Imala Bootstamp was a junior auditor at the Lunar Trade Department and an ensign in the International Fleet. She is a main character in the First Formic War Trilogy, and was first introduced in Earth Unaware.
Imala's father wanted her to be a pilot and continuously put her in lessons. Her father even went as far as to try and marry her off to an Apache boy to keep her at home. Imala may have fallen in love with the boy if it were not for her father and dumped him out of spite. Eventually, Imala went into macroeconomics and financial structures, which her father considered a complete mistake.
Imala Bootstamp was a graduate student who hoped to make a difference in defeating big money and corruption in business. Imala began work as part of the Lunar Trade Department as a junior auditor; most people had to work at the LTD for five years or they would not be hired by a private firm.
Imala's boss was Pendergrass, who disregarded Imala's investigations and often made racial comments about her Native American heritage. During her investigation of Gregory Seabright, Imala went around the usual path of command and acted as journalist Karen O'Hara in order to to obtain a meeting with Director Gardona about Seabright being bribed by members of Juke Limited.
Seabright was ultimately fired, but Imala was noticed by Ukko Jukes, who offered her a job routing out corruption at Juke Limited. Imala ultimately refused the job believing it was a bribe. To offer her the job, Pendergrass had tricked her into getting in a black vehicle with Mr. Jukes by saying he was taking her to lunch for undermining her work early on.
Upon coming back to the LTD, Imala was summoned into Fareed Barkárzai's office, where she learned that she had be laid off from the LTD after refusing Mr. Juke's offer, but Fareed argued for her and had her hired into customs as a junior assistant. For her first job at customs, Imala had been assigned to the case of Victor Delgado, a free miner who came to Luna on a quickship from the Kuiper Belt.
Within twenty minutes of receiving the assignment, Imala went to visit Victor. Victor asked to see her boss, who she did not even know yet. The next day, after realizing he was not going to be able to meet with her boss, Victor told Imala about the Formics. Imala looked at the data with an open mind and then promised to help him get the word out. She planned on telling her boss, but also created a five-minute video of the information Victor gave her and posted it on the Nets.
After Victor recovered from traveling to Luna, Imala took him to meet with the chief adjudicator, Mungwai, who did not believe Victor's story. Imala insisted on meeting with another adjudicator, but she was unsuccessful. Mungwai decided to deport Victor for his crimes and remove Imala from Victor's case. After being dismissed from the room, Imala began to work on breaking Victor out of the hospital by buying him clothes and disabling the cameras. Imala arranged for Victor to meet with Yanyu, a scientist from Juke Limited who believed Victor's claims.
Yanyu took Imala and Victor to the astronomical observatory that she worked at and introduced them to Richard Prescott, her boss. After Victor proved the existence of the Formics to the team of scientists at the observatory, Prescott provided beds for Imala and Victor, so they could remain hidden. Richard Prescott proceeded to arrange a meeting for Victor and Imala with Ukko Jukes.
Before the meeting, Simona identified Imala and Victor and questioned Prescott on why they were with him, but she allowed the two meet with Ukko Jukes regardless. Imala was recognized by Ukko Jukes at the beginning of the meeting before Victor blamed his son for bumping El Cavador.
Ukko listened to Victor's evidence about the Formics and provided a separate place for Imala and Victor to stay over several days, while they were questioned. After five days the scientist had significant evidence, and Simona took Imala to Victor, where they watched Ukko announce to the world of the approaching alien threat. Simona told Victor that Imala would be flying him to Midway Station to help find his family in the Kuiper belt. Victor found out this was to keep him from revealing that Lem Jukes was a murderer, but Imala and Simona were able to calm him down and convince Victor that it was best if he left.
Simona took Imala and Victor to a private launch bay on Luna, where she said goodbye as the two left for Midway Station. Imala and Victor proceeded to Last Chance, where Victor bought updates about the invasion soon to happen on Earth. Imala had to continue explaining to Victor that Earth was not united and made up of competing countries, who could not put their trust aside simply because of an alien threat. Several days after being at Last Chance, Imala and Victor received the message that the Formic scout ship had reached Earth.
