May 21st 2014
No one knows where Dean Kellar came from. There are rumors, as there always are; some claim he was born in Terra, others say the slums of Angeli. Some say he came from a family of military pilots, to explain his aptitude in flight. Others surmise that his family must have been shippers, based on his keen knowledge of shipping practices. Still others think he was born on QuarterDeck, hence his violent temper. The man himself did little to validate any of the theories, generally acknowledging every origin presented to him as the truth.
The first confirmed fact occurred in Banshee System. Kesseli Police responded to a frantic emergency call reporting an attempted robbery in the zone’s temporary hangars. When they entered the hangar, they found the caller bound and unconscious at their feet and a twelve-year old Dean Kellar trying to figure out how to fire missiles at the sealed hangar doors when Police managed to gain access to the ship and subdue him. According to the police report, he didn’t go down without a fight, setting the tone for the life that he was about to embark on.
As he bounced between juvenile detention centers, the judges who oversaw his cases tried to view the young boy’s behavior as adolescent rage, as something that could be conditioned out of him, a viewpoint that he loved to exploit. By the time he was seventeen, Kellar had seven convictions for violent crimes and the advocate courts were running out of patience.
There was one thing that Kellar always displayed genuine affection for: ships. He would scour the spectrum looking for any text or specs he could find.
In the aftermath of a particularly brutal riot in the Kiritov Youth Rehabilitation Center instigated by Kellar, the judge finally consigned the young man to a stretch on QuarterDeck, hoping that a prolonged stay on the prisonworld would change his ways.
The man that walked off QuarterDeck was indeed changed. Abandoning his quick temper and thirst for the high of adrenaline, he had become a professional. Kellar picked up work as a block-runner and sometime enforcer for the Ligo Crew, a network of smugglers. The work put him in the cockpit for the first time. To say he took to it naturally is an understatement.
The Ligo Crew enjoyed an explosion of success, amplified by the fact that Kellar spent his free time hunting the Crew’s rivals, compromising their ships so authorities could catch them.
Meanwhile, an interesting phenomenon was occurring elsewhere in the UEE. While Cathcart had always been the definition of a lawless system, a cluster of neighboring systems had not passed assessment for terraforming, so the UEE did not claim them. It was in these unclaimed systems that a lawless community was growing. While Spider was the de facto ‘capital,’ the system at the center, creatively named Nexus, was fast becoming a rival hub, generating speculation that they were trying to organize an independent government. While the UEE kept an eye on the systems, the inhabitants were generally keeping to themselves.
By the time Dean Kellar came to Nexus, he had built quite the resumé. Responsible for ultimately killing the Ligo Crew after a ‘difference in opinion’ over the group’s direction, he bounced from syndicate to syndicate; executing assassination contracts – specifically empty casket jobs – to accrue more and more ships, building a rather extensive bounty along the way.
But it wouldn’t be his past that landed him in the archives of history. It started with a disagreement over ships. Kellar had been laying low for several months in the NKZ section of Spider. While drinking in one of the seedier establishments, Kellar struck up a conversation with another customer. It wasn’t long before Kellar grew frustrated with the man, who refused to acknowledge that Anvil’s latest line of maneuvering thrusters were basically the previous model but with a different paint job. The disagreement quickly escalated from there until Kellar executed the patron with a pair of shots.
Still seeing red, Kellar had yet to realize that he had made two colossal mistakes:
First, one of the foundational rules of NKZ was ‘no killing.’ Failure to comply meant you had a landing zone full of enemies with full authorization to kill you.
Second, the drunk and intractable customer that was bleeding out into his drink was an undercover Advocacy agent, a thoroughly corrupt one, but an agent nonetheless.
The other patrons in the bar went for their weapons. Kellar opened fire. He battled his way to the landing pad and launched in his modified Hornet, but his bad luck was just getting started.
A team of Advocacy agents were embedded in the system, building a case on their corrupt colleague, so the entire argument and murder had been recorded. They made a move on Kellar as soon as he took off.
Now Kellar had to deal with the law along with the pirates who had chased him from NKZ. The resulting battle, eventually dubbed Kellar’s Run, spilled over into five systems and ultimately drew over three dozen participants from both sides of the law.
The longest running conflict took place in Nexus. Kellar had hidden in the asteroid belt between Nexus III and IV and was engaging in hit-and-run tactics against his pursuers. Even down to energy weapons, Kellar managed to hold out for nearly a day, killing or incapacitating nearly twelve ships in that span.
During one of the lulls in the battle, Kellar pulled off what would become his most publicized move. Kellar landed his ship in a large asteroid to perform hasty field repairs when a group of bounty hunters managed to locate his signature. They quickly covered any tunnels large enough for a ship to escape before making contact and attempting to negotiate surrender. Kellar prolonged the conversation, using the delay to abandon his own ship and EVA over to one of his would-be captors. Completely unseen, he boarded the other ship and tossed the pilot out of his own airlock before opening fire on the baffled bounty hunters.
Finally, it wasn’t an Advocacy Agent or a criminal who ultimately took down Dean Kellar, it was a civilian. Anna Flynn had joined the brawl shortly after it spilled into Nexus. A former soldier who had fallen on hard times, she managed to track and engage Kellar after he had slipped away from the roving search parties and made a push for the jump to Taranis.
The duel lasted twenty-seven minutes until a well-placed ballistic round pierced the laminate and ventilated Kellar in the chest.
Flynn was able to claim the bounty, a financial windfall that would help her get back on her feet. Meanwhile, security analysts within the UEE were troubled by the inefficiency of their forces to organize en masse in the lawless systems. A motion was made to reclaim Nexus and divide the cluster of lawless systems with a lawful presence.
Many have wondered whether the last stand of Dean Kellar cut down a second Human political system, but one thing was for sure. Kellar’s Run would capture the public’s fascination for decades to come.