Nicholas Ewing "Nick" Seafort (born 4 September 2177) is a fictional character and the protagonist of David Feintuch's Seafort Saga series of novels. All the books of the series with the exception of Voices of Hope and Children of Hope are written in the first person from Seafort's point of view, and give a detailed insight into the character's motivation. The first four stories cover Seafort's actions during the Fish War (2195–2202), while the next three cover isolated incidents in 2229–2230 (Voices of Hope), 2241 (Patriarch's Hope) and 2246–2247 (Children of Hope). In all but two of the books, Seafort is a serving officer in the UNNS.
In a future where a reunified Christian church has risen to become a core part of society, Seafort strives continually to do his duty, both to the Navy and to God, at great personal cost. Almost all other characters in the novels see him as a hero: by bringing his undermanned ship home in Midshipman's Hope after being catapulted to the captaincy, doing the same in Challenger's Hope after being stranded aboard a crippled vessel, saving an entire world in Prisoner's Hope and the entire human race in Fisherman's Hope, he has accomplished more than many Captains dream of. Seafort, however, can only see his failures, and criticizes himself for the means he uses to achieve his ends: breaking his oath (and thereby damning himself) to save Challenger, violating a UN Resolution prohibiting "the use, attempted use or conspiracy to use" nuclear weapons to save Hope Nation in Prisoner's Hope, and killing dozens of teenaged cadets to save the world in the climax of Fisherman's Hope.
Seafort was born in Cardiff, Wales into a single-parent family (born to a surrogate mother) in 2177. His father was a strict Christian, bringing up Nicholas to consider his duty to God to be the core of his existence, and his oath to be sacrosanct. At an early age Seafort applied to join the UNNS, but was initially rejected until several cadets were killed while traveling to the Naval Academy in Devon. Seafort was one of several rejected applicants then accepted to replace them. In 2190 his best friend, Jason, was killed in football riots, shortly before Seafort left for the Academy. At the Academy he made many firm friends, including Midshipman Jeff Thorne (an unusual friendship as Seafort was still a cadet), and his own future wife Arlene Sanders. He also met, and intensely disliked, Cadet Corporal Edgar Tolliver. Upon graduating, Seafort was assigned to UNS Helsinki, an in-system ship upon which he served for two years before being assigned to a larger vessel as First Midshipman for his first interstellar voyage, UNS Hibernia.
Aboard Hibernia Seafort soon acquired a close friend and mentor in Lieutenant Harv Malstrom, antagonists in Lieutenant Abraham Cousins and Midshipman Vax Holser, and a lover in Amanda Frowel, whom he married during the last stage of the voyage. Seafort initially hoped that the three-year voyage to Hope Nation and back would give him enough interstellar ship time to qualify for his commissioning board, but events were to give him a far more important role. While visiting the wreck of UNS Celestina, Hibernia's Captain Haag and two of her three Lieutenants, including Cousins, were killed in an accident, propelling Malstrom to the Captaincy. Two months later Malstrom fell ill with the untreatable cancer Melanoma T, and died without commissioning Holser Lieutenant, despite Seafort's frantic pleas. As the senior surviving line officer, Seafort became Captain of Hibernia, aged just seventeen, and with a low opinion of his own command abilities. Over the next three years Seafort nursed the damaged and undermanned starship to Hope Nation and back, overcoming a malfunctioning ship's computer, a mutiny and attempted boarding of the ship at the station known as Miningcamp, and the first recorded encounter with the alien 'Fish' that were to become humanity's greatest enemy. In the process he grew from an inexperienced Midshipman into an experienced and capable Captain, although his own personal insecurity remained.
Upon his return to Earth Seafort was confirmed as a Commander by Admiral Brentley, against his expectations, and given command of the sloop UNS Challenger. Upon the launch of Admiral Geoffrey Tremaine's squadron to Hope Nation, however, Seafort and his officers were transferred from Challenger to Portia by the Admiral, and found themselves given the task of transporting a group of Lower New York 'transpops' - uneducated and often violent street children - to the colony of Detour beyond Hope Nation. Although Seafort initially saw the transpops as simply a danger to his ship (drugging or imprisoning them were considered as solutions), he later came to consider the Lower New Yorkers friends, and was ultimately to enter transpop legend. Things rapidly deteriorated as the squadron was attacked by Fish that boarded Portia, releasing their lethal virus into the ship and killing dozens of her crew and passengers, including Seafort's baby son. Shortly after this, Amanda Seafort, driven insane by grief, committed suicide, and Nicholas suffered a temporary breakdown as a result.
