. After he becomes the viewpoint character, pretty much the only people shown to treat Wilson with anything other than barely-concealed irritation are Hart and Danielle. Also, while both are genetically enhanced super soldiers with an uncanny ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, Perry becomes a famous and beloved military hero for it, while Wilson's equally remarkable accomplishments are deliberately kept under wraps by the CU.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Wilson was a mathematics PHD on Earth, which makes him a natural choice for CDF R&D. But he emerges as this trope when he gets his start working on a technology that's so spectacularly advanced even the CDF scientists (having had access to much more sophisticated technologies and mathematics for their entire lives) don't have the math for it, and proves to be one of their most effective researchers.
  • Guile Hero: Despite being a CDF soldier, Wilson spends most of his time using his brain to solve problems, not a gun. Indeed, in virtually every one of his appearances, he's creating insanely inventive solutions for a host of problems he has no training or experience whatsoever to handle. Most of these solutions, though, tend to throw a bone into his boss's, Ambassador Abumwe, negotiations. Rarely do they derail them, and rarely is Abumwe unsuccessful, but they do usually significantly change the calculus.
  • Nice Guy: Wilson is extremely irreverent, cynical and sarcastic, but he's one of the nicest guys in the CU, and genuinely cares for virtually everyone he meets, whether he's known them for five seconds or even if they've tried to kill him moments before.

    Jane Sagan 

A soldier in the CDF's highly elite and incredibly secretive Special Forces. She also happens to be a clone of Perry's wife, Kathy, who enlisted in the CDF but died before her 75th birthday. After a huge ambush, Sagan saves Perry, who is obviously interested in Sagan. Sagan also begins to show some elements of Kathy's personality, and eventually they fall in love, retire from the CDF, marry, and adopt a daughter, Zoe.

  • Almighty Mom: Due in part to her history as a Special Forces soldier, she's not willing to take crap from anyone, and few people are willing to give her any.
  • Artificial Human: A genetically engineered Super Soldier trained to be a killer since the moment she was born. She makes an explicit comparison between Special Forces soldiers like her and Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Baleful Polymorph: In "The Last Colony", she discovers that she has been turned back into a Super Soldier against her will, after she had spent years learning how to be a normal human.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Like Perry, she has a normal human body after retiring from the military, but with considerable military experience. Few people are willing to cross her even in her unenhanced form.
  • Child Soldiers: Sagan was cloned and raised for war. Moments after she awoke for the first time, she was handed a gun. She was trained for about a week (which is all the time a Special Forces soldier needs) and sent out to do the most dangerous jobs in the galaxy. By The Last Colony, she's about seventeen years old.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Sagan Diaries, and, to a lesser extent, The Ghost Brigades.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Toward Perry and the world in general. She's far more uptight than her Special Forces comrades.
  • Emotionless Girl: Initially. This is partly the result of being a Special Forces soldier, and partially because Sagan just isn't a very fun person. She lightens up after meeting Perry.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: In "The Last Colony", after she realizes she has been turned back into a Super Soldier.
  • Laughing Mad: After she realizes that she has a BrainPal again, and that it has just been activated remotely.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Like Perry, she gets selected to help lead a new colony. Unlike Perry, she is turned back into a Super Soldier against her will due certain expected risks they have not been told about.
  • Named After Someone Famous: She was named after Carl Sagan.
  • Parental Abandonment: Like all Special Forces troops, she has no parents, only a progenitor whose genes were used as the foundation for her creation but who died years before.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: A rare positive example: After the events of "The Ghost Brigades", the CDF leadership offers her the chance to retire and settle on a quiet backwater colony with John Perry and Zoë Boutin as the most humane way to deal with the fact that She Knows Too Much.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Invoked and Subverted: She is more or less a clone of Kathy Perry, and shares some personality traits with her (her stubbornness, for one), but she is clearly a different person with a different personality and history. All that said, part of her desire for a relationship with Perry is the fact that he is the only connection she has to her progenitor.
  • She Knows Too Much: Unusually for this trope, the CDF leadership decides it'd be best to just Throw the Dog a Bone and buy her secrecy by letting her marry John and exile the both of them to a pleasant backwater colony to raise Zoë.
  • Super Soldier: She was created to be an elite soldier from birth.
  • Telepathy: As with everyone using the BrainPal. Of course, her BrainPal gets a software patch that allows her to read other users' thoughts.
  • Tell Me About My Father: After she comes to terms with meeting the widower of her progenitor, she repeatedly meets him in secret to ask him questions about Kathy.

