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Shtiz Bralzastebr

This article appeared in the August 2014 issue. The image of Shtiz Bralzastebr was credited to the author without comment or explanation; it is actually an altered version of a picture credited to “PuzzleMonkey” released under the Creative Commons - Acknowledgement license.

Shtiz Bralzastebr, 86497C, 46 years old
2 terms Navy: Crew (Rank 1: Watch Officer)
3 terms Government: Diplomat (Rank 1: 2nd Sec’y)
1 term Merchant: Free Trader (Rank 1: Sr Deckhand)
STR 8 (0), DEX 6 (0), END 4 (-1), INT 9 (+1), EDU 7 (0), SOC C (+2), PSI 7 (0)

Viraliniep (Ziafrplians 1538, C435433-B Ni)
Diplomat 3, Language (Trokh) 2, Telepathy 2, Clairvoyance 2, Physical Science (electronics) 1, Admin 1, Leadership 1, Mechanic 1, Melee (blade) 1, Telekinesis 1, Trade (hydroponics) 1, Carouse 0, Comms 0, Drive (wheeled) 0, Persuade 0, Zero-G 0, Gun Combat (energy pistol) 0, Gunner (turrets) 0, Pilot (spacecraft) 0, Space Science (xenology) 0, Vacc Suit 0
Nenjchinzhe’driante, Cr50,000, 5 ship shares (towards a Yetsasl-class courier), 2 ship shares to any vessel
Iaetl Iazhstatlas – wealthy noble merchant (see below), rather short for a Zhodani
Edr Tleqo – an uncle who is a fairly skilled sculptor

Some Imperial offspring like to rebel against their parents and some like to follow in the footsteps of a father or mother they particularly admire. In the Zhodani Consulate the drive to honour one’s parents and fulfill your duty is debatably stronger, but even so, Shtiz Bralzastebr unusually managed to follow in not one but both his parents’ paths. His mother was a Zhodani naval commander and his father a Consulate diplomat of some standing and Shtiz was born in 1059 when his mother was posted to Viraliniep. He lived his first year on this backwater world in Ziafrplians, but spent much of his subsequent formative years in the wardrooms of various ships and bases. His father seemed a distant figure; sometimes physically, but emotionally as well. However, the two got on well enough together on those occasions when the boy would spend time with his father on some of his far-off postings.

While both his parents were adept psions, Shtiz was only ever average in his mental abilities, though bright otherwise. Dutiful at home, he rarely gave his parents any trouble. He found it easy enough to make friends, which was useful as he rarely spent more than an olympiad in any one location and most school reports described him as settling in quickly but “could try harder” academically. For a Zhodani, particularly noble born, this was almost a rebuke and the one source of friction with both of his parents. With the threat of re-education Shtiz used the counselling he received as part of his upbringing to learn better methods of studying and eventually emerged from school with a satisfactory education. He still struggles with some mathematical concepts, however, and is always in awe of astrogators and their abilities to ‘see’ solutions.

At the age of 18 it perhaps wasn’t surprising that Bralzastebr would join the Consular Navy and as befitting his nobility was immediately commissioned. After basic training and time spent aboard a Zhdits-class Escort, he was transferred to serve aboard the Iantdelbr, a Dazhia-class Council Cruiser on a diplomatic mission to the Aslan which was generally regarded as a success. Bralzastebr’s telepathic ability was stretched to the limit in his efforts to seek out the nuances of alien thought patterns, but though not highly skilled, he was able to contribute to the mission and earned the plaudits of his commander.

Bralzastebr’s second term started out much less auspiciously as the Shivva-class vessel he was serving on, Itlplontseent, went into refit in Stiatlchepr sector. He was expected to join the refit crew at a large orbital station and was involved in the installation of state-of-the-art sensor gear. When news of the Fourth Frontier War eventually arrived, the Itlplontseent refit was close enough to completion for the ship to be called up. However, the action was over by the time the ship finished its 70 parsec journey to Tloql (the Spinward Marches) and Bralzastebr’s main contribution was in subsequent diplomatic overtures to consolidate the peace. Again, his telepathic abilities were put to good use despite the considerable suspicions of those on the Imperium’s side and the widespread use of psi-shields amongst the military commanders and government officials they had to deal with. Navy protocol however, didn’t deem him ready for a promotion and he began to question his future and consider a change.

His experiences in the Navy along with ongoing counsel suggested that he might better serve the Consulate in their diplomatic corps and in 1085 he made the switch. This proved to be more his métier, and Bralzastebr eventually spent nearly 12 years in various embassies and missions both in the Consulate and in neighbouring polities. He struggled to make his mark, but served honourably with only one blot on his record early on. He was part of a small team involved in trade negotiations with a Vargr group. These fell apart rather acrimoniously when a situation that Bralzastebr was viewing remotely was completely misinterpreted. Strictly, the negotiating team’s leader was responsible but somehow blame was laid at the feet of Bralzastebr.

However, an olympiad later, leading his own small team, Bralzastebr joined forces with Iaetl Iazhstatlas, a charismatic and wealthy noble merchant. Iazhstatlas both gave him some pointers about leadership and assisted in negotiating a very profitable trade deal with the same Vargr group he’d previously encountered. Some four years later Bralzastebr was insulted by an Imperial ambassador who failed to hide his amusement at the rather feeble telekinesis ability that the Zhodani was demonstrating. Perhaps stung by his so-so skills, perhaps driven by wanting to show the real benefits of psionic talents, or perhaps just driven to the edge by someone who was, after all, a rather irritating Imperial for all his ambassadorial credentials, Bralzastebr snapped and a minor diplomatic incident ensued which resulted in his having to undergo four years of re-education. The Imperium has not been a favourite subject for Bralzastebr ever since.

Another subject he doesn’t discuss much is his failure to find a wife and continue his family’s name. Probably due to his constant moving around, certainly not for lack of his outgoing friendliness, he’s not formed any permanent attachment despite hoping to do so. He’s sublimated much of this with counselling but there are those who know him well who think in private that perhaps his re-education was as much to work on those issues as the ostensible reason for it. Such friends would never discuss this, however, whatever its validity.

Following his re-education, Bralzastebr was unable to re-join the diplomatic corps and put his old Navy skills to good use – as well as his connection with Iazhstatlas – and at age 42 joined the Chiemchto, a Zdebr-class trade ship, where he’s worked well for the last four years, developing skills and even a smattering of Trokh beyond the little he learned in his Navy days. The rank of Senior Deckhand seems a bit of a comedown for someone of his status and experience but his award of the Nenjchinzhe’driante (the Consular Legion of Merit) has, at least in his own eyes, been recognition of the service he’s given. When looking to impress those he’s dealing with, or on formal occasions, he’ll wear the distinctive gold sash. If asked he’ll make light of it but say that it honours both of his parents. He feels he’s done his best to make them proud, but fears that he’s been rather a disappointment.