Character spotlights help you explore Seven Worlds through the eyes of its inhabitants. These characters are fully statted and can be used by players. Enjoy!
Maricelle Al-Zeid comes from a Bay Jing family with two defining characteristics: Mining and tragedy. Maricelle’s great-grandfather, one of Bay Jing’s first settlers, had been involved in the mining operations around Triumph and lost his life in the mining sabotage of 2129. Maricelle’s grandfather, a boy of six at the time, had survived the tragedy and continued the Al-Zeid family tradition as a miner when he grew of age.
Maricelle’s father was the youngest of her grandfather’s seven kids. Born in 2158, and also a miner, he finally found the love of his life and married in 2188, the year of the Psion Riots that so completely affected Bay Jingnian society. Having had one of his new relatives on his wife’s side killed by the actions of the rogue psion, and worried about the prospects for his family should he stay in Bay Jing, Maricelle’s father moved with his wife to Dauphin, in Nouvelle Vie, and in 2188 became one more settler family trying to make a living in the frontier. It was here, in a small village on the wilderness of Nouvelle Vie, that Maricelle was born in 2191. Her father found a new job as a farmer and raised Maricelle, her older sister and brother, and her youngest brother.
The violent rivalry between Jubilee and Dauphin, temporarily paused after the war, had begun anew. There were frequent skirmishes, and the entire village was trained in combat tactics. Even so, it was a surprise attack by a particularly nasty and radical Jubilee informal militia that in 2199 successfully invaded and burned the small village. An 8-year old Maricelle lost her mother and older brother that day, and saw cruelty and death first hand. Her sunny personality changed permanently to the dour, serious disposition she carries now.
Maricelle’s grieving father never recovered from the blow. As soon as he could, he moved the remains of his family to Hephaestus, the small island in Nouvelle Vie composed of independent miners. He was determined to keep his family away from the senseless conflict between Jubilee and Dauphin in any way possible. His old miner instincts came back as well, and by 2202 he spent most of his time in the quiet and solitude of space, mining the inner or outer asteroid belts on an old crusty ship he managed to buy with the government’s compensation for his personal loss. Maricelle reached her teenage years growing up in the care of her older sister Nubi (not much older than her).
By the time she was fourteen, Maricelle joined her father’s mining operation. In the next few years she learned everything there was to learn about her family’s trade: She learned how to discover valuable elements in the asteroids and how to pry them from the rocks in space. She learned how to live and work in microgravity and zero-G. She also became an expert in dealing with the merchants and underworld of Clarke Station. Most of all, she learned how to keep the Hound of Fortune, her father’s old rust bucket of a ship, working. She also became an expert pilot and mechanic for the ship.
By the time she turned twenty-four, Maricelle was the de-facto leader of her father’s mining outfit. A tough, no-nonsense girl, she was on her way to becoming a minor leader among Hephaestus miners. Then, in 2216 tragedy struck the Al-Zeid family, again.
Maricelle, her father, and her younger brother, Jung, had recently hooked the Hound to a stray rock that had escaped the outer belt many years ago after a collision with another asteroid, and was now close to the dead-end jump point to the uninhabited star system of HIP 23452. Most asteroids behave more like chunks of loose rubble than strong rock, and this one was no exception. Getting to the valuables wasn’t easy, but that was part of the job. Their ship had been moored for a few days, and the boring part of the job was beginning to settle in.
On the sixth day of their mission, Maricelle was taking a spacewalk, floating around the far side of the rock when she saw the energy spike on her instruments, and felt the glow of light surrounding her, as if the light were at the other side of the asteroid… next to where her ship was. She tried to contact Papa and her brother over the link, but there was interference all over the comm.
She quickly began her return to the ship. After a minute she finally managed to make it around the asteroid. What she saw looked like a black spiked star, like what an asterisk should look like if it were sparkling black and menacing. There were no obvious engines. And it was huge, dwarfing the Hound by far.
Where did it come from? The jump point to HIP 23452 was the most likely source. But the jump point was still a few hundreds of thousands of kilometers away. As far as Maricelle knew, no ship could enter space that far from the jump point. Yet this one (was it a ship?) apparently had.
These thoughts piled in the back of her mind as fear concentrated in front of her. She could just stare for a few seconds before the energy wave washed right around her. The sensors in her spacesuit, designed to detect increases in radiation and harmful energy, immediately darkened her visor, which saved her from the light. But nothing could keep the immense amounts of energy from penetrating her body and pushing her away.
Fortunately for her, she was pushed back towards the far end of the asteroid, and thus never got to receive the brunt of the attack. But in the silence she felt her body being pushed a thousand ways, being hit by the rock, as everything exploded.
