Spensa Nightshade

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Spensa Nightshade
Parents Zeen & mother
Ancestors Becca Nightshade, great-grandfather, great-grandmother
Abilities Cytonics
Titles Callsign: Spin, Hero of Alta Second[1]
Aliases Alanik[2]
Profession Pilot
Groups DDF, Skyward Flight, Flowers of Night's Last Kiss Flight
World Detritus
Universe Cytoverse
Featured In Skyward (series)
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When this is done, Jerkface, I will hold your tarnished and melted pin up as my trophy as your smoldering ship marks your pyre, and the final resting place of your crushed and broken corpse!

—Spensa to Jorgen Weight[3]

Spensa Nightshade, callsign Spin, is a Defiant Defense Force pilot from Detritus, the daughter of Zeen Nightshade, and a cytonic.

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Spensa is seventeen years old with brown hair and is 151 centimeters tall (4'11" in feet).[4][5] Spensa's favorite color is blood red[6] and she prefers simple but flavorful food.[7]

As the daughter of "The Coward of Alta", Spensa was looked down upon by her fellow Defiants. As a result, she acted fiercely when confronted by others and used intimidation as a defense mechanism. Spensa would often lash out at people who threatened her and even those who didn't, using a wide and somewhat graphic vocabulary inspired by stories of glorious heroes from Earth that her grandmother told her. She was certain that her father was not a coward like everyone thought, and she was bent on proving it by seeming as 'brave' as possible. However, she believed that bravery was about being the most daring warrior and to never show fear. She thought that anything less would make her a coward and prove that the DDF had been right about her father.

In her time in Flight School, she came to realize that being brave wasn't as simple as she thought. People she respected, like Cobb, were guilty of doing things that she would consider cowardly if she did them herself.[8][9] As she loses flightmates to the Krell, she realizes that true bravery isn't just about sounding heroic and what other people think. Instead, bravery is about her own confidence in herself and knowing that, no matter what anyone else said, she was not a coward.[10][11] She becomes embarrassed by how she acted before and realizes that it's okay to get scared sometimes.

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Spensa is an excellent pilot[12] and also has cytonic abilities. So far, she has demonstrated the ability to intercept the Krell's faster-than-light communications with their drones and to react to those orders faster than would be humanly possible.[13] On one occasion, she was also able to activate M-Bot's cytonic hyperdrive.[14]


Spensa lived in the Glorious Rises of Industry with her mother and grandmother, who she referred to as Gran-Gran.[4] Gran-Gran's mother was the "engines" of Defiant, enabling its faster-than-light travel.[10]

Spensa accidentally finds an old ship in a cavern. Shortly afterwards, she is accepted into Captain Cobb's Flight School class and became a member of Skyward Flight. Unable to take up residence at the school overnight because of Admiral Ironside's fears, she stays in the cavern with the ship. After recruiting her friend Rodge "Rigmarole" McCaffrey to help her, they repair the ship, which is the host of an AI known as M-Bot.


  • Spensa's race was intentionally left ambiguous.[15]
  • The first ideas for her character were developed in 2012.[16]
  • If she was a Knight Radiant, she would most likely be a Dustbringer, "with small arguments for Stoneward, Skybreaker, or Edgedancer."[17]
  • Spensa would find a lot of modern-day foods to be overwhelming.[7]


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