Cougar Lee Black
Standing a couple inches short of six foot even, and massing just around 185 lbs, there is a light sense of fitness and tone around this mature young man, settled in the naturally tanned skin of some mixed heritage, Latin and definitely Asian in passing. One of the standout features however are his eyes. Shaped in the subtle almond of asian descent, they are a dark silvery blue of glaciers, with flecks of green within the azure making them seem to sparkle and shift with shades of humor and stormclouds. His hair seems at first to be a deep brown, but any light shifts it to an obvious dark red tint. Worn short, tight, and with a hint of some styling it is swept back to a round along the trimmed back of his neck, accenting his somewhat heartshaped facial structure.
With a nice contrast between formal and casual attire, the first thing he has on is a tended but travelworn dark brown leather riding jacket. Lacking the collar most have, it instead trades it for a brass buckle and strap on each side of his neck, showing another pair of the same buckled loose at the wrists. Under this is a henley-styled and slightly ribbed T-shirt with the hem done in black meant to accent the fabric, and between the two is a brushed leather hunting vest done in a manner that neatly hides any bulges of stashed equipment or spare ammo, allowing only the lines of the pockets to be seen abdomen and chest.
A simple black leather belt and buckle cinches up a pair of boot-cut chinos, no crease-line like a proper pair of slacks, and worn down to the ankle. They cover up a pair of Callister mountain riding boots, the tight leather buckled along the line of the calf and stopping just short of the knee where kevlar and nylon stretches to compensate. Black leather from the boots is matched by a pair of fingerless gloves that look half-way designed between biker's and boxer's sparring gloves, each buckled at the forearm, just past the wrist.
When the arms come up right, from under the sleeves you can see two wide leather bands. The one of the left is purely decorative, bearing a square metal plate on the back of the forearm that has the engraving of a Yin-Yang circle made of two wildcats, and a chinese caricature for Water. On the right forearm, a much simpler affair of a mounted high-tech, but mechanical-seeming watch, designed to integrate and display with a PDA or an iComm.
To most of the world, Cougar comes off as something of a calm, slightly garrulous, and self-confident individual... always seeming to have something to say about anything, and not afraid to say it. This is mostly a cover for a person who has developed some trust issues with the world at large from a young age, helping to armor against someone who has a sense of compassion and purpose. This often lends him to seeming to have a sense of bravado and courage under fire. One overall trait he seems to have is a dislike of governmental authority and those who rely too heavily on heavy-handed, abusive, or authoritarian discipline to keep their employees/family in line. The people who often earn his respect are those who treat with him honestly, and pay him the respect for what he's learned, bringing that knowledge to the table whenever he can. The ones who can earn his friendship become the type he'll take a bullet for... or put a bullet in someone for.
Personal honor, integrity, and trust are the most important things to him. A man be a good man but still do bad things. And the opposite is true as well. So while his actions might be reprehensible at times, he will only performs ill deeds as required. He takes no truck with slavery or illegal drugs, and has issues with murder unless absolutely necessary. Criminals are their own sort of people with their own ethics and their own honor that can be respected, or despised. If a man proves himself untrustworthy however, that's a line in the sand that Cougar tends to leave there. Trust is the only thing you can prove to another person.
Native born to Boros, Cougar Lee Black was the end result of an affair between his mother Patience Black, and a young Alliance officer from the shipyards near Ares. His father was extremely angry that his 7th child and son was illegitimate, naming the boy for his name because of an off-hand comment made by some of the orderlies in the facility. That shame was translated to the older siblings, most of whom were older by several years and worked for his father in the warehouse and spaceport business. That translation came in the form of teasing, neglect, and the occasional beating. None of which he fought against at first. As he grew older though, the resentment grew until the point where around the age of fifteen he ran away from home, the best way he knew how... stowing away on a second-hand purchased vessel.
His family-father is Xianshi Fong Wei Black, a pro-Alliance man who made vocal his support of the war against Independence and that every Independant, or 'Browncoat' should be taken out and shot in public to the man, woman, and child. Xianshi is also a part of a large extended family on the same planet who have their hands in almost every industry on the planet, which meant that his mother Patience was wed into the family to help extend their influence on Boros, and was unhappy about the relatively loveless marriage. Xianshi resented his son as he was the personification of everything wrong with his marriage, and while he was not violent, he ensured the boy knew his shame every day he could. The second man to be considered a father in his life would be Nikolai Leonov, the doctor on the Firefly transport vessel Byakko where Cougar snuck aboard, and took pity on the young man... and rather than let the captain space him, used his good graces to make young Cougar to work off his passage like anyone else, not earning a credit at first, by gophering and learning under the Doctor. Nikolai discovered not only that his student was bright and perceptive, but that he also was blessed with an eidetic memory, and the ability to use both hands with ease. To challenge him, he began tutoring the boy in Russian only, forcing him to learn both a language as well as medical terminology at the same time, rounding out his education and instilling the sense of integrity in him that allowed the older gentleman to take pity on the then still-young man.
