Misplaced Agents of the Cosmic Ether

Misplaced Agents of the Cosmic Ether

The Characters of M.A.C.E. (borrowed art from Deviant Art and various other places I found on a Google search.

Ashtyn “Ash” Brooke

Former Brodie Security Chief, Human

Ash comes from a long line of asteroid miners from the Near Colonies.  Her father, mother and brothers all worked as asteroid grunt miners for Brodie in the Near Colonies.  However, Ash was restless and always wanted more than working the mines of Brodie owned asteroids.

Growing up in the blue-collar sector of the high gravity Straaterra, she was never satisfied with the status quo of the Brodie worker class.  She was known as the rebel and the black sheep of the family.  She ran away quite often, only to return after encountering things far worse than things at home.  She eventually joined a gang of thieves, robbing various corporate installations of their valuables and selling them on the black market. She was slowly being groomed as a new leader of this gang when she a nd most of the gang were arrested and put into a Brodie prison.

While in prison, someone saw potential in Ash and instead of putting her to work at a labor camp, this person took her on as a protege.  Xhanor Rha, head of the prison security groomed Ash as an informant, and insider of the prison’s activities.  She was a big part in breaking up a major drug smuggling operation that was run out of the prison between guards and an imprisoned drug lord – Dorgarag.  This earned her freedom and a job as a security agent within Brodie.  However, she is always watching her back for agents of Dorgarag.

She keeps her criminal past as secret as she can.  She has gone so far as changing her name.  Ashtyn Brooke is the name of a person she had to kill as part of the drug lord bust.  Her real name is Taya Meret Garatside.  

Brodie Corp sent her out to Vantage Point as part of a new facility operation in the Inner Frontier on the planet Vantage Point (Proscenius System, Exos Sector).  Vantage Point was not the most pleasant world but it at least passed all the Brodie protocols for colonization and safety.  None of those protocols calculated in the Hykosian Liberation Army.  Just as Brodie settled in, this very resourceful and capable terrorist group moved in and took over, slaughtering any Brodie personnel they came across.  They claimed the planet as their holy land. Ash and her companions were lucky to escape.

Now the group flounders between Exos and Xenos Sector trying to survive.  The group’s general goal is to get back to the Inner Colonies, but Ash secretly wants to stay in the Inner Frontier.  This is place has so much potential.  She already has a plan to insert Ash’s data into the Brodie records of the lost at Vantage Point and retake her original name.  She is working with a shatrat group called the Chaos Bandits, one of the factions of the Point Bren shatrats under Cror Sendalven that wish to break away from Cror.  Impressing the Chaos Bandits would be very advantageous to Ash at this point.  

Benno “Ben” Goodson

Former Brodie engineer, Rednas

Left on his own at a young age, half his family including his parents were lost in some long forgotten war along the edge of the Inner Frontier.  The other half that survive are scattered throughout the Inner Frontier, involved in various nefarious activities that Ben chooses to ignore.  Ben wanted more than just a criminal’s life.  And it would involve tech in some way or another.

Rednas are known for the weapons smiths but nothing is more fascinating to Ben than forging the weapons of the virtual world.  Virtual neuro-viruses, subliminal motor-cortex programming, and other varieties of hacking the connected brain have all fascinated Ben. Afterall, access to the virtual world goes both ways.  You can access it with your brain but it also makes your brain accessible.

Ben obtained high tech bio-engineered cybernetics from a source he does not disclose to anyone.  These cybernetics are indistinguishable from organics but are completely compatible with modern systems (and some alien).  

Ben was hired by Brodie after he hacked their secure systems on Eclaynus IV.  It was here that he developed the healthy fear of the Shatterzone.  It was neither the alien bolters that scared him, nor what they were running from. It was research into the unseen dangers coming through the ‘Zone that concerned him.  A researcher convinced him that it was possible that alien nanites capable of infiltrating Consortium technology – computers, cybernetics, anything – and infect, control or otherwise do malice for some alien purpose. These were collectively labelled the Zed. The research into the Zed drew Ben in and he became heavily involved in it.   

