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Gustavus "Ike" Ikeben is a Quaranian military and political leader who rose to prominence during the slave revolts of the Great Tyranny War.

Ikeben was born in 2758 on Yuta, one of Quaran's colonies, to merchant parents. When he reached the age of fifteen, he joined the naval academy and trained to become an officer. He served aboard numerous ships, and by the time he was 28, had command of his own vessel, the Questor.

In 2791, Ikeben survived the Drakodominatus Tyranny's attack on Quaran, and managed to evade capture and chipping with his surviving crew. For the duration of the Tyranny's occupation, he and his band of renegades committed acts of sabotage against their conquerors. At the end of 2791, his role in the Quaranian overthrow of the Dominatus awarded him provisional leadership over the Quaranians, a position which would thrust him to the forefront in the events of Attero Dominatus.

In early 2792, he created the United Free Peoples Coalition and quickly acquired for himself a vast domain. He led the nation during the Scorched Earth Campaign as it successfully repelled a Dominatus counter-invasion led by Grazvek Evisceratus. His forces then went on to confiscate vast amounts of territory from the Tyranny in Andromeda while he campaigned in the Katar Sector of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Early Career Edit

Upon graduating from the Quaranian military academy in 2778, Ikeben was stationed aboard the Girallion and given the rank of ensign. During his tenure aboard the Girallion, Ikeben was noted as a popular figure among the crew. His intelligence, quick wits, and acuteness of observation may have made him cocky during his early years, but they won him a promotion to Lieutenant and the affection of the aging Captain Villard.

When Captain Villard was transfered to a new command in 2785, he requested Ikeben come with him as his First Officer. The pair was assigned the Questor, a starship fresh off the conveyor belt. However, a year later, Villard was forced to endure a series of catastrophes in his personal and professional lives. Ikeben watched as his friend collapsed under the pressure and deteriorated into a helpless drunk, an experience that had a profound effect on his character. For months, Ikeben attempted to cover for his stricken friend, taking over his watches, doing his paperwork, and many other things that hid his true condition from command. The crew knew, however, and not many of them were as sympathetic to the old man as Ikeben was. They grew unruly and mutinous.

Disaster and Court Martial Edit

That which was inevitable happened. The Questor was caught in a precarious position, attempting to deal with a worker's protest turned bloody in 2786. Angry citizens had taken to the streets, and spurred on by the actions of extremists, had begun looting and pillaging shops and homes. A hardly sober Villard insisted on taking the operation despite Ikeben's interjections. To avoid a disaster, Ikeben attempted to relieve his friend of Command, only to be thrown into the brig.

As Ikeben had feared, Villard's handling of the situation was disastrous, resulting in the deaths of eleven civilians and four of his own men on the ground, many more were injured. In orbit, the crew mutinied, resulting in ten more deaths. Ikeben was freed from the brig and helped the mutineers capture the bridge, forcing Villard's capitulation. Ikeben assumed command of the Questor, and managed to resolve the growing crisis on the ground within a few hours. He then turned himself, the ship, the crew, and Villard over to the high command for judgement.

Captain Villard was immediately put through a court martial, in which many of his own men were called to testify against him. When Ikeben's involvement in concealing the captain's condition was discovered, he too was accused and granted a separate court martial. Captain Villard was convicted of abuse of command, unruly conduct, and general incompetence. He was summarily discharged from the service. However, Ikeben was acquitted after Villard himself testified in his favor, stating that his First Officer was only following his orders. It was judged that Ikeben's actions were honorable throughout, and as such he was left to replace Villard as Captain of the Questor.

The two trials had been widely sensationalized by the press. While Villard had been cast as the cruel drunk, Ikeben got off as the hero of the entire affair. He became a popular figure during the trial, and his acquittal was applauded throughout the Quaranian Republic.

Five years passed relatively uneventfully as Ikeben fulfilled the requirements and expectations of his command.

Drakodominatus Occupation Edit

Ikeben was in the process of delivering a Quaranian dignitary to a conference meant to resolve a trade dispute between corporations when the Tyranny invaded in 2791. In the initial attack, Questor barely avoided being blown to bits before crashing in one of Quaran's polar regions. Ikeben and the crew that survived disappeared into the Tundra with whatever supplies and weapons they could carry. They made their way south, evading Drakodominatus patrols.

Over the duration of the occupation, Ikeben and his men did whatever they could to impair the Tyranny, committing acts of sabotage and stockpiling weapons for later use. They couldn't look to the civilian population for help, however, as they all had been implanted with a chip that bound them to the Dominatus' will. For the duration of the occupation, Ikeben toyed with the idea of somehow removing the control chips, but all attempts to do so ended in the death of the patient.

