Cast of Characters
Background: The Wysotti are an ancient race of humans whose starfarers devastated Earth’s Mayan civilization millenniums ago, and God cursed them for it. As the Wysotti’s grand calendar cycle now counts down to its “end of days,” that curse is about to culminate in their annihilation. The catalyst is the Doyons (reptilian aliens from a nearby star system) who thought the Wysotti’s high female to male ratio (an aspect of the curse) made the matriarchal society of traders another easy conquest. With the war in its fifteenth year, increasing shortages and rationing make the Doyon junta fear civil unrest, so the military plan one final blitzkrieg.
Darq (pronounced “dark”) grew up under the yoke of family and tribal expectations and the stigma of being a descendant of the Wysotti captain who massacred the Mayans. She has two pure joys: being the wife of a man who loves her for herself, and flying. She has two regrets: she’ll never be a mother because her husband is sterile, and she’ll never truly have a life of her own choosing. As a result, she’s become a pragmatic interstellar fighter pilot, an honorable warrior-woman who always puts duty before self.
Tokoray (pronounced toe-koh-ray) is a Na-ka-ta. Such self-aware automatons were created by the Wysotti to offset their slow population growth. He is among the elite of Na-ka-tas who volunteer to serve as star-fighter copilots. The best pilot-copilot teams “bond” through a neural net which telepathically links them, and such teams have enabled the space fleet to thwart the Doyons. There is no greater honor for a Na-ka-ta than to fulfill their duty-oath and die with their pilot. Only Tokoray has outlived four pilots. That has resulted in his fellow Na-ka-tas ostracizing him and labeling him a pilot-jinx. He feels guilty for breaking his solemn oath of service and believes he’ll never again be a copilot.
Ippera (pronounced eye-peer-ah) was an unflappable, shrewd, and ruthless Doyon fleet commander who conquered and subjugated worlds. On his deathbed, he looked back at his life and concluded being bred and raised to serve and die for the empire had made him a monster. He welcomed his death. Only his brain was salvaged and transplanted into a prototype destroyer, a starship that bears his name. Because he’s integrated with the ship systems, failsafes prevent him from suiciding. He’s also been warned that if he doesn’t serve to the best of his abilities, his wife and children, whom he holds most dear, will be killed. All the gold in the bust surrounding his brain doesn’t impress him as much as the collar around his neck, and the intolerable reality that he’s now nothing more than a Doyon slave.