The always warm, sunny, and fertile world of Larion is a resort world where the rich and famous of the Emperium bask in luxury on the endless white sand beaches or duck the press during a “celebrity rehab” stint.
The Gardens have always lived on Larion, and have always lived to serve their betters. Rich’s father Clive is a chauffeur for the Celestial Arms Hotel and Resort, carting the wealthy from party to party. He’s quick with a joke and makes an honest living off of tips. Rich’s Mother Midge is a cleaning lady at the same hotel. Both are humble and good people.
Rich has a younger brother, Hedge. Both of the Garden boys were strapping young lads, Hedge working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor for the hotel pool. Rich worked in the resort’s stables, where he led short horse trail tours for the guests. While both boys excelled at sports, Rich couldn’t pull off the grades necessary to remain in good standing. Hedge had a very successful professional “Board-Ball” career and is now a sports anchor for the Emperium Sports Network. (“THIS IS HEDGE GARDEN, REMINDING YOU TO ALWAYS ‘SHOOT FOR THE BOARD!’)
Rich is a quiet person who enjoys his solitude. He prefers horses to people. He lost his job at the stables when he was 18 after striking a businessman he caught mistreating one of the horses. His family, unsure of what to do with their good-hearted but unambitious son, encouraged him to join the military.
The Emperium Marine corps seemed a perfect fit for Rich, he was used to taking orders and possessed an excellent attention to detail. Being built like a truck didn’t hurt, either. His superiors hastily searched for a front line to put him on. Valken III decided to secede from the Emperium, and Rich saw a lot of combat. During his second tour, tragedy struck. Rich’s platoon was ambushed by the rebel group known as “Trident.” Taken to a hidden camp, he watched his few friends die at the hands of their jailer, Orvak Krell, whom he vowed to kill one day. Rich endured extensive torture as well. There was no attempt to rescue Rich and the other survivors, only bothering to scoop them up after Orvak and his crew had fled the area. He later told his psychologist, “They taught me how to kill, but they never taught me how to live.” Bitter at his treatment and suffering from PTSD, he left the military soon after.
With his medical discharge, Rich found it easy to get a civil servant job for the Emperium Postal Service as a jump ship operator. Rich enjoyed the solitude, despite the boredom. Two things would disturb that peace and quiet. The first was being hijacked by the space pirate “Gentleman Jack.” Rich even pointed out to Jack that he was “The nicest crook I ever met.”
Not every pirate had “Gentleman Jack’s” standards though, made clear when Rich responded to a distress call. He caught a glimpse of the attacking vessel, but couldn’t identify the villains. He jettisoned his cargo, and brought as many survivors as he could on board. However, the wounded husband of Enaka Forsthound III got left behind, and Enaka blamed Rich for not leaving one of the “lessers” behind in his stead.
Enaka used her pull to get Rich fired. After spending a year living off his savings, he landed a job as a surveyor for the ChemEnGen Corporation. Things were looking up for Rich. Not only was he good at his job, he’d also fallen in love. Miranda Hoff was a pretty, and ambitious sales agent at ChemEnGen. The two were engaged, only to later discover she’d been sleeping with her boss Thad Moore. Rich was too disgusted to risk punching the guy while at work, but he did trash the guy’s car.
From this day on, Rich poured himself into his work. After several successful years, history repeated itself. While surveying a remote planet Tardeki II, he detected life signs that shouldn’t have been there. It was there he found a colony on the brink of starvation. The mining facility was there illegally, and when the life support started to fail, the colonists were left to die. Rich saved the colonists, but brought down significant fines on the Extracta Consortium. Needless to say, the people in charge of EC aren’t too happy with Rich.
The highlight of Rich’s career was during his vacation. While doing some exploring on his own an investigation of a space anomaly led to the discovery of a stable wormhole between two vital trade hubs, effectively reducing travel time from months to hours. Rich was immediately promoted.
It was all uphill from there. Rich would later go on to make first contact with the Yangdori. A peaceful but primitive culture on the cusp of a renaissance. He became good friends, and brief lovers with a woman named Veris Sylm. Veris is a wealthy art patron. Later, he not only discovered an abundant seafood source on Eldeesi, a water-world, but established relationships with the native alien mer-race. This has him in good graces with ChemEnGen’s VP of Agri-Procurement, Derek Sleg.
Finally in a good place in his life, Rich decided it was time for new challenges. He recently retired from ChemEnGen with a nice nest egg, and a few small ships to call his own.