Gunther Lindemann

Much of this from an account provided by Mike Palmer, with our thanks

Born on the Border World of Persephone to middleclass parents Victor and Xiu Xia Lindemann in 2481, Gunther Lindemann was raised in a company house belonging to the Silver Star Lines. His father was a senior chief steward on the Silver Star Line’s Galaxy Princess, one of the Floating World Class cruise liners. He grew up as a well-rounded young man, educated in a good school, and guaranteed a position with the Siler Star Lines when he was old enough to apply. His family was very proud when he earned a scholarship to the Persephone Merchant Marine Academy, located near the Eavesdown Docks, and knew his star was ascending.

Gunther graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy in 2503, and took service with his father’s employer, Silver Star Lines. He started as a junior line officer on some of their older, smaller cruise liners and worked his way up the chain of command until he took his first position on a Floating World Class vessel, Lotus Blossom in 2508. Openings were quick during the war, due to the resignations of more senior officers who wanted to get in on the glory fighting in the Unification War. Gunther was a very personable young man, and he took advantage of the opportunities presented to a handsome, up and coming young officer who is placed among the elite of society and the military. He rubbed elbows with the very best, and enjoyed dining with passengers, and drinking in social situations. It was probably where he acquired his incredible tolerance levels, which allowed him to keep functioning as a polite and gracious host when he should have been unconscious. He was a model officer and a perfect junior host. His captain noticed Gunther and watched him grow in experience and expertise. Gunther was a skilful navigator, whose course plots saved his captain time and money.

And so it came to pass in 2510 that a berth opened on Nu Du Shen (Queen of Gamblers) for the ship’s Navigation Officer, a haven for the high rollers who roamed the space lanes, and Captain Din Cao put him in for the promotion. His family was thrilled, and they all gathered aboard his father’s ship to celebrate. Both parents were there, as was his sister and her husband, the Galaxy Princess’s Executive chef, and their three children, plus many friends and well wishers who wanted to congratulate the young officer. His ascendancy to a captain’s chair in another 20 years looked rosy indeed. But could he wait that long?

As an officer on Nu Du Shen, Gunther became acquainted with the best and richest gamblers that were then alive. He assisted in hosting parties and games of chance with stakes he could only dream about. In 2516, he met a charming young doctor from Londinium named Dr. Shane Howard while she was onboard to celebrate her graduation from medical school. They passed many hours together solving the problems of the universe and enjoying each other’s company, vowing to get together again when the time was right. Gunther also had dealings with the other end of the social spectrum, a group to which he was always kind and helpful, especially a young browncoat veteran named Svara Mathis. After the war, sentiment against browncoat veterans ran high, and Svara was out of work and needed a break. Gunther has a really good feeling about her character, and used his limited influence to help get her a job on the security staff of one of Silver Stars lesser cruise ships, as he knew they would never allow her to serve on the Floating World Class. She did a solid job and was recognized for her superb skills, and when the opportunity presented itself, she took a private contact for security with a wealthy citizen. He saw her every now and then, and they regularly kept track of each other over the years.

It was seven years later, in 2518, that the chance of a lifetime came to Gunther. He received an invitation to join one of his social acquaintances at a casino on Santo, a posh affair attended by the best of Santo society. He was off-duty and loving every minute of the event, and he felt the luck in him tingle. He had been asked to join a card game, but the minimum stakes in the game cost 10,000 credits to buy in. He went to his friend, Lord Exeter from Londinium, and asked for a loan of 10,000 credits for the evening. His Lordship was in a generous frame of mind, and signed a chit for the young officer, thus getting him his stake.

The game was intense, with several of the young nobility trying to show off for their female escorts. The players and guests drank, and so did Gunther… but the alcohol had no real effect on him due to his acquired high tolerance. One by one they dropped out, and the stack of chips in front of Gunther grew. In the end, it came down to the last hand between Gunther and an old, retired Alliance captain. Each man held the cards he had to play, and both players eyed each other in a stony silence. The Captain had just raised Gunther and put in all his chips in a grandiose display of arrogance… confident that the young man across the table was out of his league and reading to be sent packing. But Gunther was not to be out done… his luck was with him in this moment, and he raised the bet with all of his chips as well. This caught the captain by surprise… he had been sure the young man would fold, but now he was in a real quandary. He had nothing left on hand with which to answer the raise, and he couldn’t allow his winning hand to evaporate.

