|Constanza Q. Stark|
|Planet of Origin:||Unknown|
|Profession:||Chief of Staff of the High Guard|
|Ship Posting:||Milky Way Galaxy|
|Ship Position:||Chief of Staff|
|Played By:||Chapelle Jaffe|
|Chronological and General Info|
New Systems Commonwealth
Throughout Dylan's career, Stark had been sending him on dangerous missions such as the search for the Vase of Rimni or the removal of the dangerous dictator of the planet Mobius. Stark promoted him to the rank of Captain after the mission on Mobius and promoted the officer that he had worked with, Gaheris Rhade, to the position of his first officer. With both men's promotions they were also given command positions on the Systems Commonwealth starship Andromeda Ascendant. ("Forced Perspective")
During the Fall of the Commonwealth and the ensuing Long Night, Stark fought a losing battle and decided to found the Templars in order to stop the Nietzcheans, whom she blamed for the fall of the Commonwealth. To ensure the survival of her brilliant intellect, the Templars transferred her mind to willing volunteers over the span of hundreds of years, and by the time of her ultimate death in C.Y. 10088, she had had four lifetimes. Her latest incarnation was named Constantine Stark. ("Twilight of the Idols")
Being a senior officer in the Commonwealth, she often gave commencement and graduation speeches, as well as writing a large amount about her experiences. As Dylan Hunt tells her (him), she had taught him to "fight the battles that others can't."
about war: Somebody wins,
somebody loses, and
nothing is ever the same again."
Admiral Constanza Stark,
C.Y. 9784 -- "D Minus Zero"
is always his own mind."
Admiral Constanza Stark,
CY 9762 -- "The Knight, Death, and the Devil"
battle group to be the most
Admiral Constanza Stark
High Guard Chief-of-Staff
CY 9758 -- "Point of the Spear"
Welcome to the blood, to the sweat,
to the tears.
Welcome to your places on the wall."
Admiral Constanza Stark,
"Address to War College Graduates,"
CY 9764 -- "Twilight of the Idols"
Speech to High Guard Academy GraduatesEdit
Admiral Constanza Q. Stark is widely regarded as one of the greatest High Guard Chiefs of Staff ever to serve in the position. During Stark's tenure, a fleet depleted and demoralized by a diminished threat and popular opposition rediscovered its sense of purpose. Stark is widely credited with anticipating the rise of unforeseen threats in the face of High Guard withdrawal from its traditional responsibilities, and restructuring the force to reflect the asymmetric nature of these potential threats and contingencies. The following are selected excerpts from Stark's first address as Chief of Staff to the graduating midshipmen of the High Guard Academy in 9764 CY. Some have noted that Stark's words seem eerily prophetic in light of the surprise Magog attack on Brandenburg Tor just two years later.
"It is with a great sense of history and pride that I come before you today as the High Guard inducts you into the ranks of its elite officer corps. I cannot help but be humbled, standing before this crowd of thousands - with countless more watching from remote locations around the Commonwealth - and realizing that I stand in the midst of greatness. You are the best and the brightest of a hundred thousand worlds, beings for whom service is more than civic virtue and sacrifice, more than an abstract notion of selflessness. For the officers of the High Guard, service and sacrifice are tangible things, more precious than gold, because we pay for the right to claim them with our sweat, our blood, our tears. We are the watchers on the walls of Paradise."
"Some have argued that the time has come for the watchers to climb down from the walls, that Paradise is secure - indeed, that Paradise is diminished by our very presence. How can we claim to live in an age of freedom and enlightenment, they ask, when our planets crawl with armed troops, when our skies are filled with ships of war so formidable not even the stars themselves are immune to their wrath. They point to our guns, our bombs, our anachronistic uniforms, our strange traditions, our rigid hierarchy and they ask what relevance these things have in a universe at peace with itself."
"And some in the High Guard have argued that these people deserve to reap what they sow. That perhaps the dissolution of the High Guard, like a wish made to an angry djinn, will show them just how tenuous their Paradise really is. They point to the universities, the research centers, the museums, the Conclave and they call them luxuries, taken for granted by an ungrateful populace. They ask how long these things could abide without the strength of the High Guard to ensure their survival."
"I am here to tell you that both of these arguments are misguided, that there is another way. There is a middle path, a road we must take that can preserve the noble tradition of the High Guard as an instrument of peace and maintain the security and stability of the liberties System Commonwealth citizens have enjoyed for 10,000 years. It is a hard road, fraught with change and peril, but at the end of that road we can leave the Systems Commonwealth better and stronger than we found it. We can make it a finer place."