Being the gopher and 'cabin boy' on a transport ship was a blessing for Cougar. A couple of the people onboard, like the Captain Alexei Percival, taught him a bit about how to shoot, worked him getting information for them dirtside, and even a little bit how to keep the crew and guests happy by cooking for them. This went on for a span of almost 5 years, working for Nikolai and Alexei, and the rest of the crew of the Byakko, avoiding only the pilot and the engineer as neither wanted someone with 'girly hands' close to their slots. Just on his 19th birthday, for no reason anyone on the crew would say, the two escorted Cougar off the ship, and told him this was the end of the line. From there, they left him for parts unknown, but parted only telling him that this was for the best... that he was a better man than they deserved to have on their ship. Two important things happened that day. The first was that he got exposed to grass pollen for the first time in a heavy enough dose to set off his allergies to an extreme degree. The second was he was mugged, stabbed, beaten half to death, and left in a back alley without his money, his gun, his boots, and anything else of value. Not remembering how long he laid there unconscious, but when he came to, it was on a bed in a clinic. This was where he met Corrine Hawkes, an older woman bearing scars as much as smile lines, and had patched him back together. She told him her reasons for doing it, because she said 'No one should be left alone to die. Even on a backwater ri ni ge xian ren ban ban world like this.' On finding out that he'd been taught to be a physician's assistant, she promptly put him to work at the small clinic she ran for the workers of the cattle ranches and farms in the area.
The first six months on Whitefall were torture as he was allergy tested by Corrine, and several medications were tried out until they finally found a once a day pill to keep him from sneezing and coughing so much he'd hurt his back, or tearing up enough that he couldn't see well. Part of the problem was not just the medication itself, but finding him one that had the least problematic side effects. After that, the pair were a common sight in that little town, Cougar being called her 'son' by most given he was more than half her age. As he worked with Corrine, he came to know she'd been a whore, and worse here on the planet, never being able to leave, and her only solace was making people feel better in some small way. He also learned she was bitter, often angry, and got in as much trouble as she fixed. As much as she taught him about legal drugs, nursing care, and how to get bullets out of hard to reach organs... he learned in equal measure shooting, fighting, and even how to get into, and out of a knife fight. For 9 years, they worked together, a few others coming and going, but always those two. Until one day he came back to the clinic on a grocery delivery to Corrine dead on her bed, deliberately committing suicide by drinking a bottle of whiskey and taking some heavy pain killers. A note was there, with just one sentence 'Don't let this place kill you too.' Putting his skills to work, he discovered she'd done it to escape an old debt coming to haunt them both, and taking what he could from the clinic, he sold it all to buy passage Core-ward and get away from the pain in his heart.
Cougar has Seasonal Allergies, also known as hayfever, which means that major pressure and weather changes, or things like a shift from external to recycled air can trigger his nostrils to begin stuffing up, and his eyes to redden. It can take him a few hours upon landing on any planet before he is clear enough to be functional, unless he regularly takes his medication, which is readily available on most Alliance worlds. It has also been discovered it is sensitive enough that if a ship's environmental filters are not serviced more often than normal, this will affect him as well.
With an incredible retention rate for information, Cougar has the closest thing to a perfect memory, able to function on both a kinesthetic and audio/visual level. Repeated practical uses of learned skills can have him perform them almost without looking, and he can recall full conversations as well as written material nearly word for word. However, this does mean that on occasion, miscellaneous stimuli will trigger memories or responses from memories in his past, making it as much a blessing as a curse. Because he does not always have the requisite mental discipline to stop them from happening.
Holliday - Captain John Holliday, Cougar's commanding officer and friend was the first person to take a shine to him off the Shuttle on Persephone, and took him on originally as a backup for his own medical work, as well as his security team. After three months onboard the ship, he was promoted from that position to the executive officer of the vessel and in charge when Doc is off the ship.