As the Scouring of China began, Imala helped inform Victor on the geography of Earth. Victor was embarrassed as he knew very little, and apologized to Imala for his ignorance. Victor then offered to pay to dock the shuttle on the Last Chance station and take Imala to lunch. While waiting on their meal, Imala and Victor discussed the possibility of Victor joining an army such as NATO to fight the Formic threat. After Victor decided to go back to Earth to join a military, Imala and Victor were informed that Lem Jukes had rented the entire space station and they needed to leave. 
Victor then rushed off to find Lem, and Imala followed. There Victor nearly rushed towards death, as Chubs Zimmons pulled out his gun to protect Lem. Imala then introduced Victor to Lem before Victor confronted him about killing Marco. Lem proceeded to realize that Victor was from El Cavador, and he told Lem and Imala what happened to the crew of the El Cavador. Imala then comforted Victor before leaving with him to head back towards Earth. 
Upon arriving at Luna, Imala and Victor contacted Yanyu, who offered for them to stay at her house. Imala and Yanyu took Victor to a NATO registration office, where Victor was rejected for not being a citizen of any country. When Yanyu told Victor about the United State's attempt to destroy the Formic scout ship, he began formulating a plan to disguise a shuttle as debris to avoid motion detection and destroy the ship from the inside. Knowing that they did not have the monetary resources on their own to complete the mission, Imala contacted Lem Jukes in order to propose the mission to him. Lem Jukes met Imala and Victor in the botanical gardens. Lem ultimately agreed to provide the facilities and monetary resources for Victor's plan. Lem also told Imala to send him all the tax information she recovered in the scandal, so he could repay any unpaid taxes.
Imala used some of Lem's money to purchase a dumper to collect scraps to disguise the shuttle. While collecting scraps, Imala was concerned that Victor was gathering too many materials. When Imala and Victor came back from their scrap collecting mission, they met Dr. Noloa Benyawe and Dr. Richard Dublin. Benyawe and Dublin suggested a plan for opening the Formic gun doors, which Victor agreed with. Afterward , Imala began helping Victor organize the scrap materials, but Imala was organizing them incorrectly, so she took the task of beating up the scraps which were in good condition. Later Lem came to give Victor the explosives and detonator. At that point, Imala suggested that she join Victor on the mission, which Victor disagreed with, but ultimately agreed to as it was the most likely way the mission would succeed.
Imala and Victor finished disguising the shuttle as soon as Lem began to get urgent due to the Formics attacking cities. After they finished, they helped attach the decoy debris that Benyawe and Dublin built to the shuttle before leaving later that day without doing any test flights due to urgency.
After several days of flying the shuttle, Imala and Victor arrived at the Formic scout ship after they dropped off the decoy nearby. Imala opened the shuttle door to allow Victor out and wait for him to finish the mission.
After Victor cut his way into the ship, he turned on his camera for Imala to give any information they discovered to Lem if Victor died in the Formic ship. As he traveled through the scout ship, he discovered glowing bugs, which Imala knew were coprophagic after Victor mentioned they were eating the Formic feces. Victor proceeded down the hallway where he discovered a corridor filled of glow bug nests. Imala told Victor not to take the risk of going into the hallway, but he did anyway. Victor went into the hallway, but quickly left after the glow bugs began swarming him.
Victor made his way through the Formic scout ship with Imala's help. He eventually found a room where the Formics were disassembling human debris from various battles. Imala suggested that Victor leave due to the overwhelming amount of Formics, but Victor ignored her and followed his own plan, turning off communications with Imala. She later called Victor back, informing him of an emergency as 40 ships of unknown origin began to attack the Formic ship. Most of the ships were destroyed before reaching the scout ship, but one managed to fire, creating a gravity field, and Imala witnessed as the gravity field caused the Formic cannons to collapse.
