Stars & Garters
A human paragon, this RAF flying ace is set to target Hitler's Nazi menace head on.
Rip Scarlett (900 pt. Character)
Human Male Paragon Fighting Ace
Init: 24; Senses: Perception 7/7
Languages: Arabic, English, Italian
Defences: physical 14/7 (9/7 flat-footed), mental 6/7, mystical 7/7, fear effects: 7/7
Health: Body: 7, Mind: 7, Spirit: 7
Hero Points: 31
Speed: 30 ft. (walk)
Melee Unarmed Strike 9/7
Ranged Thompson Submachine 9/5
Base Attack 9/6; Grapple 7/7
Abilities: Dex 9, Str 6, Body 7, Int 6, Will 7, Mind 7, Influ 7, Aura 6, Sprt 7
Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Skills: Acrobatics (Dodging): 5, Gadgetry: 7, Martial Artist: 7, Military Science: 7, Thief (Stealth): 5, Vehicles: 5
Advantages: Connection: British Royal Air Force (High), Connoisseur, Gadgets (See Equipment), Intensive Training, Languages (Arabic & Italian), Rank: Lieutenant, Scholar (Navigation)
Drawbacks: Archenemy (Black Omega), Altered Anatomy, Secret Identity
Occupation: RAF Fighter Pilot
Equipment: Custom de Havilland BMk IV Mosquito Light Bomber [Str: 5, Body: 7, EV: 8, Flight: 9, Radio Communication: 10, R#: 2], Thompson Submachine [Body: 4, AV: 5, EV: 5, Ammo: 8, Range: 5, R#: 3], Repair Kit [10 APs], plane-sized camouflaged tarp
Notes: All player characters benefit from Credentials: Allied Military (low)
Nigel Hollingbrook was the eighth child born to Mary and Eustace Hollingbrook in Yorkshire on July 1st 1911. His father was a successful newspaper writer who provided a good life for his wife and large family early on in Nigel’s life.
After the Great War broke out in the summer of 1914, Nigel’s father Eustace volunteered to fight with the Royal Flying Corps, the new service of the military dedicated to flying the new aeroplanes, the latest breakthrough in war fighting machinery.
The Hollingbrook family however was shocked to learn that Eustace was killed in the summer of 1916 on a scouting mission over Belgium. The loss was devastating for Mary Hollingbrook, who went to work in a munitions factory to help pay for the cost of raising the eight children on her own.
Life in York
Eventually the Great War ended, and Nigel’s mother Mary lost her job when the munitions plant she worked at closed. To make ends meet the family moved into the house of Nigel’s aunt and uncle on his mother’s side in York. The living conditions were quite cramped, and from an early age Nigel found the only time he could really have to himself was when he was outside on the streets of York.
Nigel had great difficulty in school, often getting into conflicts with teachers and other students, often being sent home from school after several lashes for being in fights, fights Nigel almost never started but always finished. After several such schoolyard fights by the time Nigel was twelve in 1923, rumors started to circulate around his school and his neighbourhood that he was some sort of freak, as injuries that should have severely hurt others in fights were brushed off by him.
This reputation led to great isolation on Nigel’s part, withdrawing a great deal from any kind of socializing with friends and family.
Franklin Bonechester and the Transvaal
In 1926, Mary Hollingbrook received a letter from a Mr. Franklin Bonechester in the Union of South Africa inviting her and her children down to his estate in the rural province of Transvaal. Mary did not know this man, but decided to go regardless as she believed it would do her family good to get away from the cramped damp weather of Yorkshire for a time being.
The family was greeted warmly by Mr. Bonechester, who turned out to be a successful elderly railroad baron. He told Mary and her children that he was good friends with their father’s father and wanted to have them all over for a visit as an act of kindness in the name of their late father.
The family loved their stay in South Africa, but after a month Mary decided it was time for the family to return to Yorkshire. It was then that old Mr. Bonechester confided a secret to young Nigel, who he had grown the closest too over the month.
Bonechester confessed that he was not a friend of Nigel’s father’s father, but the brother of Eustace’s father and Nigel’s great uncle. He explained that years earlier he had enlisted in the British Army to fight for Queen and Country in the wilds of colonial Africa when he was known as Anthony Hollingbrook.
