The World of the Waystations Trilogy
Dive deeper into the Waystations Trilogy with book summaries, glossaries and character lists, and character art!
Looking for a reminder of the previous book’s events before you move onto the next instalment? Refresh your memory with these helpful book summaries!
Leaving New Pallas…
RIDLEY, a translator from the poverty-stricken surface of New Pallas, prepares to join the crew of the scout ship Ranger on a mission to find a new home for humanity. She runs into SHAW, a soldier with extensive cybernetic implants who treats her with contempt for being a surfacer.
ALVERA, captain of the Ranger, discusses the dangers of the mission with CHASE, an artificial intelligence she shares her head with. They are interrupted by the pilot, KOJAN, who expresses misgivings about the upcoming mission.
Alvera visits Kojan’s mother OJARA, a prisoner on the ship. Like Shaw, Ojara believes only the cybernetically-enhanced deserve a chance at a new life, not the regular people of New Pallas.
Kojan launches the Ranger into a hole through the fabric of space. At the other end of the space tunnel, they are hailed by a passing ship, and Kojan is joined by Ridley and Alvera as they prepare to make first contact with an alien species. The alien comes aboard, curious and a little amused as Ridley does her best to translate. The crew are then stunned when a human steps out of the alien’s ship and welcomes them to their new home.
A new galaxy…
On the galactic capital of Ossa, RIVUS, an alien known as a dachryn, worries about the threat of the Idran-Var, a faction of formidable armoured warriors. When Rivus is given news that a ship from the lost human colony has arrived in the galaxy, he seeks out TARVAN, Supreme Commander of the elite legionnaires.
Rivus and Tarvan discuss the events with the ambassadors of the Coalition, who oversee galactic civilisation. They explain that the humans’ arrival has set off a strange energy discharge in the four waystations scattered around the galaxy.
Alvera is summoned, and the ambassadors tell her about the history of the mysterious waystations. Each species in the galaxy had a lost colony hidden somewhere across dark space, and over the years, each colony found its way back to the galaxy using the waystations. Alvera believes something must be manipulating events using the waystations.
The ambassadors instruct that a jamming rig be put in place around the human waystation so that Alvera cannot relay a message back to New Pallas until Rivus carries out a full investigation into what caused the energy discharge. Alvera is outraged, knowing a delay will mean death for many back on New Pallas, but can do nothing as Ojara enters the hearing, accusing Alvera of being a mutineer. Seeing an easy way to solve their problem, the Coalition ambassadors take Ojara’s side and give the order to arrest Alvera.
Meanwhile, NIOLE, a siolean who is able to manipulate energy in powerful bursts called flares, is lying low in exile after having deserted the legionnaires many years ago. She comes across an Idran-Var called RHENDAR, who offers her to join him. Niole refuses at first, but when she is forced to kill a team of legionnaires who hunted her down, she decides to leave with him.
Pursued by Shaw, both Kojan and Ridley find ways to escape the Ranger. Kojan is rescued by an iskaath smuggler, ELEION, while Ridley stows away on a cargo ship to the desert planet Jadera, run by notorious crime lord SKAILE.
A mysterious signal…
While investigating one of the waystations, Rivus unwittingly accesses an ancient interface which causes all four of the waystations to start sending a signal beyond the edges of the galaxy. The interface explodes, badly injuring him, but he is rescued by Tarvan and wakes up weeks later with a new cybernetic arm.
With Ojara still in pursuit, Kojan spends time on the iskaath homeworld with Eleion, learning about her way of life. Their developing friendship is put on hold when a sniper sent by Ojara shatters Kojan’s visor, exposing him to the deadly toxins in the planet’s atmosphere. Fortunately, he manages to survive thanks to his cybernetics and he and Eleion decide to leave for her family’s safety.