Rebellion Edit

In late 2791, the Lazeroth Unity chose Quaran as a testing ground for its new weapon in its war against the Tyranny. It was a specially modulated subspace pulse that could theoretically fry all of the control chips that kept the population bound to the Dominatus' will. It worked. As fires erupted over Quaran, the entire slave population suddenly found itself free. Massive insurrections were staged by the brave, many of them armed and led by Ikeben and his men.

Using communication devices built from scrap salvaged from dumps and the occasional crashed starship, Ikeben attempted to direct and reign in the rioters lest they throw themselves into the line of fire of the Dominatus defenses. There was little he could do to stop them, however. He would later admit that they would all have been massacred had the Lazeroth not swept in there and then and showered the Dominatus' installments with deadly fire.

Ruler of the United Free Peoples Coalition Edit

Attero Dominatus Edit

Main article: Attero Dominatus

Several days later, the main Dominatus AI malfunctioned, instantly switching off all of the slave control chips. The result was massive insurrection everywhere. Ikeben took control of the chaotic subspace chatter that suddenly pervaded the quadrant, and broadcasted encouragements and advice to those in need. When the Dominatus' presence was finally eliminated from that sector of space, it was to Ikeben that the newly independent planets looked for leadership, but there was little he could do.

For now, he had to ensure the Quaranian's safety and survival. The Tyranny had left them with no food and no technology, which meant that Ikeben had to organize foraging parties to gather and hunt. He taught these these the basics of handling weapons, hoping that he might later be able to call upon them to fight if it was needed.

Founding the FPC Edit

Weeks later, he was approached by agents from the Draconid Imperium who gave him a program they had developed to override the AI's monopoly of the Tyranny's infrastructure. Once in place, the program allowed them access to the Tyranny's replicators, factories, and mines. The replicators guaranteed an ample and endless supply of food, water, and clothing, which meant that Ikeben could now put his people back to work building starships without fear of them starving. Once he had seen the effectiveness of the program himself, he broadcasted a version of that omitted the clause that would otherwise have given access to the factories to the entire quadrant. His rationale behind this act, Ikeben later explained to one of his officers, was that he if everyone gained access to the means by which to massively produce starships, order could never be maintained.

Now that his people's survival on Quaran was assured, he went about the creation of the People's Liberation Army. He personally attended the first trainings of the Liberation Marine Corp (LMC), and bought ship designs from the Draconis so that he might populate the People's Liberation Navy (PLN) with starships capable of rivaling the Tyranny's.

Once the PLN's first starship, the PLN Aegis was off the ground and crewed with competent personel, Ikeben was able to offer his protection to the other newly-freed planets around him. Immediately, many jumped on board and lent him their resources and manpower. Soon, Ikeben fielded an entire fleet of starships. As the PLN grew, so did his influence, as more systems opted to put themselves under his protection. The United Free People's Coalition was born.

Scorched Earth Campaign Edit

Main article: Scorched Earth Campaign

Failed Offensive Edit

Once the PLA had amassed enough starships and personel, Ikeben decided it was time to launch a preemptive strike against the Dominatus before they the time to regroup and fortify their position. As he prepared his armada, he recorded what would later come to be known as his Intervention Address. In it, he appealed to the Gigaquadrant's superpowers, urging them to declare war on the Tyranny for the sake of their own survival. Several days later, the armada was ready and poised to invade the Tyranny.

As the Foreign Office broadcasted the speech, Ikeben gave the order for the fleets to attack their designated planets. Unbeknownst to him, spies had been feeding information about the attack to the Tyranny, which meant that they were ready for his arrival and had prepared a plan of their own. Their strategy was to lure Ikeben's fleets into committing their strength to an orbital invasion, and then trap them in orbit as they scrambled to recover their craft. They knew, however, that Ikeben's ships could easily jump away once they recovered all of their assets, and thereby avoid destruction. To ensure the total annihilation of Ikeben's armada, they had positioned a minor fleet at the emergency jump coordinates Ikeben had picked before the battle began. It was at these coordinates the fleet would regroup if a general retreat was called. Since the fleet would still be recovering assets from the ground, ships would trickle to the rendezvous point and would easily be overwhelmed before they could jump to safety. Hence, the Tyranny would completely wipe out the entire PLA armada with minimal losses to themselves.

The Tyranny made a mistake, however: they killed off the entire slave population of the targeted planets to avoid having to pacify them once the PLA fried their control chips using technology acquired from the Lazeroth. This might have been a sound precaution in terms of the amount of casualties they might avoid on the ground, but it alerted Ikeben that the Tyranny was defending a strategically worthless objective. Before the Dominatus could close their trap around him, he ordered the entire fleet to retreat on the spot. Seconds later, the armada found itself at the emergency jump coordinates, facing a minor Drakodominatus force. Ikeben had little choice but to engage the Dominatus at point blank range while he waited for his fleets' jump drives to charge up again. He barely got them out of there before the Tyranny's reinforcements arrived.