Imala watched as the plasma irises of the Formic ship opened up to destroy the remaining drones, which Imala traced back to Luna. Once Victor woke up from the incident, the two argued over whether or not the attack was an attempt to kill Imala and Victor by Lem Jukes before Victor decided to investigate the ship further. While searching for the helm, Victor discovered a plasma line for the irises, a garden, and the reinforcement station. Once Victor found the helm, he came back to Imala and the shuttle. After greeting her, Victor said that the two would be coming back with a team as he had a plan to destroy the Formics.
Imala and Victor found their way back to Luna and decided to ambush Lem in his home in order to allow him to explain himself before taking any rash actions. Upon ambushing Lem, they asked him about the Vanguard attack and had him explain their lack of warning, which was Lem's decision that Benyawe disagreed with. Lem then asked about the Formics, and Imala and Victor told him about the video and their new plan to destroy the ship. Lem proposed financing their new mission, but he had to convince Imala and Victor that he was their only option and that he was trustworthy. Since he could not prove to Victor that he was trustworthy, Lem revealed that Victor's mother was still alive.
Through Dr. Kim Arnsbrach, Imala and Victor contacted a boy named Bingwen in order to try to obtain the help of the Mobile Operations Police for their mission to attack the Formic scout ship. Bingwen agreed to help them once they showed him a video of the inside of the scout ship. Imala and Victor then gave Bingwen their uplink numbers, so Bingwen could contact them once he found Mazer and Wit.
Imala notified Lem when the MOPs called back, but she was surprised to find Lem kissing Despoina Crutchfield. Imala then went back to the call with the MOPs, where Lem introduced her and Victor. Imala then helped to explain the mission to the MOPs and how they would reach the Formic ship.
While everyone celebrated the MOPs joining the mission, Imala found Victor studying the body of an eviscerated man that Victor had found on the Formic scout ship. Imala had to convince Victor that there was no reason that the Formics eviscerated the man, as hundreds of others had been eviscerated on Earth. Victor then asked Imala to send a prewritten message to his mother in case he died on the Formic scout ship. Instead, Imala promised that she would not allow Victor to die.
Imala went to the Valas early, while Victor and Lem were waiting on the MOPs to arrive. When the MOPs came to the Valas, Imala greeted them before Victor began a debriefing of the mission. While Victor was describing a part of the mission where they would need a pilot to attack the Formic plasma nozzles, Imala volunteered. Victor was hesitant to allow Imala to fly at first for the mission, but agreed after the MOPs said they had confidence in her. Over the next several days, Imala prepared while the MOPs were training.
While waiting to fly toward the Formic ship, Imala felt helpless as she could not help Victor and the MOPs to safety as they were attacked. Once everyone was in a radiation-safe area, Wit contacted Imala to tell her she could begin flying. The Formics activated the plasma gun slower than she expected, but the plan worked. However, the Formics did not deactivate the plasma gun as they were all killed by the radiation. Instead, Wit sacrificed his life to turn off the plasma gun, so Imala could live and the team could harvest technology from the ship.
Imala contacted Victor to let him know she was safe. Shortly thereafter, the Formics released a second wave of transports and skimmers from the second lander after the first one was destroyed. Imala had no defenses, so Victor asked her to stay out of the fight. However, Imala noticed two skimmers trying to enter through the back of the Formic scout ship, so she followed them and destroyed the skimmers by ramming them with her ship, causing her to crash within the Formic scout ship. Imala blacked out for a minute before waking up a minute or so later. Imala had noticed four Formics leave a skimmer before she destroyed them. She followed the aliens to the helm, killing one of them, as Mazer helped kill the other three. Imala killed the fourth Formic as it was about to eviscerate Victor. She then noticed that Victor had broken several parts of his body and gave him a painkiller.
Imala took Victor to an infirmary aboard a Juke mining vessel that took them from the Formic ship. After Victor was fixed up, Imala visited him in a Juke infirmary just after Lem had offered him a job. Imala tried insisting that Victor take the job and stay on Earth because she believed Victor would have more choice and would not make his family dependent upon him. Victor however kept refuting her, so she left.