Niole travels to the Idran-Var world of Vesyllion. There, she meets VENYA and CLAINE, two young Idran-Var who are preparing for their rite of passage, a gruelling test known at The Hunt. She also meets SERRIC, a surly siolean who looks down on her for being a former legionnaire. They complete The Hunt, but Serric tells Niole she’s not committed enough to the Idran-Var to earn her armour.
While working for Skaile, Ridley is introduced to a jarkaath smuggler, DREXIOUS, who has uncovered a vault of artifacts on the planet Sio. Skaile hires bounty hunter HALRESSAN to take Drexious to Sio and locate the artifacts, and Ridley is sent with them to appraise what they find.
The tide turns…
Alvera is taken to the human capital, Ras Prime, to stand trial for mutiny. During the hearing, she uses her cybernetics to injure Shaw and disable the guards’ guns. She offers the governor of Ras Prime a deal: help her, and she’ll make sure New Pallas joins forces with him, helping him to achieve his goal of independence from the Coalition. The governor sends mercenary MAX to help her escape and they rejoin with Kojan and Eleion to steal the Ranger back from Ojara.
Kojan volunteers to act as bait and gives himself up to Ojara to distract her while the others steal the Ranger. Ojara tells him she has infected his cybernetics with a virus that will slowly kill him. She lets him go, though not before telling him that Alvera was the one who created the virus.
Rivus is plagued with visions from the waystation and worries that the legionnaires are focusing too much on the Idran-Var instead of investigating the source of the waystations’ signal. Tarvan refuses to listen to Rivus’s misgivings and insists on pressing on to attack the Idran-Var. Rivus realises that the waystations’ signal is a countdown and tries to make Tarvan see sense. To his horror, Tarvan decides to attack Vesyllion from orbit to wipe out the Idran-Var once and for all.
Niole and the Idran-Var scramble to get to safety as the bombardment of Vesyllion begins, devastating the planet. Niole’s evacuation transport is hit trying to escape the legionnaire blockade and is left stranded in orbit. She stays behind to allow the rest of the Idran-Var escape and is taken prisoner by Rivus.
A new threat on the horizon…
Ridley, Halressan and Drexious explore the ancient ruins on Sio. Ridley uses her translation skills to read the ancient glyphs and find a way into a sealed vault. Once they are inside, they find a cave drawing of a waystation—something that should have been impossible given the age of the ruins.
With Kojan in Ojara’s clutches, Alvera and Eleion travel to the waystation to blow up the jamming rig. Alvera hears strange whispers in her head, but manages to send a message back to New Pallas while Chase holds off the presence fighting to control her. After the message is sent, Alvera collapses and succumbs to unconsciousness as the whispers destroy Chase.
With only a matter of months before the waystations’ countdown ends, Rivus looks out into the darkness of space and ponders what kind of things might be coming for them.
Kojan, suffering the effects of the virus Ojara installed in his cybernetics, travels to the iskaath homeworld where he is reunited with Eleion. They decide to take the comatose Alvera off-planet to find someone who can wake her, but are confronted by the legionnaire fighter pilot Kite. A timely intervention by a Rasnian ship saves them, and Max proposes they travel to Rellion so they can help each other.
On Ossa, Rivus suggests to Tarvan that they join forces with the Idran-Var to stand against whatever is coming from beyond the waystations. He meets with Niole, who agrees to reach out to Rhendar to see if he’s willing to talk. Feeling weak and powerless after being drained of her ability to flare, Niole nevertheless helps both sides agree to a temporary truce and they arrange to meet on a border planet for peace talks.
After returning to Jadera, Ridley tells Skaile of a planet where the ancient sioleans hid their greatest treasure, and she offers her the coordinates in exchange for sparing Drexious’s life. Ridley tells Drexious they need to reach the coordinates before Skaile does, and they steal a ship to escape Jadera, aided by a reluctant Halressan.
Alvera wakes up in a strange dreamscape, no longer in her physical body. She is reunited with Chase, who explains that the beings beyond the waystations are known as the curators. The curators are a hive mind—the living memory of every civilisation that ever existed in the galaxy. Alvera is trapped in their consciousness but awake and able to navigate it. She decides to go deeper into the memories to find a way to hurt the curators.
