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Major Characters in the Trilogy

Syrinx -

Captain of Oenone. A strong-willed, beautiful and intelligent Edenist. She displays a special talent for being a captain of a voidhawk and is a natural born leader, always in charge of everything in her life from her position as captain to her relationships with her lovers and other people.

During her volunteer period with the Confederation Navy, she follows the Lady MacBeth after it leaves Idria. She is frustrated with Joshua’s apparent incompetence in making ZTT jumps. It takes him six days to make just 53 light years. His maneuvering is sloppy. Of course, unbeknownst to her, he is doing this intentionally, as a decoy for an illegal antimatter transport mission by the Dechal. She decides to move in. board the ship, and seize the alleged antimatter technology it carries. Joshua welcomes her and her crew aboard, plays innocent, and admires Syrinx’s body. This infuriates her even more. But, when the cargo pods are opened, no antimatter tech is found. She, Oenone, and the others have been had. To make matters worse, Oenone seems to take a liking to Joshua, who the voidhawk describes as “Young and carefree, roaming the universe. Very romantic.” Syrinx is indignant with her ship.

After completing her military tour, she and the crew of Oenone decide to try their hand and merchant trading. Her first stop is the Atlantis to take on a load of its renowned seafood for shipment to Norfolk, where she plans to trade for Norfolk Tears. She negotiates a deal with Eysk to bring 10% of the Tears back to Atlantis in exchange for preferential treatment in selecting her oceanic delicacies. The sell of the remaining load of Tears will reap a tremendous amount of cash for Oenone’s crew. Her profit margin will be strengthen even more by the fact that voidhawk operational costs are much lower than those of Adamist starships.

Syrinx runs into Joshua on Norfolk during the two-week trading season of Norfolk Tears. She is cold toward him, believing that he made her into a fool when Oenone intercepted the Lady MacBeth for allegedly carrying antimatter technology and then found nothing. Her theory, she tells him, is that Joshua was carrying illegal confinement coils. At some point outsystem, he dropped the coils off into empty space and then made a ZTT jump. Oenone could not detect the small coil containers and quickly followed the Lady Mac. Afterwards, the second ship picked up the coils and raced them to their destination while Joshua continued to make jump after jump leading Syrinx and her crew astray. Joshua bluffs that it is all impossible because he is not an “ace astrogrator.” Syrinx, however, doesn’t believe him.

She is immensely successful in selling Norfolk Tears on many stops throughout the Confederation. The Oenone went so far as Auckland, some 400 lyrs away from Norfolk. At that distance, the price of Tears was astronomical (it goes up in direct proportion to distance transported). The crew returns to Pernik to honor her deal with Eysk’s family for ten percent of the cargo acquired. Syrinx arrives just as the reality dysfunction is unleashed upon Pernik. The habitat is being possessed, as are most of the people she knows, including her brief lover Mosul. She ends up being captured and tortured horribly, her legs mangled by a torturer for the pleasure of the possessed. She is close to unconsciousness from the sheer pain when Laton (who has taken over the Pernik personality habitat) intervenes on her behalf, rescuing her as a final act before obliterating his neural stratum.

Oenone flies her immediately back to the Sol System. Ruben talks the voidhawk out of taking Syrinx home, to the Romulus habitat around Saturn. Instead, he directs the ship to Jupiter and the Kristata habitat, which has more advanced medical facilities and, being at Jupiter, afforded the ability to inform the Edenist Consensus of Syrinx's torture.

Syrinx’s therapy is a manipulation of memory and mind that takes her back to Eden, the original Edenist habitat. There she meets Wing-Tsit Chong, the long-dead person who invented the affinity. He takes on the role of a wise old Zen master and guides her through the puzzle of the mental anguish she is has experienced as a result of her torture. She appears before him as a younger girl, her adult memories being temporarily blocked from the pain they contain. She learns from Chong that she has been traumatized by some outside influence. There is an owl overlooking this exchange, Chong motions to it and asks Syrinx to call out its name. “Oenone!” she says immediately and her deep intimacy with the voidhawk calls her back to the present, including all the profoundly horrible memories of her torture. But, her love for Oenone overwhelms all that.

Then Wing-Tsit Chong says something quite interesting, given what is happening in the rest of the galaxy at this time. He compliments himself on creating the affinity band because it allows people to see each other completely. “To allow people to see the love and the sourness which lives in all of us. Only then can we come to terms with what we are.” At which point Syrinx opens her eyes to find herself wrapped in medical nanonics, her mother crying by her side as Syrinx speaks in recognition of her.

