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The Wolf's Claw

The Wolf's Claw is a free trader, a century-old vessel designed for long-range commerce and prospecting. After a largely unrecorded history of roughly eighty years' of routine service, it came to be owned, by shadowy means not entirely understood, by Arkarin Blackhawk

A smuggler and freelance mercenary plying his trades in the Far Stars, Blackhawk has poured much of his profit into repairing and improving his ship, and the Claw, as she is usually called by her crew, has become a formidable vessel, mounting upper and lower triple laser turrets with cortex-interfaced thought-controlled targeting systems as well as a high-powered needle gun for precision work. Her reactor has been entirely replaced with a modern unit, and her new engines make her one of the fastest ships in the Far Stars.

Only her exterior remains the same, a rusted mess of peeling paint, scorch marks, and dents from meteor impacts. Blackhawk turned his ship into a dangerous vessel...but he saw no reason to advertise her new strength, preferring to keep a little something "close to the vest."

The Crew
Over the years, Blackhawk has crewed his ship with an assortment of talented misfits, a group of extremely capable men and women, most of whom he saved from one kind of trouble or another. Alone they were fugitives, ranaways, unable to fit in the various societies they came from. But on the Wolf's Claw, with Blackhawk at their head, they are a family, fiercely loyal to their commander and each other...and one of the deadliest groups of adventurers ever to fly across the Far Stars.
Arkarin Blackhawk   Jason Graythorn
The commander of the ship Wolf’s Claw and the leader of a small band of adventurers and mercenaries, Arkarin Blackhawk is a veteran fighter, perhaps the deadliest in all the Far Stars, as dangerous with a blade-or barehanded-as he is with a gun. He is the product of a mysterious genetic engineering program, and his abilities, both mental and physical, greatly exceed those of normal humans, a fact he tries to keep secret from all but his crew. He is in his mid-fifties, but he appears to any observer to be no older than thirty-five, another effect of his superior genetics. He is also a man with a dark past, constantly haunted by painful memories and guilt for things he did long ago…a burden he shares with no one, not even his comrades on the Claw. No one but Augustin Lucerne, who knows the truth about him.   A gifted con artist and a notorious rogue and womanizer, “Ace” Graythorn is Blackhawk’s informal second in command. He projects a cocky and arrogant persona in public, almost a wanton recklessness, but it is mostly a façade, designed to confuse his enemies and disguise his true attentiveness. In actuality, Ace is not nearly as impulsive and careless as he leads others to believe. He is a gifted fighter too, and particularly, he is one of the deadliest duelists in the Far Stars, a skill he has used more than once to dispose of a rival or a dangerous enemy. Graythorn is an accomplished gambler and confidence man, and he has frequently put his moderately disreputable skills to work during missions. Ace is Blackhawk’s oldest and closest friend, save for Marshal Lucerne.
Shira Tarkus   Lucas Lancaster
Shira Tarkus is a deadly fighter, rescued from execution by Blackhawk years ago. She is extremely intelligent, but quiet and circumspect. She has a cold, cynical demeanor and is quick to anger…and her anger almost always ends with violence. She and Ace are virtual opposites in personality, but while they appear to onlookers to have a volatile and tenuous relationship, in actuality they work very well as a team. Shira’s loyalty to Blackhawk is absolute and unwavering. Though she is as ignorant of his past as the rest of the crew, she is the most attuned to Blackhawk’s dark side, and the two share an unspoken kinship.   Lucas was born into one of the wealthiest families in the Far Stars, a legacy that has caused him little but anger and pain. A gifted pilot, he was also an alcoholic, drug addict, and scoundrel, eventually written off by his family as an unsalvageable loser and left to his fate. Blackhawk found him as he was about to pick a fight likely to be his last. The Claw’s captain was harsh with his new passenger, but it worked, and he has been clean ever since. Blackhawk recognized Lucas’ natural skill, and he put him at the pilot’s station, where he has been ever since. Lucas' knowledge of the aristocracy of the Far Stars has been invaluable on the Claw's missions.
The "Twins"   Samantha Sparks

The Twins – Tarq and Tarnan are twin brothers, rescued by Blackhawk from a life of poverty and servitude. The two are virtual giants, well over two meters tall, weighing 160 kilos, and each of them carries a heavy autocannon into battle, along with their massive claymores. Both or the brothers are fanatically loyal to Blackhawk, and they follow his commands without question.  While they contribute little to the planning of the Claw’s operations, the Twins are like a force of nature in a fight, two killing machines who have saved the rest of the crew more than once with their deadly fire and their titanic sword strokes.

  The Wolf’s Claw’s engineer and a master technician, Sam knows the ship even better than Blackhawk. More than once she has worked miracles to keep the vessel running in the middle of a desperate battle or a frantic escape. She is very attractive but also introverted, and she is happiest aboard the Claw, working on the engines, with her long red hair tied back in a ponytail. Despite her shyness, she can interact convincingly (and often brilliantly) in public when necessary. Though not a fighter in the same class as Blackhawk or Shira, she always carries a small pistol, and she rarely misses when forced to use it.
Katarina Venturi   "Sarge"
Katarina is a disciple of the Assassin’s Guild on the planet Sebastiani and one of the deadliest killers in the Far Stars. She originally contracted with the Wolf’s Claw for passage to complete a mission. Coincidentally, Blackhawk and the crew were after the same target, but he allowed her the kill, saving her honor. While she is ostensibly still just a passenger, she has been with the Wolf’s Claw for several years. Though she has served and fought alongside the others during that time, she refuses to consider herself part of the crew and insists on paying for her transit.  

A veteran non-com, Sarge commands a small squad of ex-soldiers, survivors of a losing war on Delphi III, rescued from confinement in a concentration camp (or even execution) by Blackhawk’s intervention.  His name is Brin Carrock, though he is rarely called anything but “Sarge,” either by his men or the rest of the crew. Along with the Twins, Sarge and his loyal troopers-Drake, Ringo, Von, and Buck-form much of the Claw’s muscle, giving Blackhawk a punch in ground combats few would expect from a smuggler’s crew. It is an advantage he has used many time to devastating effect.

Rolf "Doc" Sandor   "HANS"
The Wolf’s Claw’s medic and resident scholar, Sandor was a professor at the Academy on Arcturon before he was discredited and expelled in a political dispute with a better-connected colleague.  Sandor wandered for many years, without a home, without purpose, before he came across a wounded Blackhawk and saved his life.  He has been with the Claw ever since, and though he is not a true medical doctor, he is the closest thing Blackhawk’s people have…and he has saved their lives many times.   An artificial intelligence installed long ago in Blackhawk’s brain, without his consent or recollection. The computer’s full name is HANDAIS-an acronym for heuristic algorithmic nanotech dynamic artificial intelligence system-but Blackhawk had shortened it years before. The Claw’s captain was suspicious of the mysterious presence in his mind for many years, but he had to acknowledge that HANS had saved his life more than once, and he’d grown into a wary acceptance of the voice in his head.
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