Amongst all the aspects I’ve been thinking about for my NaNoWriMo story this year, my principal character is probably the one piece of the puzzle I am most sure of.
Her name is Neylan Haas and she holds the rank of Commander with the Solarian Regulators, the principle law enforcement agency for the Solarian Admiralty (think NCIS in space). She is an accomplished navigator and sat in the co-pilot’s seat on the Armed Pursuit Vehicle Abilene, until it crashed, stranding her on a plague planet with more of a frontier approach to law and order than she’s used to.
Finding a look for her has been a challenge. Science fiction and fantasy art are awash with female characters. Sadly most of them are squeezed into skin tight outfits, masquerading as flight suits, and pictured in unrealistic pin-up style poses. All tits and bum. Not what I want for Commander Haas.
Fortunately, I stumbled on to this image yesterday. I don’t know who the artist is, but she’s as close to perfect as I could hope for, especially as I had planned to make Haas a red head.
Her uniform is not bordering on soft-core, her footwear is practical for someone in her line of work and I can tell that her jacket has been inspired by the Naval frock coats of the 18th century. Perfect for a navy style organisation.
As the majority of Neylan’s story will take place on a planet, rather than in space, this style of uniform also makes much more sense than a full flight suit, although I will no doubt have to provide her with some civvies too.
The other aspect of Neylan’s look I needed to deal with was finding her a prosthetic arm. This will play an integral part in the story and was probably the only part of her overall look that I considered non-negotiable.
I was surprised, and then not surprised, to discover that when it comes to art and even technical concept drawings, prosthetics for women are given little consideration. All the designs I could find were drawn with over-muscled men in mind, and as a non-engineer this was the one aspect of Neylan’s look that I really needed a visual cue for. But after weeks of searching things were not looking hopeful.
Finally though, and just at the point when I was about to give up, I found this image on Pinterest. It’s just what I was looking for; a fully integrated prosthetic arm, designed for an average female physique. It even matches her uniform!
So, that is Commander Haas in a nutshell, or as much of her as I can give away at this stage. Now, I have to give her a partner in crime…