Victor Weston - Former cabin-mate and security officer of the Aces & Eights, when Victor left the crew it was a validation of many of Cougar's own issues with trust, and as such has left things with some bad blood between the two. The last time the pair met face to face, Cougar struck him across the jaw in front of the Companion he'd hired to help with the self-same issue. While he has even helped to save Victor from serious harm despite this... there is cause to wonder if the pair will ever reconcile.
Quinn - It is a strange thing, an unlicensed and possibly criminal reprobate becoming friends with someone high in the Alliance Hierarchy. But the pair have some kind of strange understanding of each other, and a modicum of respect between them.
Nicoli - Cougar and Nicoli actually met 6 years previous to the date that he arrived on Persephone when Reavers attacked Whitefall. At the time, he was still somewhat of a coward, and hid with several others as well as Corrine inside a building while Nicoli and his associates fought to save them. At the 2528 Festival on Paquin they met again, where a spark was kindled, and though Cougar's cautious and fearful nature of this kind of intimacy gets in the way, there is something growing between the two.
Bastien - Both were born on Boros, Cougar and Bastien actually attended the same primary school, though Bastien was three years ahead of the other man. While they do not actually recognize each other from that time, they were congenial to each other despite the stressful circumstances of their first meeting after over 15 years.
Moira Macallan & Ripley - Two Companions of House Daska who have in their own ways befriended Cougar after trying to face some rather crushing personal issues. Moira's behavior seems caught between a friend and something almost sisterly, while Ripley seems much more flirtatious, and has expressed wishes to help the man open up more easily.
Senga - Cougar's first friend on the Jia, and the first person to really know about him on a more personal side. He's her Sugar, and she's his Darlin'. There's trust between the two that is hard to be broken, even when strained.
Faoite McGuire - Faoite McGuire is actually something of a mentor to the young man, despite not being one of his crew members, helping him learn the real ropes of being in charge of a ship, as well as what's needed to navigate the dangerous waters of being a ship's Cargo Handler. While the two might never agree on several levels, they do have some respect for each other for standing their ground in the face of that disagreement and yet still remaining civil.
Korben - The Jia's resident Sheperd and one of her cargo handlers is often times the target of many well-meaning jabs from Cougar, who's views on religion are often times too literal when it comes to the viewpoint of what he semi-affectionately calls 'The Fluffy God'. The pair will argue amiably back and forth over it, neither managing to get under each other's skin. At the end of the day, they could be called friends, but don't be prepared for either of them to admit to it.
The Black Family
The Black Family are small fish in a big pond, but with the ego to think they're the opposite. A family that prides their Earth That Was Chinese roots, they are slightly insular and slightly biased towards other Chinese, or Chinese-predominant families. Collectively, the Black Family owns and operates two dozen storage and warehouse facilities on Boros that are used as part of a large government contract for storing ship-building supplies. While they cannot be accused of nepotism, there is a markedly large amount of the family inside of the middle and upper managment of their company, and the managers of the company tend towards marrying into the family. It is also hard to get to work with the Black family without either knowing someone within the family itself.
The company's public name is Zhongsheng Heise Warehousing.
Cougar was hired on my John 'Doc' Holliday as a backup for him as a medic on his ship, as well as assisting Victor Weston with security. From there, due to his willingness to think through situations, offer sound advice, and help out as he can, he was promoted to executive officer of the Aces & Eights. He left employment on the ship as of April 2529.
Lord Damien Carmichael and his husband Bastien have hired Cougar as part of their medical staff as a Physician Assistant and Triage technician.
Hobbies and Interests
Reading - When not working, he's an avid news reader, and often times can be seen with a book on any of a dozen different subjects on his PDA, ranging from entertainment fiction to medical journals.
Tai Chi - Having learned this from watching his grandparents and older relatives from the privacy of his room, Cougar learned Yang style Tai Chi from an early age, and uses it as one of his forms of exercise and relaxation.
Cooking - His favorites foods are old Chinese street vendor-style foods he grew up with on Boros. The recipies he knows best are Fried Rice, Steamed Buns, Spicy Shrimp, and Sizzling Rice Soup.
Character Theme Playlist
Call Me, Call Me - Cowboy Bebop OST - 
Burn My Shadow - Unkle (From the Repo Men Soundtrack) - 
Rolling In The Deep - Adele (Covered by Linkin Park) - 
Safe and Sound - Kyosuke Himuro feat. Gerard Way - 
Who Knew - Pink -