This lead Ben to the Vantage Point installation.  Brodie picked a large group of employees to help with a new facility in the Exos Sector on the planet Vantage Point, the first of its kind so close to the ‘Zone (25+ light years).  Ben was selected along with the entire Zed team. They were eventually going to transfer to a station being built less than a light year from the Zone, called Elysium Alpha, to further their research.  This made Ben very nervous.

However, Vantage Point was also the target of another group – a very resourceful and savage terrorist group named the Hykosian Liberation Army.  Not long after Brodie had settled into Vantage Point, they invaded.  Their leaders were like super-men.  They had hundreds of followers, who slaughtered most of the Brodie personnel.  Using his skills, he was able to hide and encrypt the Zed data spread out through whatever piece of hardware he could find.  Ben has been collecting it off and on, when he comes across a piece of Brodie hardware.  It’s common now to find them on the Exos/Xenos black market.

Ben escaped with a group of strong and capable individuals lead by Darrin, an ex-Fleet Marine and Brodie security officer, Ash.

Darrin Martell

Former Brodie Marine/Pilot, Human

Darrin grew up in a harsh environment on the outer reaches of the Near Colonies, his family a part of a criminal organization specializing larceny and fraud.  As a teen, an operation with his family went bed and he was left behind to be caught and imprisoned by fleet.  Fleet gave him a choice – spend a lifetime in a Inner Frontier labor camp or join the Marines.

He sent 6 years in the Fleet Marines, some good and some bad.  The final straw occurred a year into his second tour.  He had already earned his freedom and did not really know where else to go, so he stuck with the Marines.  The government of a fringer world called Stolanus IV was rejecting Consortium rule and denying the construction of a mega-corporation’s facility.  Fleet was sent in the settle the dispute.

Darrin retired early after the heavy action on Stolanus IV.  The revolt turned ugly and extreme measures were needed.  He doesn’t talk about it much and still has nightmares.  He joined Brodie not long afterwards to try and forget. His family in the meantime, have learned of his exploits and feel that he has abandoned his true calling and destiny.  His father, the patriarch of the family and the guild they lead, passed years ago and they expect him to take the thrown.  To escape this, Darrin took the expedition heading to Vantage Point in the Inner Frontier.  Unfortunately for him, Vantage Point turned out to be worse than staying home.

Brodie wanted to study the Shatterzone but the sectors on its’ edge were far too chaotic and dangerous.  Despite that, they picked the Exos Sector and a planet that only a few fringers and bolters called home at the time.  Who knew that a religious fanatical movement would sweep the planet and become a major issue for them?  As a matter of fact, Darrin did.  All the intel pointed to a possible anti-corporate revolt.  There were elements everywhere and it would take considerable personnel to fend it off.  Of course, Brodie did not send enough.  They promised more later, but Darrin was one of a very small garrison of Marines charged with defending a considerable operation – a base on a hostile (and cold) world as well as the construction of a space station on the edge of the shatterzone (Elysium Alpha).  The space station was supposed to be his command, once complete.

Darrin expected a long and sustained war against terrorist and guerrilla tactics.  What he did not expect was a coordinated invasion of the Brodie facility before the garrison could get reinforcements. It was a slaughter and he lost a lot of good friends.  He can’t help but think there was a ole, however.  It was too convenient for them to attack when they did.  Darrin doesn’t believe in coincidences.

Escaping, he  grabbed whom he could when the evacuation order was given – a security officer who technically outranked him, a lizardman tech who is pain in the ass, a blue skinned medical tech who is easy on the eyes, and a strange scientists who might know something the weirdness around the X’es (Exos and Xenos sectors).  In truth, he was very strategic about who he picked to survive here but that’s not something he likes to share.  Technically, they owe him their lives.  He piloted them out of the system on a commandeered scout ship, the Cosmic Ether.  Unfortunately, it’s short range Q-Space drive blew and the group is without a interstellar capable ship.

Drasmi “Dras” Ruen

Former Brodie Security, Bolter Alien (Kitharan) – Kitharan are a 4-armed alien species of warrior and philosophers.  They were forced through the ‘Zone by the ones known as The Darkbrood.

