Antagonist: Marc ("Blackie") DuQuesne, Ph.D

Age: 57 years old at time of Alouette's Song, 73 at time of Alouette's Dream

Birthdate: unknown

Birthplace: unknown

IQ: 180

Physical description (at start of story cycle): Caucasian, tanned, 6 foot 2 inches tall, straight black hair (well grayed) black eyes, 220 pounds, square head and jaw, crew cut and short beard, in outstanding physical shape for a man his age.

Orientation: straight male

Celestial represenation: Mars.

Religion: Atheist

Likes: Hungarian paprikash, bowling, swimming, tennis, golf, big game hunting.

Special Talents: business jet pilot, field medic, 9 mm automatic pistol, knife fighting.

Paranormal abilities: None

Relatives: Dana, lover and fiancee (murdered at least 30 years ago)

Advisors: (At time of Alouette's Song) Shelmi (psycho-therapist and surrogate)

Friends: (At tme of Alouette's Dream) Aadrika (lover)

Enemies: Any and all of Dana's murderers.

Title: Distinguished Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at Spokane Institute of Technology

Employers: NASA, NSA, Spokane Institute of Technology, self-employed defense contractor

Marc in his late 20's was a 3rd year medical student, engaged to be married to a lady approximately his age named Dana. A drug gang desired to suborn him as a source of narcotics from his hospital, threatening to destroy his family if he either refused or reported them. He discreely reported the demands to his supervising resident physician, who believed Marc should refuse. He consulted his fiancee. She ordered him to refuse even at the possible cost of her life, saying he would not be the man she loved if he gave in. Marc interviewed the local FBI chief regarding the gang. The FBI could do nothing at the time due to a government fiscal shutdown instigated by the House of Representatives.

Evidently Marc's movements were being tracked carefully, because upon Marc's return he found his apartment a bloody mess, with hacked parts of Dana in each room and her severed head lying on the table with an obscene note scrawled in blood on the glass. It was fairly obvious that Dana had been brutally raped and murdered by members of the gang, who wanted to make an example of him to deter any others who might defy their will.

Worse, Dana's parents denounced him as prideful enough to place honor above life, and wanted nothing further to do with him. He left town and he left his career, heartbroken and disgusted. He decided he would avenge his fiancee, the first step of which was to join the CIA to obtain more information about the gang. He eventually gather sufficient intelligence to locate at least one gang member, who had by the time fo the Iran-Contra affair become the jefe (chief) of his village in Columbia.

Marc wanted to know the identities and locations of the other gang members, who evidently also rose to leadership positions in Columbia. He interrogated the jefe by threatening to destroy everything the jefe held dear if he refused, just like the jefe had done to Marc.

The jefe evidently had ideals and beliefs at least as strong as Marc's, because the jefe utterly defied Marc's demands for information. For each "no" Marc received, Marc:

1) Ran the villagers out of their houses and torched their houses.

2) Ordered the villagers aside from the jefe's family into a square and executed them en masse.

3) Lined the jefe's family from wife to toddler, for further "no's" executing each with a bullet.

4) On the next "no", held the jefe's infant in his hands and snapped the infant's neck before the jefe's eyes.

5) Marc didn't wait for any more "no's". He simply put a pullet in the back of the jefe's head.

Marc received no useful information and was aware that while he had indeed partially avenged Dana's brutal murder had destroyed his own humanity in the process. Major Robert Crane was embedded in his black operation as a military liason, looking on but legally powerless to stop Marc's actions, based on his orders to not interfere with Marc. Robert was still outraged by what happened and gave Marc a blistering lecture regarding the Geneva Conventions. Marc shrugged and instructed Robert to take the matter up with Robert's own chain of command.

Marc gained the well deserved sobriquet within the para-military community of "Blackie" for his actions, and this was not a compliment. It implied that as a man whose heart was as black as sin, he'd take on the filthiest jobs available and do them, if not enthusiastically at least efficiently. This made him a candidate for recruitment later into HEAL, an agency originally chartered by JFK to neutralize inventors of any technology having the potential to be weaponized for mass destruction. HEAL instructs Marc to be discreet, using alteration of any databases worldwide the US could hack as a means of punitive sanction for the idealistic who had gone one step too far, but also authorizing Marc to kill if his targets were truly malevolent.

Marc isn't employed 24-7 hunting the most dangerous game. He doesn't finish medical school, but instead transfers to physics and obtains his doctorate in that field, becoming a professor to Spokane Tech and an occasional consultant to NASA. To keep his tenure he must occasionally instruct children at middle schools and high schools. He discovers Margaret as a 12 year old playing around with two-dimensional curve fitting when she should have been learning pre-algebra. Naturally he sees a shocking waste of natural talent and decides to do something about it. Since Margaret's is in foster care, he begs the social workers to give him a chance with her, saying what's happening to her now is an outrage and he can do everything in his power to accelerate her.

He tutors Margaret in math himself during evenings and hires a battery a day tutors for her other subjects. she manages to finish the equivalent of high school before her 15th birthday. In a couple more years, she finds a flaw in a proof he was showing during a seminar. Marc appears totally astonished any child could understand the math behind his version of string theory. Upon the start of the following semester he has her transferred into the graduate math department where she will finish her bachelor's and master's in math concurrently. He hires her as his research assistant, and cuts the paperwork needed to get her judicially emancipated, since at 16 high school is now far behind her and she's also supporting herself.

Margaret is now 17 and himself 57 by the time the story begins. Somehow a young artist in New Jersey accidentally used a plating bath to propel a copper candlestick into orbit, and he must confiscate the artist's materials with a gentle warning to play with safer toys. He soon discovers Margaret, her best friend Martin, and his best friend Rick all have connections of one sort or another, and that Rick made his own connection by rescuing the beautiful daughter of a cattle baron from the Philadelphia subway tracks.

He discovers Margaret is playing with truly dangerous stuff without really understanding the possible consequences. He must either stop her or kill her.