Commodore Christopher "Maverick" BlairEdit
Chris Blair is the most decorated fighter pilot in Confed history, the 11th greatest ace of teh Kilrathi conflict*, holder of the all-time record for Kilrathi ace kills, and universally haild as the "Savior of the Confederation."
He wanted to be a crop duster.
Born to subsistance farmers on a remote colony world. Blair's father died in a farm-equipment accident when he was young, and his mother went off-world to find work. She later remarried, leaving Christopher to be raised by his maternal grandparents. A serious, studious child, Blair applied himself diligently to his studies. He conceived his ambition to become a pilot about the time he entered high school. Since extracurricular activities were necessariy for an Academy appointment, he took up wrestling. Applying himself to the sport with his usual tenacity, by his seniour year he was able to qualify as all-sector and take planetary champion in his weight class (which sounds more impressive than it was, given the population of his planet). His home system was allowed one at-large Space Force Academy every three years. Between his athletic achievements and a straight-A GPA, Blair was able to secure his place in the 2650 plebe class.
Blair's original ambitions were to serve out his six-year Academy obligation, then take his accumulated combat pay and flight training back home, where he'd continue a personal (and hopefully profitable) air war against the virulent insectoid pests of his home world.
At the Academy, Blair achieved his usual level of quiet competence. His GPA dropped from an A to a B in his freshman year, and never dropped again after that. His flight instructors praised his analytical, by the book precision in space. He was originally given the callsign "Maverick" as an ironic reference to his by-the-book approach.
- Blair's kill ranking is higher than it sounds, because of the period during which he flew. Most of the top aces of the three-decade Kilrathi Conflict flew during its bloody early years, when defensive technology on both sides was minimal, and the Kilrathi were far more inclined to all-out suicide assaults than they would become in later years of the war. Blair and Maj. Tod "Maniac" Marshall are the only aces in the war's top 40 to enlist after Custer's Carnival, making Blair and Marshall far and away the top aces of their generation.
Upon graduation, he was posted to the Tiger's Claw. Almost 15 years old, the Claw was by no means the cutting edge of Confed military tech, but its roster of fighter pilots, under the command of Major James Taggart, was legendary. Even the Kilrathi viewed the Claw (with its totemistic, feline name) with an almost superstitious dread and hatred.
Even among this illustrious crew, however, Blair rapidly distinguished himself. Quiet and unassuming between missions, he rose through the ranks on his flying prowess alone. Among numerous other achievements, it was during his initial year aboard the Tiger's Claw that he first earned the enmity of the Kilrathi Crown Prince, Thrakhath.
Blair's rising star fell rapidly, however, when the Tiger's Claw, on a raid against the Kilrathi sector headquarters at K'Tithrak Mang, was attacked and destroyed by Kilrathi fighters equipped with their newly invented cloaking device. Only a handful of pilots out on patrol survived the attack on the Midway, and of these pilots only Christopher Blair saw the Kilrathi cloaks in use. However, his "black box" flight recorder malfunctioned, and his stories of "disappearing" Kilrathi fighters were dismissed as an excuse to cover his own cowardly retreat. Although his court-martial could not muster sufficient evidence for a conviction, his fleet commander, Admiral Tolwyn, fervently believed that Blair was a coward, and pulled strings to see that he was posted as far from the front lines as possible.
At this point in his career, there was nothing to prevent Blair from continuing with his original plans and returning home after his six-year Academy obligation was over, but his characteristic tenacity asserted himself in the form of a colossal stubbornness. He refused to resign from the Space Forces until his name was cleared. (Perhaps he wouldn't have been so adamant if not for the publication in 2657 of the "nonfiction" book "A Treacherous Hero, by Janet Williamson, a sensationalist expose of his supposed "betrayal" of the Tiger's Claw that remained on the bestseller lists for almost a year.) Blair remained assigned to the remote and desolate Caernavon station for 10 years, branded throughout the Confed as "The Coward of K'Tithrak Mang."
In 2666 the war finally came to Caernavon. Almost by accident Blair saved the carrier TCS Concordia from a Kilrathi strike force. With the wounded Concordia chronically short on pilots, they were forced to make maximum use of Blair's talents. About the same time, the Kilrathi started deploying cloaked fighters on the front lines, confirming Blair's long-contested report. Between this new evidence and his contributions to the Caernavon operation, his reputation was cleared at long last, his rank was restored (with back pay) and he was officially reassigned to the Concordia. The commander of the Concordia's fighter squadron was Colonel Jeanette "Angel" Devereux, a fellow survivor of the Tiger's Claw, and she and Blair formed a romantic relationship.
Over the next four years, Blair flew as few pilots had flow before. At the time he was in his early 30s, at the height of both skill and experience, and he had something to prove. Hardened by experience, he was now willing to take chances, bend the rules and but heads with the brass when he felt it was necessary. During those four years, he averaged over 400 confirmed kills per year. Early in that period he achieved two important personal vindications -- a key role in the final downfall of K'Tithrak Mang, and the capture of Prince Thrakhath (though Thrakhath later engineered an escape back to Kilrathi space).
When the Concordia was destroyed and Admira Tolwyn had Blair reassigned to the dilapidated TCS Victory, Blair assumed it was because of a lingering grudge, but Tolwyn's real plans were far subtler than that. He actually saw the unassuming Victory, and Blair in particular, as central figures in his elaborate scheme to destroy Kilrah with the new, top-secret "Behemoth" project. When the Behemoth project was betrayed by a kilrathi deep-cover operative, Blair was again approached to take the lead on an alternative plan, to deliver the Temblor bomb to Kilrah. At the same time, he learned that Angel had been captured by the Kilrathi and executed while preparing the Temblor project.
The Temblor operation made Blair the Confed's greatest war hero, but he was characteristically uncomfortable in the spotlight. He married and returned home to, at last, attempt to become a farmer. However his marriage ended badly and his farm never showed a profit. (He has never remarried.) He was on the verge of bankruptcy when Admiral Tolwyn recalled him to active duty to fly in the Border Worlds conflict.
During this action Blair, together with several of his wartime comrades, transferred their allegiance from Confed to the Border Worlds, when they came to believe that the entire conflict was being engineered by the elite Black Lance Confed flying unit. It was directly due to the actions of Blair and his cabal of defectors that the Black Lance conspiracy, and Tolwyn's part in it, was revealed to the Confederation senate. Once again, Blair had come through apparent disgrace to be hailed as a hero.
Blair spent the next few years as a flight instructor at the Academy, until he was approached by James Taggart, now chairman of the Confed Senate's Armed Forces Committee, to return to active duty as chief military liason for the Confed's new "megacarrier" program. For administrative reasons, Blair transferred his commission from the Space Force to the Navy, where he was promoted to the rank of Commodore. Blair's current ambitions are to see the first active-duty megacarrier, the TCS Midway, through its shakedown cruise, then begin an active semi-retirement consisting of research, teaching, and the occasional low-key public appearance.