She "visits" Wing-Tsit Chong a total of eight times. Sometimes she sees him with her therapists or with Athene or Sinon or Ruben. She remains caged by her fears. Chong makes it clear that the solution to Syrinx’s personal traumas is inexorably linked to the greater solution of the reality dysfunction itself. After all, the dysfunction created the situation in which her torture occurred. Chong believes Syrinx should go to the Kiint homeworld to seek out the Kiint understanding of the problems the dysfunction presents to humanity. It will be “good therapy” he tells her. She agrees to go. Oenone is elated at the prospect of returning to space after such a long time.

Ione Salana -

The current "Lord of Ruin." A sensuous young woman, the first female Lord descended from Michael Saldana. Saldana’s are a super-genetic family line with a 200 year life expectancy, very high IQ, and much internal strengthening. She wants Joshua to make her pregnant, much to his shock. She highly suspects Joshua has psychic abilities as evidenced by his uncanny ability to make the greatest discoveries with the Ruin Ring. She thinks this kind of extrasensory ability would make a perfect genetic contribution to the Saldana lineage. Ione’s reason for the long continued research on the Laymil is that they were very similar to humans in many respects. Whatever happened to them could also happen to humans, so it is a matter of importance to discover what caused their destruction. She speculates that the Laymil were destroyed either by something they discovered for themselves which caused them to commit mass suicide or because something discover them and destroyed them.

The Laymil research project manages to translate 3 minutes from the intact circuitry found by Joshua in the Ruin Ring. Ione gets to experience this through sensevised technology and discovers what consciousness is like from the Laymil perspective. There are about 8,000 hours of usable sensorium data yet to be translated. The find is an astonishing breakthrough in the research project and reveals details of a mating ritual. Upon this experience, Ione immediately orders a shift in the focus of the research effort away from analyzing Laymil technology and physical attributes toward studying their cultural make-up.

Even though the couple placed a fertilized egg into zero-tau, Ione is, in addition, pregnant with Joshua’s child in her womb, but she does not tell him.

Learning that the latest research on the Laymil indicates that they destroyed themselves when they came across some sort of mysterious force causes her to want to once again experience the sensedata first hand. She takes on the consciousness of the Laymil shipmaster, escaping the planet. She first learns of the term “Reality Dysfunction”, used in the context of what the Laymil have encountered. For them this means that Unimerion’s life-harmony has been disrupted. The ship escapes the planet. When the sensevised experience is over, Ione inquires about the ‘reality dysfunction.” Lieria offers the explanation that it is more than just the violation of the Laymil life-harmony essence. “The impression conveyed by the memory is that it is more than a mental reorientation, it also incorporated a distortion within the local physical matrix.” Parker Higgins summarizes: “We believe this reality dysfunction, whatever it is, is behind both the removal of the Laymil planet and the suicide of the spaceholms.” It sudden dawns on Ione that this phenomenon is very similar to descriptions of Laton’s “energy virus” report on Lalonde.

Upon Joshua’s return she realizes that there is no chance of them remaining together as a couple for long. She being tied to Tranquillity as a dictator, he being unable to resist space travel. She tries to work through her feelings with Tranquillity and it is revealed in the course of the dialog that she is actually carrying Joshua’s child in her womb. This is a second child conceived just before Joshua's Norfolk run. Ione elects not to tell Joshua about this child. Her motivations for keeping this a secret are unclear, but they may have something to do with her (soon to be revealed) plans for Joshua. Tranquillity believes that the child needs to be nurtured in a complete family (i.e. with a father and mother). Ione wants to do what’s best for her child, but she also wants to do what is best in the Dr. Mzu escape situation. She knows Joshua is the best person to search for the Garissan scientist. She talks Joshua into taking the assignment with promises of plenty of assistance from serjeants and combat wasps supplied by Tranquillity.

Joshua Calvert -

A Ruin Ring scavenger with the uncanny ability to make significant finds within the Ring. The most significant occurs early in the Reality Dysfunction; a completely intact Laymil electronic circuitry board which turns out to contain a tremendous amount of information about the Laymilian culture. Calvert has the board sold at auction whereupon it is acquired by Tranquillity for its research efforts (at the price of over 7.5 million fuseodollars). Joshua uses the money from the sell to finalize repairs on the Lady MacBeth, a spaceship once owned by his, now disceased, father. As a result of Tranquillity’s acquisition, he meets 18 year old Ione Saldana. The two of them immediately launch into a brief, passionate affair. Joshua always uses neural nanonics to prolong his sexual prowess until his partner has an orgasm first. He then turns them off and reaches his own climax. This makes him a terrific lover, always considering the complete enjoyment and satisfaction of his mate before surrendering himself completely to the act.

