Ellen Dana “Ellie” Nardino (born 415 IE) was a resistance leader during the Laral Occupation of Amargosa, a liaison to the sapient lycanth population of that world, and a device expert. She was one of the Children of Amargosa.
Ellie Nardino grew up in Lansdorp, Amargosa. She was the daughter of the local Border Guard wing commander. Her closest childhood friend was Connor Duffy. They had a penchant for taking devices apart and rigging explosives. This led to minor mischief such as joy riding in vehicles and setting off firecrackers in trashcans. The skills would later serve both well during the occupation and afterward.
Gelt Invasion of Amargosa
Ellie and Duffy attempted to escape Amargosa the morning after the invasion began by hopping a projection-drive ship Ellie’s father held back. A Border Guard sergeant on the ground had Eric Yuwono, Davra Andraste, and a boy named Suvi join them. The ship disappeared in an explosion as a Gelt fighter bombed it. Moments later, a fusion device exploded, leveling nearby Lansdorp. Eric got them into the subway system. Once all the way down, Davra led them in pitch black through the Transcontinental Maglev tunnel and eventually up one of the foothills east of the city to a rail station. A battle ensued as Lucius Krays insurgents attempted to steal all the food available at the station. A last-second arrival by resistance forces saved them.
They traveled aboard one of three hovercraft carrying refugees into the Misty Mountains. There, the resistance gathered at a village called Edoras. Along the way, Ellie and the others took part in their first firefight with the aliens. Later, they spotted an idle maglev, jumped the hovercraft, and managed to get the train moving. At one point, they picked up an alien battle wagon, complete with heat ray weapon, and stowed it in pieces aboard the maglev. Things went otherwise smoothly until they entered the tunnel beneath Edoras. There, Ellie’s latent claustrophobia kicked in, but subsided when the train stopped at the Edoras Transit Center beneath the mountain. Ellie had a nervous breakdown interrupted by more of Kray’s militia, who shot Eric while trying to question him. Ellie and Davra threw grenades about to distract them, causing two of the insurgents to shoot each other. Marines arrived via elevator from Edoras and killed the remaining insurgents.
When they showed Lt. Straker, Yuwono’s commanding officer, what they picked up, Colonel Jovann had Ellie, Duffy, and Davra drive the train for a mission by Straker’s troops to round up as many volunteers as they could find. The maglev came under attack first by insurgents, whom Ellie, Duffy, and Davra helped fight off, then Gelt. The latter killed Straker, but the timely arrival of Suicide and JT Austin ended the attack.
They continued on with Suicide assuming command of the mission. Stopped halfway to Arcanum, they found more volunteers. Also, the surviving insurgents who surrendered defected. The ragtag group of defectors, resistance fighters, and refugees then rounded up as many vehicles as they could load onto the maglev, even retrieving a pair of flatbed rail cars for the purpose. They then stopped near Walden for JT to return and join Quan‘s unit while Quan and Suicide coordinated a pincer movement on the Founders’ Mine, where Kray’s militia had holed up.
The attack resulted in a large number of defections from Kray’s troops and the Founders’ Mine becoming resistance headquarters.
Mission to reach the Ban Ki-moon
About a week after the invasion, the Navy mounted a failed liberation attempt. During the battle, the Ban Ki-moon, a Woodrow Wilson-class capital ship, fell from orbit largely intact. It reached the ocean, and soon its crew communicated with Colonel Jovann, now de facto resistance commander. She had Suicide put together a team to reach the ship that included a dozen resistance from the defectors, Marines, and Colonial Guard, five former Polygamy Wars rebels now settled on Amargosa, and, despite orders to remain in the Mine, JT, Eric, and Davra.
At the Edoras Transit Center, they made contact with a new resistance cell gathering above in the village. After rigging the tunnels to blow and giving resistance commander Lt. Tarak the ability to detonate, they marched east. During the trip, an odd type of lycanth kept approaching the team, chattering instead of growling or barking like normal lycanths. Further down, JT and Eric took a Gelt woman prisoner. Duffy gave her the nickname Tishla as she did not appear to speak Humanic.
Not long afterward, the lycanths swarmed the team. Ellie found herself carried off, the team assuming her dead when they could not find her.
