Tishla

Tishla (Born 410 IE) was a Gelt who served as First Citizen of Hanar and created the Foundation in 429 IE. She began her adult life as an indentured concubine and a confidant of her childhood friend, Lattus Kai. Growing up, Kai called her “Buckteeth” or “Tizzy.” As his concubine, one of the duties she performed consisted of sucking Kai’s tongue during wormhole transit, a sexual act that distracted him from his poor endurance of wormhole transits.

Kai entrusted Tishla with questioning the alien Marq when, after a food riot, he presented Kai with a potato as a potential solution to their famine.

Shortly before the Gelt Incursion, Tishla admitted to Kai that she had been taking birth control, a violation of her indenture contract. She suggested he punish her by having more sex with her and extending her contract for an additional five revolutions (roughly five years by Compact reckoning.)

Shortly after the invasion of Gilead, Kai signed her indenture contract over to Marq and sent them to Metis while he confronted Laral Jorl over the deception about Gilead‘s status. While Marq was oblivious to Realm indenture law, entry into Compact space rendered Tishla’s contract null and void. However, with no official first contact with humans, she found herself seized by Metisian Planetary Guard as an undocumented alien and bundled off to a lab. She underwent an invasive examination she likened to rape but did not sense malicious intent from the “aliens” studying her. During the exam, medical personnel learned that she was pregnant with twins.

Unable to understand Humanic, she learned the language in a hospital watching entertainment and news feeds. From then on, she spoke it with a pronounced Metisian lilt, which sounded similar to Irish and Jamaican accents on Earth.

On Metis, she found a message from Kai explaining how the trip to Compact space would free her and how he knew she was pregnant. This resulted in a de facto marriage. He also gave her a dagger to show to a Laputan man he had met during the Realm’s war of first contact with the Guardianship.

She learned that Marq, legal name Marc Katergarus, never intended for her to learn of her freedom, she attacked him in his own home, but left him alive. Fearing arrest, she fled to the Laputan consulate on Metis to find Kai’s friend, Delda Rallis. Delda learned of Kai’s death and smuggled Tishla, now legally Kai’s wife, off Metis and back to Hanar (formerly Gilead) to confront Laral Jorl before the Sovereign.

As she prepared to challenge the Larals’ claim to Gilead, she sent Orias Palak, her late husband’s mentor and second-in-command, to offer a truce to the human resistance. As a show of good faith, she allowed Palak to leave Yrdesh as a hostage. In order to pull this off, she had to face Laral Jorl in single combat before the Sovereign of the Realm to overturn the latter’s claim. As a pregnant woman, she could not participate. She tapped Laral Umish, Jorl’s son, to serve as her champion. In exchange, assuming Umish survived, she would not challenge his claim to Cyal (Amargosa). She voiced concern to Palak that she was abandoning the humans on Amargosa in order to save what would became Hanar.

Palak assigned a young Warrior named Feltan Bornag to be her bodyguard. As she approached the Sovereign, she ordered Bornag to bring her as a prisoner to the arena and to cut off her head if the humans demanded her death. When Laral Jorl committed suicide to avoid facing his son in the arena, the Sovereign reinstated her claim. The humans overwhelmingly accepted her offer to rebuild. Palak muttered that she was committing needless suicide before the humans made their decision known.

Tishla declared a new polity independent of the Realm and the Compact to be called the Foundation. It would welcome anyone who wanted a new place to settle and treat humans and Gelt equally. She refused the titles queen or governor, opting instead for “First Citizen.” As she declared one day she would be replaced, someone shot her. She survived, sustaining a shoulder wound. Her recovery went quickly thanks to her physicians Zewan and Troughton, who combined human and Gelt medicine to pull her through. As she went into surgery, she made Orias Palak agree to take custody of her unborn twins even if they had to cut them out of her if she died. Fortunately, it did not come to that.

While Tishla fared well after being shot, but the bullet contained biogel laced with mersa. The bacteria infected her twins, who had no immunity. Primitive antibiotics available on Hanar kept the twins alive, but they needed nanobiotics to fight the infection. Tishla concluded that, whichever human shot her, and whichever Gelt commissioned the killing, it had to have been done at the behest of Laral Umish. She vowed that, once the twins were born, she would kill Laral with her bare hands.

As First Citizen, she found herself confronted with the searches for her would-be assassin. She admitted she was a benign dictator and that her council should address the rights of Hanar’s citizens without resorting to the rules of either the Realm or the Compact. This happened after she had to calm riots that erupted over her assault.