After eight months of life as a space transportation provider, the Lady MacBeth becomes a financial liability. Joshua and his crew have been busy, but not profitable because the ship requires so much capital for fuel, operations, and maintenance. He decides to accept an offer by Hasan Rawand to be a partner in a mission to deliver antimatter confinement equipment. The lucrative venture promises enough money for the Lady MacBeth’s crew to solve its cash flow problems.

After this venture, Joshua goes to Lalonde and uses the money from to take on a load of mayope which he and his crew plan to take to Norfolk in exchange for a load of the renowned Norfolk Tears. By selling a load of Tears himself, instead of simply transporting for a middleman, he will bring very lucrative profits to the Lady MacBeth’s crew. During his brief stay on Norfolk he has an intense sexual relationship with Louise Kavanagh. Uncharacteristically, he tells Louise that he loves her and promises her he will come back for her. Unbeknownst to Joshua, Louise becomes pregnant with his child.

After the splendid success of his mayope run to Norfolk in exchange for Norfolk Tears, Joshua decides to try and secure a monopoly of the product on the planet for at least two more conjunctions. That will require large sums of up front money. Joshua plans to use the crews vast earnings from the recent Norfolk run to bribe mayope sources on Lalonde. The Lady Mac returns to that planet with those plans in mind.

Joshua secures the financial backing to secure a monopoly on mayope just as the news of Laton’s appearance and the strange events on Lalonde surfaces. The Lady Mac’s crew decides to Lalonde anyway. One more run and they will all be immensely wealthy. In order to pull it off, however, Joshua and his crew sign on Terrance Smith’s mercenary battlegroup, agreeing to fly troop escort to the planet. Once there, they hope to load up the precious wood and return to Norfolk for another load of Tears.

When the mercenary group become entangled in the Battle of Lalonde, Joshua is forced to make an unconventional maneuver with the Lady MacBeth by flying through Lalonde’s atmosphere to avoid combat wasps. The crew decides to jump to Murora, the largest gas giant in the Lalonde system. There they intend to wait out the battle, then return to attempt to pick up the mercenary team the crew dropped on Lalonde as part of Terrance Smith’s response to the “invasion” of his planet. At Aethra, the ship is forced to rescue surviving Edenists from an attack by sequestered mercenary vessels that arrived before the Lady Mac. In another masterfully executed precision flight, Joshua navigates the ship toward the lifeboats of the survivors and scoops them up rather abruptly while the sequestered ships close in on the Lady Mac. A problem immediately becomes apparent when it is discovered that most of the Edenists are children, incapable of withstanding the type of acceleration needed to outrun the approaching enemy vessels. Joshua, thinking quickly, has all the children placed in zero-tau pods. The Lady Mac, which has been countering several launches of combat wasps by the other vessels throughout this time, launches its last combat wasp and heads toward the rings around Murora with the hope of confusing any enemy wasps amidst the debris of the ring. Joshua’s last wasp releases 27 fusion bombs which detonate 100 kms behind the Lady Mac, forming a temporary visual and electronic barrier to mask his decent into the ring.

After pulling off the rescue of the Edenists stationed at Aethra and hiding the Lady MacBeth inside the debris forming a ring around Murora, he sends Warlow and Ashly out to tether the ship to a large ring particle position directly above the spacecraft. With that accomplished he can shut off the ship’s engines and float along the ring effortlessly without fear of Maranta and Gramine, the two ships attempting to destroy the Lady Mac and Aethra, detecting his ion plume within the ring.

Aethra (whose affinity band has been connected directly into the Lady Mac’s computer thanks to Gaura) alerts Joshua that Kelly Tirrel is sending a microwave communication. In it, Kelly states clearly that Lalonde has been taken over by possessed beings coming back from the dead. They are need of immediate assistance. The Lady Mac’s crew discusses this briefly. Some feel Kelly has lost her mind, others that she might actually be possessed herself. But, Joshua’s instinct tells him that she is telling the truth.

