Space Lawyer! Pew pew!
|Real Name||Lyrette Coffey|
|Previous Profession||Guild Attorney|
|Current Ship||Snake Eyes|
|Current Alias||Karen Shoal|
|Talented (Lawyer)||Minor||Fightin’ Type (Sword)||Minor|
|Overconfident||Minor||Chip On Shoulder||Minor|
|Gun Combat (Pistol)||1||Language (English)||1||Language (Chinese)||1|
|Social Sciences (Psychology)||0||Social Sciences (?)||0||Stealth||0|
On the run from the law. A known criminal, declared a terrorist for non-specific crimes against the alliance. Her name and face are not necessarily “common knowledge,” although it is knowledge available to anyone who cares to do a quick search for her on the cortex. However, her name might ring some bells and stimulate a general feeling of ill-ease for anyone who keeps up with the news. It is comparable to Simon on Firefly— There was a bounty on his head that a few people were aware of and actively pursuing, and a certain percentage of citizens might recognize his name as something that meant trouble even if they didn’t remember his face, but for people not frequently checking police bulletins he was usually able to get away with moving around in public so long as he took care to use a false name and a forged IdentCard.
For a real world example of her level of notoriety, most Americans (though not all) might not recognize a “known” but low ranking member of Al-Qaeda if they happened to run into one at the grocery store, but anyone could do a quick Google search and know all they need to know about why that person is wanted and how much the reward is. They’d just need a reason to do the Google search, given most of us don’t check to see if everyone we meet have a bounty on their heads.
At game start, she is eeking out a living on the rim with many temporary jobs as she travels from place to place, most commonly as a cook, posing as a fortune teller, or as a duelist or sword dancer.
Childhood: Lean Times
Born to Nathaniel and Geraldine Coffey on Lilac, a tiny rim world subject to frequent reaver raids.
Seeking employment and Alliance protection against reaver violence, Nathaniel and Geraldine immigrated to the mining world of Regina when Lyrette was five and her younger brother Dominic was one year old. Two years after the move a third child, Shelley, was born into the family, although her father made little effort to hide his suspicions that the boy was not his.
Shortly after Shelley’s birth, Geraldine was crippled in a mining accident that resulted in the loss of both of her legs. Medical attention was difficult and unreliable to obtain, and ensuring that Geraldine was able to see a doctor on the few occasions that one was available was extremely expensive. Health care bills (and bribes) became more than the family could bear. In response to the increasing financial pressures and the deterioration of his relationship with his wife and youngest son, Nathaniel turned to the bottle. As his drinking increased, along with the signs that he was beginning to develop Bowden’s malady, it became more and more difficult for him to keep a job, only deepening the family’s financial hole.
Geraldine herself is filled with bitterness over the loss of her legs, and both parents took their rage out on their children. Both are also furious with the Alliance for dropping them off on a colony with such poor conditions and not providing appropriate medical care.
As a child, Lyrette did not blame the Alliance for the family’s troubles, instead focusing her resentment on her parents for never taking responsibility for their own circumstances. She was too young to remember the reports of reavers devastating nearby towns on Lilac, and so her parents’ decision to immigrate to a dangerous dump like Regina looked like an inexplicable and reprehensibly bad idea to her. Because of her parents’ various dysfunctions, she was forced into the role of looking after her two brothers are a very early age. She has very few fond childhood memories. Although later in life she would send money to her parents to help support them, this was not something she would ever feel very good about doing.
From the age of six, Lyrette began attending the local school, which had only three rooms that had to be shared amongst all the grades. Older children rarely remained in school past their early teenage years, because their family’s needed the extra income of sending their children to work, sometimes in the dangerous mines. It was likely Lyrette would disappear into this same fate, but in what was to be her final year in school, at age 12, a representative from the Guild of Companions visited Regina on a PR mission of “noblesse oblige” charity. The companion donated money to expand the school and hire a new teacher. As part of the small media event surrounding the donation, the school children were coached into putting on a performance to entertain and thank the companion for her generosity. The performance was bad, typical grade school dreck, but the companion nevertheless took an interest in Lyrette for her part in one of the simple dances and proposed to Lyrette’s family that she be taken back to Sihnon to be trained as a future companion.
