Mustered Out on Mertactor
Duchess Selene Roster
CAPTAIN JOHN WARNER
The captain of the Duchess Selene is well known as an efficient and skilful ship’s master. After a 20-year career in the Imperial Navy, he left with the rank of Commander and more than one decoration for valor, and hired on with Tukera Lines. A few years later he was headhunted by McClellan Factors and offered command of a subsidized merchant.
Since then he has held a series of commands, most of them prestigious liners. Warner has never served an administrative stint, though he has been through the usual transfer-of-command period of retraining several times. He usually has taught others rather than been taught himself during these periods, and is very highly respected.
Warner is the model of a seasoned merchant captain. At 62, he is tall and slim, with a ready smile and a word of encouragement to the crew. His gray hair and beard are always neatly trimmed and his uniform would pass any naval inspection. Warner drinks the odd social glass of wine with the passengers, and exchanges amusing stories of his adventures on the spaceways with them, but never quite loses his polite reserve. Even when enthusiastically denouncing the antics of an old shipmate or a particularly idiotic free trader captain, there is always a part of Captain Warner that is elsewhere, watching over his precious ship and her crew.
FIRST OFFICER ANDREA TASKAII
A career merchant-service officer with a full master’s ticket, Andrea serves as astrogator and first officer. She has not yet commanded a vessel but is overdue for a captain’s slot. Aged 41, she is a rather matronly looking woman who might be mistaken for a cheerful ship’s head chef at first glance. However, Andrea has 20 years’ experience as a merchant officer, some of it aboard freighters serving roughneck frontier outposts. She prefers to lead with quiet words and clear instructions, but if that fails, she can bite.
It is an open secret that Andrea is at the top of a very short list to be the next commander of the Duchess Selene. Indeed, Captain Warner has recommended her for a command three years running. Despite his own worries about not getting another ship, he is a fair man who recognizes talent and has always tried to further the career of skilled subordinates. This is one reason why Andrea, who knows the captain about as well as anyone else, thinks so highly of him.
CHIEF ENGINEER KARGHAZZ SEZRHK
Despite the obviously Vargr name, Karghazz is a human from Walston, a thoroughly intermixed human-vargr society. At 28 he is rather young for his post, especially since he also fills the Second Officer slot aboard Duchess Selene. He is, however, well qualified and thus far has lived up to his impressive references. Karghazz is extremely ambitious, planning to make First Officer by 30 and Captain within 5 years after that. Judging by his career so far,he might indeed manage it.
Karghazz takes care to appear the model merchant officer, deliberately styling himself after the captain. His oftrepeated phrase ‘the Captain wouldn’t like that’ is sometimes parodied by other crewmembers, since when trying to ape the grave dignity of a 40-year merchant officer he sometimes comes over as a little hysterical. Karghazz is not that well liked aboard Duchess Selene.
This is his first cruise and he has made several pointless changes just to show who’s boss in his department. He also tends to lord it over the ‘lower orders’ (the gunners) and to be a little mean to the deck personnel (stewards and medic) since they are just glorified restaurateurs, not real spacers.
Despite his arrogance and a measure of overconfidence, Karghazz is actually very good at what he does. The captain rather likes him, and is quietly trying to show the young engineer a better way to behave towards his peers without the embarrassment of a good talking-to. Of course, the captain doesn’t have to work with him every day… those who do find themselves wishing Karghazz would be summoned to the captain’s office for a thunderbolt on a pretty regular basis.
GUNNERY OFFICER BAR GURLPHEN
An ex-Imperial Marine sergeant aged 38, Bar is acutely embarrassed that her first name is actually ‘Barbie’; she never admits to this unless she has to. Bar served with some distinction for 16 years in the Imperial Marine Corps before mustering-out just ahead of an investigation into an inappropriate relationship with one of her section leaders, to whom she is now married. Injured in action on more than one occasion, Bar walks with a slight limp and sometimes explodes into soldierly swearing if she catches her left ankle on something. This is just one of several tender or damaged spots that she bears as badges or honor.
As well as gunnery officer, Bar is responsible for shipboard security in her capacity as Third Officer. She, the Captain and the First Officer have access keys to all weapons lockers aboard ship, and to the ship’s locker. Bar takes her duties seriously but enjoys life aboard ship to the full. She works out hard to avoid putting on weight thanks to the excellent cuisine, and is developing quite a palate for fine wine. She disapproves of Karghazz but tolerates him as best she can.
CHIEF PILOT PAUL VAUBAN-TANDERHOLTZ
Despite his rather impressive name, Paul hails from a poor family and has done well for himself in finding such a prestigious career. He learned his trade as a pilot in the Scout Service, serving 12 years with Communications Branch. Paul did his share of stints as an Xboat pilot and acquired some habits he has never shaken. Some are unpleasantly personal, such as rarely changing his socks and picking his nose in public, so the captain generally tries to keep Paul away from passengers. Despite five years in service to McClellan Factors, Paul has never quite got the hang of formal uniform. He manages to make even his dress uniform look a bit scruffy, and constantly loses his hat.