    Zoe Boutin 

A young girl from Phoenix, and the daughter of Charles Boutin, the CU's greatest traitor. After the events of The Ghost Brigades, she is adopted by Perry and Sagan.

    Jared Dirac 

Another Special Forces soldier who is implanted with a copy of Charles Boutin's consciousness, to allow the CDF to interrogate the traitor. It didn't work, and Dirac was given to the ordinary Special Forces, where he served with Jane Sagan. Eventually, certain parts of Boutin's memories and personality surface, which ultimately helps the CDF to thwart Boutin's plans and the coalition of alien species threatening humanity in The Ghost Brigades.

  • Artificial Human: He was born as a fully-grown adult.
  • Blank Slate: Is born with a fully developed body but no consciousness, and finds everything new, strange, and terrifying before his BrianPal kicks on to guide him.
  • Bloody Murder: Successfully uses his inorganic nanotechnological SmartBlood, which can ignite on command from the BrainPal, as an improvised weapon.
  • Child Soldiers: Even more so than Jane Sagan. The Ghost Brigades begins with his birth.
  • Dead Man Writing: The message which he left for Boutin to read after Boutin took over his body. Bonus points for being weapons-grade Schmuck Bait.
  • The Everyman: Like John Perry, being in the Special Forces is as new to him as it is to us.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Similar to Jane, with the added bonus that he was originally created to house someone else's memories and personality. His personality manifested when that plan didn't pan out, only for bits and pieces of the original personality to start to bleed through.
  • Grand Theft Me: Once Boutin captures him, there is nothing Jared can do to prevent him from taking over his body and erasing Jared. Unfortunately for Boutin, Jared leaves him a parting gift.
  • Kill It with Fire: See Bloody Murder.
  • Named After Someone Famous: He was named after Paul Dirac.
  • Trigger Phrase: An unusual example in which its not actually intentional. A side effect of the failed attempt to implant Boutin's personality in Jared's body is that certain mundane things cause parts of Boutin's memories or personality to connect to Jared's personality. The first such one is a bag of black jelly beans which lead to Jared having a full-blown Freak Out!.


    Charles Boutin 

A top CU scientist, and among the most important consciousness transfer scientists, a technology crucial to the CDF, as it transfers the personalities and memories of the 75-year-old recruits into their new bodies. His treason sets the stage for the second book, The Ghost Brigades.

  • Anticlimax Boss: Jared tricks him into killing himself after taking over Jared's body. Most of the book is about stopping the three-species coalition he is responsible for starting.
  • Cloning Blues: Of two types, even! First, he creates a clone of himself which he uses to fake his own suicide (the CDF investigators voice the hope that the clone wasn't conscious for the experience). Second, he leaves a copy of his consciousness in a computer, which the CDF implants into a new Special Forces soldier, Jared Dirac, in order to 'interrogate' Boutin.
  • Category Traitor: Betrays humanity to an unprecendented coalition of three alien races, whose intent is wipe out humanity.
  • French Jerk: Charles Boutin is descended from the ancient French community on Phoenix, which was established before the CU implemented its policy of taking colonists from only those Earth nations that cannot support their population, including India and Norway.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After he explains to Jared his plan to wipe out the CDF via a computer virus in their BrainPal implants, and then takes over Jared's body, he foolishly activates a virus Jared left in his own BrainPal, leading directly to his death.
  • Pet the Dog: What he did for the Obin. They were created as a rather sick experiment by the Consu, which left them as empty shells, with intelligence but no consciousness or personality. Boutin used his technology to give them consciousness and personality.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He believes that the Colonial Union is deliberately keeping diplomatic options hidden in order to control all of humanity under a military dictatorship, and that his "betrayal" is a long-overdue blow against them. Even Jared opposes him more on the principle that his plan involves too many deaths than truly believing that he's wrong. At the end of the book, though, we find out that Boutin didn't know the whole picture regarding the galactic political situation.

