This one is all about the soldiers, the ones who wear a military uniform, and the ones who don't.
Major Kira Nerys from Deep Space Nine
As soon as Kira Nerys was old enough to pick up a gun, she took up life as a Bajoran resistance fighter to drive the occupying Cardassians off her homeworld. From there, she got a commission in the military, became the military attaché (however unhappily) between Bajor and the Federation, was the Gal Friday to the Emissary of the Prophets (think "Jesus" of the Bajoran religion), became the military adviser to the newborn Cardassian resistance fighting against Dominion occupation of their homeworld, before ending up as military governor of Deep Space Nine itself.
Kira's sense of humor is definitely not human (a subtle and important distinction...she's not humorless, she just doesn't get human senses of humor). Her diplomatic skills are non-existent. She's prickly, stubborn, and will argue you into the ground when she thinks she's right.
Funny enough, she's right more often than she's wrong, and that's even when she's duking it out with Sisko (said Emissary) himself.
Kira is Star Trek's version of a Horatio Algier hero. The twist? She's not a guy.
Oh, Kira, how much I adore you, crinkly Bajoran nose and all.
Kira's character-defining quote comes in "Crossover," the first Mirror Universe (aka, the Spock with a Beard Universe) episode in which the Deep Space Nine denizens must deal with their nastier, eviler selves:
Mirror Sisko: What do you care about Terrans' freedom?
Kira: I care about freedom! What I don't understand is why you don't care.
Ahhhhh, Ivonava. I could write epic poetry about your sheer awesomeness. The quintessential commanding officer who has no patience for fools (and she sees feels everywhere), the perpetual cynic, the dry Russian sense of fatalistic humor, Queen of the C&C, and natural-born leader.
Also, a really shaky diplomat. And it seemed that her friend, commanding officer, and mentor Captain Sheridan simply delighted in pushing her into diplomatic situations. The more, the better. To be fair, he wanted her to get experience so she would be better equipped to advance her military career, and she did tend to get results. But her flailing to get from Point A to Point B was always good for hilarity, mostly because Ivanova was such a goddess at everything else.
Seriously, though. Ivanova's awesomeness simply can't be put into words. You can only watch in awe and applaud every time she lets loose with her pungent observations about life on Babylon 5.
Here's Ivanova being her awesome self after a science team decided not to follow her direct orders and nearly got themselves killed because of it:
Ivanova: And just one more thing. On your trip back, I'd like you to take the time to learn the Babylon 5 mantra: "Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God. And if this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out!"
I feel bad for young girls reading comics today. All the superheroines look like supermodels.
When I was a wee girl, I had Kitty! Kitty, who did not look like a supermodel. Kitty, who was young and scared and learning the ropes. Kitty, who was fighting to figure out just what this super-heroing thing was, let alone the random bad guys. Kitty, who thought and acted, well, just like me I guess.
Kitty made the X-Men for me. In fact, she was the X-Men for me. When she left the X-Men for Excalibur, I went with her and hung on to that title until the bitter, bitter end because, well, it was Kitty.
Kitty wasn't perfect or sure about anything, but she was perfect enough just the way she was.
So, three cheers for Kitty, a superheroine who spoke to young girls who loved comic books. I despair we'll never see her like grace the comics books any time soon (and that includes her most recent comic book incarnations).
Kitty, from her Excalibur days, surveying the damage to the team's home/headquarters:
Kitty: You ever notice how we always seem to wreck where we live a lot more effectively than any bad guys we fight ever do?
I know. Everyone loves Buffy. Don't get me wrong. I like Buffy, but I love Faith. She's a screw-up. Yes, surely she is. And no matter what she does, it seems everyone will look at her like she's second-best.
Yeah, she went mad with power. She murdered people. She conspired to pull off an apocalypse. Yet...I could almost understand where she was coming from. And in the end, Faith put her money where her mouth was, owned up, and took society's punishment for her crimes.
But as soon as she was needed to save lives (namely from one Angelus), she was out of jail and damn the consequences. When that was over, she willingly went back to Sunnydale with all of its bad memories so she could help, even though she knew she'd be as welcome as a poisonous snake.
Love her. Hate her. At the end of the day, Faith deserves props for picking herself up after falling so far and striving to be something — someone — better.
Faith just after her prison breakout to Connor, who's giving her problems over her plan to put down Angelus so he can be resouled:
Faith: Are you a murderer? 'Cause I am. If it comes down to you or Angelus, you haven't shown me a thing to make me want to take your side.
So let's hear it for the kick-ass fighters, who can get things done when no one else can.