Paul cannot stand an open door. Or jar, or closet, or anything else that can be shut, secured or dogged down. His obsession with closing things can be annoying. He also insists on eating all the food of one type on his plate before moving on to the next; for example, peas then meat, potatoes then broccoli. He sleeps with the light on, too, but will not explain why.
Despite all this Paul is a very fine pilot with an excellent record, and is well respected among the crew.
MEDICAL OFFICER HARGZ ENVER
Hargz is a Vargr with a complex and convoluted career history. After a stint in the corporate sector as an accountant, he attended University and obtained a degree in Medical Administration, which led first to a job in a hospital and later to volunteer work with an aid agency. Five years in the refugee camps and disaster-rescue trauma centers were enough for him, so he took a series of jobs aboard free traders, leading eventually to better berths aboard vessels like Duchess Selene. As a result Hargz, who has no place in the chain of command, is the member of the crew best suited to dealing with any disaster.
Hargz is approaching middle age rather rapidly. Along with the graying muzzle and a few obvious old injuries (including one time when he was accidentally shot), he is rather tubby and normally appears a bit slow to get going. That changes as the crisis deepens, but by nature Hargz is easygoing and extremely laid back. He is also a champion gold-bricker when nothing serious is going on, and tends to try to get others to do his work for him. This will go against him when he issues orders.
CHIEF STEWARD/PURSER KIM FELDERMANN
Kim Feldermann is a 27-year-old career steward. She is one of the best, though some people assume that she was hired for her looks. She has been aboard the Duchess Selene longer than any other crewmember; 6 years in total, having come aboard virtually out of merchant academy. This can lead to a rather possessive attitude towards ‘her’ ship. She can also be rather fussy about disruptions and mess, but is realistic enough to go along with whatever is necessary to preserve the safety of the passengers and the ship.
Kim hates Karghazz with a passion, though she is just about able to remain professional in his presence.
ASSISTANT ENGINEER EUGENIE MIDRAASCIAA
Eugenie is a recent McClellan Factors hiring. She is 22, just out of university with a shiny new degree in Starship Engineering and Applied Gravitics, and is painfully aware of her lack of experience. She is a good theoretical engineer but has yet to develop the almost reflexive habits of an experienced officer; she can get the job done but in a by-the-book, unsure-of-herself sort of way.
Karghazz has not helped this much, spending more time showing her how clever he is than actually helping her become good at the job. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Eugenie has a crush on her superior and follows his lead with complete faith.
HEAD CHEF JANICE COLLINS
Janice Collins was once a senior chef at the Dukh Imperial Hotel, but moved on after becoming rather bored with the post. She found the life of a liner chef much more to her liking, and now commands a top salary as one of the reasons McClellan Factors has such a good reputation for cuisine. Most stewards serve a period aboard whichever ship she is assigned to as part of their ongoing training.
One of Janice’s talents is the ability to make healthy food and even special diet items taste like little slices of heaven. Perhaps this is how she manages to remain slim despite eating her own food in fairly large quantities. An extremely attractive redhead of 39, she mingles with the passengers and either flirts politely or discusses Imperial Politics, a personal interest of hers.
STEWARD OHTORM TAISUUI
Ohtorm is actually rather old to be a ‘mere’ steward. He is a fully qualified Shugili (Traditional Vilani chef) with 15 years of experience. His next assignment, assuming he receives a favorable report from Janice, will probably be as a head chef in his own right. He is adept at cooking conventional as well as traditional Vilani dishes, and while he has learned a lot from Janice he is still rather too sure that the cruise was a formality and that the senior job is his by right. His arrogance is not much appreciated by Janice nor by Karghazz, who sees him as a jumped-up plate-passer.
GUNNER SIMON TASKER
Simon is the ship’s defensive gunner; an expert with sandcasters though he can operate other weapons too. He is 26, and signed on with McLellan Factors after a 4-year term in the Imperial Navy. Simon’s service was undistinguished, as that of a sandcaster gunner aboard a tanker is likely to be. However, he is competent and well liked by the captain. There are so many reasons there for Karghazz to hate Simon, but in fact of all the ‘lower orders’, Simon is the one with whom the chief engineer has the least friction.
Simon is a rather boisterous young man who tends to talk too fast and too loudly when he is excited about something, which is most of the time. He has difficulty sitting still, and the concept of having to wait and see about anything is sheer agony to him. In addition to his gunnery duties, Simon is the ship’s designated Cargomaster. This means he is responsible for stowing and securing all cargo, and for supervising the loading ‘bots in port.
GUNNER SILVEN UUTAMI
Silven is a human of almost totally pure Vilani blood, but culturally she is an Imperial citizen first and a Vilani second. She comes from a well-off but not noble family in Core sector, and joined the merchant service right out of school.
Now, at 23 she is not only a gunner but also the ship’s unofficial Master-at-Arms. This essentially means she gets to clean and look after the security weapons; not a great honor. However, Silven is also the captain’s escort when necessary for security or just to impress people. She is also responsible for dealing with ‘difficult’ passengers using techniques ranging from restraint holds, Tranq rounds from a snub pistol and the application of a shock baton up to (in theory) lethal force if the safety of the ship is compromised.
Silven is ‘determinedly athletic’. That is to say, on a ship like Duchess Selene it can be difficult to keep in shape so she not only makes time to work out in the ship’s tiny gym but also finds ways to train during the day. If there is something heavy to be moved, Silven wants in. She will go over a cargo crate rather than round it, just for the extra physical effort. She is no longer permitted to climb the cargo-handling chains after a near-accident some months ago, but she will find every other excuse to climb, swing, scramble, lift and push everything in sight. The exercise is not only good for her; she loves it. To most observers she is a manic bundle of energy without much brain power; someone who finds hard ways to do easy things. Those that know her just accept that’s how she is.
THE HIGH PASSENGERS
THE JEN’GOURRH FAMILY
A young Vargr couple and their two new cubs, traveling to visit relatives before relocating to new jobs with a large corporation.
A 29-year-old Vargr, Granzh is a career penpusher with few aspirations beyond climbing the corporate ladder. He is rather too impressed with his own achievements, including his recent promotion, his beautiful young wife and their two gorgeous cubs. Granzh is all too willing to tell tales of his success at climbing the corporate ladder, knowing when to switch from Squash to Golf, and other anecdotes laced with advice on how to get ahead in the harsh world of office cubicles and cut-throat staff meetings.
Granzh is condescending towards the crew and respectful to the captain. The officers are treated as buddies and equals until Granzh can get one over on them. Fellow passengers are subject to the same categories; those that might be useful are cultivated as buddies, the rest are kept in their place.
Linvargh is 22, and (to other Vargr at least), absolutely gorgeous. She comes from a fairly low-status family and knows how lucky she was to find an excellent match like Granzh – this has been made clear to her many times by her family and her new husband. She has bought into this – and is sufficiently impressed with Granzh – to the extent that she is constantly delighted at her good fortune, and is completely besotted with her husband.
Linvargh’s two pups are the final blessing as far as she is concerned; things couldn’t be any better. She owes it all to her corporate knight, who took her from low status and gave her this wonderful life. She will not believe a word said against him.
GARGH AND JAZGH
A pair of adorable 11-month old pups, Gargh and Jazgh are much like babies everywhere; they can crawl pretty fast and can sort of toddle a bit – just far enough to fall on something. They also tend to chew things, as might be expected.
Orlando is a seriously overweight young man who dresses in expensive and fashionable business suits. He says he works in real estate, which is half the truth. In fact he is a materials surveyor for an important local noble, whose family business is construction. Orlando is very well paid because he is extremely good at what he does; namely obtaining the best materials for any given job at cut-throat prices. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in materials science and a Masters in business administration. More importantly, he knows his job.
Orlando is a likeable sort who feels no need to place himself above others – except in business negotiations. He dislikes Granzh as a symbol of everything that can go wrong with a person in his line of work, while Granzh thinks Orlando is a nobody to be despised and openly insults him. Orlando finds this secretly amusing, and sometimes even provokes the Vargr, just out of devilment.
Chrysa is a 34-year-old ex-Merchant heading home at the end of her hitch. Her skills are mainly light technical (computer, electronics and so forth) since she spent more time working on portside support crews than aboard actual starships. Nevertheless, she is familiar with shipboard operations and feels a little awkward allowing the crew to get on with their jobs without offering a hand.
Kaspar is an elderly gentleman who has clearly had a rough life. In fact, he has been a Belter, a commercial pilot, and an independent courier at various times. He is too old for adventures now, and spends his lifetime’s accrued savings (quite a bit) traveling around enjoying himself. Kaspar is an incorrigible flirt, and finds virtually everything amusing. In short, he is having a good time while he can.
MAY CAMBRA SLEIN
May is 22, fairly attractive, and unapproachable at present. She is returning home after failing an audition with a prestigious ballet company. She was good enough for an expenses-paid trip both ways, but not quite up the standard to achieve her lifetime dream. Still somewhat numb with the disappointment of it all, she is very much just going through the motions and always seems distracted when talking to others.
If May figures out that Renee is on a scholarship to university, she will take an instant dislike to Renee and take pains to antagonize her.
Renee is the youngest passenger aboard, at 18. She is headed for Forine to take up a scholarship at a prestigious university, studying history. This is her first time away from home and she is not very sure of herself at all. By the last couple of days of the voyage she has gained enough confidence to talk to people, but she really has no friends aboard and is becoming homesick.
Keven is a handsome, personable young man with a great physique, which he spends a lot of time working on in the ship’s gym. He makes his living as an entertainer on the starport circuit with a mix of standup comedy, amusing parody songs and what amounts almost to stripping. His act is in extremely bad taste and would be considered deeply offensive by anyone not rolling in the aisles or goggling at his pecs. Keven has not been asked to perform on this trip, but would probably decline anyway.