Isra, The Night Traveler

One of my favorite moments in Saturnius Mons happens in this chapter.

It's that moment where everyone is running for the ships and there is this very real feeling that the conflict is about to be over. Except Isra, seemingly out of nowhere, turns back.

I left her exact motivation and reason for this move a little ambiguous in this chapter for a reason and that reason being I like the ideas of little unexplained holes in the narrative that people can fill in for themselves.

But it seemed like a good time to take a moment and talk about Isra Jicarrio. 

I think they call this an identity crisis.
First concept art  Isra?   Via Hero Machine.
So, you all are probably looking at this piece of concept art and realizing something pretty quickly.  Who the hell is Ariane?

Isra Jicarrio was originally named Ariane Jicarria until my wife read the first version of the book and made the comment that Althea and Ariane are two very similar names that she kept mixing up.

Which made sense.  To this day, I wasn't sure what I was thinking.

But that was just the most obvious example of how this character changed.  No main character in the Ruins of Empire series ever gave me as much trouble or was as hard to pin down as Isra.

My first incarnation of Isra was a lot more hot-headed.  You know the story of Alexander and the Gordian knot?  That was basically her response to just about everything.

Ariane shook her head, “Oh hell no.  When did this come up?”

“I got a hit from HRCP headquarters just before we boarded the shuttle. Said they were adding a comm-spect-field- tech something or other.”

“A mult-spectrum communications and field operations techinition.  We don’t need one.” said Ariane reaching for the bucket again.

“He’s an expert in 21st century technology”

“I don’t care if he can rebuild the old Internet with chewing gum and a paperclip.  Not interested.”

“Listen.  The HRCP disagrees.”

“The do that when they are wrong.”

“He’s coming.”

“I’ll kill him.”

“That’s certainly an option that we will entertain planet-side when we can throw the body in a lake.”

“Viekko!” said Althea.

“I’m kidding.  Kidding really.  Look, I’m sure the guy is very capable.”

Something over Viekko’s shoulder suddenly caught Ariane’s eye, “Don’t be so sure.”

She was snarky and curt and violent and... well... Viekko.  And we already had a Viekko.  I had also cast her as the mission leader and put her in a kind of diplomatic role.  But, of course, that kind of aggressive personality isn't totally conducive to diplomacy.

So she changed.  And changed and changed. Again.

I could probably write five or six posts just on her various incarnations.  With every new version of the book came complete with a new version of Isra and, in fact, Ruins of Empire #2, Templum Veneris, has it's own unique version that I am desperately trying to cut out and reform as we speak.

Gradually she became less emotionally explosive but much tougher physically and mentally.  She became soft spoken and calculating.  And, most of all, she stepped into the role of a leader more than just one more random ping-pong ball bouncing off all the others in a race for the Great Lottery Hole in the Sky

In other news Great Lottery Hole in the Sky is the name of my new classic rock album.

But as much as the character's temperament changed, there was one thing that stayed somewhat constant, her unpredictability:

Viekko jumped out of the hovercraft and joined the mad rush towards the shuttle.  He risked a look back after a few meters and saw  Althea and Cronus behind him but Ariane was still back at the hovercraft looking in the direction of the city.

“Ariane!” yelled Viekko  “We gotta go!  We’ve got to get on board now!”

For a moment he assumed she didn’t hear him.  She slung her rifle over her shoulder and walked back towards the camp. 

Viekko swore and said to Althea, “Hold up, I’ll get Ariane.”  He ran back, knocking a few crew members running the opposite direction and yelled,   “Ariane!  Where the hell are you going?” he said.

“I’m staying,” said Airane.

For a moment, words failed him.  He eventually settled with, “Have you completely lost your damn mind?”

“I’m going to find the Primus and work out some sort of peace on Titan.  I’m going to work with them to shut down the radio interference from the pyramids and then I’m going to find out what happened to Kostya.”

“And you’re going to do all that after you’ve been thrown on the bonfire?”

Ariane kept walking.


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