Victor began offering jobs for people to help outfit the ship his mother was on to be a mining vessel. Imala went in for an interview with Victor, as she needed a job and wanted to be happy. Imala ended up being the only person he hired. When they arrived at one of their destinations, the captain of the ship gave a holomessage to Imala and Victor from Lem, which revealed that Lem had provided Victor with all the necessary materials to outfit the Gagak to be a mining ship.
Imala went to visit her fiancé Victor after he was done fixing the oxygen extractor. Victor revealed to her that he was worried he was not doing enough for the human race because he had not joined the International Fleet after Magoosa had talked to Victor earlier that day. Realizing that Victor needed to be aboard the Gagak, Imala decided that she should join the International Fleet as a financial officer. Victor tried talking her out of the decision, but he was unsuccesful and the conversation began reaching a bad note. Imala then left because she was tired and it was late.
After Victor met with Arjuna about Asteroid 2030CT, Imala went to talk to Victor about his plans to investigate the Formic asteroid. Imala then insisted that she join Victor on his mission as an extra set of hands, and Victor reluctantly agreed. During their conversation, Arjuna interrupted them due to a message from Polemarch Khudabadi Ketkar. The message informed Imala and Victor that the Gagak was now under the command of Imala due to the International Fleet's lack of nearby ships to investigate Asteroid 2030CT.
Later, Imala was discussing her captainship with Victor in the cargo bay when Edimar Querales entered with important information on the Formics. She set up a holotable with a holo of the solar system, and proceeded to show them her data on the Formic fleet's movements. This revealed that there was around three thousand Formic ships occupying asteroids, and that the main Formic fleet was coming from both above and below the ecliptic plane.
While testing his armor, Imala entered the cargo bay and told Victor that Ketkar had conscripted him into the International Fleet. Victor and Imala discussed this before heading to the helm to show the orders to Arjuna. When Arjuna read their orders to the crew, they complained and said that the Fleet wasn't giving them any choice. Arjuna rebuked them and reminded them of the purpose that the IF served.
Four days later, Victor and Imala left the Gagak. After approaching the asteroid, Victor jumped from the quickship onto the surface of the cocoon. After analyzing its composition, he cut a slit in the surface and discovered that the atmosphere was highly volatile. Imala protested and asked him not to go inside out of fear for his life, but he went in anyway, muting his communication with her. After entering the cocoon, he turned his radio back on and found that the rock was completely iceless and covered with tunnels.
Victor discovered small metal and ice pellets that he realized were made by the Formics as they mined the asteroid. Imala thought this was enough of a discovery to please the Polemarch and asked him to leave, but he continued on. He found a small slug-like creature eating and harvesting ice, melting it inside itself, removing the impurities and re-freezing it internally. Suddenly, Victor was attacked by a Formic and lost communication with Imala. She headed to the resin shell, breaking through in an attempt to find him. Victor flashed Morse code with his wrist light at her, telling Imala that he would head for the Formic miniship to escape in. She flashed back a sequence saying that she understood.
Imala returned to the Gagak feeling distressed for Victor's safety. When Victor returned in the miniship, she was angry at him for the emotional trauma he put her through.
Imala eventually received an e-mail from Rear Admiral Shongwe, informing her that the Gagak was to head to an IF base four months away. Victor, Arjuna, and Rena all agreed that the best course of action was to follow the commands of the International Fleet. Imala wanted to temporarily return command of the ship to Arjuna, so the crew would be more comfortable, but Arjuna and the others wanted Imala to retain control due to her negotiation skills and to allow Imala to remain a valid captain in the eyes of the crew. Shortly thereafter, the council voted on Shongwe's e-mail and decided to follow through on the new orders.
After the council meeting, Imala met with Victor to discuss their personal life. However, for a minute Victor discussed the unique aspects of the biology that may be the power of Formic engineering. Victor then said that he felt Imala was drifting away, which was because Imala realized she did not want to live a life without Victor. Imala then informed Victor she wanted to get married as soon as possible.
About a week later, Sabad was helping Imala get dressed for the wedding when the Edimar and Victor interrupted with news that eight of the asteroids the Formic occupied were moving. Imala and Victor decided to head to the bridge to send e-mails about the new information before the wedding began.
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