The Tyranny Invades Edit

Having failed to destroy Ikeben's armada, the Tyranny immediately launched a two-pronged invasion of Coalition space. The first prong chased after the retreating armada with orders to destroy it, while the second remained behind to pacify coalition planets, presumably unhindered by the PLA. In response, Ikeben dissolved the armada into hundreds of small task forces which were ordered to jump back into contested space while he kept the pursuing Dominatus fleet busy with a sizable fleet of his own. The task forces were given various assignments meant to disrupt the Tyranny's movements. Some were instructed to jump ahead of the invasion force and drop off a contingent of marines specially trained in guerrilla tactics in the midst of the civilian population on a planet. Once the Tyranny invasion force arrived, those marines caused them no end of grief. Those planets whose capitulation to the enemy was inevitable had their infrastructures sabotaged, rendering them useless to the invaders.

Ikeben sent other task forces behind the Tyranny's lines to intercept shipments of fuel and supplies to the invasion force, effectively stranding them in the FPC's territory without resources. As the Tyranny's ships began to run out of fuel, the Tyranny's Commander desperately looked for a decisive battle with Ikeben's forces. The general was careful not to accord him one and instead harassed his opponents from all sides which forced them to chase after him until they had exhausted their fuel supply. When they floated, defenseless and without power in the depths of space, Ikeben finally gathered his armada and attacked. In the ridiculously one sided battle that ensued, the FPC was able to destroy the entire Dominatus Mark 2 fleet while taking no losses, an unprecedented disaster in Dominatus military history.

Taking the war to the Tyranny Edit

After regrouping his forces, Ikeben launched a counterattack against the Tyranny's forces, who were now also trying to fend off the navies of the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth. The PLA rolled through undefended pockets of Tyranny territory, though periodically met with stiff resistance in engagements like the Battle for the Katar Wormhole. Though the Tyranny had not yet been defeated, it was obvious that the bulk of the fighting in Andromeda was over for the PLA. Ikeben therefore took command of the PLA 1st Armada and led it through the wormhole into the Katar Sector, where he established a beachhead and made first contact with the Drodo Empire and the Sindar Dominion.

Tasan Crisis Edit

Main article: Tasan Crisis

After a few months of peaceful cooperation against the Tyranny, Ikeben met with dignitaries from the Katar powers to chalk up a formal alliance between them. However, the attempt was interrupted by a massive mutiny within the People's Liberation Army Expeditionary Force induced by Tyranny spies and saboteurs. During the initial uprising, Ikeben received two shots to the chest and fell into a coma. Without direction, the PLAEF fell into disarray and scattered.

Personality and Traits Edit

Ikeben's prowess as a commander and strategist is undeniable. His attention to detail and ability to project and anticipate the outcome of his actions are often referenced as critical to his success. In his days aboard the Girallion, he enjoyed proving his skill and confidence to friend and foe, and was noted for being not at all modest about it. He would find new ways to exercise his ability, only to find nobody willing to measure themselves against him as doing so would more often than not result in loss.

He grew increasingly serious and detached from the world as he aged however. As Coalitionary General, he does not tarry often, and speaks little more than the words necessary to issue his orders. He seems to test his subordinates every chance he gets, giving them tasks he could otherwise do himself to gauge their abilities. The fact that he rarely hides his aggravation at his officer's shortcomings makes him a poor commander of men.

Despite this, Ikeben seems to radiate confidence and uprightness, something that inspires loyalty and devotion in his subordinates. He also never fails to speak up whenever he thinks something is genuinely worthy of praise, and for some, his praise is a valued commodity.

When he is in a good mood or feels like the occasion calls for it, he can be genuinely pleasant and inviting, but it is a rare sight to see for any of his officers.

Well versed in history, he always seems to draw inspiration from great military minds of the past. He'll often speak of them with a certain reverence, especially of Quaranian Emperor Seral Taulan.

Personal Life Edit

From 2775 to 2780, Ikeben was involved with another cadet by the name of Val Adana. A year into their relationship, Andana gave birth to a healthy male she named Nathan. Paternity tests confirmed that Ikeben was the father, and he openly acknowledged the infant as his own. When they graduated in 2778, she and Ikeben were assigned to the Girallion.

After a year, Adana dropped out of the service, stating that she found juggling between her martial duties and those of motherhood far too difficult to adequately manage. Ikeben, it is said, was rather incompetent when it came to being a father, which meant that his being there alongside her was of little help. Despite her pleas, Ikeben would not retire from the service out of loyalty to Captain Villard to help her raise their child. Over the course of the next year, they communicated less and less until the relationship was formally ended in 2780.

Quotes Edit

It takes far more courage to admit to your enemy that you have lost –– and then live to face your allies afterwards. Ending it with a useless act of heroism can be thought as a form of cowardice.

- 2781

When in doubt, take the past of most resistance. They'll never see you coming.

- Scorched Earth Campaign