Worse was to come. As Tremaine's flagship Challenger drifted crippled by a Fish attack, upon Portia's arrival on the scene Seafort was transferred to the ship Tremaine had stolen from him. He was left alone, save for passengers and crew that Tremaine hated, and abandoned in space. After overcoming a mutiny, Seafort set about preparing Challenger for an eighty-year voyage back to Earth, conscripting passengers into the Naval Service and scavenging what was possible from the wreaked sections of the ship. Barely weeks into the trip radiation from the ship's damaged propulsion systems attracted the aliens, leading to a series of desperate battles in which Challenger was further damaged, and more of her already tiny crew killed. As a last act of defiance Seafort used his dying ship to ram an alien, only for it to Fuse (accelerate to faster than light speed) taking Challenger with it. For sixty days Challenger remained lodged in the alien, her crew dying of malnutrition until, almost miraculously, the Fish Defused in the solar system itself. For the second time Seafort had brought a crippled ship home.
After recovering from the severe malnutrition he suffered aboard Challenger, Seafort was promoted back to Captain and given command of his old ship Hibernia to sail back to Hope Nation to reinforce the colony. Carrying out his oath of vengeance he killed Tremaine, already stripped of his position for his actions in abandoning Portia's and Challenger's passengers, in a duel. Seafort himself was seriously injured, losing a lung. Appointed to various make-work positions Seafort narrowly survived an assassination attempt by a Hope Nation separatist terrorist group that left his friend and aide Alexi Tamarov first in a coma and then with amnesia, and was reunited with Edgar Tolliver when Tolliver was appointed as Tamarov's replacement. He also married Annie Wells, a transpop whom he had met aboard Portia and later grown close to during the ordeal on Challenger. Seafort found himself stranded groundside without a ship as wave after wave of aliens attacked Hope Nation, destroying Centraltown with a meteor strike and as the UN fleet retreated from the system having lost a third of its strength. Seafort was left alone with a small band of loyal friends to fight off first a revolution, and then continuing alien attacks. His troubles were compounded by a more personal crisis as his new wife was suffering a serious mental breakdown after being raped by looters in the ruins of Centraltown. While driving off an alien assault on a surface base in the Venturas mountains Seafort decided to violate the UN's Nuclear Resolution, a capital crime, to save the planet. Luring over a thousand aliens to the planet's orbiting station, nearly five hundred of the Fish were killed by the station's defenses while the remainder were destroyed in the nuclear fireball of its destruction. Seafort had originally intended to die aboard the station, but his life was saved by his old friend Vax Holser, now Commander of the fastship UNS Victoria, at the cost of Holser's own life. Sailing home on Victoria to face trial and execution, he was stunned to learn that, several months before his destruction of the station, the Nuclear Resolution had been amended to allow the use of nuclear weapons outside the solar system against the aliens. Refusing the offer of a ship, Seafort grudgingly allowed the new Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Duhaney, to appoint him Commandant of the UN Naval Academy.
Upon his appointment, Seafort retained Tolliver as his aide, as a grudging respect, and even friendship, was beginning to grow between them. The new Commandant promptly began a large-scale shake-up of the Academy, significantly increasing the number of Cadets attending by filling dormitories both at the groundside base in Devon and at the Luna Farside base on the Moon. Seafort hoped to use his time at the Academy to relax, to heal both physically and mentally after years of fighting the Fish, and to recover from the strain of the combat and the methods he had used to defeat his enemies. His hopes proved futile as he faced the challenges of his wife's continuing fragile mental state, his father's death, and the ongoing war. Even summoning Jeff Thorne, now a Lieutenant, to assist him proved more of a curse than a blessing, for Thorne was now addicted to the computer game Arcvid. As alien attacks on the solar system increased, Seafort was forced back into action, saving the new battleship UNS Wellington when her Captain froze in the middle of an attack. When Annie suddenly absconded from the New York clinic where she was being treated Seafort followed her into the streets of Lower New York to find her, accompanied by the transpop-turned-sailor Eddie Boss, and learned not only of the appalling conditions in which the transpops lived, but also of their name for him- the Fisherman. Returning to Farside, and leaving Annie with Eddie at his old home in Cardiff, Seafort next found himself in the most desperate battle of his life, as the Fish launched their final attack on the solar system.