A storm breaks…
Ahead of the summit between the legionnaires and Idran-Var, Niole reunites with Rhendar and witnesses the other Idran-Var elect him as their war chief. In the legionnaire camp, Rivus realises that Tarvan has arranged for a missile strike on the peace talks.
Niole receives a scrambled message from Rivus, warning her of the ambush. They start to retreat but the missile hits, killing many legionnaires and Idran-Var. When Tarvan joins the battle, Niole regains her ability to flare and kills him just as Rivus arrives. Rivus is heartbroken at Tarvan’s death and tells Niole there’s no choice but war between them now. Niole sadly agrees and leaves with the Idran-Var.
Kojan and Eleion meet with the governor of Ras Prime, who agrees to harbour them so Alvera can help him achieve his political goals when she awakens. Later, Kojan receives a message from Ojara telling him she will reverse the virus she implanted in his cybernetics if he kills Alvera. Kojan travels to the medical facility to turn off Alvera’s life support, but Max and Eleion talk him out of it.
Soon after, they are confronted by Shaw, who tries to stop them leaving with Alvera. They manage to escape on board the Ranger, with Shaw in quick pursuit. Kojan sends out a distress beacon to Kite, the legionnaire pilot who accosted them earlier. He admits they have Alvera on board and asks for help.
After coming into contact with a passing Idran-Var ship, Ridley realises that Skaile has put a warrant on their heads. The Idran-Var board their ship, but Ridley manages to save Drexious and Halressan by blowing an improvised detonator and spacing herself along with the Idran-Var. She awakens in the ship’s medbay after being rescued from the vacuum of space by Halressan and Drexious, and the three of them prepare for the final jump to the uncharted planet to find out what’s lying at the coordinates.
Deeper into dreams…
Alvera dives into the curators’ memories and realises there was a galaxy-wide extermination long ago, and it’s coming for them again. To get answers, she needs to go to the deepest part of the hive mind and allow herself to be completely absorbed by the curators.
Rivus is given Tarvan’s old position and named Supreme Commander of the legionnaires. He shares the news with Kite, who reveals the distress call he got from Kojan. Realising Alvera is still alive and might be able to help them, Rivus orders Kite to find them and bring them back.
After landing on the uncharted planet, Ridley, Halressan and Drexious make their way to an ancient temple and find a cryostatic pod with a siolean inside. They open the pod, and the siolean introduces herself as Fyra—the name of an ancient siolean goddess.
Fyra explains she has been in cryostasis for tens of thousands of years, the sole survivor from the last time the curators came to destroy the galaxy. Halressan suggests they all stay on the uncharted planet and live out the rest of their lives in paradise instead of joining the war. Ridley is torn between her feelings for Halressan and her desire to make a difference in the galaxy, and ultimately decides to leave Halressan behind.
Alvera finally realises the truth behind the curators’ existence: they use cybernetics to upload the consciousness of entire civilisations into their hive mind before starting over again, allowing more civilisations to grow and provide them with new memories. Chase appears one final time to help her escape the curators’ grip.
The invasion begins…
Niole is aboard an Idran-Var ship as their fleet surrounds Ossa, ready for war. However, they realise the waystations have joined together in a huge, twisted structure which erupts in a beam of white light. Strange, alien ships start pouring through the beam, bombarding Ossa until the planet is ablaze. Rhendar orders the Idran-Var to help evacuate the planet.
Still on the run from Shaw, Kojan bunkers down in abandoned research outpost with Eleion and Max and is given a glimmer of hope when Kite arrives to help. However, Shaw pumps poison gas into the room, and Alvera is the only one who doesn’t have a helmet or a breather mask. Eleion takes off her own mask and sacrifices herself for Alvera, who finally wakes up and proclaims the curators have arrived.