Dras does not remember much from Before. He was a child when his “parents” brought him through the ‘Zone. And while they were alive, those he called his parents were never really spoke of it.  When he asked, there was an awkward silence and they would change the subject. Dras still has nightmare of the time Before, however, and they keep him up at night regularly.

Dras grew up on a small bolter colony on a relative remote world – Bothion – in a neighboring sector to Exos.  There were only a few hundred that survived the trip through the ‘Zone.  When they settled on Bothion, the Kitharians were greeted with fear and racial hatred by the other races.  The Kitharan religion – The Way of Kuvagar – spoke of those beyond the Veil of the Ancients , calling them the Chosen Ones.  They were supposed to be Angels and Prophets of the Ancients but the reality was far from the Truth of the Scrolls.  Dras had to learn fast how to survive in this harsh universe beyond the Veil of the Ancients.

His parents were killed when a shatrat group and a fringer group fought over claim to their world.  Their entire people were caught in the middle of a war no one with authority knew or cared about. Fleet finally stepped in only to lay waste the both factions and leave the planet to Van Kyling Manufacturing mega-corporation, who in turn enslaved his people.  While a corporate slave, Dras worked with the resistance to free his people.  Eventually, it became too costly for the VK to maintain the operation, and it abandoned the planet.  However, the environmental damage from both wars and mining left the world useless to the Kitharan.  They scattered a new home.

Since then, Dras has served as a mining engineer, merchant, pirate, thief and ship security throughout the Exos and Xenos Sector.  Throughout his time in this region, he has helped disrupt the underground slaver circuit that permeates throughout the region.  One particular operations – the Ivory Fang  – has been a regular target of his work recently.

Two things have recently driven Dras into a different direction and join the group he is with now.  The first is a rumor of another refugee ship coming through the ‘Zone recently.  It crashed somewhere in the Xenos Sector and may contain sleeper pods of hundreds of his kind.  The other is the natural need to procreate.  Kitharans are hermaphroditic but still needs another of their kind to  procreate.  They only do it 4 times in their lifetime and both mates give birth at least a dozen eggs, which he then cocoons up in a hidden location, like a cave, until they hatch a year later.  Until he finds a mate, his body convulses in pain randomly.

The one called Darrin saved Dras’s life in a difficult situation involving some shatrats.  Dras owes him his life.  Dras has chosen to remain with this group for the time being, despite the uncomfortable stares he receives from the one called Ash.

Iborith “Ibbie” Besnorok

Former Brodie medical tech

Glahns are one of the three ruling races in the galaxy, blue skinned humanoids organized into clans.

Iborith (she hates “Ibbie”, the nickname the human Darrin gave her) was born to a Glahn clan of interstellar nomads with no planet to call home – only a rag tag fleet of ships cobbled together from various junk yards. Her clan – the Vakrehz – are an outcast clan because of the reliance on tech.  

Iborith means hope in her clan’s religious tongue.  Her family ship just a destroyed in a horrible accident and she was the first born just after the accident.  Many still associate that tragic event to her.

She took on the role of med-tech early in life as it was her family trade.  They were trauma team specialist in some of the more destitute ships.  Her mother was a very skilled doctor and her dad was a good paramedic.  All five of her siblings were also brought into the trade.  As is the tradition of her people, however, her siblings one by one left the nomadic lifestyle to pursue their own life, with promise to return home again within 5 years.  This was called a Yon’hyrith or roughly translated, soul journey.  Her oldest brother joined Fleet to become a Marine medic.  Her other siblings pursued their own paths.  Her intention was to join Brodie Corp and their medical research teams, however, unbeknownst to her, the clan council had other plans.

From an early age, Iborith has been a thrill seeker.  From high-speed pinnace racing to Null-G stunt-diving; from sling-shot Q-space jumping to re-entry surfing, she has enjoyed the dangers of space.  Nothing compared to staring down a gas giant’s eye as she skimmed across its upper atmosphere in nothing but a sport-spacesuit and thinly armored skimmer.  Life was not worth living without taking some risks.

