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The Five Star Stories
© Mamoru Nagano and Toy Press
Published in NewType Magazine

Destiny Lachesis
Clotho the Sleeping Witch
Wandering Atropos

Borrowed from another translation: "The Five Star Stories unfolds in a stellar system known as the the 'Joker System.' It consists of the four star systems of Easter, Wester, North, and South. The fifth star system from the title is the comet Stant, which on an ellipitical path crosses the Joker System.

"The major planets are Delta Belune, Juno, Addler, Both, Pestaco and Kalamity Goderce. Across these six major planets are over 700 nations of varying size, prestige, power and technological development. FSS depicts the evolution of a stellar empire from Delta Belune across all six planets, and its subsequent overthrow."

FSS is a Tolkien-esque epic that is still being written. Rather like Lucas, Nagano has hopped around his universe's chronology, filling in different bits that sometimes contradict each other. The artwork is distinctive for having a more delicate feel then most manga, while retaining a realism not often found - Nagano consistently puts in details like the cracks in the walls and the seams on the clothes. His mecha designs, instead of being your typical giant clunky robots, are works of stylized art, like antique suits of armor.

The primary characters of FSS, especially for the first few books, are Emperor Amaterasu of the AKD empire on Delta Belune and his wife and fatima, Lachesis. Both are superhuman, possessed of abilities and life spans greater than any mortal. Married in 2988, they will follow the story through Amaterasu's rise to power as the Star Emperor of the entire Joker System and Amaterasu's later overthrow of the corrupt AKD in the year 7777.

Aisha The two ranks of characters that figure prominently in FSS are Headliners and Fatimas. Headliners (or Knights) are chosen by birth, and specifically by genetics. A recessive gene gifts them with strength and speed ten times faster than a normal human. The gene is unpredictable - a Headliner's children might not be Headliners, while their grandchildren are. Any child manifesting a Headliner's abilities is immediately taken for rigorous training and promoted to the rank of Knight (minor nobility) regardless of their original social caste.

Headliners alone are allowed to carry the energy swords called spauds. For a commoner to have one is a heavy crime. The difference between a spaud and a lightsaber aren't much - spauds are usually designed a bit longer in the hilt, very plain, and have the benefit of a stun setting. On the other hand, I don't think their blade lengths can be adjusted. There are very very heavy laws regarding Headliners harming commoners (what with their unfair advantage) unless in combat situations.

Fatimas always accompany Headliners - every Fatima will have their own Headliner, but not all Headliners have Fatimas. Fatimas are in somewhat short supply, especially the good ones. Genetically engineered lifeforms, Fatimas are a combination of Headliner genes and the non-human etrimi. Physically they resemble humans for the most part. Ninety percent are female.

Lachesis Fatima are as fast and strong as Headliners. In addition, they are the bio-computer link in the giant mecha used for war in the Joker System. Piloted by Headliners, the massive war machines require a Fatima to be really effective. Fatima can triple the output of one of the mecha and a good Fatima can be the turning point in battle. Because they are potentially so dangerous, Fatima are placed under strict mind control which is programed into their very design. They choose Headliners as their masters, remaining completely loyal to them. They are incapable of killing or harming any human except on the order of their master, nor can they lie. Due to their design, Fatima are universally sterile - some Headliners will marry their fatima regardless.

Fatimas are created either individually, by the best genetic engineers, or mass produced in factories. Factory fatimas are inferior, low grade, with limited ability and lifespans. They are commonly used for cannon fodder in war, or entertainment. Fatimas created specifically by genetic engineers are very high grade and prized (the creation process takes years). Fatimas are governed by strict rules regarding their conduct and appearance in public - the rules are designed so that they are not mistaken for human.

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