Rivus joins the Idran-Var to fight through the invading curator forces and escape Ossa. He contacts Kite, telling him to set up a rendezvous with the Idran-Var. Kite tells him Alvera is alive, and Rivus wonders if the two of them can fix the events they helped set in motion.
On the Idran-Var planet Alcruix, Niole finally claims her armour. She meets Serric, who has developed a begrudging respect for her and admits she’s finally ready. Both of them look over the gathering fleets and prepare themselves for the war that’s about to come.
Cast of characters
Crew of the Ranger
- Alvera Renata: Human female, mid-50s. Cyber engineer, captain of the Ranger and leader of the mission to find a new home for the people of the human colony known as New Pallas. Shares her head with an artificial intelligence known as Chase.
- Artus Shaw: Human male, mid-20s. Former officer on Exodus station, with experience in special operations and in-field medical treatment. Extensively modified with advanced Exodan cybernetic technology.
- Chase: Artificial intelligence installed within the neural implants of Alvera Renata. Highly advanced technological software that appears to be self-aware with a personality of its own.
- Kojan Irej: Human male, mid-30s. Pilot of the Ranger, son of former Exodus Station council leader Ojara Irej. Medical records show extensive genetic engineering and cybernetic implants—possible explanation for remarkable reflexes and piloting skills.
- Ojara Irej: Human female, early-70s. Former councillor on Exodus Station before her imprisonment for running invasive cybernetic experiments on unwilling participants for New Pallas. Succeeded in her position by Alvera Renata. Mother to Kojan Irej.
- Ridley Jones: Human female, mid-20s. Originally a New Pallas surfacer before securing a scholarship to Hyperion University for translation and archaeology. Fluent in over a dozen New Pallasian languages and dialects.
Coalition of Allied Planets
- Kitell ‘Kite’ Merala: Siolean male, late-30s. Legionnaire fighter pilot and leader of Pincer Squad. It should be noted that while Merala’s skills are impressive, he suffers from a lack of propriety and professionalism, particularly in front of his superiors.
- Rivus Itair: Dachryn male, late-30s. General of the Coalition Legionnaire Corps and second in command to Tarvan Varantis. Formidable warrior with considerable size and strength advantages. Facial plates of exoskeleton damaged from training ground incident sixteen years prior involving [REDACTED – CLASSIFIED].
- Tarvan Varantis: Dachryn male, early-40s. Supreme Commander of the Coalition Legionnaire Corps. Recognised for his unparalleled capacity to get results, no matter what the cost. Note: Any references to the Supreme Commander as ‘Tarvan the Tyrant’ are unofficial edits and should be flagged to the first available archivist.
- Governor Cobus: Human male, early-60s. Leader of the Rasnian Systems, generally based out of Ras Prime or Rellion. Confirmed political leanings towards secessionism and Rasnian independence from the rest of the Coalition—intelligence recommends keeping activities under close observation.
- Maxim ras Arbor: Human male, late-40s. Former mercenary who transitioned into private security, then the Rasnian military police. Formidable combat skills but questionable loyalty.
- Sem ras Arbor: Human male, late-30s. Left the Rasnian military to join the Coalition fleet. Service history on [REDACTED – CLASSIFIED], one of the ships to have been affected by the [REDACTED – CLASSIFIED]. Combat trained with experience in piloting small and medium-sized military craft.
- Claine: Human male, early-20s. Father left the Idran-Var and returned to Coalition space. Contact has been observed between the two. Continue to observe to exploit potential opportunities this may present.
- Niole: Siolean female, early-30s. Former cadet in the Coalition Legionnaire Corps before desertion. Responsible for deaths of several legionnaire retrieval squads. Known to suffer from the affliction of the ilsar—approach with caution.
- Rhendar: Unconfirmed gender, age and species—intelligence suggests human male, mid-40s to mid-50s. Holds the position of varsath [translator’s note: shield of the people] and therefore does not remove his helmet in public. High-value Coalition target—termination pre-approved.
