Exile gon’Jerac is an oddity in the universe: a Hirudin banished from his home and society. Although individual Hirudin vie for power and prestige, using dirty tricks and intrigue to ascend the various structures of power within their mysterious society, none have ever been forced into exile.
He resides at the centre of a fortress on Yon’jar, the only moon of a gas giant in the Sutado System. Far from wallowing in pity, Jerac has found a lucrative hobby to fill his time: information brokerage. His status as persona non grata amongst his own people has only served to enhance his reputation.
Jerac is intelligent and ruthless; even for a Hirudin. From humble beginnings he has built an intricate hub for information and intelligence. And although larger spy agencies view him with suspicion or worse, they sometimes find themselves with no choice but to use him anyway. Having made more than his fair share of enemies, he protects himself with an elite guard of Gnobo Shadowspines kept on permanent retainer.
Nobody is quite sure how the Exile gets his tentacles on rare and protected information. Rumours revolve around important people being kidnapped by his Gnobo hired guns and taken to his fortress and subjected to experimental and powerful psionic procedures. Technically, Hirudin lack the ability to control the more complex sentient minds. And yet Jerac has become something of a bogeyman of the intelligence world, making many important people up their security and peer over their shoulders.
Migores Jansen is one of the most famous of the Astral-GP Pilots, now retired. From racing, at least.
Migores grew up on Gandymede in the ashes of the Far Planet Revolution. The third son of a impoverished plankton farmer, he grew up on the breadline, learning to fix incubators and aquariums with the most basic of salvaged technology.
The owner of the biggest junk yard was obsessed with the Astral-GP; Migores ended up watching as scrounged for spare parts and a fascination was born. The money and glamour of the sport seemed a universe away – until one fateful day.
Migores was searching through an old cargo hauler for air scrubbers when he stumbled upon a rare chunk of Iridium lodged in the reactor core. The sale of this made him rich and – without a second thought – the 19 year old man sunk the entire sum into the purchase of an old Russian scout ship christened the Jagged Edge.
He worked on the old ship day and night; years spent maximising efficiency in his father’s equipment had been well spent. Soon the engines were purring, working more efficiently than ever. He brought this determined spirit to the Astral-GP and finished his first race by 20, won his first championship by 22. He quickly gained a reputation as one of the most fearless, hard-working pilots on the circuit.
Racing was a dangerous career, however. By his 30th birthday several of his were rivals dead or disabled courtesy of the sport. Migores reluctantly made the decision to to cash out whilst he still could. He retired to the sleepy, mid-Rim Union world of Trillyth, building a comfortable house in the hills of the Northern continent.
And yet he found a life of leisure lacking. Hunting the native predators gave him some solace, but his hands itched for the feel of his ship’s controls. And so he began to take on small courier jobs, ferrying information and people and valuable cargo from place to place. The riskier the job the better. His reputation – and that of the Jagged Edge – reborn.
Cinderfoot’ is a genetically-different asset with the ability to emit large amounts of heat from his body at will. His ability burns most bright at his feet, hence the moniker. He cannot project this heat beyond his body, rendering him useless at range. However, his ability can be used to melt all but the most advanced metal alloys: allowing him to burn through walls, ceilings and floors to reach a target.
His ability – when turned ‘on’ – renders him impervious to damage from heat and burns, including most energy weapons. Additionally, he can melt incoming solid projectiles before they reach him, making old fashioned slug throwers equally useless.
That being said, Cinderfoot is extremely vulnerable when his power is not ‘on’ and he can only be actively superheated for periods of five minutes or so before his ability needs to recharge. During this period he is as vulnerable as any human. Additionally, if caught in an ambush and unable to activate his ability Cinderfoot is equally vulnerable. He should not be assigned contracts involving extreme cold or hard vacuum for obvious reasons
Kranmir of Solust was 4 years old when the Wun’Tux descended on the small Oroso colony he called home. The Oroso adults were killed trying to protect their young. Survivors young and old alike were taken aboard Wun’Tux warships as slaves.
None of his family – his litter-kin – survived the first month. The old and sick died quickly. But Kranmir was strong. The Wun’Tux slave masters placed him in a gun crew: reloading and aiming the giant fragmentation cannon at the ship’s fore. He withdrew into himself, away from the surviving Oroso. The others would huddle together against the cold, like young Oroso finding safety and comfort in proximity. He refused. And watched. And waited.
The Wun’Tux Enforcer he served on was loyal to an outlying, ambitious brood-tribe fond of raiding along the human border. Unbeknownst to them, the Blackmane mining station most frequently targeted had contracted the Widebrim mercenary group as protection. As the brood-tribe formation of Enforcers and Clanships moved against the mining outpost proper, a small group of Widebrim warships dropped out of FTL right ontop of them. Chaos ensued.
