Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Freelance Traveller’s May 2011 issue.
Brodie LeBouchere CB7883 4 Terms Merchant Spacer
Geneered Chimpanzee, Male, Age 32
Grav Vehicle-0, Brawling-1, Vacc Suit-1, Legal-1, Handgun-0, Computer-1, Small Craft-1, Cargo Handling-4, Carousing-1, Streetwise-1, Sensor Ops-2, Heavy Machinery-1, Linguistics-1 (Chinese), Mechanical-1, Gunnery-3, Billiards-2, Recon-2, Fish Tank-3
Brodie grew up on Magnus, one of a baker’s-dozen of moons circling massive Mahkaweskonee, some 800 times more massive than Jupiter.
The business of the Starport on Magnus centered on the refueling and reprovisioning of Starships before they’d boost outsystem. Magnus was something of a stop over between what the JTAS called “More desirable destinations”. The JTAS had even published an advisory to spacers to avoid the side streets and back alleys of the Chinese Quarter, but still, spacers were always going missing—presumably into the lush, purple-blue jungle just beyond the floodlights of the Main Port, Hidalgo, or jumping ship for passage aboard a different one.
As a kid, Brodie would offer to take spacers out into the jungle to see the real Magnus. He’d grown up under the eaves of the trees, and knew the jungle well. Sometimes a particularly posh-looking individual who fell for the tour would find himself knocked senseless and robbed. But really, there are only so many chimp tour guides to be found by the authorities, so after a sentence working the docks under armed supervision, Brodie eventually got a real job, dealing mainly with the repair of Mosquito Rigs—large, multi-legged, insect-like robots that worked in swarms, and whose deadly-looking proboscis would ingest a slurry of asteroid ice for later refining and sale. The big chimp, thanks to several years forced apprenticeship, was also a deft hand at freight hauling, and could, with the proper crew, get a hold packed quickly, with a minimum of wasted time or space to “Liner Quality” (or so he’d been told).
Going through an almost endless routine of pulling, cleaning and repairing the older Mk 1 Mosquito’s clog-prone filters in perpetuity could really wear a chimp down. So, one evening—2215 Local Time—when his break rolled around, Brodie packed the few possessions from his locker into his pack, picked up a few unclaimed items sitting around the break room, and defaced a few company posters before leaving the building, headed to the landing field.
Brodie’s first voyage was working passage aboard the Chicken ’N’ Waffles to anywhere but Magnus. He stayed aboard the Waffles for eight more such passages. At one point, after squaring away a shipment from brokers on Tethys, the First Officer, Kalifri, a strapping, fair-haired amazon from Aretius came to Brodie, telling him she had regrettable news. As the big chimp prepared himself for the possibility that he might be ejected on Tethys with no cash and little more than his hat, the First Officer clapped him on the shoulder.
“Relax lad.” she said through clenched teeth holding a cigarette holder. “Nothing to be put off ship over, certainly”. Checking the handcomp perpetually mounted on her left forearm, she continued, “Mister LeBouchere, the Logbook here says you’ve worked for us nine voyages now. Guild says after six we’re supposed to hire you on, standard crew rates.”
Brodie stood there, grinning as the First Officer continued. “Welcome aboard, Mister LeBouchere. Keep your nose to the grindstone, ya big, furry bastard, and I shouldn't be surprised if you’re an Officer within a few years.”
As the First Officer turned to go, ready to bound off amidships, she stopped suddenly and poked her cigarette holder at Brody for emphasis. “Oh, Be sure to see the bookkeeper. You have some back pay coming—minus fees for Guild Membership, of course.”
Brodie spent the next eight years aboard the Waffles, eventually becoming a Junior Officer, which entitled him to the dubious honor of being addressed as “Mister LeBouchere”; something the Officers had been doing since he’d come aboard. But it was nice to hear the common spacers have to do it. And of course the added pay was a bonus.
At some point Brodie decided he liked his shipmates, but wanted more money, so he moved on.
Brodie has spent the last decade shipping out as a Gunnery and/or Cargo Officer. If working with troublesome personalities, he remains distant, though polite, since, after all, its just another gig.
Brodie is a tall chimp, some 1.8m tall, with black hair all over. He of course wears clothes, usually multi-pocketed utility stuff or boiler suits. He always wears his black and white checked, pork pie hat. Being a Merchant Spacer who likes to have a good time, Brodie is missing a few teeth. Running down from the left corner of his mouth to about his collarbone is a prominent white scar, acquired several years back when defending against a Pirate raid. Two missing toes from his left foot can be attributed to the same attack.
When dirtside, Brodie sometimes gets it into his head to go native and enter whatever forest or fauna the world might have to explore. On more than one occasion this has proven to be a bad idea.
One thing Brodie has carried with him since leaving Magnus is a large fish tank which he installs in either his stateroom or the common area of whatever ship he’s on. The majority of his collection consists of expensive salt water fish from Olde Earth, with a few aliens along. Brodie doesn’t really think he knows much about his hobby, but get him started and away he goes, telling entirely too much about the salt water fish of Olde Earth.
Brodie speaks Chinese and standard Anglic. He can be encountered anywhere spacers congregate.