During an audience with freighter captain Jeris Mar, she learned that the captain had sold a rifle to Laral Umish. Tishla ordered her taken into custody and interrogated by any means available. Aware she had just authorized torture, she also demanded that Council come up with a declaration of rights for the Foundation before their next meeting.

Jeris’s confession revealed Laral Umish to be the mastermind and Nolan Rosc as the shooter. When Colt arrested Rosc, Tishla promised Rosc not to execute or torture him.

Shortly afterward, Tishla went into premature labor. Dr. Zewan moved quickly to put the twins into stasis. She gave birth to a son she named Kai-ban, after his father, and a daughter she named Athena, in honor of the woman who helped her on Metis. Kai-ban emerged severely infected and had trouble breathing. Athena showed few signs of the infection and demonstrated a healthy set of lungs.

She had Kai-ban cremated in a traditional Gelt funeral. Palak and Colt served as torchbearers. Shortly afterward, she began a casual relationship with Colt. After Athena survived, she became intimate with him.

Jeris Mar revealed that Yrdesh had financed the assassination attempt on Tishla. Council removed him and placed him in jail. Tishla perosnally stabbed him to death. She would set out, with training from Colt, Bornag, and Orias. to travel to Amargosa and kill Laral Umish.

On Amargosa, Tishla’s transport was ambushed, her guards killed by JT Austin and Eric Yuwono. Austin took her prisoner. While Austin, Yuwono, and Duffy were harsh with her, they did not abuse her. Unfortunately, Duffy, not knowing any name for her, dubbed her “Trixie,” which was identical to the Gelt goddess of whores. The name grated her nerves. However, two GoshenitesHauser and Cannon, attempted to rape her. Davra Andraste killed Cannon. Both Davra and Hauser faced an execution hearing resulting in Hauser’s death and Davra’s exile. Austin expressed anger toward her, but she was able to soften his attitude by being submissive, handing him her binders. He also defended her a few times from Riley, a particularly smelly Goshenite. They marched through the maglev tunnel beneath the ruins of Lansdorp and reached an emergency bunker. After several hours of attempts, they entered and were stopped by a squad of Marines who had been inside since the invasion.

When the confrontation between Suicide‘s team and the Marines threatened to become violent, Tishla dropped the pretense that she could not speak Humanic. She offered herself as a prisoner for the governor. Governor Croix wanted to vivisect her, but she refused cooperation until Croix agreed to allow Suicide and Austin to oversee the examination. During the examination, a doctor inserted her finger into Tishla’s navel, causing flashbacks to the initial examination on Metis. Though purely clinical, it caused her a lot of anxiety.

Tishla realized that Amargosa would not go the way of Hanar. The humans there were too angry and had suffered too much. She decided she would throw in with Suicide’s team, hoping to convince them to help her kill Laral Umish. She decided, because of Lizzy’s death and her role in it, to work on JT Austin first. She would feel an obligation to him for the rest of her life.

JT and Wat liberated her and took her with them as they raided the armory. While they loaded up on supplies, she asked about the destruction of Lansdorp. Eric Yuwono did not know who destroyed Lansdorp, but the blast could not have been that big if he and the others survived it. She commented tha humans were almost as insane as Gelt. Seeking a way to bond with JT, she asked him about his hostility toward Lucius Kray, which turned out to be a loaded question.

When the team had to climb down one cliff and up another to get around a collapsed bridge, JT unbound her. As he climbed to the top of the far side, the ground gave way. She stopped him from falling and offered him her binders. She explained that, as his captive, she was obligated to serve him, including as a concubine. He said not only was the idea repulsive to him, but she had to find him repulsive as well. She surprised him by revealing she had a human lover. She also joked she would be humiliated if her captor died before she could be executed. During a pause in the march, she discovered a dead body. She and JT determined it was one of Kray’s people.

When JT and Wat left for a scouting party, she endured more harassment from Riley. Suicide intervened and put her into custody of one of the Marines, warning Riley that Section 11 was an option. Upon JT and Wat’s return, Suicide sent Tishla with them. During the trip, Tishla revealed that heat rays wielded by transported criminals working off their sentences was a favorite tactic of the Larals. She also suspected that Marcus Leitman might have engineered both the invasion and Kray’s insurgency.

When the convoy came under fire, Tishla told JT to kill her if he thought they would be captured. When he balked, she told him she would rather he kill her to atone for Lizzy’s death than to slake Kray’s bloodlust or fall into Laral Umish’s hands. JT said he would blow them both up with a grenade if it came to that.

