Signy Mallory, from a painting commissioned by the author.
|Family||The merchanter family Mallory|
Signy Mallory is the captain of the Norway and its riderships. She is a figure of fear and authority to the inhabitants of Pell Station, and she has a reputation as a "bloody-handed tyrant" and sociopath. She is psychologically scarred by the war she has been fighting for most of her life, and her moral limits draw steadily closer.
The image on this page is taken from a painting commissioned by C.J. Cherryh.
It can be argued that Signy Mallory is the one character that truly changes during the course of Downbelow Station.
Mallory is not a simple character. When we first see her she is doing her best for several shiploads of refugees, but she's no "straight arrow". She has a reputation as a ruthless Captain,
"Shot some of your own troops at Eridu. Ordered one unit to open fire on another "
-Conrad Mazian, Downbelow Station, a story we don't get to hear about
At the beginning of the Downbelow Station she keeps Josh Talley in her quarters because if he was with the other refugees they would kill him - and uses him sexually, not in a good way.
"There was a sordidness in her sometimes, a need to deal wounds...limited murder, to blot out the greater ones. To deal little terrors, to forget the horror outside. "
She is cold-blooded and vicious selfish and proud passionate about her ship, her crew and their standards, her crew and troops love her.
By the end of the novel, she is not done changing. She appears in Merchanter's Luck and it's revealed in other work (The Faded Sun trilogy) that the organisation she helped set up, AlSec, Alliance Security, becomes a tool of a more oppressive regime than the Merchanter's Alliance we know about.
Although Mallory is Norway's captain at the end of the Company Wars (as described in Downbelow Station), she rose to that position through the ranks. Downbelow Station explores her fond memories as a rider ship captain on Norway, and hints that she was originally a merchanter of some sort. Her history on Norway focuses her entire being on the crew of her ship.
The identity and fate of Norway's earlier captains is never identified.