Oh, Santos. He’s the teacher’s pet, you know? If only every character could be like him, I tell his parents on Writer-Parent Meeting Night. His quiet demeanor and willingness to let things play out lend him a gravitas that make him very attractive as a character. His intelligence and strategic abilities make him a kind of character that writers often use as a stand-in for themselves. Self-aware and always looking at the long game, his view comes closer than any of the other Rogue Winds to matching that of the writer. He’s seeing things that are coming before I even see it, at times. It’s true. He’s a born leader in a lot of ways, which is exactly why he doesn’t want the role. He’s smart enough to stay back and out of trouble (well, as much as that’s possible for a rogue fighter pilot).
But still, he leads me through situations and stories by his very ability to notice something. Oh, he sees Lori pacing? That must mean something. Oh, he’s heard of this trader? There’s probably some trouble ahead. He’s already braced for it by the time I figure out what it is, and has an escape route planned for he and the other Rogue Winds.
It makes me feel lucky, to be honest, because he’s not as forthcoming with the other Winds as he is with me. Granted, they don’t get to be inside his head, and he doesn’t have much choice as to whether I’m there, but still. He’s quiet with them, and I think that quiet draws other people to him. The others watch him to see what he’s doing, because they know he won’t say anything unless he has to, and he’ll act when he thinks it’s appropriate and without any warning. He keeps them on their toes.
In some ways, he’s become the default father figure of the group now that Captain Harrison is gone. I think this makes his relationship with Lori a little bit tense at times. Lori is the leader of the Winds, but she wants to prove her worth to her adoptive father. Santos is the stand-in for that father, so she needs to prove herself to him as well. When combined with her desire to prove herself worthy of command to her comrades, Santos makes her uncomfortable at times, and on occasion she feels resentful of Santos’ presence, his silence, his unwillingness to give approval. Santos, for his part, sees all the ways that Lori could improve, but would never dream of telling her what to do; that’s just not his style, and anyway some lessons need to be learned firsthand. His annoyance at her lack of confidence and her resentfulness of his silence leads to conflict. Of course, all of this conflict could be resolved with a simple conversation, but they’re fighter pilots, not therapists.
Written By Dave Shapiro
Illustrated By Vince Medellin
Story By Paul Dodson, Dave Shapiro and Vince Medellin