Listening to endless reports of destruction, and with only half-trained cadets and unarmed training craft at his disposal, Seafort was initially tempted to commit suicide before he arrived at the solution to the crisis- a solution that horrified him, but to which there was no alternative. Taking forty-four cadets, seven Midshipmen and Tolliver, he launched seven training craft and their command ship, UNS Trafalgar, to counter the threat. The aliens were irresistibly attracted to operating space drives ( "fusing" ), so Seafort ordered the training craft one by one into the B'n Auba Zone around the sun, so close that it would be impossible to escape. In doing this Seafort was knowingly ordering the cadets to certain death. The training craft drew the Fish after them, trapping them too close to the sun to escape or survive. One by one the training crafts' structures failed and the cadets died, along with their alien enemies, until only Trafalgar, commanded by Seafort and Tolliver was left. But Seafort's intention to take the command ship itself into the Sun was thwarted- there were no aliens left to attract.
Resignation and later life
After the battle, Seafort was court-martialed for using an obscure regulation to relieve the commander of the Home Fleet in mid-battle, but was cleared, much to his personal disgust. Resigning from the Navy, he wandered Britain for months, until he arrived at a Benedictine monastery at Lancaster. After an interview he was admitted as a novice, and divorced Annie. For over ten years he remained, writing his memoirs, until Eddie Boss arrived to plead with him to help save the transpops of Lower New York, who were being persecuted by the incumbent Secretary General. Leaving the monastery and entering politics, Seafort easily won election to the UN Senate, and later to the Secretary Generalship, in the meantime marrying Arlene Sanders and fathering a son, Philip Tyre Seafort. Seafort was forced from office by a vote of no-confidence in March 2224, following a scandal involving one of his Senators, although his personal integrity, based upon and absolute refusal to tell even the tiniest white lie, was never in question. Following his expulsion from office, Seafort retired with his family to a compound outside Washington D.C., until, five years later, a new crisis arose to bring him out of retirement and back into action.
In July 2229 Seafort left his Washington compound for his annual retreat at the Lancaster monastery. In his absence his son Philip Seafort ran away from home, following his friend Jared Tenere (himself the son of Midshipman Adam Tenere who had served with Seafort on Trafalgar) to New York, and ultimately into the transpop-ruled streets of Lower New York. Seafort, accompanied by a small band of loyal friends, followed, only for a heavy-handed response to the sudden crisis by Secretary-General Kahn to trigger the Transpop Rebellion. Having failed to negotiate an end to hostilities on the ground, Seafort traveled aloft to Earthport Station in an attempt to persuade his old friend Jeff Thorne, now Chief of Naval Operations, to stop the laser bombardment of the transpops in the streets below. Failing, Seafort accepted passage with his son on UNS Galactic on a tour of the Jovian satellites, only for Thorne to order his forcible reenlistment into the UNNS. All was not as it seemed though, for Seafort's accumulated service as Captain over a quarter-century earlier left him senior to Captain Flores of Galactic, and exercising his authority Seafort took command of the ship, commandeered her launch (with Philip insisting on accompanying him), and set course into Earthport's laser batteries, trusting in his reputation and immense media appeal to draw attention of the world to the plight of the transpops. Succeeding, albeit by only the narrowest of margins, Seafort returned to New York and declared his candidacy for Secretary-General, declaring Kahn's administration to be without moral authority or public support. Sweeping to victory, his second term as Secretary General began.
- Feintuch, David (1994). Midshipman's Hope. London, United Kingdom: Orbit Books. ISBN 978-0446600965.
- Feintuch, David (1995). Challenger's Hope. London, United Kingdom: Orbit Books. ISBN 978-0446600972.
- Feintuch, David (1995). Prisoner's Hope. London, United Kingdom: Orbit Books. ISBN 978-0446600989.
- Feintuch, David (1996). Fisherman's Hope. London, United Kingdom: Orbit Books. ISBN 978-0446600996.
- Feintuch, David (1996). Voices of Hope. London, United Kingdom: Orbit Books. ISBN 978-0446603331.