Kestrel, Artillerist Appearance:
Pale, lean, and with a furtive gleam to his clever eyes, Zev looks as if he’s descended from a long line of deceitful advisors and treacherous viziers – an air that isn’t exactly ameliorated by his meticulous grooming and carefully measured words. To really top things off, his taste in accessories and equipment is also suspiciously expensive: he possesses a set of gold-plated pens, a masterwork las-pistol, lavish taste in clothes, and no forthcoming explanation as to where this wealth comes from.
A shimmering Rebel insignia adorns his left hand, though on this one occasion his explanation is innocent enough: he was once left stranded behind enemy lines when Rebels unexpectedly stormed a spaceport, and quickly adopted the glimmering tattoo to blend in with enemy sympathisers. Surprisingly, his story was actually verified by the Federation’s military police, though it’s anyone’s guess why he hasn’t had the tattoo removed since. Maybe he thinks it might be come in useful? Maybe the glowing ink was really
expensive to get? Or maybe everyone’s been questioning his integrity for so long, he’s taken to deliberately goading his detractors.
Like most Federation personal, Zev keeps up with the regimented physical requirements, though there are some unexpected reserves hidden in his otherwise lean body: Zev’s grip is as strong as a vice, and he has the reflexes of a caffeinated serpent. He’ll never be able to stand against a professional gunner, far less an inhuman Rockman or Mantis, but it’d still be a mistake to underestimate him, especially if an enemy comes between Zev and his path of retreat. Personality:
“If a mad scientist merged the DNA of a sewer rat, a venomous snake, and a corporate lawyer, they’d probably end up with another Zev Wulfrun.” So reads an annotation on Zev’s service record. It says a lot that all his superior officers agree with the sentiment; it says even more than Zev genuinely thought it was a compliment.
Cautious, shrewd, cold, and adaptable: Zev is a creature that acts through degrees, preferring to worm his way to success through a thousand no-loss scenarios rather than one almighty roll of the dice. It’s a philosophy that’s served him well, and while meticulousness and pragmatism mightn’t be the most endearing of qualities, it’s kept him alive. Many people suspect him of cowardice, and some have even gone so far as to vocalise their disdain, but he nevertheless makes for an excellent choice of artillerist: in every tactical simulation he’s undertaken, Zev proves the old adage that a fox’s cunning can kill more than a wolf’s savagery. With a detailed understanding of Newtonian physics, ship architecture, and almost every weapons system the Federation has developed, Zev is good at what he does, and this singular fact keeps his skills in demand, even if the man himself has a black cloud cast over his name.
Despite his cruel and clinical approach to bloodshed, Zev isn’t aimlessly malicious. There was a time when he actually believed in things, not least of all principles, but the rebellion has since left him world-weary and bitter. The knowledge that he joined the losing side has only entrenched his languid cynicism further, and merely surviving the Federation’s impending defeat seems to be his primary objective (though personal enrichment comes a close second). Zev can still be depended upon to operate a ship’s offensive systems, of course – far better than most, he’d be hasty to add – but it’s unlikely he’d ever hold his ground in a firefight prior to hell freezing over. As he sees it, he's really more of a survivor
than a soldier... Biography:
It’s hard to say whether Zev is the luckiest or unluckiest person to ever serve in the Federation. Of the last six ships he’s served on, five have been met with catastrophe, and every time he’s managed to escape unscathed. The disasters are on his service record for all to see: Farlonix IV, where the rest of the crew were eaten by a hideous bog-creature; Tannoy Station, where a group of intriguingly muscled courtesans turned out to be Rebel commandos in disguise; the Black Reef Nebula, where a pirate’s missile blasted the airlock controls right after the captain vented all the oxygen to extinguish a fire… and these are just the first three.
This constant misfortune – and his uncanny ability to escape when his peers don’t – has led many officers to cast aspersions on his courage, loyalty, or both. Despite his dubious record, however, the Federation Investigate Unit has cleared him of any substantial wrongdoing on every occasion, and never saw fit to suspend him from active duty. Still, his reputation is blighted to say the least, and the whispers and glares at his back are becomingly increasingly overt with every unfortunate incident he survives. Zev, for his part, has long since ceased to care what others think, though the caprices of fate and the distasteful necessities of war have left him disillusioned and ruthless.
He wasn’t always like this, though. Back when the rebellion first started, there was still a certain decency to Zev, a genuine desire to do good. Born to a large but financially stable family, we was afforded a good education at one of the more civilised planets, and eventually attained a respectable position in a research firm that developed mechanical prototypes. It’s entirely possible that he might’ve ended up heading a research grant of his own one day, but all this was cut short in the lead-up to the rebellion. As political unrest became increasingly widespread, the Federation began aggressive recruiting potential artillerists – in essence, anyone who could calculate a vector and spell ‘thermodynamics’. Zev was inevitably drawn to the lucrative employment prospects and, thinking the unrest would blow over in a few months’ time, signed up with the Federation.
From there, things got progressively worse for both the Federation and Zev personally. Political disunity escalated into the near-collapse of the Federation, and full blown rebellion. Zev’s ship went from enforcing gunboat diplomacy to travelling into live warzones, where the other ships actually shot back
. Zev witnessed atrocities, then acts of retribution that were every bit as repugnant. Terrible things happened on a seemingly arbitrary basis: bad luck on Farlonix IV, an idiotic captain on Tannoy Station, an unavoidable tragedy in the Black Reef Nebula. Luck and a ‘risk adverse’ personality kept Zev alive throughout, but it has left him jaded and disenchanted: as far as he can tell, cowards outlive heroes, looting is an excellent pathway to wealth, and cruel men win wars over good men. These life lessons haven’t exactly had a positive impact on Zev’s personal growth as a human being.
Since then, there have been several more tragedies and an equal number of suspiciously fortunate tales about how Zev survived. They are extensively documented who any and all who wish to read them (the findings for the Federation Investigative Unit are public documents), though many captains remain sceptical about his loudly proclaimed innocence. Still, so long as there is a Federation fleet left, there’ll be a pressing need to kill a lot of Rebels, and Zev’s skillset ensure that he’s rarely idle for long.