Age at beginning: 28
Age at end: 33
Height: 168cm (5" 6')
Weight: 71kg (156 pounds)
Hair: Black, tighly braided in cornrows.
Tough-minded and determined, Dana Medina is the efficient second Lieutenant under Captain O'Shea, and eventual Zakiri Captain of the Gefanna Defence Forces. Among her many important duties in Gefanna is directing the combat operations that are vital to the defense of the city against the probing incursions of the Zoners.
Dana was born to a lower middle class family in Indianapolis in the RINC territory of Indiana. True to most people in her economic class, her family lived well, but struggled for most of it to make a good living for her and her brother, Edward. Seeing some of the sacrifices made cause Dana to become very protective of her family, and that protection extended to the those she met. While she had few friends, she came to identify with the city of Indianapolis and, caught up in the jingoist fervor of the RINC government, the RINC territories. Deciding that a career in the police force was not to her liking, she joined the army to protect her family, city, and nation. While she excelled in all areas of academics and training, she stayed at a distance from most fellow cadets and formed few, if any close relationships.
Once in the army she was singled out by Captain O'Shea as having the determination and tactical ability it would take to eventually replace him, but also, uncharacteristically for other Captains, her compassion for her friends and nation. Captain O'Shea, while one of the most successful commanders in the army, is considered soft as he is willing to work for amicable victories, versus violent ones. He sees this possiblity in Dana, and has worked to nuture that compassion (along side the tactical ability and determination) under the radar (even Dana's radar).
When she is captured and put into a Zakiri prison camp, it is her protection of her troops from abuses from some of the more corrupt prison guards that gets Defence Director Mulhare to her, that her loyalty to her troops may be more powerful than her loyalty to her country. While she proves more loyal to the RINC than Mulhare had hoped, he impresses her into working for the Zakiri through a little psychology, and a hell of a coersion.
Once in Gefanna, on the inside, she's overtaken by the beauty of the place Coming from a city on a plain, the idea of a city in a ravine, the rivers and mountains immediately make an impression.
On the outside, however, Dana puts forward the best front a RINC officer can in the face of the enemy. She's the model soldier, knowing she is the one RINC citizen/soldier these people may ever see, and wnating to make a good impression under the gun. It's all a front, though. She's not happy to be there, she's not happy with incredibly different culture, has never seen modified humans before, everything and everyone seems so alien. And she's assigned to protect these people. Added to that is her incredibly homesickness. Everything around her reminds her of how different it is here. From the sliver of sky above her, to the overspiced food, to the Ethiopian slang. It's not home. Never has been, never will be.
In an attempt to stay linked with her identity back home, she sits and takes the time to style her hair into cornrows by hand, as a cultural identifyer. It's all of home she has, especially now that she's been tattoed with a Zakiri marker on her face.
The tough soldier facade finally breaks during a meeting with one of the mechanics supervising the air defenses for Gefanna. The supervisor, Kira, doesn't buy Dana's tough Honorable Soldier attitude, and makes it known that she thinks its cute. Not helping things is Kestrel Twelve, a sentent warbird that takes to Dana, helping undercut Dana's authoritative attitude for Kira. The two eventually begin a relationship involving Kira maturing, and Dana softening up. Twelve, however, creeps Dana the hell out. Twelve isn't haveing any of that, and has decided Dana is her new best friend.
After a botched escape attempt, she resigns herself to her fate of living and protecting the city. She has to live there now, too, and letting it get run over wouldn't do her, or anyone around her any good. She makes a good faith effort to fit in, but does so clumsily. This, along with the air of "military nobility" she's been putting forth, while seemingly demeaning, begin to endear her to the population in a "Oh, that poor kid" fashion.
After living there a full year, Dana's made a small niche for herself in the town. She hasn't assimilated, and is actively fighting it, but she is more comfortable in the town, and has allowed herself to loosen up. She would still leave for home in a heartbeat if she could - something that doesn't go unnoticed by the citizens, who, while tolerant (and some even friendly), don't trust her to stay five minutes more than she has to.
As part of her assimilation, she has finally become curious about twelve and is beginning to explore a friendship with her (as freindly as anyone can get with a sentient warbird). Along with this new friendship, her relationship with Kira has evolved, and the two are friendly. Kira is her point into accepting Gefanna. Kira is an example of what she loves best about the culture, one year in, and there's so much more to explore if she'll let herself.
