Коля is the 24th bearer of his name in succession – meaning that his father, his father’s father and 22 fathers before them gave this name to their first born son. Not that it means anything in social terms, but to a Николай Николаевич Николаев, it means that he is from an ancient and honorable lineage of Николайs’. Any Николай Николаевич Николаев, who has a shorter lineage than Николай Николаевич Николаев XXIV (exempt the fore members of his own lineage), is beneath him, as are all others who aren’t able to track their lineage as far as him. Consequently, this attitude gets Николай Николаевич Николаев XXIV in a lot of trouble, as the rest of the worlds does not share his appreciation for him and his lineage. To the rest of the worlds, Николай Николаевич Николаев XXIV is just the son of a bank clerk from a backwater planet with strange customs, clothes, and names.

Коля left home at the age of 17 to join his planet’s defense forces. This may not have been the first place with an asymmetric appreciation for his lineage, but by far the harshest. Here, Коля learned that a blast charge does not stop in mid-air and change its trajectory to avoid hitting someone with a long, honorable and noble lineage. Also, Коля didn’t exactly like being yelled at, especially not when yelling back got him a penalty of 20. 20 pushups, that is. In the first two weeks of basic training, Коля had to do a lot of penalty pushups, and his arms were consequently too sore to pick up a weapon, leave alone aim it properly. The aiming got better, as did Коля’s upper body strength, but his spirit remained unbroken, as well as his insolence. Since the planetary defense forces needed any able-bodied person to fend off the Imperium, Коля was not ejected from an airlock after basic training, but placed in the infamous B-Company, where soldier turnover was vast; if you asked anyone in the B-Company, for most it was like being shoved out an airlock with a weapon in your hand. Коля however prospered in this atmosphere, loaded with ion bolts, laser beams and bullets.

In the end, all of Коля’s fervor couldn’t prevent his home planet from falling to the Imperium, they were technologically far more advanced and too many in number to be beaten in a direct confrontation. The natural consequence for Коля was to join the underground resistance against the Imperium, in which his desperate hope lay to free his home from the yoke of the heavy Imperial tithes and reparations. If Коля hadn’t been the person to bury his pride during his military career, now certainly was not the time to do so, much to the frustration of those who deemed themselves his superiors. Коля frequently disregarded their commands to terrorize the populace, who were collaborating with the Imperium, and surprised the Imperial occupation forces with his near-suicidal attacks on their convoys. Коля was injured innumerable times during these exploits, but no matter how dense the air was with lead and laser bolts, Коля stood his ground. High was the turnover of comrades during this time, Коля often being the sole survivor of the encounters with the Imperial occupation forces, which eventually gained him the reputation of being bullet-proof.

But all things come to an end. Коля was not alone in his belief that the collaborators should be left alone, but his allies in this cause were few and far between. Terrorist attacks on shops and restaurants that dealt with the occupiers were frequent, and the civilian casualties were nearly as high as the military’s. If the local security forces were lenient and sympathetic with the underground in the beginning, they cracked down on them more and more with each civilian that was killed in the crossfire. Коля was beset by the locals as well for his connections to the underground, and even though his reputation kept the worst of the heat from him, he was nonetheless forced to defend himself from the occasional hot-shot bounty hunter or fanatical security officer. As these attacks became more frequent, Коля was starting to kill more locals in self-defense than occupational forces. As a Николай Николаевич Николаев XXIV, it was time to make a choice: Go into hiding until grass grew over his involvement with the terrorists, or turn himself in. It took Коля a split second to man his hover bike and ride to the police station. Hiding to avoid combat was a cowards way, and a Николай Николаевич Николаев XXIV was everything but!

Коля was offered a deal to deliver the leaders of the Resistance on his home planet to the Imperium; in exchange, he would be granted his life. If there was anything that Коля despised as much as cowardice, it was cowardice’s brother betrayal. It will be a few generations before a Николай Николаевич Николаев XXV is born.


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