The team reached a fishing village in time to see Kray and his people taking the last seaworthy boat. They found a large, salvageable boat. Suicide sent her with Duffy and a Marine named Jiang to scout a nearby quarry for nanite paste and a controller to program the nanites. The two humans allowed her to move about unbound as they needed her help. Duffy then found a large quarry transport to take them back as they were all exhausted from over twenty-four hours of travel.

Once repairs were completed, Tishla spoke to JT privately. She informed him that she bore some of the responsibility for Lizzy’s death. As such, he could have her life in exchange or use her however she saw fit. When he explained that he was taught better than that by Quentin Austin, she kissed him and told him she wished he were Gelt. Later, as the team set out to sea, she witnessed JT vomiting from sea sickness. She revealed that the Gelt only vomited at will, usually to purge a stomach virus. However, puking on one’s plate insulted the chef while puking on someone’s boots expressed hatred or contempt. The latter often was seen as a challenge to a duel.

When they reached the Ban Ki-moon, Suicide took her aboard as she had information the ship’s crew might be able to use. There, she met Lucius Kray for the first time. The warlord expressed his intention to kill her as Dr. Panadero examined her. When Boko threatened to Section 11 Kray if he did not back down, Kray stabbed him. However, Suicide and JT had returned. JT nearly killed and did severely beat Kray to get him to release Tishla. For her part, Tishla grabbed the warlord’s hair, bared her teeth, and threatened to eat him (actually an impossibility). She fled with JT, Suicide, Duffy, and two Ban Ki-Moon crew members.

On the beach at Nebraska Island, the group came under fire from Kray’s insurgents flying a hijacked shuttle from the Ban Ki-moon. One crew member died, and Tishla took a bullet to the arm. When JT said he did not have a grenade to blow both of them up to avoid capture, she ordered him to kill her with his knife and save himself if it came down to that. “It’s not your life to save, Austin, only mine to give.”

The group found Amargosa Two unpowered and camouflaged. Despite her wounded arm, she helped manually winch the boarding ramp back into place. On board, she convinced Suicide to take the ship to Hanar as the colonists, human and Gelt, would be more sympathetic. Also, she could easily contact Metis as Tishla knew Athena Jovann.

Tishla became ill during the low-orbit wormhole transit. Though nauseated, she could lock her stomach to prevent vomiting and dry heave to relieve the discomfort. Upon arrival at Hanar, Tishla contacted traffic control and asked to speak to the First Citizen‘s residence. She then revealed she was the First Citizen of Hanar. Taking JT’s bullet locket in hand, she vowed to help him fulfill his promise to recover Lizzy’s family farm.

Upon her return to Hanar, Tishla received a letter from Rosc, explaining why he had abandoned his post. He expressed remorse for shooting her and the death of her son. Tishla responded asking Rosc to remain where she needed him. She explained that, yes, she still held a lot of anger over Kai-bon’s death, but she also blamed the Laral Family more than him, since Rosc, like her, was fighting for their world’s survival. She also confessed she would like to call him friend someday, and that, when he would be recalled to Hanar, he would have a land claim waiting for him, since he, too, was only fighting for his world.

Tishla met with Athena Jovann and Admirals Eileen Burke and Quentin Austin. She had JT Austin relate his experiences with her as his prisoner on Amargosa. The meeting resulted in Hanar agreeing to assist in liberating Amargosa.

When JT was arrested and turned over to her regime, Tishla offered to take him into custody. However, Suicide pushed him back into training with Mitsuko Yamato and Giddeus Modesto. Once he was back in training, she summoned him to repeat his version of events on Amargosa for Fleet Admiral Tran and Mars delegate Gel Lansdorp. She also explained how she offered her life to JT as revenge for the death of his wife, if not her body as a penance. JT did neither of those things and even offered to kill himself with her to prevent capture.

Not long after, however, word reached Tishla of JT’s fetish for sleeping with Gelt women who resembled her. She expressed disappointment with him, especially as she desperately wanted to be his friend. She also said the “silly crush” had to end as “ten of me could never add up to her.”

However, Tishla relented and summoned JT back to the Residence. She dismissed her servants and greeted him while wearing a casual robe used for off-hours meetings. As First Citizen, she asked him for his decision on whether to fly for the Compact or Hanar. He declined, saying he needed to discuss it with one more person. So, Tishla slid out of the robe, revealing a simple serving girl’s shift. For one night, she would be his servant because, despite his dalliances with her by proxy, she felt grateful to him for his treatment of her on Amargosa. She made dinner for him while eating gruel and sleeping in the servants nook. JT slept in her bed.