"As is usual, these grand pronouncements are more easily articulated than implemented. And I am sure you are asking yourselves: How do you propose to get us on that road, lead us down it, bring us to this happy future? I answer your question with a pearl of great price - an insight so pure, so fundamental that it forms the core of every great victory and every bitter defeat:"
"Well-established military wisdom suggests that if you know your enemy as you know yourself, you will always be victorious. But the good commander understands that he must first know himself - and admit to all of the good and ill that knowledge implies. And by this I do not refer merely to the commander as a singular, sentient being. I refer to the commander as the embodiment of a ship, a crew, a mission. And in this context, I refer to myself first - for if I cannot submit to my own introspection, I cannot expect the officers under my command and the officers who follow them to do the same."
"There is much that is good about the High Guard and much that must be preserved. We have the best people, the best equipment and the best training. We are the finest military force ever assembled and by far the most powerful. The thought of our might in the hands of malcontents or a potential enemy should induce a shudder, at the very least. The power of any military must be viewed in the context of the values it upholds - and in the case of the High Guard, we are good, kind, gentle people. And we are good, kind and gentle in everything we do, even on those rare occasions when we must unsheathe our swords, climb down from the walls and do battle in the name of Paradise."
"That said, there is also much about the High Guard that is broken and must be repaired. We have the best people, but fewer of them enter the Home Guard forces every year. We have the best equipment, but our development process has become ossified by centuries of slavish devotion to a small coterie of resource providers. We have the best training, but shrinking budgets have forced more students into smaller classrooms, straining our instructional staff and jeopardizing the effectiveness of our people in the field. In short, we have the best and worst of all possible worlds, and we walk the razor's edge of readiness. It is a source of widespread frustration within the ranks, but today's frustration can easily become tomorrow's catastrophe. Those who oppose the very existence of the High Guard would rebut my warnings by claiming that there is no threat to justify our existence. We are the victims of our own myopia, expending valuable blood and treasure in order to preserve a way of life that has lost its foundation. The universe has changed, they tell us, and the day when mighty fleets of High Guard ships brought peace and order to the local cluster are long since over."
"And they are absolutely right."
"The universe has changed, and we must change with it. The High Guard must become leaner and meaner, taking advantage of technology to fill in the gaps left by our diminished numbers. We must embrace new, non-traditional missions that are ideally suited to our superior organization and resources. We must apply our knowledge, our capabilities, our traditions of service and sacrifice to operations other than war. And while we must maintain our readiness to fight when the need arises, we should pour equal energy into offering a hand to those in need and those who seek to push the frontiers of science and technology for the betterment of sentient species everywhere. We must become more than what we are - not just soldiers, but diplomats. Not just engineers, but scientists. We must do more than patrol the wastes between the stars; we must explore them and share what we learn so that we may grow wiser and more humble in the face of Creation."
"But I caution you, the classic mistake of every hegemon has been to rest on an assumption of invulnerability. We must resist with all our strength and reason any supposition that we have pacified the universe, that we are so large, so smart or so inevitable that no force of nature can topple us from our seat at the mountaintop. Rome will always have her Visigoths and the Vedran Empire her Kaldera. And though we cannot yet give a name to its cause, even the Systems Commonwealth may pass from history - another dimly remembered empire who grew too fat, too lazy, too secure in its assumptions."
"And so, we must remain in our battlements, ever vigilant for the nameless shadow over the next hill. We must remain the watchers on the wall, at peace with the knowledge that we may be asked to let our sweat, our blood, our tears rain down on Paradise in a torrent of war. We must remain strong - physically, mentally, spiritually. We must remain the High Guard, the foundation upon which our precious freedoms are built and maintained."
"Gentlebeings, I bid you welcome. Welcome to the sweat, to the blood, to the tears. Welcome to your places on the wall."
- That her surname is the German for "strong" seems unlikely to be entirely coincidental, and there may also be an implicit link to the comic book hero Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. Even her first name speaks to resilience and the determination to defend ideals.
- Both Constanza Stark/Constantine Stark and the Balance of Judgment violate the ideals of the Systems Commonwealth after suffering the anarchy of the Long Night. In "The Knight, Death, and the Devil", the High Guard Artificial Intelligence Ship Avatars are resistant to rejoining since they were captured during the First Systems Commonwealth Civil War.
- She was presumably the "Aunt Connie" Dylan referenced in the message for Sara shown in "Home Fires", since he stated he would not salute her if she wore pink taffeta as she walked Sara down the aisle, and it's hard to imagine there were more female relatives with similar names and higher than Captain rank.