Drive tells the story of a second Spanish empire, a galactic empire and its looming war with a race called the Continuum of Makers. Humanity has built their empire using technology stolen from the Makers – and these creatures want it back with an almost-religious fervor. In the brewing war, it's clear that humanity will lose, and lose badly, unless they can find some advantage in battle. That hope arrives in the form of a tiny, mysterious creature who can drive a starship like no one's ever seen. Now all humanity needs to do is find 10,000 more pilots just like him. But no one knows where he's from.
Captain Taneel: Once captain of a massive Armada battlecruiser, Taneel now finds herself captain of the tiny scout ship Machito, and answering to an emperor she hates. Not the best capstone to a stellar career.
Fernando ('Nando): 14-year old chief of engineering for the Machito, and member of the the empire's royal family. In the name of keeping the pinch-drive system a secret, only members of "La Familia" can service a ship's drive.
Nosh: The Machito's Science Officer, who learned to speak English while marooned in Russia. Nosh is a Veetan: A physically imposing race of pacifist wanderers and knowledge-seekers. The Veetans were one of the first races incorporated into the human empire.
Skitter: A small alien of unknown origin, who suffers from amnesia. His gift for guiding a ship through "pinched space"could give the Empire an advantage in its war with the Continuum.
Emperor Cruz: Current head of "La Familia," the "Grande y Felicissima Armada," and the larger human Empire; The Emperor took up the throne by committing regicide against his uncle. Not the tallest guy in the empire.
Orla O'Malley: A xenobiologist assigned to the Machito, who serves at the personal command of the Emperor.
The Machito: The tough little scout ship the crew calls home.