- Serric: Siolean male, mid-30s. Son of two prominent Coalition senators who he killed as a child. Highly volatile with unprecedented levels of radiation accounted for in his flare readings, even for an ilsar. Recommended for solitary confinement in the Bastion if captured.
- Venya: Dachryn female, early-20s. Considerable brute strength and formidable plating, especially for a dachryn of her age.
- Zal: Human female, late-30s. A highly-skilled scout and scientist. Possibly responsible for bioweapon assault on Herta IV.
- Eleion: Iskaath female [translator’s note: egg-bearer would be more accurate here], early-30s. Official job description noted with transport registry is cargo runner, but intelligence suspects smuggling.
- Cyren: Iskaath female [translator’s note: Really? Again?], late-50s. Adept medic and mother [translator’s note: EGG. REARER.] to Eleion. No record of any political leanings or offworld travel.
- Drexious: Jarkaath male [translator’s note: Why do I even bother?], early-20s. Known thief and smuggler. Rumours of connection within jarkaath intelligence are unverified and unlikely to be accurate.
- Fyra: Siolean female, [age: ???]. No records within Coalition databases. Shares a name with ancient siolean goddess. Possible cult leader who used the Rim Belt black market to wipe her identity. To be investigated further.
- Halressan: Human female, late-20s. Former Idran-Var turned bounty hunter. Rumoured to be in possession of stolen Idran-Var armour. Retrieve if possible.
- Skaile: Siolean female, mid-30s. Also known as the Outlaw Queen. Runs a crime syndicate out of Jadera Port and exerts considerable influence over the mercenary and pirate gangs in the Rim Belt. Possible ilsar—do not approach without Coalition ambassadorial approval.
Glossary of known galactic civilisations
Crested, horned bipeds who are famed for their impressive size and strength. Their bone-plated exoskeleton makes them excellent warriors. Their face plates come in many different colours and patterns, from black and white to crimson red.
Famous for both their prowess on the battlefield and their cunning military strategy, the dachryn are somewhat hampered in their galactic influence by their lack of numbers. As a species, they are slow to breed, and much of their colony was lost through war before their arrival through the waystations.
Soft-fleshed and comprising mainly of water, humans are nevertheless tougher than they first appear. They also boast the highest population of a single species within the galaxy, even before the arrival of their colony.
The human colonists from New Pallas also bring with them an impressive understanding of advanced cybernetic enhancements, which allowed them to survive the trip through the waystations even through their inertial dampening technology on their ship was sorely rudimental. These implants improve many of their base capabilities, from neural enhancers and trauma regulators to retinal adjustors and bone reinforcement.
Reptilian, scaled species who move both bipedally and quadrupedally. They have long, powerful limbs and quill-like spindles along their spine and tail, which often indicate their emotional state. Historically predators with sharp, serrated teeth, long jaws and opposable claws, they are formidable combatants even unarmed.
A schism exists within the species: the jarkaath were the first colonists to arrive in the galaxy, doing so before their iskaath counterparts had even developed space travel. As a result, the jarkaath have adapted to breathe in different environments, whereas the iskaath still rely on breather masks with air filtration and toxin supply if they travel offworld.
This has resulted in a clear distinction between the two subspecies, with prejudice rife among the jarkaath and a reluctance to engage in galactic politics on the part of the iskaath.
A collective of exiles and outlaws who reject the Coalition and live on the fringes of the galaxy beyond the Rim Belt. They forsake any connection to the species they biologically belong to and instead consider themselves Idran-Var, a name which translates roughly to ‘those who resist.’
They are known for their near-impenetrable armour which is made of a metal alloy found nowhere else in the galaxy but the hidden forge they mine it from. This metal can repel most ammunition, including regular bullets and plasma rounds, but is vulnerable to a high-voltage electrical current. As such, a legionnaire’s varstaff is one of the few weapons capable of penetrating an Idran-Var’s armour.