In a skirmish the Zulu however he deserted his post, to his ever lasting shame, leaving his comrades to die in battle as he alone survived. He explained that he had since made a good name for himself as Franklin Bonechester, had gone to great lengths to support Great Britain in South Africa, but always wanted more than anything to reconnect with at least one member of his family before it was too late.
Nigel was shocked to learn this, at first he considered this man, his great uncle to be a coward for deserting his post, compared to his own father who died a hero with the Royal Flying Corps. However Nigel soon came to sympathize with the man, when he told him how he himself could brush off injuries that normally would have wounded others more critically. Nigel then decided to stay in South Africa with his great uncle, and over the next five years learned everything about the finer and sophisticated lifestyle of the elite, as well as how the railroad industry worked.
Nigel also took an interest in a small single aircraft freight company Franklin Bonechester owned, quickly learning to fly the old aircraft for his great uncles company.
In 1932 Franklin Bonechester passed away, but died happily knowing he had rekindled his relationship with his estranged family. He left all of his wealth and property to Nigel, who after sending a large amount of the wealth home to Yorkshire in England, settled in to his role as head of the Bonechester Railway Company and Northern Transvaal Aero Freight.
While the Bonechester Railway Company was mainly left to be run by its board of directors, Nigel personally oversaw the growth and management of the Northern Transvaal Aero Freight Company. Under his watch it expanded from a single aircraft to a dozen aircraft by 1938, employing more than fifty personel, including pilots, mechanics and labourers, both white and black, a fact Nigel insisted upon in the face of considerable racial prejudice in the rural province.
Nigel became a pupil of sorts to a mechanic named Malusi, an old Zulu veteran of the Royal Flying Corps himself who taught Nigel everything he knew of airplane mechanics and the nature of flying. Nigel would often say years later that he could not have ever hoped to understand airplanes as he came to if not for the tutorship of Mr. Malusi.
By 1939 Nigel was flying cargo runs regularly for his freight company across all of South Africa, and even neighbouring Rhodesia.
The Legend of Black Omega and the Island of New Thule
In early 1939 an old veteran of the Royal Flying Corps traveled from his home in Scotland to visit Nigel in the Transvaal. There he told Nigel of a fantastic story of adventure and tragic demise.
An old veteran named Angus McPolly told Nigel that his father, being a skilled pilot, had been part of an expedition during the Great War. The expedition intended to establish a British presence on a newly discovered island deep in the southern Atlantic Ocean dubbed “New Thule”. New Thule was a considerably large island, surrounded by rocky reefs and often shrouded in fog. The island had been discovered by accident when a British destroyer tracked a German U-Boat to the island.
After the island’s discovery, the governments of Germany, France and England all rushed to establish small but strong military outposts on the island to prevent the other side from having a new naval outpost.
With resources stretched thin, Angus explained, only a few ships could be sent by Britain at first to help build a small airbase. Eustace Hollingbrook was one of those ships Angus explained, and under the command of Lord Harker, he helped set up a small but vital airbase on the island to patrol for German ships.
One day in 1916 Eustace was on patrol over the coast of the New Thule when he was engaged by a single German bi-plane, launched from a cruiser. Eustace dueled in the sky for almost an hour with the mysterious bi-plane, painted entirely black except for a white seal the bore the symbol of a black omega.
Eustace was sadly bested, and small Royal Navy detachment was caught off guard and defeated by the oncoming German forces. The remaining British and French forces had to withdraw from the island, and attempted a month later to retake it.
By then however the island could no longer be found, and no trace was ever again registered in the war of the German boats that had attached the British and French on New Thule, the mysterious Black Omega aircraft, or the island of New Thule itself. The whole affair was kept secret Angus explained, and no official mention of New Thule has ever been made since.
The old veteran brought with him several photographs of the island as well as a map of the last known location of the island, before it seemed to disappear. Nigel thanked the old man for the information, but asked why he had decided to come now to tell this to Nigel.
Angus said it was simply because he saw a photograph of several German made airplanes flying in the recent Spanish Civil War, one of which was painted black, and bore the exact same Black Omega symbol.