Kelile, though, is who she goes to when she needs a reminder of how much she hates where she is, as he's everything she despises in Gefanna. The underhandedness and back alley dealings and snide self-important attitudes. When she's wanting to hate the town, Kelile is always "a good example of why I hate it here."
In Tilahun, she sees a pillar of strength. She never tells him so, but his strength and pride in his hometown and people often gives her the moral "oomph" to get through the rough patches. Often he's the one who sooths her troubled brow concerning Kira and Kelile. SO much so in fact, she asks him to stay. Obstensibly because she wants to have a Native Son helping to run the show, and keep credibility with the city.
And when Kira and Tilahun manage to successfully route a raid without her, she believes she can try to escape again, since now the city is in good hands. Mid escape attempt, she stops as the city is under siege. Thinking of Tilahun and Kira trying to get by without her, she returns, late, but in time to make a difference.
Two years in, and she's become a respected outsider. While not feeling herself to be one of the locals, and at the same time the locals feeling she's not local, she has become comfortable in her surroundings. The pangs of homesickness are still there, and occasionally she remembers home wistfully, but she has her niche, and while her social circle is simply the people she works with, it's a good social circle nonetheless. The towns people have accepted her affectionately as "Kahadi." But what she doesn't know is that this means Traitor - something Kira informs her of later in the act.
With the Zoner threat continuing, but a new threat arises: Kelile and his wanting to steer the town into a path of his choosing, and to undermine Tilahun and Dana's grip on the city. She focuses her attention inwards, trying to root out, at first, the causes and rumblings of the city moving underneath her, and eventually narrowing it down to Kelile. What she doesn't realize, and perhaps we don't for some time after, is that it's her willingness to protect which drives her, the want to protect her new home. Even if she doesn't see it as such.
Her discipline has broken down as well. The Zakiri military doens't follow the "No fraternizing with the enlisteds" rules, and Dana's facade of The Good Soldier has long since cracked. We find her now friendly with her troops, if still a tad distant. It's this walking the line that finally breaks down the troop division, from Zakiri and RINC to a Gefana company.
Three years in, and though she'll deny it, she has settled in. She's keeping the Zoner's out with total effeciency, to the point that they're not much of a threat anymore, and she's been able to focus her attentions on the city, working to shore up the cities defences, while not realizing she's dropped her. She shops like any citizen of Gefana, eats food at restaurants like any citizen of Gefana, and even subconsciously uses slang when talking with citizens. She hasn't made many friends, her self-imposed defences haven't completely dropped where she's conscious of them.
Kira has quickly become on of her best friends, and it may be sliding into an outside of her comfort zone. She's never been in love with another woman, but Kira's insistent personality, snarky, but sunny, outlook, and her insight into the people and places around Dana appeals to her. It's clear Kira is falling in love with her through the act. Dana may be, too, but she has more personal hurdles to jump before she'll accept that herself. Escpecially once:
The Zoners finally drop the probing attacks because they've determined where they're going to hit: Santa Fe. The attack causes the Zakiri Central Conference to move Northwest, out of the area: They're too close to a new battle zone, and communnications are now rough between the Rinc/Zakiri line. The result is Gefanna and the southwest eventually become cut off. It's here that Dana (along with Tilahun and even Kelile) begin to shine.
At first Dana simply ups her defence of the city, knowing a Battle Zone is only a few hundred miles away. But it's seeing and hearing the citizens, the people she now honestly believes she should be protecting versus being forced to, that has her come to Tilahun to consider coming to Santa Fe's aid. At first, the answer is no - there's a matter of logistics and "empire building." But eventually, the answer is "Let's protect the other nearby cities, and when we're big enough, we'll take on the Santa Fe problem." She begins expanding her views on the Zakiri world around her, and how it reacts in a panic. this causes her protective nature to finally change the Zakiri from "Them" to "Us."
(Storylines and personality traits may change depending on the outcome of several non-Dolari characters)
[Episode 1 provides the major key to the rest of this act:]
Four years in, and Dana is, essentially, the new Defence Directorate for the area. She's been coordinating defensive attacks on the Zoners trying to keep the Zoners from expanding into the territory of Gefanna's allies, and occasionally setting up (Very small) annoyance raids as diversions during battles. While she is coordinating from Gefanna, she's running the troops and soldiers out of several abandonned areas around Santa Fe, so that the cities themselves are protected. The act begins, however, with a successful rout of the Zoners from Santa Fe, where they reveal their biggest weapon: A Mass Driver. The Massdriver obliterates the remains of Santa Fe. The town is no longer in Zoner control, but there is no town left to hold...it's abandonment will allow the Zoners in easily (they wanted the land, not the city or citizenry).
