William "Barnacle Bill" Barnes
Barnacle Bill, B7C654, ex-sailor Lt Cmdr, age 26
Battledress-2, Electronics-2, Submersible-2, Laser rifle-1
2000 Cr, laser rifle
During a recent hot period in his balkanized home world's decades-long cold war, Bill served in a deep-sea 'infantry' unit during a series of deniable operations. All the parties involved scoured their wet navy forces for personnel who had the physical skills required along with a certain 'naiveté'. Possessing great strength, superb stamina, barely average intelligence, and a poor education, Bill fit his government's requirements nicely.
Once identified as a potential deep-sea infantryman, Bill was transferred out of cargo handling duties and into the secret project. After successfully completing his deep sea 'infantry' training, Bill and his fellow classmates were all commissioned. Those in charge of the project felt that 'rewarding' all the participants in this manner would give them a better 'handle' on the unit's members. Everyone in the deep-sea 'infantry' unit was made officers in this manner, be they butchers, bakers, or candlestick makers.
The units undertook various deniable raids and probes. Sonar networks were destroyed or laid, communication cables tapped or severed, vessels salvaged or sabotaged, and economic targets attacked or defended. On many occasions, 'infantry' belonging to other powers was encountered and skirmishes took place. Bill was eventually 'promoted' to Lieutenant Commander after a series of raids. However, he and his fellow 'officers' were never allowed to interact with any real officers or anyone else for that matter.
Eventually, the cold war's hot phase sputtered out and the deep-sea 'infantry' unit was no longer needed. Bill and his fellow 'officers' were first sworn to secrecy and then told they were on inactive status. In reality, no plans had ever been made to retain them and their 'commissions' meant they couldn't return to their previous positions in their government's wet navy. Furthermore, thanks to a series of political events, the previous existence of their unit was now something of an embarrassment.
Former members of the unit have led interesting lives since being placed on inactive status. The government keeps tabs on them all in the hopes that the story of the unit will remain untold. With help of their government many former members of the unit have found work off-world, all at unusually good rates of pay oddly enough. Some have suffered various vague medical problems that require lengthy hospital stays. Still others developed a craving for excitement during their tours and have signed aboard free traders or joined mercenary groups. Bill is currently working aboard a free trader as a general maintenance hand and roustabout. He is always interested in any new job, position, or adventure.
This character is NOT meant to be a slam on enlisted men in general (I was one) or infantrymen in particular (I wasn't good enough to be one). I was just having trouble 'explaining' why some dope with a grade school education could become a lieutenant commander in less than two terms without him being a noble! Putting him some sort of wacky secret operation unit fit… barely, and I still had to stretch the use of battledress like silly putty. By the way, sailors and battledress? Anyone care to explain that one? Naval infantry perhaps?