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Sir Ferdinand Berry

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2017 issue.

Sir Ferdinand Berry 96C63B Age 22 Cr 90,000
1 Term Noble (Rank 1/SOC B [Knight])

Large Blade-3, Ships Boat-2, Brawling-1,
Engineering-1, Small Blade-1, Tactics-1, Computer-0, Laser Weapons-0, Hunting-0, Survival-0, Vacc-0, Sail Boat-0, Wheeled Vehicle-0
Vacc Suit (Civilian Standard TL13), Reflec, Sword (TL13, +2), Cutlass (TL11, +1), Ceramic dagger (TL13, +1), Laser Pistol, Laser Rifle, Reptilian Armor (as Cloth)

Sir Ferdinand “Fur Berry” Berry is a tall, wiry, blonde-headed man, with an erect posture, the face of boy of 17, and the light grey eyes of a veteran who has lost one friend too many. His is a springy step, high-pitched voice, and easy manner remind one most of the local school’s grav-ball star. Really it is only in a few social situations that the average person would notice anything other than the simple ebullience of youth. That is just how he would have it. He is always happy to be the junior in any group, and is the quintessential optimist. He is generous in minor matters, happy to pick up the drinks, the cab, or send small gifts. While his jokes are not the sharpest, they are good enough, and sometimes they bring a smile just from their enthusiasm. Indeed, they are a good analogue to his social presence generally. While not a great wit, conversationalist, or the life of the party, his unflappability make him a spark in any room. This all, however, is how things are “at play,” as Fur Berry, would call it.

At work, the approach Fur Berry (or just “Fur”) takes is deadly serious, and his gear tells a good part of the story. He has a civilian standard vacc suit and coveralls both with the livery of the family line where he worked as a supervisor of interface operations at Efate for four years, which he will wear aboard ship as appropriate. He is a solid engineer, and happy to fly any small craft, as needed. For security work aboard, he has a rig for both cutlass and Laser Pistol that he can wear with his vacc suit. He will wear his reflec over the Vacc suit, or under his dirt-side gear, if in a security posture. The ceramic dagger is never far from his skin, as he takes off the soft leather belly holster only to bathe.

This dirtside gear, however, involves a bed-roll of reptilian skins wrapped around a sword of archaic design but highly advanced construction. The roll in fact contains a cloak of this dark brown, dappled reptilian hide, which—along with the matched bone-faced greaves, bracers, and composite helmet—acts as Cloth. Though it weighs a full 3.5 kg, the ensemble is positively buoyant in water at up to 1.1g . He has a Marine cloth boarding vest he wears under this. The sword is lighter, sharper, and more durable than even the best blades of archaic manufacture; the sheath has some other survival items, including a mirror, some medical drugs, and a discrete fire maker. Even the wire wrap of the handle is a superdense alloy of exceptional usefulness in both survival and destructive scenarios. The cloak armor ensemble and sword are left over from his days at Camp George, on the Elstrian Islands of Knorbes, with the boarding vest a recent substitution.

His first four years of adolescence were spent based at the Camp, and these were formative and brutal. While some tutors did support academics, the primary energies of students were directed towards learning the way of the blade and some military tactics. He in fact killed the one-and-three-quarter-tonne amphibious reptilian pouncer whose skin he wears as armor, and spent the last 18 months of his time on Knorbes, while nominally at the Camp, actually campaigning to keep the mountain roads of the main island of Elstria clear of bandits, and making raids against pirates up the shore, to protect the primitive shipping. These adventures were under the supervision of a cadre of two Hospitaller adepts from Camp George. The last raid they pulled was, however, cut short by a laser blast coming from the wooden pirate ship that took down the mast of their schooner in the dead of night. They fought their way clear of the burning wreck as its momentum brought it close enough to grapple with the pirate ship. The Hospitallers, two armed retainers, and the schooner’s captain made a point of drawing the fire away from their younger charges while this went on, taking out the heavy laser and most of the pirates before going down. This allowed Fur and four surviving students to cut their way hurriedly across the docked pirate’s deck, jump to the pier, and plunge off into the dark shallows.

The action was an ambush and rout instead of the raid they had planned: Instead of facing a dozen pirates with a handful of black powder weaponry, they had run into over double that many, with a heavy laser backed up by several bolt action rifles with low-light optics. The ACRs wielded by the Hospitallers and their retainers had still eventually swept the decks, but not before a well-placed shot dropped Fur’s best friend into the gap of water between the ships before he could dive in. The musket balls from the shore then began whizzing past them as the flames from the schooner backlit the boys. Something grabbed another youth, Henry, as he swam for the tangled vegetation; Ferdinard guessed it was a grendelfish, but he could not be sure. Of the six students on the raid, then, only four made the relative safety of the jungle, and they fled blindly into the night.

With only their swords, knives, and no food, they hid away from the pirate patrols and made their way slowly back toward their base, 120 km away as the jeterd flies. It took them seven weeks, though, and hundreds of kilometers of evasion, backtracking, and hunting. One more died of an infection from an unidentified bite, and a fourth from a wild shot from a pirate separated from his patrol. Fur’s blow cleaved the pirate shoulder to hip, but his own spirit was shattered. The last four months of time on Knorbes—after the raid that was to have been their graduation exercise—was supposed to be spent on academic work. Instead the time was spent on their grueling escape, further evacuation by primitive means, medical treatment, recovery, and the investigations whirling around the two shattered nobles who limped into Camp George.

Fur’s golden passage into manhood had been unhinged and replaced by a cacophony of fear, confusion, and resentment. He then disappointed his family by failing to get into college, any college. His productive 4 years with the family line bolstered the effect that his toughening on Knorbes had to keep him in relatively good graces with his family, though certainly not as the favorite son. He in retrospect resents their sending him to “grow up” on Knorbes, a tradition among a few noble families on Regina to keep their stock tough and aggressive, able to rule in governments filled with noble fops and playboys.

Fur is now looking to reconcile his mundane time on the family line with his early martial training, while leaving his family behind. He is also looking for his suffering to have some meaning. He is not really sure how this is going to happen, but is open to offers where force of arms will be part of his service to a crew. The Hospitallers have attempted to recruit him, so far unsuccessfully; he has been alienated from his faith these past years, and perhaps in part blames them for it. He has ended a romance of some years, and is looking to ship out.