This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2002 and reprinted in the July/August 2021 issue.
Boudreaux Delgado 679ABA Age 46
DET 19; EXP 21; Lifeforce 22; Hits 3/5
Former scholarly child prodigy and restaurant employee.
Currently Grav Cabbie.
Homeworld Najd, but currently residing on Old Earth.
Skills: Write-4, History-3, Pizza Chef-2, Streetwise-2, Cargo Handling-1, Linguistics-1, Carousing-1, Vacc Suit-1, Computer-1, Mechanical-1, Robot Ops-1, Mechanical-1, Grav Vehicle-1, Navigation-1, Handgun-0, Brawling-0.
Boudreaux is a short, fairly unremarkable human male with a head of shaggy gray-brown hair and a pencil-thin mustache. He’ll usually be found dressed in multi-pocketed, military-surplus pants, a long-sleeve, blue-denim shirt with a red-and-white ‘Howard’ name tag on the left breast-pocket, sandals, and a peaked checkered cap. He has several writing implements, a small notepad, a handful of change, and a comb in assorted pockets. A copy of P.A. Delgado’s latest book, Neo-Tripolinian Pirates, only half-read, with a particularly Madonna-like picture of his mother used as a bookmark, can be found either stuck in his back pocket, or sitting next to him on the front seat. A cigarette-holder is kept behind his ear or in his shirt pocket when not in use.
He speaks Anglic, and, as a result of growing up on Najd, Arabic.
Boudreaux got into the habit of carrying a heavy laser derringer driving his cab. His abilities with it are minimal, but he does know enough to work the device correctly.
An old, verdigris-covered robot, “Wilhelm Z. Piggy”, its beat-up appearance belying its fully-functional status, can be found usually sitting in the front seat of Boudreaux’s hack. In addition to the bot’s standard (and only occasionally used) tutorial and library functions, and numerous Security programming, ‘Piggy’ can hand-roll cigarettes beautifully (an ability Boudreaux finds essential, being of the opinion that factory-rolled smokes lack something in freshness). In a pinch, ‘Piggy’ is capable of driving the Cab.
A native of the sprawling, cyclopean-walled, labyrinthine city-state of Riyadh, on Najd (A666AC9-F, Outer Rim, 0104), Boudreux grew up in the somewhat intimidating shadows of his parents: his father, famous author-historian, Academician Pierce Ambrose Delgado, whose ongoing series, A Mile in My Boots, continues to highlight different units of both Imperial and Opposition Forces of the Fifth Frontier War; and his mother, detached and chemically-serene Imperial Dame, and noted entertaining maven, Astra Wills-Smythe-Delgado, whose line of cooking and entertaining books and magazine, as well her signature line of relationship aids, continue in popularity.
Young Boudreaux spent the majority of his formative years on his father’s Yacht, traveling from one historic site to another across the Imperium and beyond; acting as a traveling companion, as well as research assistant to his father, and acquiring the majority of his education along the way; the elder Delgado taking a decidedly more active hand after one day noticing that Boudreaux’s absurd-looking, meter-tall, jackboot and picklehuab-wearing Friend-bot, “Wilhelm Z. Piggy” (one of “‘Trevor the Turtle”’s “Pizza-Eatin’ Pals”, as it happens), along with dispensing lessons, seemed to be fostering an unnatural desire for Earth Cola and Galaxy Pizza in the boy. “Wilhelm” was later rendered ‘harmless’ when a former IN EW technician, and friend of the Academician, managed to crack the encryption coding on the robot’s brain; allowing the subsequent dumping of its shill-programming, and adding a suite of Security-related programming.
Maybe it was his proximity to a great writer, something in his genes, or just blind, dumb luck; but after being asked to write a short, slice-of-life “Travels with my Father”-type of article for The Imperial Explorer, Boudreaux was bitten by the writing bug. What was originally envisioned as a single article, turned into a sporadic series; over the next three years, the Explorer ran a total of eight of Boudreaux’s articles.
His father couldn’t have been more proud. However, upon coming to the realization that he was actually a good writer, Boudreaux decided that chronicling his father’s travels in perpetuity wasn’t something he wanted to do.
On learning that his son Boudreaux, able to write with a natural and entirely enviable ease and sense of humor, and who possessed a refreshing insight into all things historical, was intending to (as far as his father was concerned) waste his talent writing the worst sort of tawdry fiction — Speculative Fiction — a heated argument ensued, ending with both effectively disowning one another.
At the yacht’s next stop, Boudreaux stayed behind; knocking around the Starport for a couple of weeks; convincing himself he was living the life of a real Traveller (like the ones seen in those TAS commercials), until finally having to resort to getting a job. The local Monster’s Mongolian BBQ, where his yes-you-are-breathing status got Boudreaux hired immediately, didn’t pay the best by any means. Employees were, however, allowed the dubious benefit of being able to have all the Yak-butter tea desired.
A few months later, Boudreaux, who for some reason had always been positively-disposed toward the place, thought he’d give Galaxy Pizza a try. An eight year stint of preparing and delivering pizzas followed; with Delgado supplementing his pizza-driven income with loading and hauling cargo at the Port.
Recovering from a skull fracture delivered by a pipe-wielding stevedore gives a man time to think about his place is the universe, and not too long after being released from the MedCenter, Delgado decided on a change of venues.
Setting aside enough for a First Class ticket from his savings, Boudreaux booked passage aboard the Subsidized Merchant Warrior Princess to its furthest port-of-call along its Route before turn-around: Terra, or ‘Old Earth’.
Boudreaux spent several months touring the wonders of ‘Old Mother Earth’ before finally settling down and purchasing one of the old, heavy, classic-looking TL12 Grav Cabs (those big-fendered, sleek, powerful ones you always see in the Tri-V). Deciding to have the old hack rebuilt to current-tech standards (as well as having several owner-specified special features) was going to cost a pretty credit, so he fell back on his savings; a large portion of which had been sitting untouched, slowly accruing interest since the days of his old Imperial Explorer articles.
Boudreaux now works full-time as his own boss, working when he wants, and staying home writing, or otherwise goofing off, whenever he feels the urge, answerable only to himself (and to the Triads, of course, who have their claws firmly sunk into the Hack biz).
Boudreaux can usually be found hanging around Startown or the Port, leaning against the side of his hack, leaning out the driver’s-side window, or sitting at a sidewalk Bistro, talking to the usual menagerie of characters. This happens whether he’s on-duty or off; with the line between the two blurring, since, if not actually in his apartment, Boudreaux is either in or near the Grav Cab almost continually.
In addition to his regulars, there are a few specials who can call him at any time, day or night.