After a few seconds the visor began slowly to clear, and she saw how pieces of rock, debris and metal were flying from the other side of the asteroid, in all directions. She had been irradiated and she knew it, it was just a matter of days before she was dead, but still she managed to float back towards the other side.
The strange object wasn’t there anymore. Half the asteroid wasn’t there, either, blown away by some unspeakable force. And her ship was just a bunch of floating scraps among the rocks, pieces of it crashing with chunks of rocks in the silence of space. The Hound, Papa, Jungie… all gone.
She barely remembered what happened afterwards. The strange energy surge had been seen from Nouvelle Vie. Her Assistant turned on the emergency radio signals, which explains how she was rescued a few days later by a Circle Patrol Ship.
When she finally regained consciousness she was inside a Healing Pod on the Circle ship, flying back towards Nouvelle Vie. A kind face looked at her from the other side of the Pod glass and explained that she had been irradiated, but fortunately would be fine.
The next few days on the way back to Nouvelle Vie were awful. The authorities from Clarke Station interviewed her remotely about what she had seen, but in the end did not believe her. What was that energy and heat surge that had been detected all over the system? No answer was satisfactory. The fact that her father and brother were dead, and her livelihood was destroyed, did not seem to matter to anybody.
For the entire trip Marcus, the middle-aged medic who had treated her in the Pod, became her only friend and the only person willing to smile and show some sympathy to her. When the hours passed and she refused to speak he told her stories, boring stories about his job, the Circle, what he had seen, why he believed in this organization, and many other things. At some point while listening to him, something changed in her. She wanted his inner peace, the sense of purpose he had and she had just lost. There was nothing left for her in Hephaestus except for her sister, and seeing and living with her now was harder than she could bear. She had dozens of remote cousins in Bay Jing, but they never meant much to her.
When she arrived at Clarke Station, Maricelle immediately went to the Circle offices and signed up. Her future was elsewhere, not here. She made a video call to her sister and said good-bye. Even amid her pain, Nubi told Maricelle she supported her and her decision, and she loved her. They prayed together via the video call, and she hung up, not before promising to visit as soon as she was ready.
Two years have passed since then. Maricelle has become a promising young Circle officer, in high demand because of her engineering skills. It feels good to be needed, and to be treated as part of a large family, even though it’s not a family, not really, not like the one she lost. The incident that cost the lives of her brother and father has been classified or forgotten ,officially still “under investigation.” She has learned this is not the only time this has happened.
She has twice visited her sister Nubi, now married and with a small baby. Whatever happened in the frontier, she hopes the Circle will be there to help protect her sister and her family against it.
The wounds have not healed yet, but Maricelle knows she is on her way to a renewed sense of purpose.
Maricelle is a tough-looking woman of twenty-six. She is dark-skinned, has dark hair and is of middle height. Her body is stocky but not fat. She is more plain than beautiful but her strong look and sense of authority and security project a certain charisma and attractiveness. She prefers to dress in a used work suit, and cares little about how she looks. It is common to see her covered with dust and grease. Even when dressed in official Circle vacc suit uniform, it looks strange on her, as if she didn’t belong in it.
Maricelle talks very little, and does not mingle much. She does not tolerate incompetence or idle talk, but she is efficient, courteous and respectful. When off-duty, she keeps to herself and keeps a serious face. However, most of her fellow officers have seen her smile occasionally, only to quickly get serious when she notices she’s being watched. She has a terrible temper if provoked, and has already found herself on probation twice because she has punched some jokester in the face. She probably will not go to probation again, mostly because now everybody knows better than to mess with her. Besides, her no-nonsense attitude has bought her some admirers in the Circle.
Maricelle often volunteers for missions, when she thinks her skills might be valuable. She particularly likes rescue missions, and her superiors admit her dedication to helping refugees or survivors when this happens.
In her free time, she loves reading and learning about science in general. She particularly likes to check scout and explorer reports from the frontier, although few know what she is looking for when she reads them so carefully. She does not talk about her past if she can avoid it. She hopes to always be able to avoid it.
Maricelle's Assistant: "Papa"
Maricelle has updated her assistant personality after her traumatic experience. Now her assistant looks and talks in the image of her dead father. Papa usually offers advice, and he is very tender and caring with his “daughter.” Papa never gets angry, never challenges or questions her. Maricelle never gives orders to her assistant, she usually asks things of it as if it were her real dad. Unbeknownst to her, the selection of this particular Assistant personality has raised eyebrows in the health department at the Circle, and now Maricelle is under periodic psychological surveillance.
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