Meet Niko Joe
As we approach the launch of Droplet Fiction, I'm going to do a few introductory posts about the stories that are part of its launch slate, with some interesting details about their origins that you may not know (and I may not remember to tell you again).
First up is Niko Joe, star of Niko Joe Adventures.
Niko ran away from Earth because she couldn't stand all the stupid people she had to deal with. Unfortunately for her, pretty much the entire population of Mars is stupid, and it's her job to deal with them. Between her rollercoaster relationship with her co-worker/girlfriend, Eep, and the never-ending irritation with Goran, their boss, Niko has a hard time finding peace and quiet. But hey, at least she can shoot things.
What's it all about?
Niko is one of my favourite kinds of characters: she's incredibly bitter, she has zero filter, she is largely powerless except in very specific ways, but she has an actual heart and conscience (that she hides from the world) that makes her hard to hate, even when she does terrible things. Niko is one of two crew members on a space station orbiting Mars, in charge of handling tenancy issues and keeping the peace for the revolving door of miners, settlers and adventurers who pay way too much money to visit.
The thing is: Niko is really good at a really bad job, so she has every reason to stay indefinitely — even as everyone else cashes out and heads home. But Niko can't go home, and every time the issue comes up, it makes her even crankier than before ... which wouldn't be so much of an issue if she didn't have access to mass driver weapons and a keen eye for aiming.
How'd it come about?
This one is just pure fun for me, because you've got a mean-spirited character in the vein of Gare Marx who is (perhaps) overdoing her performative bitterness for shock value purposes, and you put her in a lawless environment where she holds all the power — and then you put rules on her that keep her from exercising that power. It's like a pressure cooker of fruit flavours, and I love how it's coming together.
Niko has a bit of a tortured past, which is possibly why she acts the way she does...plus she has a tenuous relationship with her co-worker, Eep, which runs the risk of turning a bad situation even worse. If it's dubious sleeping with your colleague, imagine how unpleasant it is to be stuck in the same small cabin with them for at least another 18 months...
How many in the series?
There are four Niko Joe stories in the series. The first, Eviction Notice should be launching in early September. Oh, and if your virgin ears can't handle cursing...well, good luck to you.