The primary protagonist and point-of-view character of the Stardust novel, Ashlee Rinn Jensdottir is in many ways a resilient if battered shell of a human being when we first meet her. She connects fully neither with her family nor civilization, for she has legitimate grievances on both counts. She willfully socializes only with her two crewmates, who also happen to be misfits living on the edge. Even so, she keeps her relationship with them at arms-length, and her emotional health and past trauma siloed.
Ashlee always knew she was different. She was enthralled by the ancient tales of Sibylean settlement and the intelligence, strength, and conviction of its first royalty and jarlja in a way that cisgender boys rarely were. She grew her hair long, braided it, and thanks to her family’s status, generally got away with presenting as gender non-conforming until she was a teenager.
An introvert by default, Ashlee would often wander the forests surrounding the Raina Mare outside Tencair, as if she was attempting to bear witness to the Sagas of Settlement. (Most events of the Sagas took place on the shores of the Raina Mare.) These treks into nature would get her in trouble with her wealthy parents—who feared kidnapping and ransom in the first instance or two—and with the authorities when she would camp in the sacred lands alone, without telling anyone where she was going.
Sibylean society is matriarchal and elevates women, but it by no means denigrates men. When Ashlee told her parents that she may be transgender, a term she picked up from Republican media, her parents went ballistic. Believing their introverted child may be suffering some inferiority complex, and desperately wanting to spare their confused teenager humiliation on their world, they attempted to shield her from such malign foreign influences. Ashlee rejected all of these coercive measures, and by her 18th orbit and her legal independence, was no longer using her birth name Alex.
The Kingdom’s strong universal basic income system allowed Ashlee to flee her family and seek medical treatment for her gender dysphoria underground, a roll of the dice that often made her ill. She was able to change her name but not her gender marker on government identification. Knowing that she’d not be accepted into the military, she instead entered commercial flight school, and later, interdiction training. Upon flight certification, Ashlee bought her own "Starling" trans-atmospheric cargo vessel with money she saved from swindling her wealthy parents. Despite her deceit, she was able to—and did—repay them two orbits later, with interest.
In many ways, nothing has changed since Ashlee launched her career in space. She lives aboard her ship, finding solace in the distance that the void provides her with Astrilish society and for the economic opportunity inherent in being on interdiction standby. Her only two companions are her hired crew, Teresa Shaaban and Leandros Fletcher, both refugees of their own circumstances.
Ashlee Rinn is a troubled romantic and lionheart. Rarely aloof, Ashlee can have problems reading the emotions and intentions of others. She is a lawful and honorable individual who personally connects to her world only in tangential ways. Minding a slightly skewed sense of morality necessary to do her job, she treats everyone with respect until mutual respect is denied. Ashlee’s only desire is to be accepted for who she is. Yet despite all its faults, she sees the potential in her lunar homeworld and wishes to protect it. She knows that Sibyl can be a better place than she experienced growing up, because she read all of the Sibylean Sagas. One can hardly doubt the determination and willpower of the Sibylean people.