Her parents consented with mixed emotions, at once glad for the relief of one less mouth to feed and proud that one of their children would be selected for such a “respectable” place in society, and on the other hand reluctant to give up the help that Lyrette provided with the younger children and the possibility of her finding local work and providing an immediate boost to their income within the year. Lyrette herself was overjoyed to leave the abusive and desperate situation with her parents, until she realized that she would not be allowed to bring her two brothers with her. Feeling that she was betraying and abandoning them to an uncertain fate, she attempted to refuse the offer, but ultimately her parents decided for her. Before her departure, Dominic and Shelley gifted her a small, warm metal disc that they had found while playing in an abandoned quarry, and been keeping secret for fear their parents’ would take their special treasure and sell it.
Teenage Years: Companion Training
Lyrette did well under the tutelage of the companions, to the extent that she learned the rituals, memorized and recited poetry, sang and danced, and yet she never received very high marks in the majority of her subjects. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how to do these things; just that her instructors insisted that she did them without “heart,” performing all her tasks passably but mechanically, without putting the sort of soul into them that made them truly sensual. Most of them felt that this child was resentful and a little too on edge to put other people at ease. In a nutshell, not companionable enough to be a companion. The areas where she did excel and receive high marks were psychology, cooking, and swordplay. Even this last eventually frustrated her instructors, despite her enthusiasm and natural aptitude, due to a bad habit of challenging other students to duels more than even her fencing instructors thought was appropriate.
At the age of 16 she was at best a middle-of-the-pack student, but on track to graduate and become a working companion very soon. Unfortunately, at a ball where the young companions-to-be were supposed to be networking with the rich and powerful men (and women) who would one day be their clients, Lyrette lost her temper with a young lord whose flirting she felt was disrespectful, and challenged him to a duel.
The guild priestesses were mortified by her behavior, and immediately removed her from the school, telling her she would never be a companion. However, loathe to waste talent and intelligence, they instead transferred her to study and apprentice under the many, many lawyers that the Guild keeps, where she finally discovered a constructive outlet for her combative nature. Because of her excellent performance as an apprentice, the guild eventually helped sponsor her entrance into university (graduated with honors) and then graduate school (again graduating with honors) where she received her master’s degree in law. She took full advantage of the many programs offered by the schools, and studied abroad on several Core and near-Core worlds as an undergrad, then did her graduate internship on an Alliance city-ship that traveled far and wide. This experience left her with a broader knowledge of culture, and an excellent ear for the various accents and dialects of English and Chinese spoken all over the Verse.
Young Adult: Start of Law Career
By 22, she was beginning to work her first cases for the Guild. During these first few years, she was competent and popular, but received few promotions. The chief reason for this popularity as well as the main block to her advancement was that this was her first real experience with having extra money. Growing up worse than broke, and then being cared for by the Guild, she had never had her own money to spend before, and the experience took some getting used to. Her nights were filled with wild parties, generally under the veiled excuse of entertaining clients or colleagues, and the Guild’s companion training had taught her how to have expensive and cultured tastes in wine, clothes, food, clubs, even lovers.
At the end of her first year as a paralegal, she had a number of cases under her belt, many friends, and expected that she would receive a promotion for the hard work she had done between hangovers. Unfortunately, another paralegal, Zhia-wou, who had been placed under Lyrette’s supervision and was tired of being at her beck and call, went behind her back while she was out carousing and took the credit for some of Lyrette’s best work. For this backstabbing, Lyrette delivered a more literal stabbing, drawing blood in a formal duel where blood was not within the rules, and gained Zhia-wou as a permanent rival.