The Outbreak of War
In September of 1939, Germany invaded Poland, and Great Britain once again found itself at war with Germany. Nigel, wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, left the care of his estate in the hands of his siblings who had since come to live in South Africa and board of directors, and left South Africa on a private vessel he chartered for himself and a hundred other men wanting to volunteer to fight for King and Country.
The vessel left the port of Cape Town in mid September of 1939 and headed straight for England. On the second day of their voyage however they were seized by an Italian merchant raider, who claimed that they were an Albanian freighter, whom they had a right to seize as they were at war with Albania. Nigel protested this claim, but to no avail, and the ship and it’s passengers were taken prisoner.
Captive in Italian North Africa
Nigel and his brothers in captivity were brought to Italian North Africa, and after being processed in the Italian port of Tripoli, were put to work in a citrus plantation under the control of a corrupt Italian noble named Count Tragulli.
Nigel and his fellow captives toiled in the citrus plantation for almost a year under the watchful eye of Tragullu’s armed guards, along side of Africans, Arabs and even Italians opposed to Mussolini’s rule. While alongside these men Nigel learned to speak Italian, and even fluent Arabic as well. The leader of the Arabic prisoners was a man named Patul, the leader of the Italian political prisoners was a man named Lucciano Montradano, and together with Nigel all the prisoners of Tragullu’s plantation hatched an escape plan.
With Nigel and Patul escaping from their cells in the middle of the night ahead of the rest of their escaping comrades, the two men commandeered a small crop dusting aircraft, which was then filled with several makeshift petrol bombs, which were used to assault Tragullu’s men from the air while they slept in their barracks. Soldiers who got out of the barracks were also shot at and neutralized by Patul in the aircraft.
After several passes of the barracks the entire structure was destroyed, and most Italian soldiers had surrendered to the prisoner army. The count himself however made a valiant last stand on the roof of his villa against the onslaught of the prisoner army. Many prisoners died trying to take the position held by the count and his single machine gun nest, it took Nigel literally flying his plane at low altitude over the head of the count, slicing him to pieces with his planes propeller to finally vanquish the fiend.
With the entire prisoner army now friend the men took over two boats used to transport citrus fruit to mainland Italy, and sailed the boats to the South of France.
Adventures in Europe
The prisoner army, lead by Nigel, Patul and Lucciano had to fight their way north through France as the country fell to the invading Germans, and undertook a daring mission to help their comrades and many Englishmen escape capture in the Evacuation of Dunkirk.Over the next year and a half Nigel fought bravely for England in the service of the RAF, fighting in the Battle of Britain, over the skies of Malta, in Greece and again in North Africa.
Nigel was even issued a personalized prototype aircraft by the chairman of the de Havilland Aircraft Company, a twin engine high speed bomber named the Mosquito. The plane was a personal gift from the chairman because his own son was one of the men Nigel had rescued in the evacuation from Dunkirk.
Colonel Romney and the Allied Initiative
By early 1942, Nigel, who by then had risen to the rank of Flight Lieutenant was had become quite well reported in the British press as a state hero. Early on his higher ups in the RAF had suggested that he adopt a pseudonym by which to fly under as to not attract too much attention that could negatively affect his family back in Yorkshire.
Nigel opted to go with the name Rip, as his friends had taken to calling him based on the ripping speed he could bring his Mosquito to achieve. He also chose the name Scarlet, as a tribute to the character of Robin Hood lore Will Scarlet, who his mother Mary always told him was a distant ancestor of his. Finally he named his personal Mosquito the Lady White Rose, in honor of the House of York, whom his family had fought for years earlier in the War of the Roses.
Early that same year Nigel, now known by his comrades and superiors as Rip was summoned for a meeting with Sir Arthur Harris at the RAF’s headquarters in London. Harris was the RAF’s Air Officer Commander in Chief, known by the boys in service as Butcher Harris.
At the meeting Harris congratulated Nigel on his skill as a pilot and his many adventures in service of King and Country. He also introduced Nigel to an American colonel named Romney, who was interested Nigel was told in forming a team of crack commando specialists under the command of an organization known as the OSS which was about to be created.
The colonel simply said that Nigel, as far as he was concerned, would make for a damn fine part of the Allied Initiative.
First Appearance: Issue #2 Operation Inferno