When a nightmare proved particularly intense, Tishla relented and told him she needed to be with him, if only for one night, because she had nightmares, too. They made love. The next morning, Tishla had already arranged for him to have breakfast with Admiral Burke, Mitsuko, and Duffy while she left to meet with Douglas Best and his his wife. She wanted his decision to be his own, not the result of their intimacy.

When Tol Germanicus met with her, she deduced that he was a hologram and that he was an AI entity. He admitted this and told the story of how he was Steven Turing, who nearly set off a nuclear holocaust in the AI War. He described his life since that time as a penance for his crime, helping to perfect wormhole travel, working behind the scenes to create the Compact, and advancing longevity technology on the premise that longer-lived populations reproduced more slowly. Tishla accepted this and convinced the Bests that he was not an evil man, though he had committed an evil deed. She also expressed a desire for Ambassador Best to govern Amargosa once liberated, regardless of whether the world stayed within the Compact, became independent, or joined with Hanar.

She traveled with Fleet Admiral Tran aboard the Challenger to Amargosa to watch the liberation effort. From Challenger‘s CNC, Tishla broadcast to Gelt forces asserting her hereditary claim to the planet and ordering the occupation forces to stand down and surrender. She rebroadcast this to all forces in Humanic. However, when she learned that JT’s shuttle had crashed during the fusion blast at Riverside, she demanded to be taken to the surface to look for him, unaware that Admiral Austin had already gone to the surface for the same reason. There, they encountered Davra Andraste, who gave them a rundown of events on Amargosa since Tishla left. Tishla and Tran explained what was going on with the liberation. When Tran’s soldiers spotted two of Kray’s militia near the shuttle, Davra warned that Kray had weaponized the Gelt suicide toxin, which would kill Tishla instantly. She grabbed a rifle and ran off to draw the militia away and give Tran and Tishla time to reach the Northern Resistance.

On the way to the Northern Resistance camp, Tishla and the admiral were surrounded by fighters and rushed down to the camp. There, Gelt in the cell ushered her into a medical tent where three Marines forced her into light armor. One of them explained that Kray had weaponized the bio-toxin. She would need protection. She made her way to the front of the line where Brendie Kray and Chapaan already confronted Kray. She emerged just as Davra Andraste escaped his grasp to shoot and kick the warlord. Once Kray was left to lay there, she informed him that Amargosa would be amicably disputed by Metis and Hanar so the people could choose their own future. She called him power mad and said she was merely a woman who offered her own life to atone for the people she hurt. Kray muttered “Offer accepted” and attempted to shoot her. JT, however, jumped into the line of fire, his nano-fabric blunting the bullets’ impact to where they broke his ribs without penetrating his own flesh. She had to be kept away from him as the bullets contained the biotoxin Kray had weaponized. Chapaan sentenced Kray to death under three different sets of laws. The sapient lycanths devoured him in minutes.

After the cease-fire took hold, Tishla located JT in a medical tent. Grateful, she nearly reinjured his broken ribs in an enthusiastic hug. While their one night of intimacy was a one-time occurance, she told him her “life is still on the table,” offering to nurse him back to health at his cabin. When a tearful Mitsuko showed up, having just learned of Giddeus Modesto‘s death, she and JT comforted her.

Weeks later, she attended a debrief for herself, Athena Jovann (now governor-general of Amargosa for Metis), and Provisional Governor Best on the actions and composition of the Northern Resistance. Afterward, she conducted a medal ceremony at Walden for Suicide and the Children of Amargosa. Each would receive the Compact Medal of Honor, the Order of Hanar, and the appreciation of sapient lycanth leaders. She teased JT Austin by calling him forward as “John Tylbalt Austin.”

Following the liberation, she accepted JT’s invitation to stay at his cabin whenever she wanted a vacation. She would tell her security detail to maintain a perimeter in tandem with local law enforcement, keeping her safe but giving her privacy and, if JT was not present, solitude. Sometimes, she would bring her daughter Athena. Sometimes, she would come alone. She insisted on sleeping behind a partition and appointed herself housekeeper, cook, and groundskeeper. Mindless work she called it.

In 432 IE, while vacationing at Walden, Tishla agreed to take protective custody of Naomi Best while her father recovered from an assassination attempt. The infant had been left with Suicide. Because Gelt women could lactate at will, she was able to nurse the child. She received custody of Carolyn while staying in New Lansdorp.

 

Appearances: The Roots of War, The Marilynists, Tishla, Second Wave, The Exile, Flight Blade, Storming AmargosaSuicide Run