    General Szilard 

The general commanding CDF Special Forces. He's heavily involved with the very sensitive missions undertaken by Sagan and her team in Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: We never see him in action, but there's no way you become top dog in the Special Forces without being a galaxy-class badass.
  • Child Soldiers: For all his rank and importance, he's only about twenty years old, and has been a soldier for that entire time.
  • A Father to His Men: Clearly cares a lot about the people under his command.
  • Guile Hero: He's one of the key people in the CU's Counter-Conclave policy at the end of The Ghost Brigades.
  • Named After Someone Famous: He is named after Leo Szilard.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: One of the very few characters in the upper echelon of the Colonial Union's apparatus with any sort of exposure, and a very reasonable person. He even lets Sagan retire to colonize and raise Zoe with Perry, which is unheard of.

    Hart Schmidt 

Deputy Ambassador to Ambassador Abumwe in The Human Division and associated short fiction. Harry Wilson's best friend.

  • Action Survivor: On multiple occassions, survives by sheer luck and occasionally through the efforts of others.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Not often, but sometimes he says impolitic things, which is part of why it takes Ambassador Abumwe so long to trust him or use him for anything important, except helping Wilson.
  • Blue Blood: A member of an ancient and mighty political family on Phoenix.
  • Butt-Monkey: Constantly, especially when Ambassador Abumwe's around. The guy just can't catch a break, until the end, when he becomes one of Abumwe's most trusted subordinates, and when Abumwe and her team make it off the B-list of CU diplomats.
  • The Chick: Scalzi regularly makes him into the equivalent of a Distressed Damsel.
  • Guile Hero: He doesn't usually come up with the ideas, but he's usually vital to Wilson's plans.
  • The Heart: Pretty much the moral center of Abumwe's team, he's much less acerbic than the ambassador herself, and much less sarcastic and cynical than Wilson.
  • Nice Guy: Another of the nicest people in the CU.
  • Obiwan Moment: At the climax of The Human Division. Ironically, he survives because of this. When he realizes he is going to die, he lays down to Face Death with Dignity, and notices an emergency air tank tucked underneath a nearby workstation just as the compartment he is in is exposed to vacuum.
  • Spare to the Throne: He went into Colonial politics partially because his older brother was expected to take their father's place as the head of their homeworld's dominant political party. Unexpectedly, the oldest son instead elected to support the opposition party (he has two other siblings: His sister is a big mover and shaker in various charities, and his other brother has pretty much decided on being a Rich Idiot with No Day Job since everybody else was being responsible.)
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: His father isn't the nicest person at the best of times, and vocally disapproves of Hart's decision to serve in the Colonial Union's diplomatic corps rather than applying his considerable skills and connections on his homeworld of Phoenix instead. Once he finally has enough of his family's ribbing over his career and vehemently declares why his work is important and why he is not going to give it up despite the hardships and humiliations, his father responds by silently raising his glass in a toast.

    Ode Abumwe 

An ambassador in the CU's diplomatic corps. She's a rather unorthodox diplomat, and so is relegated to the lower reaches of the CU's diplomatic hierarchy, but proves herself to be exceptionally skilled when confronted with unusual diplomatic scenarios, due in part to the quirkiness of her team. She's eventually tapped as sort of an emergency firefighter for the CU, and gets to handle all of the weirdest assignments. The CU, being a bunch of cagey bastards who play things way too close to the chest, never lets her in on this little tidbit, making it seem like she has the most spectacularly bad luck in the galaxy.

