Iorgi Murrett is the Captain of the Apocalypse, and his friends wish he would stop doing it and find a less hazardous way of passing the time. Obsessed with antique spacecraft, Murrett has taken control of a five hundred year old battleship in a considerable state of repair, and spends all his time either keeping it from exploding or running away from armies who want it for its experimental weapons systems.
Murrett is a hyper-evolved polar bear, a “human being with bonus bits,” whose ancestors were genetically engineered to adapt to the rigors of space travel on diverse alien planets. Standing a little under two meters and clocking in at 110 kg, he can fix anything with a wrench, sufficient spackle, and enough time. However, he may have met his match with the Apocalypse…
Murrett spent his education planning for a sports career until a severe concussion left him with a metal plate in his skull. Needing money for college, he did a brief stint in the military, which ended unpleasantly. So he took off into the Periphery, the nebulous, lawless sector of space beyond the Charter Frontier, to seek his fortune on the rich, ripe worlds beyond.
After years of driving a salvage hauler, Murrett was on the verge of quitting and taking a corporate job when he discovered the Apocalypse just sitting around a salvage yard with nothing to do. Rather than sell the ship for scrap, and enough money to keep him comfortable for a thousand lifetimes, he hatched a plan that would let him keep the ship and his freedom.
Now all he has to do is stay alive.
Jaz is the assumed name of one of the Charter’s most notorious computer hackers. At the age of fourteen, he fled into the Periphery about a hundred miles ahead of a massive police chase who really wanted to know who stole the President’s Omniweb passkey and used it to download over 20,000 hours of donkey porn, and had cited Jaz as a person of interest.
He wandered the Periphery for a while, taking occasional jobs with pirates and privateers as co-ordinator and occasional emergency navigator, bailing on the ships when things got too hot. Needing a fast getaway from a rather unpleasant pirate crew, Jaz took a job aboard Murrett’s hauler as a technician. He was Murrett’s only employee.
For two years, they wandered some of the most desolate mudballs in the Periphery, looking for enough shiny things to support them, but Jaz never really had it in him to strike out on his own. He and Murrett became fast friends, and Jaz started to see himself as someone who kept Murrett’s more manic moments in check.
When Murrett discovered the Apocalypse, Jaz went along for the ride. And the massive payoffs.
Rollo Darrin was a soldier. He was also a huckster, a trickster, a small-time gambler. He served in the Unkalops Campaigns with Iorgi Murrett, but the two went their separate ways after the battlefield. Darrin went into the Periphery, where there were fewer eyes watching his schemes.
He ran a casino for a while, and later was head of a small-time Texas Hold ‘Em ring. He had a handshake agreement with law enforcement, and a local public prosecutor was one of his best customers.
Then that attorney, against Darrin’s increasingly anxious advice, lost his shirt. Then his pants, underwear, eyeglasses, and shoes. Eager to earn his money back, he embezzled a stake from the office, and lost that. Then he borrowed money from the mob to replace the money he’d embezzled, and gambled that away, too.
Now, Rollo may have been a crook, but he never ran a rigged game in his life. He also never raised a hand in anger, which is why it came as such a surprise when one of his more lucrative customers wound up dead, and he himself framed for murder, prosecuted for the crime by the very attorney he’d won all those clothes from.
Still, even prison didn’t blunt his enthusiasm, until overwhelming evidence prompted another trial. Sick of this little red shit continually causing him problems, the prosecutor decided it would be fun to bribe the warden to have him bumped off. The scheme went wrong, and though Darrin lost an arm while at hard labor, his life was saved, his freedom won, and he was liberated from prison under somewhat reduced circumstances.
He retired to Tares in something of a contemplative mood, a grubby little working-class planet in the Periphery, while waiting for something interesting to happen. Seven years later, he’s still waiting…