The Widebrims exploited the inflexible Wun’Tux formation, attacking in the spaces in-between and giving the reptilian attackers not a moments rest. Gunships and Enforcers scrambled to protect their larger ships and many took damage in the process. Kranmir was like a coiled spring unleashed, his screaming feelings of anger and injustice pouring forth, making him into a one-man mutiny of tooth and claw and violence. With it’s Wun’Tux crew dead, the Enforcer drifted aimlessly and was finally towed into dock by one of the Widebrims.
The Widebrims found a bloodied, emotional Oroso collapsed in the captain’s chair. They fed him, clothed him and took him onto their ship, giving him comfort and acceptance banished from his memory by years under a Wun’Tux boot.
And in Kranmir they had met an Oroso without a family. Without litter-kin to confide in or find comfort with. An individual with the knowledge and will to survive against all the odds. All reasons as to why he became the first – but not last – non-human member of the Widebrims.
Hans Zimmerman was the human scientist who found himself in charge of Project Atlas. He cut his teeth working at the University of Hamburg, studying and then teaching within Eugenics and Biochemistry. It was his work in this field combined with his ravenous ambition that he was snapped up by the political masters of the clandestine American project designed to emulate the fantastical powers of the people deployed by the Agency.
His ambition, however, was to be his undoing. It was Zimmerman’s plan to abduct an Agency asset and test him, analyse him. This one act led to the bloody reprisal from the Agency that left Zimmerman and his entire staff dead, a clear and concise message.
Though his rash moves left Project Atlas struggling, it survived.
Phillius Yacof was born on Earth, raised in the old Ukraine. He showed a talent for construction and engineering from an early age and was head hunted by a local technical college. The young man re-wrote their circiculum over the five years he attended. Rylands University on Luna offered him a generous scholarship and, at the age of 16, he left his family behind to continue his studies.
He had confused his parents and early school teachers by way of his maturity. The measured way in which he ate his lunch, played tag and did the dishes all transferred through to his work. It made him a reliable engineering student. But his calm and considered nature made him consider problems from unexpected angles and find novel solutions. He completed his Masters Degree in Genetic Analysis, patenting the Yacof Gene Mapper during his studies. His PhD was in Neurological Repair and Analysis, a new discipline applied mostly to the treatment of paraplegics and disfigured victims of war. For four years after his PhD he taught part time at Rylands but was otherwise absent from public view. His next posting was as the Director of Project Atlas…
Dr. Tiafosa Grainger is the modern day poster girl for Xenoarcheology, but it wasn’t always that way. The third child of Martian colonists, Tiafosa was a precocious girl who tricked her way onto a deep space freighter at the age of 14, desperate to see the stars. She was eventually kicked off on one of the new human colonies at Illias IV and found work as a labourer at one of the archeological dig sites surrounding the main city. This odd job started her obsession with all things alien.
She graduated from dogsbody to working in the digs themselves, under a fusty old Professor from Earth. Despite growing up in the brawn-building gravity of Mars, Tia had a gentle touch and soon became the professor’s go-to person for brush work before graduating to become his assistant. This arrangement lasted for four years, at which point the 20-year old apprentice helped discover the largest building of ancient design yet buried beneath a landslide.
Annoyed by this young upstart – who was pretty enough to have gained the attention of other experts in the field – Tia’s professor cut her off, using his influence to kick her off the dig site and sully the name she’d made for herself. Unperturbed, young Grainger used her saved funds to buy a trip back to Sol and entry to a fine University.
The venerable Universities had yet to embrace Xenoarchaeology as a subject, but the new and ambitious academy on Deimos decided gave her a place on their accelerated development programme. She studied and worked and lectured for ten years, publishing excerpts of her experience and her interpretations. Her views and insights went against convention, causing many of the established authorities to shun her as at best naive and at worst a con artist. Passionate by nature, Tia used her remaining funding to charter a ship to go out and claim her evidence.
She gambled on a vital piece of information: an interpretation of an ancient text which she believed pointed to a binary star bordering on Vonn space. Her old professor had profusely disagreed with her interpretation and she had told noone else. She sunk her life savings into a trip to reach this binary system, at which point the live link she kept up with her university went dead.
The establishment scoffed at her death, her proponents mourned her passing. Six months later her mission was all but forgotten. So when a contact with no IFF approached Mars orbit she was the last person the Navy expected to step out of the battered old freighter. It transpires that the unique orbits of the binary star she’d headed too and scrambled their systems, forcing them to make an emergency landing on the nearest planet. Where she had found a giant alien building, in tact and preserved by layers of ice. She spent the months it took the make the ship spaceworthy again cataloguing the scripture adorning the structures walls and floors. When revealed to the world at large, it was enough to prove that her interpretation was valid and not only rescue her reputation but shift the paradigm of the entire discipline, too.