Chapaan and the Norther Resistance
Ellie awoke in a cave the next morning with a Gelt male trying to get her to talk so he could better learn Humanic. She learned his name was Sored, and their captors were Sapient Lycanths. They wanted a human to help them form a resistance against the “new sky people,” meaning the Gelt. Sored said their names would not make sense to humans or Gelt, so Ellie dubbed them “Red” and “Spikey,” describing their fur. They more or less found themselves inducted into the pack. Soon, they picked up stray, disgruntled Gelt settlers and human refugees. When they added Gelt Warriors and human soldiers separated from the main resistance, they became a resistance force. Eventually, they dubbed themselves the Northern Resistance. Ellie donned hooded robes to make herself mysterious, hide her age, and conceal her identity. The Gelt gave her the name Chapaan after a Gelt goddess prone to vengeance.
Ellie attempted to leave the cell, hoping to put the Northern Resistance in contact with the Founders' Mine. Instead, they happened on a Gelt force expanding out from Deming, just outside the Polar Alps. She returned and led the resistance, her “pack,” on a march to take Deming. Along the way, they absorbed more human and Gelt troops, destroyed a labor camp, and wrecked Deming, driving out Gelt loyal to the Laral family and seizing their mechs. The Northern Resistance soon turned its sights on Riverside and Lucius Kray, seeing him as a bigger threat to Amargosa than the Laral Family.
The Resistance picked up both the Marine battalion stationed at Arcanum and the Gelt garrison occupying the ruins. They proceeded south well after Diana Jovann’s peace mission arrived in Riverside. The whole of the Northern Resistance stopped just above the city as the liberation began. As Ellie sent mechs to disable Kray’s anti-spacecraft defenses, a fusion blast destroyed the city. However, Kray had already evacuated, setting up camp nearby. During the confusion, JT Austin’s Falcon crashed with Duffy and a Special Forces lieutenant, Mitsuko Yamato. The Resistance rescued them and located Tishla, who had come down to find JT, however ill-advised the trip. Ellie sent Brendie, Kray’s ex-wife to confront and distract the warlord, then an armored Tishla. Finally, Ellie appeared in her Chapaan persona after JT and Mitsuko led a softening up operation in Kray’s rear. Using her position as a human resistance leader with Gelt and sapient lycanths under her, she ordered Kray to be eaten alive by lycanths in one of the most bizarre Section 11 executions on record.
Ellie relinquished her title of Chapaan, somewhat unsuccessfully, and turned herself in to Admirals Burke and Austin for war crimes. The admirals took into account her circumstances and said no charges by any polity would be filed. Instead, Ellie received medals for her actions. Nonetheless, she declined an offer of Thulian rejuvenation and went to live with the sapient lycanths on the opposite side of Amargosa.
After her return from lycanth territory, she agreed to become a reservist in the Compact Navy. However, she generally worked as a civilian contractor specializing in mechs and systems access. As a civilian, she worked part of the year in Deming on mech development and studying alien mechs. She also served as a go-between for primates (humans and Gelt) and sapient lycanths. In 432, she helped locate the youngest daughter of Provisional Governor Douglas Best and his wife.
In 433, Admiral Burke brought her in to help retake the Queen Maria Sophia, using her expertise to disable the hostile mechs.
Winter with JT Austin
While on a leave of absence from the mech factory in Deming, she went to Walden as part of JT’s standing invitation to Suicide, Tishla, and the Children of Amargosa - Group to come whether he was home or not. Tishla was also there. At her suggestion, JT and Ellie tentatively kindled an intimate relationship. Ellie lamented having to go from young teenager to an adult leader with no time to grow up. She and JT made love at the same reservoir where he and his late wife had. Over the winter, JT accompanied her to lycanth territory to settle disputes while she went with him on a couple of freight runs. While he went off on his own on a job, she decided to mediate the rift between him and Suicide. The older woman, upset they weren’t speaking, felt relieved when Ellie said he missed her, too.
Ellie setup the cabin so they could get snowed in together, During their housebound frolicking, JT proposed to her. She wanted two things: Tishla’s blessing (knowing he and Tishla still held a mutual attraction) and for him to patch up his relationship with Suicide. The former was a given as Tishla later came to the cabin and needled him about Ellie. The latter he procrastinated on until Suicide was taken prisoner on Aphrodite. He and Ellie went at the urging of King Edward of Bonaparte.
Aphrodite and Hosh
The mission to Aphrodite involved Ellie in a technical role during the search for radical Cubist Gerard Kurz. However, she served as a civilian contractor. Because JT would fly, Edward made him a subject of Bonaparte, which restored his Compact citizenship. She went to Boone's Landing to get the lay of the land ahead of Davra and Mitsuko, but remained aboard the Valles Marineris during the raid on Kurz’s encampment. When Mitsuko returned from Aphrodite ahead of the final assault on Mt. Buxanshal, Ellie went along to assist.
