I knew I wanted all the main characters of ZED to be female or female-ish. There is no reason there can’t be alien species that see gender completely differently. This doesn’t mean I wanted to write solely about gender. I just wanted to have the team as a group of female adventures  instead of the countless teams of guys with token female characters. I also didn’t want a token male character. Zed was going to be all women. Looking back now, I can see I was influenced by Atari Force V. 2 by Gerry Conway and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. In particular the character of Dart, or Erin Bia Singh O’Rourke. Atari Force V. 2 was released in 1984 and was a major character in a major tie-in comic who was female, mixed-race, tattooed (full body including face), spaceship flying, mercenary. Definitely not Wonder Woman. Dart was a confident, skilled and had a fierce attitude. So I can see how some of that appears in ZED.



Of all the characters, I think Neta is most like Dart. They are from a light-green people called the Zeg. They are meant to be athletic and androgynous. Though they appear female, Neta’s  species is genderless. She is al about getting the current job done and moving on.


When Zeg choose to reproduce they gather DNA from as many other Zeg as they wish, to create a robust genetic code. In this way, all Zeg are really familial. Before interacting with species that used sexual reproduction, they did not understand gender. It’s all very Left Hand of Darkness.



What I wanted to do with Sierra was create a character that though she was humanoid is nothing like a human. She is sentient rock. She has a whole backstory of how she was discovered in an ancient tomb by archeologists. She is a very old thing but she has no idea how old she is or how she was created. All she does know is based on the archeologists that found her she values helping people. Since she has enormous strength, does not need food or air, she felt Zed might be a good place for her. She is eager to know her history but she will help lots of people on the way.



Rector is an interesting case. I wanted the pilot to be a bit out of control and a thrill seeker but that was not enough to set her apart in the story. So I thought there could be more if she had a some sort of ability to make her character more interesting. So I settled on a short level precognition. So she gets a sense of things happening a few seconds to milliseconds before they happen. Nothing concrete but a sense, this makes her  an amazing driver and pilot since she can predict how things will happen and react to them



Tee is our entry into the team. She is the newest member and the narrator. She is a human comes from Earth but since Zed is set millennium in the future, we know Tee is the last human. Many of the other species she encounters, have never seen a human from Earth before. In addition, I wanted to make her a human from Africa and of African decent. We don’t see enough female people of color representation in space so I wanted to explore it. She was discovered being held by a slaver and she has no idea how she ended up there or anything about her heritage. In addition, she is a soldier but is a medical doctor. So she has a tension between being part of the fight and helping folks out. There a big changes for her in store for her after being caught in the blue light of episode 01.



Onki sure is an interesting character. I wanted to have a character who mixed a Buddhist mentality of ending suffering with a violent character. Out of this notion came Onki. She feels that to kill people who do bad things ends suffering both of the people the person is hurting but also their own internal suffering. Onki’s role in the religion is that of a warrior monk who tries to decrease the amount of suffering in the galaxy.


Onki also has two interesting physical traits. She never shows any skin. This is also part of her religion. No is really sure why the OhPen do this but they always have. Second, she has four arms. She takes duel wielding to a new level often using her arms to do very different things.