Ranso Loughman

Security Expert


Ranso is a half-Norweigan, half-Irish Terran in his mid-30s. His eyes are the first thing people tend to notice since they are completely black with faint grey irises. He is of average height and average build, but he is very deft and quick for his size.

He tends to carry himself with a great deal of confidence even when in the company of thieves, relying on his experience in such situations to see him through. He is skilled with a variety of weapon types, but focuses mainly on gauss rifle and blaster pistol use. In fact, he is rarely seen without his brand new Yamatsu Detective on his belt holster.

His general style of dress still resembles Terran landsider more than the typical spacer.


The muted buzzer from the corridor announced the docking procedure had begun.

Ranso opened his eyes and rubbed his face wearily. The confining no-frills cabin he was able to purchase was barely larger than a closet turned on its side. They had been put to sleep for the journey and he felt the air clearing again, though it still reeked like the bed of a man who hadn’t showered in days.

He glanced upward and saw the light filtering through the translucent cover of his pod, faint shadows passing over it occasionally indicating the other passengers were beginning to move around in the narrow hall. Ranso rubbed his eyes briefly before looking to the side at the small chrome mirror on the wall.

Three years to the day and he could still never quite get used to how the enhancements made him look. Where whites would be on any other person, a dark obsidian could be seen. The iris colour he was born with was green, but now they were a faint grey on the deep black with pupils just as dark as the rest of the eye.

Enhancements, he thought and snorted in derision.

Eight years before he was a junior security guard for Halcyon, a major drug and cybernetics corporation on Earth. They were massive and were purveyors of ultra high tech. He did his job and kept his mouth shut, just like he was hired to do. About four years into the gig a senior official needed to travel and he was selected to be on the crew. He liked it because for a week he could wear decent clothes and not that scratchy, tope coloured uniform that made him look like a grub.

As luck or providence would have it, the executive was targeted that week by a cell of anti-commercial terrorists. Ranso saw the attack coming and dove on top of the executive, named Karl Zubrev. The resulting fight saw eight dead, two of which were Halcyon security. Zubrev shoved Ranso away from him and scolded him for messing up his suit.

Even with the negative reaction Ranso still managed to get assigned to executive details. He seemed to be able to read people well and had a talent for the bodyguard skill set. Eventually he was guarding the top level VPs and was making a name for himself. It was then that they told him to continue being security he needed to get monthly physicals.

They were paying a decent amount, so he agreed. The treatments were on their dime too. The doctors immediately found initial signs of cancer. A more than treatable disease these days. So, they brought him in for injections. Ranso was no doctor, so he assumed everything was on the up and up.

About six weeks after the first injections of the strange silver-green serum he noticed he was getting… better. At first he had thought it was just because his body wasn’t going to die that he felt better. But it was strangely piqued. His senses were sharper. His reactions were swifter and he just felt good overall. He liked the changes… until he was shot one day.

He took a gauss shard blast to the chest while he was protecting the VP of R&D, who was one of his more frequent clients. The wound should have laid him up for weeks, but he was walking around like nothing happened within 7 days. They scanned him and said they never did find the small gauss projectile filaments.

That was when Ranso started to get worried. The next day he went in for a treatment he managed to get a few minutes alone with a scanner. On the display, he could clearly see what the scanner labeled nanites moving around his body. They were everywhere.

The next day he confronted the VP of R&D, James Latimer, about what was happening. Latimer almost gloated when he admitted they were experimenting on him. But what could Ranso do about it? Nothing, he said. Latimer very clearly said he was no longer his own person now, but a product of R&D, a thing with no more rights than a scanner or datapad. He also told Ranso that if he didn’t toe the company line on it they would remove the nanites, which would probably kill him.

Through heroic effort Ranso managed to acquiesce, but he could tell Latimer had made the decision to have the technology removed. Ranso went about his day as he normally would, then he used his training at the company to smuggle himself out of the building and on a transport for Mars. By the time they discovered what had happened he had managed to buy some alternate segs (DNA segments that were used in the scanning at some customs points) and left Sol forever.

He sighed. That was when he heard of Tortuga, the old gas mine that never paid off and was left to fend for itself. It had become a den of rogues and misfits, but it was one of the last bastions of true freedom in the ‘verse. He spent most of the money had buying a decent vacc suit so he could find work there. With a little luck he could find a berth on a vessel here and make himself useful. He hoped useful enough to not be sold back to the corps at the first opportunity.

He sniffed and put on his Tyber shades and pulled himself free from the coccoon-like bunk. Two metres away he found the gear closet and plugged his card in. The door released with a beep and he checked his gear. The suit was still there and, more importantly, so was Vicky, his finely crafted Wuhan MR6 with an underbarrel gyroc launcher. He didn’t win it in a card game or anything exotic like that. He bought it with his hard earned wages, modifications and all at the company store. He stuffed everything in his pack and moved out among the jostling of the other passengers.

“Name?” the barrel-chested and filth-covered official said as he stepped up. Ranso’s eyes watered from the stench of his breath. The man appeared to be a fan of Groth, a yeast-and-soy-derived alcoholic beverage that was a little like beer and soup at the same time.
“Kleber,” said Ranso. “Jake Kleber.” He held up the seg card to scan.

The man looked at the card and his face screwed into a scowl. “Whadya think we are around here, boy? Do you see a damn ident on anyone? In our experience the only druzes who try to get by on scanners r’ wasters or narcos. Which are you, bub? We kill narcos on sight ‘round here.”

Narcos was a derogatory slang for contractors of the interstellar police force that the corporations had grudgingly pooled their money to fund when it became apparent that hiring a small garrison on every ship was financially unacceptable. Narcos were paid piecemeal for captured criminals. The pieces were usually heads. They were universally regarded as scum. One step above the criminals they hunted by honest folk and lower than the ground under a dungpile by the criminals.

“I’m not a narco,” Ranso said. He had casually shifted his hand to rest on the handle of the Yamatsu on his hip.

The other man did not miss the gesture and laughed. “You might live the night then,” he said. “Two rules here: Don’t steal from the guild, and, when you get caught stealing from the guild don’t be a bitch about it. We hate whiners. Next!”

Ranso Loughman

Tortuga2500 Kaldrin