"All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII).
Born on Ariel to one of the Core's most notorious merchants and his substantially more docile childhood sweetheart, Arianna, I had most everything handed to me, including the silver spoon in my mouth. Education and money were never a problem. Neither was encouragement. Love was in short supply, but pressure wasn't. Mom died when I was eleven. After that, Dad picked up a trophy wife twice my age and pushed me even harder: I focused on my studies, finishing secondary school a few years ahead of schedule. University was next; the war broke out when I was halfway through. The fighting kept getting more and more intense, drowning out everything else in the news. My history professors talked about it incessantly, and I helped found a college club supporting the war effort. The day after graduation, I enlisted with the Alliance fleet. Dad wanted to stop me, but I rebuked him. He backed down, seeing my resolve, and offered to pull a few strings to get me a cushy commission.
I turned him down. No, I was a real patriot.
Until I actually got to the front lines and saw what was going on. I didn't mutiny; I didn't turn tail; and I certainly didn't back down from my commitment to the Alliance. I was only nineteen and I didn't really know any better. The war ended two years later. After that, I wanted to put it behind me: it was something I just didn't talk about. I went back to school and focused on archaeology. The nightmares kept coming, and I buried myself in my work, drowning myself in the past because I just didn't want to think about the present. My father called, but I rebuffed him, and Shawn followed right in his footsteps, becoming the Golden Boy, the chosen heir to the fortune. Stayed close to Juliet, though.
Eventually, I checked myself into the hospital to see if Ariel's best could do something about my insomnia. It's there that I met a woman named Samantha Kist, who was completing here residency at St. Lucy's. We helped each other out. She passed her boards around the time I matriculated, and then she lost her medical license - reasons I don't want to talk about. We ran away together: I stole one of Dad's shuttles and changed my name to "Richard Graves," we blasted off into the black, and we got married a month later.
The marriage lasted two weeks. It was still the longest and most serious relationship I've ever been in. But we stuck together because we really had no one else. We did jobs off and on: dry cargo runs, smuggling, tried our hands at a few bounties, and then, we parted ways. I went off on my own, scrounged up some credits, and bought one of the ugliest transports this side of Boros and, always having a sense for dramatic irony, christened her the Icarus. She was freedom in a rusted, dilapidated hull. And she let me explore the 'verse; I just got by, but that was all I needed until the creds ran out.
Desperate, I hooked up with Dianna Tian, captain of the Jade Dragon. We did runs together, and our ships were staffed with mostly loyal crews. Life was good for a while. But we screwed up: we didn't bail when we should've bailed, and half our men and women died. Icarus' wings were clipped, and we limped out of that firefight, tails between our legs, damned lucky to have survived. The crew left. Couldn't blame them, really. Tian and I split up, and it's something we haven't talked about since.
After that, I drifted for a while. Dad tried to get in touch with me, and for once, I acquiesced. He told me never to come home, that I was an embarrassment to the family, and that he'd told Juliet I'd died - and that, if I cared about my sister, I'd never dispel that lie. Blood is thicker than water, right? Haven't talked to her since. Instead, I patched up the Icarus, did more jobs, and managed to gain some renown and notoriety -- some of it bad, most of it good -- even though I was behind the eight-ball on account of my accent, looks, and upbringing. Eventually, I took on two crewmen: Flint Locke, an aptly named mechanic and fixer-uppper, and Vallen Hal, a jack-of-all-trades gunman and security chief. I piloted my baby. Jobs started to get more dangerous, so we picked Sam back up -- and I only had to leave her behind on Persephone once after she rattled my cage with her inane prattling. Still, she rejoined the crew on the next trip back. It's a hot and cold relationship, but it's been that way from the start.
Just recently, the Icarus got shot down in a firefight, which grounded us for six months. Surprisingly, my crew stuck with me -- something that warmed my heart, though I'd never tell them so while sober. Except maybe for Sam, but even that's touch and go. Still, I picked up work as a bartender, found out that Morena Luz needed a crew, and negotiated our way back into the black.
Memorable Quotes and Poses
When someone new on our crew interrupted the meal: But Richard has a gun, and he uses it to full effect, sliding forward his half-empty coffee cup - still steaming - and drawing the holstered weapon at his belt. Swiftly it moves between his fingers, and he flips off the safety in a split-second, asking rhetorically, "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet" - with that, he raises the pistol, beading it on Dante - "is the sun." Then, a quick look to Vallen, with palpable concern etched into his features. <English>
(Richard's gun, named Juliet, evokes both a famous playwright from Earth-that-was and his little sister.)
Connections and Contacts
Richard's got contacts all throughout the fringes, but his most loyal contacts are his crewmates -- Vallen, Flint, and Sam have been with him for the better part of two years now, and they all know how to work together. But his name's relatively well-known and he's got some favors owed to him (and he also owes others a few favors, too) on account of past deeds. Back on Ariel, he's got Shawn and Juliet, but the Renault siblings aren't close anymore. Back at the University, his former colleagues and professors, provided they believed that the posh-looking transport captain was, in fact, their former classmate, would likely lend a hand, but it's equally probable that they'd turn him over to the Feds.
Recent contacts include Morena Luz's crew, Marcos and Ramon, along with Dianna Tian and her Rastafarian pilot/chef, Davin. After an appropriately named Mexican standoff, the crews seem to be coalescing well enough -- at least enough to keep the Spitfire flying, though where the boat's heading, Richard's got no clue. But it's better than going nowhere at all.