Bundles of Joy and Complication
At 24, Lyrette became romantically involved with Clayton Yearsley, a defendant in one of her cases. The affair was kept quiet due to the conflict of interest in the case, but the brief romance was nevertheless intense and Lyrette accepted a proposal of marriage from her beau, planning to announce their engagement after the trial was over. To her dismay, the trial ended in Clayton’s guilt being declared, and all the charges he had sworn to her were trumped up turned out to be all too true. It was official; Clayton was a mobster. Horrified, Lyrette called off the engagement and sought to keep that it had ever occurred a secret from the Guild, though to her dismay many of Clayton’s disreputable friends were aware that she had been his fiancée.
She took a year’s sabbatical after being burned by this relationship, ostensibly to travel and spend some time with the family that she had left behind on Regina. In reality, she was hiding a pregnancy that had resulted from her involvement with Clayton. Her daughter, Odette, was brought back to Sihnon and placed primarily in the care of a foster family in order to keep the child off the Guild’s radar and out of the public eye, although Lyrette visited frequently and maintained a strong presence in her life along with legal guardianship.
When she returned to work, it was with a renewed focus, and she began to advance very quickly. Eventually, she would become a highly competent and respected Guild lawyer, dividing her time between working on Sihnon and stations on corporate spaceships that traveled between the Core worlds where the Guild had strong presences. The Guild would often choose to capitalize on her angry nature by using her in cases where they were not seeking a reasonable compromise, but rather wished to publicly crush and humiliate someone who had done them wrong through the “polite” guise of the courtroom. Though her official affiliation was with the Guild, Lyrette occasionally took on other cases, either as charity work or because she had been offered money too good to refuse. The only constraint on her was that she was not allowed to take on cases that somehow conflicted with the Guild’s interests, but even without this contractual stricture, she had little desire to cross the organization that had lifted her from a life of poverty and introduced her to the pleasures of the Verse. In this time she made an embarrassing amount of money, and acquired other assets such as stocks and property on Sihnon, becoming a true part of the “new rich.”
Luck Runs Out
When her daughter Odette was a pre-teen, Odette received an invitation to join a government sponsored, private boarding academy. It had an exciting program, and Lyrette, conscious of the gifts she had received in her own youth, encouraged her to take advantage of the opportunity. That it was a boarding school also doubled as another useful way of keeping the girl out of the public eye, reducing the chances Lyrette’s unintentional and potentially career-ending ties to the mob would be revealed.
However, after Odette departed for the school, Lyrette became frustrated when attempting to arrange a time to visit her beloved daughter. The school always had some reason why it would be better if she waited until the following month to see her daughter. When the school would not even permit Odette to come home for Holidays or “summer” break (summer being a relative concept when multiple planets are concerned), her anger turned to alarm. Willing to risk revealing Odette’s origins in order to get her returned, Lyrette threatened the school with legal action, and began to do some digging, seeking out other familys whose children had also disappeared into the mysterious academy, encouraging them to speak to one another and join a class action against the academy.
Almost immediately, and to her complete shock, she discovered that her accounts had been frozen, and she was forced to flee her own home in the middle of the night when she discovered that the alliance had inexplicably labeled her a terrorist and posted a reward for her capture, dead or alive. She took some of the cash and objects of value that had been in her home when she fled, but has since hidden much of it on various planets in true buried-treasure style.
Given that it is difficult to practice the law as an outlaw, she has had to support herself on the run with various and sundry tasks and rackets; At times, she used her companion training to dance and entertain, took jobs as cooks, did fortune telling, and when she had to, used her talents as a duelist. In these wanderings she acquired a sweet sword of superior quality.
She’s also been teaching herself marksmanship in response to the need to protect herself from government officials, and keeps a loaded pistol on her person at all times.
In addition to her daughter, she misses her younger brothers and former colleagues, but fears to contact them in case they become targets as well via their association with her. She travels the verse seeking answers as to why her own government would kidnap her child, and so violently refuse her the basic parental right of seeing her offspring. What loyalty she had for the alliance is gone; while a few years ago she never would have believed the reports about Miranda, she is now convinced the government is capable of nearly anything.
Though the Guild does not publicly support her as she is now considered a terrorist, she may still have contacts there who would not believe her capable of true evil, despite her occasional anger management issues, and might aid her if she were able to contact them.