So the captain reached into his jacket and pulled out an official-looking packet of ships papers, then threw them on the table, saying in a slurred voice from his over indulgence in alcohol, “These are the ownership papers for a ship, the Prinz Eugen to be precise. I bought her from the Alliance in 2511 at an auction at the conclusion of the Unification War. She was an Independent Patrol Ship that was interred at Persephone, and I had her placed in a hanger to wait for my retirement. I was going to sell her to a chap here tonight, but he brought empty promises instead of hard credits, so I sent him packing”.

The captain paused and took a drink of bourbon, then looked at Gunther and said, “Well son, is that worth the 7963 Credits difference to call?” Gunther thought for a minute, as the possibilities rolled around in his mind, then said, “Yes sir, that will suffice”. “HAH”, said the Captain with glee, “four jacks… YES… read ‘em and weep you merchant marine piece of crap”, and grabbed his glass for a victory drink. Gunther held his face expressionless for about 10 seconds, then slowly laid his cards on the table. Lord Exeter watched his young friend and held his breath… then a gasp went up from all those standing around the table. “Four kings”, Gunther said quietly. “Please make the new ship’s owner out to be Gunther Lindemann and sign it. Lord Exeter, would you please witness the transfer for me?”

The next day, Gunther was listening to the news over breakfast and heard that the captain he had played against in the card game the night before had challenged a local politician to a duel and had lost… convincingly. The obituary gave a litany of his loyal service to the Alliance, and all Gunther could think of was (arrogant ass… good riddance).

Gunther knew he was going to need a crew, but he left for Persephone at once, figuring to check the ship out and then see what crew was needed. When he arrived on Persephone, he went to the docks there and presented his credentials to get access to the hanger where Prinz Eugen was stored. The dockmaster blustered angrily about overdue payment of docking fees and Alliance Naval arrogance, but he changed his tune and showed a big smiled and was a most pleasant man to deal with when Gunther pulled out cash to pay all the arrears, plus a little something extra for his mental suffering over the years. The dockmaster gave him the keys to the hanger and wandered off to his regular work, thinking what a fine upstanding man had just paid this hopeless account in full. He could never have foreclosed on a serving Alliance officer, and he was more than happy to supply the new owner with an official receipt, “Paid in Full”..

Inside the hanger, Gunther found an Independent Raider Class warship, sitting just as she had been the day the war ended. He wasted no time contacting his old friend Svara Mathis and asking her if she wanted to come and work for him, now that he had his own ship. In short order she turned up and signed on, and when she saw the sleek warship and its markings, she cried in disbelief.

Over the next few weeks, Gunther used his money to secure the services of a highly competent, but semi-shady engineering company to put the ship back in working order. The last owner had left the ship supplied with minimal power as part of his storage contract, and Gunther was glad. The independent insignia were painted over and the image of the Chinese entity Guan Gong was painted on the hull’s exterior on the outside of the Cargo Ramp. A well placed “investment” into the hands of a local Admiralty official served to get Prinz Eugen a new ship’s beacon and ID number as an armed merchantman, where were duly installed and displayed, as appropriate. Gunther sent his family and close friends each a card announcing his captaincy and asking for their blessing in his new life… including one to Dr. Shane Howard.

When the ship was declared 100 percent ready, and the lockers filled with fresh food, beverages and supplies, Gunther knew he was ready. With Svara as his first crewman, he waited until the weather was due to sour and filed his flight plan for an “oh dark hundred hours” departure. His ship and its wee hours departure went almost unnoticed in the darkness and pounding rain, with the tower noting its departure in the official logs as “uneventful”. Together, Gunther and Svara headed for St Michael, a remote, newly terra-formed world where they could recruit a crew. Upon arrival, Gunther took the shuttle down to the planet to begin his recruiting, and the dock master told him this could best be done at a saloon called The Fallen Angel.