Friday, May 14, 2010

Maia Kessler

Full name: Maia Kessler
Age: 39 cycles
Affiliations: Peace River (management caste); Peace River Army (honourable discharge); Basal Free Revolutionary Army (technical advisor)
Current Status: Alive

Maia Kessler comes from working-class roots, which is a more political statement in Peace River than it might be elsewhere. Her parents were both loyal Paxton employees. Her father, Jarred, worked as a quality control officer on the production floor, and her mother, Doreen, worked in shipping and raised the children. While the family never lacked for food or basic amenities -- this wasn't the Prospects, after all! -- there was frequent grumbling around the dinner table about the inequalities between the castes. "We work just as hard as any executive," Doreen often muttered. "Why shouldn't we get dividends, too?"

Maia's childhood was uneventful, as much as life in Peace River can be. She went to primary school, played in the streets, and learned the perils of White Sand. She was on the verge of joining the workforce when the CEF attacked and changed her plans forever.

War of the Alliance:
As the second of four children, in 1913 Maia was only 17 cycles old. She watched as the ships invaded and North and South united for the first time in living memory. She grew more and more frustrated as Peace River and Paxton Arms declared their neutrality. Young and idealistic, she didn't care that Peace River's involvement in the fight would likely mean its destruction at the hands of the GRELs and orbital bombardment. She took part in protest marches and rallies, petitioning the executives to join in the planet-wide war.

When Paxton finally declared its intentions to fight, Maia was among the first to enlist in the Peace River Army. Her older brother Zach was right beside her. They were handed guns, placed in their ranks, and told to go fight for their city and their planet. They didn't need to be told twice.

For almost a full cycle, Maia fought. With no formal Gear training and little time to teach her, she spent most of her time as a grunt on the front lines of the conflict. She watched as the tide swung in favour of the Terra Novans, proud all the while of her small part in making it happen.

Then came the Battle of White Plains. [Name to be confirmed with GM.] The desert terrain was treacherous and the Earthers getting desperate. Maia charged in ranks with her infantry division to her right and a Gear to her left. She screamed as the CEF forces closed... and the next thing she knew, the sky was full of light and shrapnel. The Gear beside her exploded in a massive fireball. She leapt aside, hands covering her head as the blast tossed her off her feet. She didn't even remember hitting the ground.

The next thing Maia remembered was waking up in a hospital bed, her torso covered in bandages and only a stump where her left leg should have been. Her mother sat by her side, eyes red with tears. The blast that had claimed Maia's leg had also claimed Zach's life, leaving Maia the oldest child of the family.

She grieved. There was little else to do as the hospital was full beyond capacity with war veterans. Once the shrapnel had been removed from her torso, restoring her leg was low on the triage priority list, and Maia spent three seasons lying in the hospital bed waiting for her turn to come and another two learning how to walk again.

She watched on trideo as the Keff was finally repulsed, watched the victory celebrations in every city and homestead on the planet. Closer to home, she watched as workers took to the streets in Peace River, demanding more rights and greater mobility. She watched, helpless to join in and make her voice heard.

More importantly to Maia, at least at the time, she fell in love. In a tale as old as fighting, Maia found herself growing ever more attached to her nurse, Celina, and was surprised to find the feelings reciprocated. They continued courting after Maia left the hospital and were married in the Winter of 1919. The small amount of her pension left after she'd paid her hospital fees was spent on the wedding, but Maia didn't mind. At only 23 cycles old, she was young and her life stretched out ahead of her.

Promotion to Management:
Around this time, Maia learned about Gerald Simosa's reforms allowing competitive entry to the management academy. As a military veteran, she met the prerequisites and took advantage of the opportunity. For the next two cycles, she studied harder than she ever had before. Despite holding only a primary education, she took to almost all subjects, from finance to circuit analysis, with an ease that dismayed most of her classmates.

Early in the Spring of 1921, the promotion list was posted and Maia saw her name on the roster. The same day, she learned that the IVF was successful and that Celina was pregnant with their first child.

Within weeks, Maia had spent all of her promotion bonus on clothes, jewellery, a house on the Second Terrace, and all the creature comforts she had dreamed about as a worker but never been able to afford. Looking dapper -- and, unbeknownst to her, screaming of nouveau riche -- Maia delved into management culture with a passion.

Paxton Arms public relations:
A senior manager in the Paxton public relations branch noticed Maia's academy test scores and arranged for an interview with the young up-and-comer. After a series of interviews, Maia was offered a job as a public relations officer and spent the next three cycles back in the classroom, learning everything from Universal French and Mekong table manners to heavy artillery schematics and Gear controls.

In the late Winter of 1922, Celina and Maia welcomed their daughter Tanya into the world. Doreen and Jarred doted on the baby, spending more time with their daughter-in-law than their blood daughter, as Maia spent ever more time studying and training.

In 1924, Maia was given her first field assignment, to the still-recovering Western Frontier Protectorate, and left Peace River for the first time. The trip was supposed to take only a few weeks, but in the end lasted almost a season. When Maia returned home, she found that Celina -- still officially a member of the worker caste -- had moved back to the Third Terrace with her parents. She was happy to live with her wife while Maia was in Peace River, but every time Maia left thereafter, she vacated the beautiful manager's home to return to her family. It is a sore spot that Maia has still not quite accepted, even years later.

Maia thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to travel and the large dividends that came with management. Money burned a hole in her pocket, and she spent her new-found riches almost as soon as they came into her account. She returned to the Third Terrace on a regular basis, treating her family and friends to fancy dinners and shows, buying presents for her ever-expanding brood of nieces and nephews, and enjoying the spotlight as the prodigal daughter returned home.

As her work became noticed, Maia was sent on more assignments to ever more diverse areas of Terra Nova. For the last eleven cycles, she has been away from Peace River more than at home, selling weapons and acting as the face of her native city abroad. Maia takes great pride in her management rank and looks forward to the day when her daughter or granddaughter can petition to become an executive.

Current Status:
In 1935, Maia is approaching her 40th birthday in Basal, a city in revolt in the Eastern Sun Emirates. Nominally there to sell weapons to the Emirs, Maia quickly discovered that the heads of state do not in fact have the funds to purchase weapons on any significant scale. While her superiors handle the high-level negotiations, Maia kills time. Occasionally she is taken into the jungle with a prototype or cutting-edge piece of equipment, to liaise with senior military officials and train the troops. Most of the time, she sits in the bars, theatres (those that are still running), and cawfee houses, waiting for work.

Most people who meet Maia Kessler would describer her as charming and friendly. A working-class background and a manager's education combine to give Maia the knack for making friends at all social levels. She's equally comfortable talking about the latest Gear features and the rise of a new theatre star. Quintessentially nouveau riche, Maia has never truly learned to handle money. She spends her dividends and paycheques almost as soon as she receives them, generally on material goods, fine dining, and gifts -- a fact that makes her popular at most bars she frequents. Maia is a proud Riveran, well aware that she acts as the face of her city while abroad. She would never criticize Peace River while on assignment.

Tall and slender, Maia has always been the sort to turn heads. She wears her hair in the latest style, an elaborate series of braids, and is rarely seen without makeup. Her clothing is always current and fashionable, often custom-tailored, and generally in bright colours. In the south, she spends the majority of her time in long, flowing dresses that show off her shoulders and cover her ankles. In the field, she dons a light flack suit, a pistol at her hip and an assault carbine at her back. She walks with the self-assured gait of a self-made woman, and her eyes often sparkle with the joy of new experiences. 


Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.