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Maetel is a mysterious woman that guides the young Tetsuro Hoshino on his journey aboard the Galaxy Express 999. Though she keeps her past a secret, she is actually the daughter of Queen Prometheum, the ruler of the mechanized empire. She has spent years mounting a quiet resistance against her mother by bringing youths to the artificial planet of Maetel, the last stop aboard the 999, so that they may sacrifice themselves and become components in key locations around the planet. When the time is right, she intends to use a pendant containing the spirit of her kind-hearted father, Dr. Ban, and destroy the planet that bears her name.
When Tetsuro meets Maetel, her body is a copy of Tetsuro's own mother, a beautiful woman that was gunned down by the villainous Count Mecha. Her real body is buried in the ice among countless others in a frozen graveyard on Pluto.