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Ham Sinclair

This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2000, and reprinted in the May/June 2020 issue.

Sinclair is a Human male apparently in his late 40s who works as an Imperial bureaucrat in the Imperial agency that certifies routing of jump routes, starport Code levels, and planetary TL designations. He is also involved in trade interdictions and the caution level coding of planets.

He gives the impression of having no ideas and no enemies, but this is an impression only. He is a master of subterfuge and deception skills developed to a fine edge from years of survival in the watch-your-back-while-shafting-others world of Imperial bureaucracy. The son, grandson, and great-grandson of mid-level Imperial bureaucrats, all of whom also worked for the commerce-certification agency, he followed in their footsteps and joined the agency when he came of age and rose steadily within its ranks. Never allying himself too strongly early in his career with any of the various power brokers within the agency, he stayed within their shadows. When one of the prime factions seemed to self-destruct in a battle for control after the loss of its leader and numerous of his lieutenants in a misjump accident, he made his move. He restored the faction to power with himself as the “power behind the throne” through a masterful series of back-channel tradeoffs, vague promises, and whispered lies. Even the insiders were surprised; it was said that “he came to power by slight-of-hand - everyone’s attention was focussed elsewhere and then when everyone looked back, he was there. It was as if he had been there all along and nobody had ever really noticed.”

The PCs might encounter him directly, or more likely indirectly, as a patron. They might also perhaps run afoul of him in a “merchant enterprise”. He is very well-connected and might be encountered in a posh but very discreet resort, restaurant, hotel, casino, etc. He might seek to use the PCs as disposable pawns.