The problem is how to make a ZTT jump back to Lalonde with two possessed ships flanking him. Such jumps are impossible within a gravity influence. The answer is to maneuver to the “Lagrange point” between Murora and Murora VII, the gas supergiant’s small moon. It is a complicated maneuver. The Lagrange point itself requires the ship’s fusion nodes be triggered in precisely one-tenth of a second. The ship will then have to jump to Achillea, the third gas giant in the star system, slingshot around, its moon into a trajectory properly aligned with Lalonde.

Joshua pulls off the brilliant flying maneuver at the Lagrange point. He ultimately returns to Lalonde via a slingshot around Achillea, but is unable to initially make contact with Kelly Tirrel or any of Reza’s scout team. Then, the crew spots Reza’s detonation of his team’s nuke. This gives their position away. At the same time, Joshua receives a communication from Kelly that they are under heavy attack by the possessed in the form of a medieval army. Joshua immediately sends the Lady Mac’s spaceplane to the rescue.

His return to Tranquillity in a badly damaged but serviceable Lady Mac sends alarm throughout the habitat. Everyone realizes that he is the ONLY one of Terrance Smith’s vast armada to make it back to safety. Father Horst’s group of children are naturally the focal point of everyone’s immediate attention.

Since the press reports are released regarding his brilliant flying maneuvers at Murora everyone calls him “LaGrange” Calvert. His exploits are renown but he is not allowed any rest. Ione quickly talks him into going in search of Dr. Mzu. He accepts not only because of Ione’s persuasive abilities, but because he realizes what an incredible danger the Alchemist could be if unleashed.

His cover for his search mission for Dr. Mzu is that the Lady MacBeth has been contracted by the Lord of Ruin to secure some components for the habitat’s SD platform. As the ship is refitted for departure, he and the remaining crewmembers attend a brief service arranged by Father Horst commemorating those who died to get the children off Lalonde. After the service he happens upon Kelly Tirrel who tells him she is going to take all the money she made from her reports and place herself in zero-tau in order to avoid death and the beyond. Joshua tells her that “I know what happens when you die. But you can’t give up hope for something better. You can’t stop living just because you’re frightened.” In his own way, this marks the beginning of his coming to “faith.”

Initially, Joshua attempts to discover what happened to the Udat. He learns from a hired informant that it docked on the Nyiru asteroid and left for the Sol system. However, Dr. Mzu hired the Samaku to take her to Ayacucho. Joshua is somewhat alarmed by this news as he realizes that Ione’s hunch about the doctor is correct, she is going to the remnants of her dead nation to recover the Alchemist.

Dr. Alkad Mzu -

The Garissian scientist permanently banished to Tranquillity. She seeks a way to get off the habitat, supposedly to retrieve the Neutronium Alchemist she invented and proceed with retribution against the Omutan government for annihilating her home in the Garissian star system 30 years ago. She is under constant surveillance by eight different Intelligence agencies. Dr. Mzu is enraged as the 30-year sanctions placed against Omuta by the Confederation come to an end.

She is systematically contacting captains of blackhawks and starships about the possibility of hiring them to transport her to a destination in the New California system where she intends to pick up some unmentioned cargo and jump to another destination. Her efforts are being closely monitored by Tranquillity’s security. In the past 20 months, the doctor has approached some 63 captains, each time explaining the same mission.

Finally, she makes good her escapes from Tranquillity on the blackhawk Udat thanks to a brilliant exhibition of flying by Meyer. The ship swallows in and out again of Tranquillity’s southern hemisphere, making its exit before Dr. Mzu is securely inside, but she survives the ordeal and makes it to freedom. By wearing a SII spacesuit, she is shielded from the harshness of space. She is safely hauled inside the spacecraft shortly after emerging from ZTT. She brings a backpack aboard with her, which she does not allow anyone to touch or carry for her.

After paying her fee, she exits the Udat at the asteroid Narok. Unbeknownst to the crew, she also planted a device that creates an oscillation in the ship's distortion field upon its next jump. This destroys the Udat. Dr. Mzu does this out of revenge. The Udat was among the mercenary ships that intercepted the Beezling thirty years ago as it attempted to deploy the Neutronium Alchemist against Omuta.

She charters the Samaku, an Adamist starship, for 250,000 fuseodollars to get to the Darados as soon as possible. Arrives on the ship at the Dorados Asteroids. Due to the Confederation ban of civilian spaceflight, she is initially refused landing rights. But when she, on a whim, uses the name “Ikela” and threatens to tell him of her inconvenience at being granted docking permission, that permission is quickly granted.