Sworn enemies of the Coalition and the legionnaires, the Idran-Var are perhaps most famous for a brutal attack carried out on Alcruix almost a millenium ago, where they hurled an asteroid into a planet and rendered it uninhabitable.
Bipedal, smooth-skinned species characterised by their ability to flare. Their skin changes colour depending on the strength of a planet’s radiation. They have the ability to absorb this radiation and release it in violent bursts of energy known as flares.
Recognisable for their crown-like brow ridge and numerous head tendrils which split as they grow older—some elders have been observed to have hundreds of intricate headtails which they often wear in braids. Their appearance also includes black, colourless eyes and no discernible nose, just nostril slits.
Many sioleans isolate themselves and don’t gather in large groups of their own kind. In high concentrations they are more likely to develop the ilsar gene which heightens their ability to absorb radiation but also leaves them in a dangerous intoxicated state, unable to resist violence.
Glossary of planets and systems
A planet scarred by the Idran-Var’s asteroid attack almost a millennium ago. The surface is volatile and unstable, with a thin atmosphere and debris floating in orbit. What’s left of the planet is dark, volcanic, and icy—suitably unwelcoming to any visitors.
One of many similar dwarf planets on the border of the Rim Belt, with a thin atmosphere and barren surface. Its sky is tinged a dark red, held in a state of perpetual twilight, and its surface is bleak and rocky.
An inhospitable planet in the Rim Belt with a strong sun and unforgiving desert. There are few settlements here apart from Jadera Port—a bustling hive of criminal activity watched over by the Outlaw Queen, also known as Skaile.
The iskaath homeworld consists mainly of swampland and thick forests, though vast areas have been cleared for their production factories. The yellow-tinged atmosphere is deadly to other species but carries the vital toxins the iskaath need to survive.
A small, unremarkable planet that would likely be of little note were it not the dachryn homeworld. Its varied topography is interspersed with large, uniform cities and military outposts.
The human colony, located in an unknown region across the chasm of dark space. Overpopulated to the point of decay, almost every part of it has been built over, leaving the people of the planet struggling for clean air, food and resources.
Human homeworld, characterised by its alpine climate and lush environment. Access to the planet’s surface is restricted to authorised ships to ensure its atmosphere is not harmed—most visitors need to dock at one of the sizeable orbital stations and transit to the surface by solar shuttle.
A large moon orbiting Ras Prime, sometimes referred to as its sister planet. While Rellion’s thinner atmosphere is still adequate for humans to breathe, conservation is less of a concern. As a result, much more of the moon is built up than Ras Prime, featuring impressive skyscrapers and skycar lanes.
Still considered the siolean homeworld though large parts of it are abandoned due to the semi-nomadic nature of the siolean species. High in radiation, the atmosphere boasts a near-permanent aurora.
This arid, mountainous planet can be found in the Rim Belt. It has three suns and a sulphur-heavy atmosphere. Previously considered uninhabitable, but recent reports show signs of construction activity on the surface.
A frozen, rocky planet once used as an outpost for scientific research. Now abandoned, only a few empty facilities remain among the dangerous winds and freezing blizzards.
One of many pirate stations in the Rim Belt, the dangerous border territory between Coalition and Idran-Var space. The station is home to the notorious Belt Cabal and offers everything from luxurious eateries to dive bars and a sprawling black market.
Capital world of the Coalition, famous for its temperate climate, clear blue skies and sandstone buildings. Home of the legionnaire headquarters and training grounds.
A border planet mainly used by farmers, with twin suns and flat, fertile ground. Because of its proximity to the Rim Belt, it is often plagued by bandit attacks.
Located in the heart of siolean space, Pxen is an oceanic planet and home to the Bastion, an underwater prison which holds captured ilsar.
The Idran-Var’s chosen homeworld is hostile and ravenous, covered mainly by thick, sprawling jungles and plagued by ferocious storms. Both the flora and fauna are dangerous to anyone who is unprepared.