Intelligence reports that the Mass Driver takes several days to prepare but to cut the time in half, a second is being built. Dana sees, at this point, that to defend the cities from destruction, she must take it out. She prepares a small operative raid to destroy the drivers, and the raid works, destroying both drivers. But the troops - her best infilatrators - are pinned down by an air assault - keeping them busy till more ground reinforcements arrive from nearby. She begins looking for other small distrations to get the team out, but is having trouble finding totally military targets. She chooses Holloman AFB, where the air forces attacking her infiltrators are located, although Kira argues that there are too many civilians quartered nearby. It wouldn't be a "clean kill."
It's just then that Twelve is destroyed by the approaching ground forces.
Dana freezes for a second. Twelve is gone, her first real friend since getting there. It's finally hit her: this is her world now, her home, her family. And family has been hurt. But however much she realizes that she's become part of these people, there are parts of her that are not Zakiri - including the one that orders an immediate air raid on Holloman AFB: "I don't want to see a single blade of grass, two pieces of wood nailed together, or a single thing left standing." Kira objects - there are too many civilians dwellings nearby. Dana again orders it, Kira objects saying she won't take the chance of harming civilians. Dana: "There's a chance we might hurt civilians. There's a certainty that we will lose out best infiltrators, and not be able to do this again if we don't. If you won't attack the base, find me someone who will." Kira, struck with the shock of seeing Kira this incensed, and the realization that this battle isn't clear cut anymore, reluctantly orders the destruction of the base. The airforces take out the fuel and ammo dumps, obliterating the base, but as Kira pointed out, civilian houses were also destroyed in the blast. Kira's pale...she's taken a life that shoudln't have been taken. This wasn't how this was supposed to happen. But this turns to white hot anger when she sees that Kira is looking on the destruction reports, hoping no one sees her, with a light (hopefully not seen) smirk.
Dana is with the Zakiri, but she's not one of them. She has different morals and behaviours than they do. Had she been in the RINC army, she would have never gotten close to Twelve, Twelve would have just been another weapon of war. But she got close. And the RINC attitude of "They may be civilian casualites, but they are the enemy" fed right into her want for revenge (another trait frowned on by the Zakiri). Dana may be fighting with the people she's with, but she, no matter how assimilated, is not them.
It isn't until later that Tilahun tells her that she's now done an offensive act against the Zoners, and with Albuquerque gone: They're Next. Kelile tells her that the fragile alliance they've created is on the edge of crumbling: No one else wants to be helping the city that's the next target. And Kira. Kira remains silent while Kelile and Tilahun are in the room. The moment they leave, she launches into her with such force and bile and righteous anger that Dana is just shellshocked. With all three gone, she realizes the incredible mistake she made by giving into quick revenge, instead of a precision attack on the base.
[End episode 1]
Throughout the act, it's Kira's hurt that makes Dana realize that while she's assimilated, she's not one of them, and may never be. But instead of reverting back to type, wanting to go home, being the Good RINC Soldier, and seeing the Zakiri as "THEM," she begins to realize that the two aren't completely at odds. She realizes that her troops must feel the same way. The RINCs assimilated into the Zakiri, the Zakiri assimilating the RINCs as well. They aren't Zakiri anymore. They're GEFANNA. It's an attitude Kelile and Tilahun have also come to through their plot threads.
When word comes that the RINC army is coming to Gefanna (although it's not known if it's to capture or rescue Dana), her first thoguht is not "Finally, I can get home" but "How can we use this to our advantage?" It's the "Gefanna" attitude, too, that allows her to reassure that anyone who wants to go home can, but also assures that she won't let the approaching RINC army take anyone prisoner. She'll find a way to keep Gefanna for anyone who wants to stay here, from the RINC, and from the Zoners.
It's this togetherness the three have adopted that allows them to pit the approaching RINC army against the Zoners, and then Gefanna coming in later to back up the RINC army. To the Zoners, it looks like the RINC have joined the fight. To the RINC, The Zakiri have saved their butts. Will this end the war? Probably not, but does make for a grateful captain who recognizes Gefanna's "independence." All because Dana, Tilahun and Kelile have embraced their differences and the differences of the people around them to make a new whole.