It turns out that invoking the name of Ikela was the right move for Dr. Mzu. The wealthy founder of the T’Opingtu company is well known and his wrath is somewhat feared in the Darados. But, his wealthy aspirations have been at the expense of the partisan movement, which, though still existing, is lackluster at best. This enrages Dr. Mzu. Ikela promises to do his part. He will find her a combat worthy spaceship and will call together all the remaining partisan leaders to meet with her.

After meeting the five heads of the Garissan partisan movement and leaving them to debate their future course regarding her mission to retrieve and deploy the Alchemist, she runs into Voi once again. Voi has discovered that recently arriving Edenist ESA agents have infested Ayacucho with affinity-bonded spiders in search of Dr. Mzu. Voi offers the support of her young, inexperienced group again. Dr. Mzu ponders her situation for a moment. Then she decides that if the original five decide not to help her she will take Voi up on her offer.

Louise Kavanagh -

16 year old daughter of Grant Kavanagh. Her shapely beauty is just beginning to emerge, with small noses and narrow eyes, and pronounced cheeks. Being raised on Norfolk, she is rather naïve about the universe beyond her planet and estate. She is confident of who she is and of her family's aristocratic standing. When she initially meets Joshua Calvert he fascinates her as adventurous outsider. Soon, she becomes more attracted to him as he does to her. They make love; Joshua gently showing her how as Louise is a virgin. After the heat of their passion they each other that they love one another. During Joshua's brief stay, they enjoy several wild sexual encounters including one where both their bodies are showered under the invaluable droplets from the weeping roses that make Norfolk Tears. Before Joshua leaves, Louise becomes emboldened in long sexual acts with him. He promises to return to Norfolk for her.

Louise becomes pregnant from her sexual escapades with Joshua Calvert. She and her sister escape Cricklade manor on horseback as it is possessed after her father's failed attempt to squelch the "uprising" in Boston. They happen upon Carmitha as she is racing away in a caravan from several of the possessed on horseback. The wagon falters and the three ladies are caught by the pursuing party. She is defiant in the face of their threats to the three women who are saved when Fletcher Christian appears and protects them. Learning that Colsterworth is under the control of the possessors and of the inevitable fall of the planet to possession from Fletcher, she decides to take Genevieve's advice and journey to Bytham. There, it is hoped, they can board an "aeroambulance" and get to Norwich, eventually making it off the planet.

After landing in Norwich, she and her sister are taken by their aunt to Balfern House for refuge. There she is introduced to Roberto, her aunt's son. Later, she meets with Fletcher Christian, who is forced to stay in the servants quarters, and begins to plot to get off Norfolk and go to Tranquillity in search of Joshua Calvert.

Louise successfully negotiates a berth on the Far Realm for Genevieve, Fletcher Christian and herself, although she is unable to secure direct passage to Tranquillity as is her desire. Instead, the Far Realm must accompany navy frigates wherever they are called under decree by the Confederation General Assembly council in response to the possession crisis. She returns to Balfern House to pack and is almost raped by her cousin Roberto Hewson. She manages to fight him off by hitting him with a shotgun that was given to her by Carmitha.

Immediately afterwards Fletcher, Genevieve and herself go to Bennett Field, Norwich's main aerodrome, where the Far Realm is in port. By now, however, the facility is under full military control and they are refused entrance, even after Louise presents the guards with a copy of her transport contract with the Far Realm. Fletcher bluffs that he will contact the Earl of Luffenham if there is any trouble, then transforms his clothing into a military uniform and escorts the sisters to the hangar where the Far Realm is located. Along the way they accidentally run into Quinn Dexter and Lawrence Dillion who are also seeking passage off the planet. Quinn almost takes her transport contract away from Louise when, suddenly, a mysterious figure at the far end of the hangar fires powerful bolts at Quinn thus enabling the sisters and Fletcher Christian to escape. They eventually find the Far Realm's spaceplane and board it.

Furay tells the trio that the Far Realm is approved to leave Norfolk orbit for Mars. But, he adds that the reason for their departure is that the Confederation believes that people are being possessed on a few scattered planets. It is believed that Norfolk has been possessed as well, he says.

While in route to Mars aboard the Far Realm, she uses the ship’s on-board computer to catch up with the history of the galaxy since her education was so lacking on the traditionally backwards Norfolkian culture. As she arrives at Mars, she, her sister, and Fletcher Christian, however, run into a legal snag because they don’t have any passports. Endron, however, knows of a way to obtain the passports without involving authorities. It will be expensive, but Louise immediately agrees to the plan.