  • Ambadassador: Considering the number of sticky situations she's gotten her people out of with no casualties, she's definitely this.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: In the right situation, she's extremely effective, but she's just not a very nice person. Early on in The Human Division, Harry Wilson remarks that she just doesn't seem to like people. And she does finally warm up to Wilson and Schmidt.
  • Butt-Monkey: Unknowingly so, but she's intentionally put into all these strange scenarios because she's shown herself to be excellent at handling them. She just doesn't know that.
  • The Exile: She was born in Nigeria, but her parents fled to the CU to escape civil war.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Towards Wilson, Hart, and the universe in general over the course of The Human Division.
  • Guile Hero: Of the highest caliber. Of all the incredibly strange and nearly impossible situations she gets dropped into, she comes out of all but one smelling like roses, having gotten everything the CU wanted and usually more. The only one she screwed up was one where she was basically ordered to screw up.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: She was born on Earth, but her family became colonists when she was very young. As a result, she feels no particular ties to her homeworld and instead serves in the Colonial Union Diplomatic Corps.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Colonels Abel Rigney and Elizabeth Egan use her and her team to solve the trickiest problems in the universe, so naturally she becomes this. A pity they never tell her that.

    Abel Rigney 

A colonel in the CDF. His exact posting is never elucidated, but he has a close (possibly romantic) relationship with Colonel Elizabeth Egan, who is the CDF's liaison with the CU Department of State, making him ideal for passing the CDF's ideas up the State Department food chain. He also serves as an officially unofficial back channel from the Conclave to the CDF and CU State Department.

  • Guile Hero: Despite being in the CDF, his primary job is developing non-violent solutions in concert with the Department of State. And it's his idea to make use of Ambassador Abumwe's team to put out fires, which turns out to be a very good decision indeed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He and Liz have some of the best banter in the series, which is saying something.
  • Platonic Life-Partners/Like Brother and Sister: Possibly with Liz Egan. They're very close, and it occasionally seems like they might be romantically involved, but it's never made clear, and they do treat each other like siblings.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He's only a Colonel, but his influence is immense, both in the CDF and the State Department. General Tarsem Gau, the leader of the Conclave and almost certainly the most powerful person in the galaxy, regards him as one of the most influential people in the Colonial Union. He's especially this trope because Scalzi never really gives us any real information on the upper reaches of CU power. Rigney's essentially all we've got.


    Elizabeth Egan 

Also a colonel in the CDF. She liaises for the CDF with the Department of State.

  • Guile Hero: Just like Rigney. She's one the largely responsible for implementing his suggestions at State.
  • The Man Behind the Man: At the State Department. From the limited information Scalzi gives the reader, it sure seems like the State Department dances to her tune.


    Earth in general 

While the Colonial Union is largely the face of humanity throughout the galaxy, Earth is not a member. The CU controls all interstellar travel and has kept Earth under an effective quarantine to isolate them from the galaxy at large, meaning the only way to leave is to either serve as a colonist or in the Colonial Defense Forces. This arrangement came crashing down with the events of The Last Colony, and the events of The Human Division served to only make things worse.

  • One World Order: Averted. Earth is still divided among national lines. Of course, it's implied a large part of this is because of the CU's interference.
  • United Nations Is a Superpower: Averted. The UN maintains a delegation with the Conclave in The End of All Things, and the narration describes them as an organization which is not the government of Earth, but sometimes pretends to be in order to represent the Earthers' interests off-world.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The various governments still disagree as much as they ever did, making diplomacy with Earth rather difficult for both the CU and the Conclave.

    Doctor Danielle Lowen 

Daughter of an important Earth politician, and an up and coming diplomat herself.

  • Action Survivor: Finds herself caught up in far more action than she is trained for, but has thus far always pulled through.
  • Ambadassador: While she is no Action Girl, she refuses to take crap from anyone. In a diplomatic setting, she demands and receives respect.
  • Boldly Coming: It has not escaped her attention that Wilson, like all CDF soldiers, is gorgeous. She is annoyed to learn that he is both three times her age and his body specifically designed with that in mind.
  • Damsel in Distress: While very self-capable, Lowen is a diplomat and a doctor, not a soldier. Fortunately, she has usually benefited from the proximity of Harry Wilson whenever her life has been in danger.
  • It's Raining Men: In the climax of The Human Division, she and Harry Wilson space-dive to Earth to escape the destruction of Earth Station. She has to make the trip blind.
  • The Medic: Though she no longer practices medicine, her skills have come in handy more than once, being pressed into performing an autopsy on a murder victim in her first appearance, and providing first aid to bystanders injured by a bombing on Earth in her second appearance.
  • Rescue Romance: Wilson has saved Lowen's life enough times that it has become an acknowledged trend.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: They don't first meet until Earth and the CU have their falling out, and the situation only gets worse from there. Most of their official meetings take place with them on opposite ends of the table.

