Formerly Dr. Susanna Rossi, Lt. (Junior Grade) Darkwater is a research scientist and an ex-communicated Purist Nation nun. Something dark resides within her mind, a malevolent voice seething with murderous desires. A voice she believes is her coveted deity, "The High One".
She served ten years in the Planetary Union Navy, her way of putting herself through school and earning a Ph.D. in [Nanobiotechnology]. In the service she met Melanie Garabond. The two women fell in love, and were engaged to be married. That love came to a brutal end during a skirmish against ships from the League of Planets. In that battle, Susannah was knocked against a bulkhead, an injury that has left a scar from her right temple down to her chin. That same injury stunned her, kept her on the ground just as an explosion flooded her compartment with shrapnel that killed four and sent Melanie’s severed head bouncing across the floor.
Susannah survived. She felt the hand of the High One himself had spared her life. He had plans for her. Melanie died because she was an unrepentant lesbian. Susannah mustered out and traveled to the Purist Nation, where she became a nun and spent eighteen years in a convent.
But because the Union navy had paid for her education, Susannah was technically a lifelong reservist. The Navy recalled her due to her expertise in bionano. When the Purist clerics discovered Susannah was Planetary Union military, she was banished from all Nation lands and planets.
With no chance at asylum in her adopted home, Susannah reported for duty and was assigned to the PUV Shale Morris, a research vessel tasked with analyzing samples from the PUV James Keeling. It was on the Morris that Susannah met Captain Tom Bratchford. Bratchford’s sister had been aboard the PUV Blackmouth, a ship captured by Purist Nation marines. Bratchford’s sister was reportedly raped hundreds of times before finally being vented into space without a suit.
Susanna Rossi was convicted for the murder of Captain Tom Bratchford of the PUV Shale Morris. The crime occurred on the first day Susanna met Captain Bratchford. Bratchford felt Susannah, a Purist, was a perfect target for his revenge. As the captain of a remote research vessel, he could keep Susannah a virtual prisoner indefinitely. He assaulted Susannah, beating her and throwing her into cases containing sample nanobio dust from the Keeling. Those samples entered Susannah’s bloodstream. She was knocked out, and when she woke she heard voices telling her to Hurt him, kill him. Susannah took that voice to be that of the High One himself -- following his commands was not a sin.
Susannah fought back, incapacitating Bratchford. When he was down and helpless, she killed him. While arguably her actions were in self defense, the viciousness of her actions brought her before Rear Admiral Adrienne Boock. Susannah had been recalled to study samples from the PUV James Keeling, and now, she would study on the Keeling itself.
Boock gave Susannah a new identity -- Bethany Darkwater -- and sent the scientist to the Keeling to serve under Sacha Kerckhoffs, science commander of the Keeling. Boock also promised that if Susannah could serve the two-year stint, the Union would give her another, non-military identity and help her repatriate to the Purist Nation.
This is her only chance to return to her home, and she knows it. Susannah is about to start her new life, posing as someone else, and her scientific background will lead her to the discovery of the century.
The Bethany Darkwater identity has a blonde bob. Susannah/Bethany is average height for a woman, in shape but not overly athletic.