The Fishcort

Name: Lady Elspeth Isis Fishcort

Position: captain of the R/V Gadfly and trusted employee of MIS.

There was once a time when Lola Larsen’s beseeching obedience was endearing. She did what she was told in matters both personal and professional, could be counted on to take out whatever trash was in need of disposal. After a time, though— as Elspeth Fiscort always knew it would— Lola’s endless supplication segued from charming to merely useful, from a utility to an irritant. Before their dynamic had a chance to get downright infuriating, Fiscort decided to insert a little space into the relationship. Sent Lola to Mars.

It should have been far enough.

And yet here she is, scarcely two years later, following in Lola’s footsteps to clean up Lola’s mess. Years past their best-before date, three hundred million kilometers away, and she’s still bailing the woman out.

Under normal circumstances, Mars would be the last place Fiscort would ever want to be: a frozen rock so far from the Halls of Power that it takes half an hour just to say Hello. Running some glorified algae farm out in the boondocks is not what Fiscort would normally regard as a smart career move.

But that was before Vastitas Borealis. On the one hand, the discovery of those ruins was the straw that finally broke the back of Lola’s tenuous administration. Lola had barely been able to deal with the daily routine of disgruntled colonists and cosmic rays; Vastita’s sudden influx of bureaucrats, soldiers and scientists knocked all her balls out of the air once and for all. Under Lola’s incompetent leadership, the Martian op is a shambles.

On the other hand, though— thanks to Vastitas, Mars is no longer the place careers go to die. Now it’s where the smart money is, a place where fame and fortune can be had by someone with the right skill set. Fiscort sent Lola to Mars; that makes it Fishcort’s job to clean up the mess, and that’s officially why she’s leaving Earth. But the red planet holds the key to far more opportunity than could ever be wrung from mere damage control. Whoever cracks the secret of the Martian pyramid will be making History.

Soon-to-be-Governor Elspeth Fiscort has never been one to set her sights low. If she plays her cards right, these lungfish just might be her key to immortality.

Picture: Kim Holm’