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Bancroft Nassir Pham-Trask

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Freelance Travellers December 2011 issue.

Bancroft “Banky” Nassir Pham-Trask 7B89AB
5 Terms Scout (Survey)
Human Male Age 37
Grav Vehicle-1, Computer-1, Brawling-0, Pilot-2, Linguistics-3 (Chinese) (Hindi) (Greek), Handgun-0, Lasers-3, Vacc Suit-2, Foil-3, Recon-2, Admin-1, Anthropology-1, Equestrian-1, Leader-1, Liaison-1, Carousing-2, Streetwise-1, Ship Tactics-2, Small Craft-3, Sensor Ops-3, Booze Afficianado-4, Small Watercraft-2, Dog Show Fan-2

Bancroft grew up one of a brood of children of a noble family with a strong tradition of service in the Imperial Navy. The family patriarch, Admiral Yevgainy Pham-Trask, “The Admiral”, (Retired) was Bancroft’s paternal grandfather. Bancroft’s father, “The Old Man” was Captain of a cruiser. His three brothers and one of his two sisters were also career Navy, and Admiral Duchess Her Grace Alexandra Pham-Trask, the IN CNO, was his great aunt.

That Bancroft was expected to enter the Naval Academy on his 10th birthday should not come as a surprise. The surprise came, however, when young master Bancroft told one and all that he wanted to be a member of the Scouts’ Survey Branch; you could have heard a pin drop.

It was an unpopular decision, and Bancroft was relentlessly brow-beaten by his grandfather until the boy withdrew his decision, saying it was an immature decision, and he actually wanted to attend the Academy.

Mr. Midshipman Pham-Trask performed beyond even “The Admiral’s” tough expectations. Then, three years into his education, at age 13, young Bancroft washed out spectacularly.

Once he’d returned home to Cleon’s Gift, a large water world and refuge for some of the last of the whales in existence, he informed the family that they were to henceforth call him ‘Banky’. He’d come home, but didn’t stay more than a few hours. In a fit, “The Admiral” disowned him.

Banky made his way to the Downport at Big Sky Point and walked into the local office of the Scouts, eager to enlist.

Soon aboard the ISSS Six Toes Good Enough, Banky fit right in, and his training acquired at the Academy was decidedly helpful.

After 18 years with the Scouts, Banky and the crew of the Six Toes were seconded to the Imperial Navy to act as Pathfinders for a planetary assault, since the Scouts had been the eyes on the ground, exploring the world in question some years back.
At 200,000 km out, powered down and sliding toward the planet, the IN Lander Eye Gouger was suddenly struck with what felt like a ballistic missile; the ship lurching suddenly as the port side abaft of Engineering came apart—blown to shrapnel and killing four. The enemy was on to them.

As security and medical teams advanced to take stock of the situation, it appeared the missile had failed to detonate. Suddenly, explosive bolts firing, the casing flew apart and out came a boarding robot, a sleek, multi-limbed, animal-like machine, fast and deadly.

The robot skittered across the deck, and was among the ship’s occupants in a flash; laying into bodies with cutting saws, and strangling and breaking with sinuous, armored limbs, and spraying gouts of awful fire. When someone went down, a curling tentacle would pick up their weapon and use it.

The ship’s complement were being butchered. Banky and another of the Toes’ crew, Specialist Eickmeyer, were hunched behind a heavy console, trying to leave the battle to the professionals.

After casually pulling a man in half like a phone book, the robot advanced on the console behind which Banky was hiding. Banky fired several blasts from his laser pistol at the surgical steel kraken before dropping to the floor.

The thing swung a long, heavy tentacle toward Banky, barely scratching him with the tip, but still effortlessly laying open his right side and arm. The same attack neatly caught and sliced the console, and Specialist Eickmeyer, in two diagonally—the little specialist’s blood, guts and upper half pouring onto Banky.

Then a Marine in powered armor tackled the construct, wrestling it as it still tried grabbing others. The Marine broke one, then another, of the construct’s limbs. Once a few more limbs had been disabled, the robot fell on the Marine with renewed vigor. The two of them rolled this way and that, and as the robot started peeling the Marine from his suit, other crew swarmed the thing with anything at hand, firing into it at point-blank range, or hacking at it with axes or swords or halberds, or pounding it with blunt objects until, finally, it shuddered to a stop.

Compared to the robot, some joked, the rest of the operation aught to go off without a hitch. The Eye Gouger, even damaged and having suffered casualties, continued on, and with several dozen other landers, hit their LZ as planned.

While scouting forward, Pham-Trask was forced to kill an enemy sentry with his sword. Later, when Imperial forces engaged indigenous forces, Banky shot several more indigs, something he considers to be the low point of his time spent with the Scouts. When he thinks on it, he’d rather remember the several minor discoveries he’s made while surveying over the years.

Two years later Pham-Trask retired from the Scouts, and has since worked on a variety of different merchants; usually as a Sensor Officer or Small craft Pilot. While he’s usually billeted as an officer, he has no problem with being billeted as a rating if that’s what’s needed; it’s all the same to Banky.

Banky is tall and thin, with obvious Asian ancestry. His hair is worn slicked back, and a cigarette is usually hanging beneath his mustache.

In addition to flawless, accent-free Anglic, Banky also speaks Chinese, Hindi, and Greek.

Banky is an articulate individual, having received a fine education growing up. He has the annoying habit of sometimes correcting others’ grammar.

Banky has been raised to think of himself as superior to others; he is a superior member of the Imperium, a society which itself is superior to all others. Of course, even if true, good manners dictate that there is no reason to rudely go throwing such comments about. And Banky won’t, as he has good manners. About the worst Banky gets is to call any locals “Indigs”.

Banky is a very nice and tolerant person as the Nobility goes, but he can be something of a boor.

He has a hangup about robots (go figure) and does not like robots of any kind, and will, if given his choice where to eat will choose an establishment that uses human staff, and no robots whatsoever.

Banky loves chatting with the ladies, watching dog shows, and trying different alcohols.