The Conclave

    The Conclave in general 

The Conclave is an organization of about four hundred sapient, spacefaring races, or about two-thirds of the galaxy. The Conclave's intent is to end the incessant conflict between species and nations in the galaxy, and also to counter the threat of humanity.

  • Anti-Human Alliance: There were a lot of species that wanted to end the endless conflict before the humans showed up, but the aggression and capabilities of the Colonial Union provided much of the immediate impetus for Conclave's founding. Nevertheless, the Conclave bears no particular animosity towards humanity, and does not actually want to destroy the CU, but to live with it.
  • Fictional United Nations: Essentially. It's primary goal is peace.

    Tarsem Gau 

The leader of the Conclave and formerly a general in his species' military.

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: He's a military officer who leads the Conclave's more-or-less civilian government. It's likely he was tapped as the leader of the Conclave because of his asskicking credentials, especially because the founders of the Conclave (of which Gau was one) almost certainly anticipated the need for military force to end the constant internecine conflict throughout the galaxy, and also to enforce the Conclave's galaxy-wide ban on new colonization by unaffiliated species.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: He's not very military any more, being more concerned with running the Conclave, but which (and by extension, he) also happens to command a literally unstoppable number of ships and soldiers.
  • Big Good: For the Conclave, surely, and possibly for the galaxy at large, including humanity. Why the CU has never considered joining the Conclave is never explained, and is probably simply another example of the CU's ongoing inability to solve problems without violence. The Conclave forces the CU to change tactics, but by then it's far too late to join the Conclave. Also possibly for Earth, which has considered joining the Conclave since John Perry led a Conclave fleet to Earth, creating the human division.
  • Inspirational Martyr: He arranges his own assassination via bomb while giving a speech to the Grand Assembly of the Conclave on the importance of preserving their union despite the challenges they face, in hopes that it would galvanize he Conclave into holding itself together.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's a very understanding person, and is one of the primary people holding the Conclave back from destroying humanity after the CDF pulls a particularly nasty stunt. He's also mainly responsible for keeping the Conclave together after that stunt, which nearly brought the new organization to its knees.

    Hafte Sorvalh 

A Lalan diplomat and one of General Gau's closest friends and most trusted subordinates.

  • Badass Bureaucrat: She once got an entire wildcat colony full of committed racists to evacuate by demonstrating the power of her ship's weapons and threatening to have the Conclave force humanity to hand over all white people for execution or be destroyed entirely. She was bluffing, but it worked.
  • Batman Gambit: See Badass Bureaucrat.
  • Big Eater: Really likes churros, and usually eats six at a time.
  • Friend to All Children: While eating churros in Washington, she has an impromptu question-and-answer session with a group of elementary school children on a field trip, and she really hits it off with them. Ironically, it is revealed that a callous disregard for their own young is a Hat of the Lalans, and seen as necessary for them to develop properly and avoid overpopulation.
  • The Lancer: To Tarsem Gau.
  • Nice Girl: Possibly the sweetest person in the galaxy. However, Good Is Not Soft, and she is absolutely ruthless when necessary.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Eminently. She's even more committed to galactic peace than General Gau, which is saying something, and she's essentially willing to do whatever it takes in service of peace.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: She loves churros, which she buys from Tony's Churros on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C., where she serves as a Conclave envoy to Earth and makes contact with Abel Rigney, the back channel from the Conclave to the CDF and CU State Department.
  • Unexpected Successor: Finds herself the leader of the Conclave, much to her surprise and dismay, when General Gau is killed, as a result of a Thanatos Gambit on his part and some quick behind the scenes maneuvering to avoid a Succession Crisis.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: