Name: Steyr Stonecutter (Brad)
FACT: Colonel Darros is my mentor and my idol.
FACT: I would do anything to keep Matridian Belkas on Demeter safe.
FACT: I would trust Markella with any secret
FACT: My wealth is tied up in other peoples’ debts to me all over the cluster
Everyone is totally, perfectly free here. Free to starve, free to suffocate, free to get radiation sickness and die of cancer. So you’re really slave to the labour you need to do to not starve, suffocate, or slough off your aviolae. At 11 I thought it’d be smart to specialize in fixing things that people need and chose to apprentice under an air systems team. Keeping the near-surface pockets of the Borealis moon breathing. That meant frequent trips to the surface and near orbit to mine gases. And that meant frequently standing in an armoured suit staring up at Borealis proper — that fierce warm glowing giant world that dominates half the sky with swirling blue and gold. And that made me want to fly.
It was Colonel Darros, an enormous Diver, who got me past orbit. He flew deep missions into Borealis to recover heavy gases and even suspended metal fogs. It was dangerous and exciting and it meant I had to learn to fly singleships from the surface of our Moon through complex orbital obstacles, and into the great storms. It was exacting, exciting, unforgiving work. But it wasn’t what I meant by flying. I wanted other stars. He had ideas along those lines as well. Dangerous ideas.
I fled with Markella in our stolen inspection ship and her crew (which we froze) to Demeter because I’d never seen free standing water under an uncovered sky. We ditched the ship — they were looking for it — in orbit and went our separate ways. A stranger in a place with rules and comfort and everywhere excess, I spent some time just trying to get by while at the same time dazzled by what a world should be. Matridian Belkas took me under her wing, got me work, hid me from the law, and got me papers. I had to run more than once and I had to kill once I’m sure of. My papers are no good any more but there is so much space to hide in on a real world.
I would eventually meet up with Markella again in an Antoinean prison. It wasn’t so bad. There was more air, food, water, and less radiation than I had at home on Borealis. In fact it was pretty cushy. But she wasn’t in jail — she was my lawyer and got me off on a technicality that probably cost her a lot of cachet in the system. And then I was stuck on Antoine which I hated until we both discovered one of the lesser worlds in the system, where there were more like-minded individuals. Some needed Markella’s legal help. Some needed a good pilot and a quick knife.