This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue.
Hampton Rhodes 6A79AB Age 38
Blade-2, Bribery-1, Gunnery-1, Mechanical-1, Pilot-2, SMG-1, Streetwise-2, Vacc Suit-1
SMG, Blade, Free Trader Fortunate Son
Hampton appeared on the merchant scene looking more like a good candidate for the Naval Academy than working on some greasy Free Trader but as the second son of a noble he wasn’t likely to inherit. Nor did he get along very well with his family so he decided to take the road less travelled by his ancestors: strike out for fame and fortune he could call his own. His relatively high social status made it easy to fork over the stake the captain demanded for an officer’s berth (a real money-grubber type that would rather jury-rig a fuse than pay the few credits for a new one).
Hampton early on showed his worth as a pilot and an unusual aptitude for getting along and making deals within any strata of society – particularly with the lower ones where the captain of the Close Call usually found cargoes and passengers. The first flight resulted in a near miss with a pirate. Hampton was acting as the gunner during that incident and was badly wounded, which never properly healed and developed into a painful limp in his later years.
Saving the ship did result in a fast promotion, though, and to becoming a confidant to the captain when working dirtside looking for speculative cargo. Hampton showed a high aptitude for finding good cargos and picked up some expertise with a blade in case negotiations got a little heated. Occasionally it was his skill with a knife that saved both himself and the captain from angry customers who might have felt cheated – which sometimes they were.
He picked up a few more scars as the ship worked the rougher regions of the frontier. Eventually a submachine gun joined the blade at his side when cargos were being loaded or sold in some pretty iffy ports.
Eventually, Hampton made First Officer on the ship and, being smart, he had stashed the majority of his earnings away for the day when he decided one close shave for a percentage was too many. He figured that if he was going to risk his neck he would rather it be for a captain’s cut. On the last world they put in at some of the captain’s past caught up with the Close Call and Hampton decided Fate was giving him a shove.
While the captain was off arguing for why he shouldn’t be strung up from a lamp post over a bad incident involving spoiled medicine, Hampton took the Close Call to space with most of the crew eager to avoid the fate of their former captain. Hampton had some new papers drawn up through a previous contact on the street a while back so he was now the proud owner of a Free trader. He renamed it Fortunate Son, greased a few of the right palms for a new transponder and better documents, and was now ready to begin his own life as merchant adventurer.