A year later, Ellie joined Suicide on a mission to assist Eric Yuwono’s Cybercommand operation against a Juno installation on Hosh. She worked on cracking the AI used in resurrection technology and posed as a hanger-on at the city-state’s casino.
Ellie’s father died in the invasion of Amargosa. Her mother had escaped to Earth, but the two did not have a close relationship after liberation. At one point, she lamented her mother probably didn’t care if she were still alive.
Growing up, she had debilitating claustrophobia. For some reason, this faded after her time in the Northern Resistance. Also, during that time, she developed a need to be alone. This actually helped her and JT bond as a couple. They could be apart for extended periods without anxiety as they each enjoyed solitude. In both the Compact and Republic Navies, Ellie refused a commission. Her work made her overqualified to be an enlistee. So she held the rank of Warrant Office.
Connor Duffy: Ellie grew up with Connor Duffy. The pair became best friends and got into mischief. They both had a love of explosives and hacking devices. While their behavior might have gotten them in trouble as they grew older, their illicit skills found a niche during the Laral Occupation of Amargosa. Duffy joined the Compact Navy after the liberation, which separated Ellie from him. Later, on Aphrodite, he displayed jealousy as he realized she and JT had been a couple for a time. Still, she and Duffy remained close.
Suicide: Ellie came across Suicide during a Gelt attack on the maglev. She quickly began following the older woman as a mother figure. Suicide selected her to come with her to reach the Ban Ki-moon. However, when sapient lycanths carried Ellie off, Suicide assumed she had been killed. Her return as Chapaan shocked Suicide.
During her affair with JT, she scolded him about his rift with Suicide. All the Children of Amargosa considered her a mother, but JT was the one she called “son.” When seeing Suicide about the rift, the older woman became emotional. Ellie called herself the “Wolf Girl,” telling her she had big enough shoulders to cry on.
Sored: Sored had been a fellow captive when Ellie was taken by Red and Spikey. The sapient lycanths learned Gelt could extrapolate languages in short order and kidnapped him. As they built the Northern Resistance, Sored and a human woman, a former Marine named Kamala, became part of Ellie’s inner circle. She depended on him to translate for the lycanths and to persuade Gelt settlers and Warriors to defect. Eventually, Sored took part in battle planning.
Red: Red took on the Humanic name based on his reddish brown fur. An older lycanth, he clearly was the original pack leader and became a close friend and confidant of Ellie’s.
Spikey: Like Red, Ellie dubbed Spikey in Humanic based on his fur. Spikey proved the most compatible with the primates in the resistance. An unabashedly foul-mouthed person, he had a crude sense of humor, but a fierce loyalty. Spikey accompanied Ellie and Sored on an aborted attempted to reach the Founders’ Mine and connect the two resistance forces. When the resistance moved on Deming, then Riverside, Spikey effectively seconded Red as lycanth leader and became part of “Chapaan’s” inner circle.
After the liberation, Spikey settled in the foothills north of the Townships.
JT Austin: Ellie met JT less than an hour after the death of his wife, Lizzy Parker. They immediately worked together in building the resistance. The pair showed no interest in each other beyond friendship during this time. They also occasionally worked together post-liberation. After JT bitterly resigned his commission, Ellie came to visit him. With a nudge from Tishla, they became a couple but drifted apart after the winter together ended. Still, Ellie never entirely fell out of love with her first real lover, torn between wanting him to be with Tishla and wanting him for herself.
Tishla: Ellie first met Tishla when JT and Eric took her prisoner. Since she would not speak Humanic in their presence, Ellie only knew her as Trixie. During the liberation, she learned Tishla’s real name and actual role. After liberation, the two became friends, actually becoming close friends as both longed for a normal life. Ellie believed, as others in their circle did, JT and Tishla would end up together. However, Tishla surprised her by nudging her and JT into a relationship. When JT proposed to Ellie, she gave him two conditions, one of which was Tishla’s blessing. She warned him she would not marry him if it would break Tishla’s heart.
Species: Human (Sapiens)
Birth Year: 415 IE
Homeworld: Amargosa, Compact/Metisian Republic
Service: Amargosan resistance (429), Northern Resistance (429-430), Compact Naval Reserve – Warrant Officer (431- )
Occupation: Interspecies mediator, mech specialist, explosives specialist
Mother: Still alive as of 433, living on Earth
Father: Died 429 IE
Partner: JT Austin (433-34)
The Children of Amargosa, Second Wave, Among Wolves, Storming Amargosa, Suicide Run, Checkmate, Winter Games, Royal Orders, Another Way to Die