Pirates and Pinnace's
Lt. Innis Carver, ex-military scout, explorer, pilot; 38-yo Terran, grew up on an asteroid called Parapac 11; married to Jolene Heavensbush-Carver
Strengths: exploration, survival skills, zero G, can drive anything, jack of all trades, knowledge of Ancient culture and technology
Weaknesses: the drink, social etiquette, haunted by the past, obsession with the ruins and technology left behind by the Ancients
Can often be found: smoking a pipe, staring at the stars lost in thought, scouring maps of uncharted space
Not quite navy pilot material, but better than most behind the yoke, Innis was consistently chosen by Imperium Planetary Surveyor leadership to pilot scout vessels during the most extreme missions into the farthest-flung sectors of uncharted space, or to planets with the harshest environs. It seemed to his superiors that Innis was blessed with a gift for picking the next best place to explore, for each trek proved more fruitful than the last, where most other missions were at a negative “return on investment” or just revealed more space. Somehow, he just knew where on the map (or off it) to point to next.
Carver’s method for selecting targets seemed random to most, but after several drinks and in the company of only his closest comrades, Innis would share the visions in his dreams which helped him choose the next uncharted sector. He described glimmering points of light in the darkness, revealing themselves as distance voices, reaching across time unimaginable, beckoning to him; he claimed they guided him to the next sector. His comrades started viewing him as a savant, no doubt, but also more than a touch crazy, and few shared his fascination with the Ancients.
Twice in his decade of service had a mission brought him in contact with remnants of the Ancients. The first, a curious piece of technology of inexplicable design and purpose, which quickly disappeared into the hands of his superiors before he could inspect it. The second, antediluvian ruins that barely survived the countless millennia on that stormy, wind-swept planet on which they discovered them; somehow the ruins seemed older than the sphere itself.
These events were all he could think about; neglecting his duties and relationships (losing a wife and alienating a daughter) to ponder and research their significance. He saw his missions as dots that his job allowed him to connect. Convinced that the Ancients were speaking directly to him, guiding him, Innis devoted all his time to their legacy, slowly uncovering what he saw as clues to the secret of their disappearance from the universe…
This grand quest came to a halt on a singular, tragic mission… Lt. Carver was assigned as pilot of a small scout vessel, launched from a cruiser on a one-way mission to survey a newly discovered (thanks to Carver) planetoid that displayed a peculiarly irregular orbit, one that left the planetoid unobservable most of the time. Upon visual confirmation of the astral body, an officially unconfirmed event occurred, reported by the sole survivor, Lt. Carver.
Excerpts from his report:
- “Unidentified object of great luminosity yet no discernible physical shape or structure.”
- “…became aware of a low-frequency murmuring, a series of signals, a code…something attempting to contact us telepathically…crew rendered paralyzed with fear… I remained calm.”
- “Com. Faldot lost it, reached for something, think it was a welding torch…ensuing terror, self-mutilation… killed Pvt. Wyrluu.”
- “…ordered me to turn the ship around, I ignored the orders, steered us toward the light, it was sentient, it was alive…just like in my dreams…”
- “…but I understood the message; revealed the coordinates to a poem, a liturgy buried in my mind…felt my unconscious realign to the will of the light, so bright, total enlightenment… the Ancients, they’re still here…”
- “Then all went black.”
Upon return, Lt. Carver was found “Unfit for service due to mental instability” and was honorably discharged, relieving him of all obligation. If only his lingering hallucinations and his obsession would do the same.