As part of a political alliance with clan families, she was betrothed to another – a male Glann member of a high council family.  She had drawn his attention from all her exploits and stunts, which were well-known throughout the Vakrehz fleet.  Iborith protested. The council and her parents insisted.  She relented and agreed to marry this Glahn noble when she returned from her soul journey.  However, she was not entirely sure she wanted to return.   

This is what lead her to join the Brodie Corp Vantage Point expedition.  Brodie Corp was recruiting for a special facility being established deep in the Inner Frontier, near the Shatterzone.  What better place to thrill-seek than the most dangerous place known to any sentient being.  She took her job with Brodie seriously, of course, but any opportunity to get close to the ‘Zone was something she could not pass up. Secretly, this was at the heart of her soul-journey.

Competition for seats on the ship to Vantage Point was intense.  When her number was finally called up, there were others that felt she did not deserve the position. She was just a thrill seeker and not a serious med-tech. Things got ugly and she had to leave a few people in need of her kind of services – the medical kind.

Vantage Point was a miserable planet – cold, destitute but liveable.  She arranged to be chosen to be part of the medical crew of the new space station Elysium Alpha, being built on the edge of the Zone.  It called to her.  She was ready to explore its waves and eddies. She needed to stare into its darkness, it’s chaos and touch its’ mysteries. She longed to feel the rush of adrenaline while facing the most dangerous place in the universe.  

However, the Hykosian Liberation Army (HLA) interrupted that calling when they attacked the burgeoning and vulnerable Brodie installation. They slaughtered everyone, all in the name of their “saviors,” the Hykosians.  She barely escaped with her life, thanks to the Brodie Marine.  Now, she has teamed up with him and the others to survive in the reaches of the Inner Frontier.

Vroksor “Vrok” Fulaku

Former Brodie scientist/Zone Expert, Ishantran.

Ishantras are ruling race of the Consortium, immensely varied due to cross-species gene-engineering, who lost their homeworld in an ancient cataclysm.

Vrok is a member of an ancient order of Ishantran monks and scholars – the Qirom – who believe they are the true vessels of the Ancients. The Ishantran as a species are a result of mixing various races from lost worlds beyond the ‘Zone in order to preserve their lives and their culture.  Genetic traces of many lost civilizations and species beyond the River of the Gods (Shatterzone) exists in all the Ishantran.  The Qirom believe that hidden in those genetic traces are the puzzles pieces of their gods – the Ancients.

The Qirom believe that the body is simply a vessel and it is to be preserved genetically even after death.  They believe their the Ishantran are the Blessed for being chosen to be the Vessels of the Gods but the true Chosen Ones are those contained on this side of the River of the Gods.  Their doctrine teaches that the Ancients are the creators  of the River. They created it to be a shelter against the Dark Ones, the Demons of the Darkness Between the Stars, Those that Devour Suns and Destroy Worlds.

Vrok became obsessed with the Zone, learning everything he could about it.  From ancient Ishantran scrolls to scientific studies from various Corporations, Vrok has studied them.  He knows more about than he even lets on.  In fact, some of his information has been obtained through means that perhaps Fleet would not appreciate.

The Ancients saw fit to bless Vrok with Psionic abilities.  These have come in handy when being interrogated by Fleet agents about the Shatterzone.  They gave him more information than he did them, without saying a single world.  The more they asked questions, the more information Vrok could draw out.

Brodie recruited him long ago as an expert and Vrok worked with many so-called experts and scientists throughout the years. But never had he an opportunity like the Vantage Point. Brodie Corp was recruiting for a special facility and space station (Elysium Alpha) being established deep in the Inner Frontier, near the Shatterzone, on a world called Vantage Point.

They called them terrorists and fringers, but Vrok new better.  They attacked the Brodie installation when it was at its weakest.  They slaughtered everyone they could. Those that escaped were few but he was lucky to tag along with Darrin and a few others.  The attackers called themselves the Hykosian Liberation Army but in truth they were servants of the Demons from Beyond the Veil, Devourers of Suns.

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