Supporting Cast

Chester Lawless, Retired Black-Op

by James Galloway

Art by andi jones

Supporting Cast: Chester Lawless

Over the Edge stats

5' 8", heavily built, with dark hair touched with gray and an impressive collection of scars. He typically wears a pale suit and dark glasses. Chester is in his mid 50s.

Black Op (retired): 4 dice. A retired Security Op, Chester remains up to the challenge. He can handle any weapon, and is more than a match for most foes. (Tough, smart and competent.)

Museum worker: 3 dice. Access to and knowledge of the museum's archives and considerable occult collection. (Interest in the occult.)

Blind: Bonus die. Excellent hearing, smell and touch. (Unhindered by darkness.)

Hit points: 35 (Tough as nails.)

Secret: He's a Retired Black Op.

Flaw: Despite his other senses being excellent he is still blind. (Wears dark glasses.)

Important Person: Corina Adner, a co-worker he's fallen in love with.

GURPS stats

Chester Lawless
ST 16 [70]
DX 16 [80]
IQ 17 [100]
HT 16 [70]
Base Speed 8.0 Move 9 (includes Running bonus)
Basic Damage: Thrust 1d+1 Swing 2d+2
Dodge: 8 Parry: 8

Advantages: Absolute Direction [5], Acute Hearing +5 [5]*, Acute Taste and Smell +5 [5]*, Alertness +3 [15], Combat Reflexes [15], High Pain Threshold [10], Patron (The Company; 6 or less) [18], Strong Will +5 [20], Toughness DR 1 [10], Trained by a Master [40], Very Fit [15], Zeroed [10].

Disadvantages: Blindness [-50], Dependent (Corina Adner; Loved one; 15 or less) [-72], Duty (the Company, 6 or less) [-2], Nightmares [-5], Secret (Retired Black Op) [-30], Sense of Duty (fellow Black Ops) [-10].

* Half price due to Blindness.

Quirks: Always wears dark glasses; Finds children annoying; Hasn't confessed his feelings about Corina; Jogs five miles every morning; Swears in Russian. [-5]

Skills: Acting-17 [2], Animal Handling-15 [1], Anthropology-16 [2], Archeology-15 [1], Area Knowledge (the museum)-19 [4], Area Knowledge (local area)-19 [4], Area Knowledge (Earth)-19 [4], Armory (Hand Weapons)-15 [1/2], Armory (Rifles & Handguns)-15 [1/2], Artificial Intelligence-15 [1], Astronomy-15 [1], Bard-15 [1/2], Bicycling-15 [1/2], Blind Fighting-15 [2], Boating-14 [1/2], Botany-15 [1], Bow-14 [1], Boxing-15 [1], Chemistry-15 [1], Chess-18 [2], Climbing-16 [2], Computer Operation-16 [1/2], Computer Programming-15 [1], Conspiracy Theory-16 [4], Criminology-16 [1], Crossbow-15 [1/2], Dancing-14 [1/2], Demolition-15 [1/2], Detect Lies-16 [2], Diplomacy-17 [4], Driving (Automobile)-17 [4], Driving (Tracked)-17 [4], Ecology-15 [1], Electronics (Computers)-15 [1], Electronics Operation (Communications)-15 [1/2], Electronics Operation (Medical)-16 [1], Electronics Operation (Security Systems)-16 [1], Electronics Operation (Weapons)-16 [1], Engineer (Bombs and Traps)-15 [1], Engineer (Electrical)-15 [1], Engineer (Mechanical)-15 [1], Explosive Ordnance Disposal-16 [2], Fencing-14 [2], Firefighter-16 [1], Forensics-16 [2], Gambling-15 [1/2], Geology-15 [1], Gunner (Machine Gun)-20 [8], Guns (Flamethrower)-17 [1/2], Guns (Pistol)-20 [4], Guns (Rifle)-20 [4], History-16 [2], Judo-20 [32], Karate-15 [2], Knife-15 [1/2], Language (Spanish)-16 [1], Language (Russian)-16 [1], Leadership-16 [1], Literature-15 [1], Mathematics-16 [2], Mechanic (Automobile)-15 [1/2], Mechanic (Helicopter)-15 [1/2], Mind Block-18 [4], Motorcycle (Medium and Heavy)-15 [1/2], Naturalist-16 [2], NBC Warfare-16 [1], No-Landing Extraction-16 [1], Occultism-16 [1], Orienteering-15 [1/2], Parachuting-15 [1/2], Philosophy-15 [1], Physician-20 [10], Physics-15 [1], Physiology-15 [2], Physiology (Grey)-15 [2], Piloting (Helicopter)-17 [4], Piloting (Light Airplane)-17 [4], Poetry-15 [1/2], Powerboat-14 [1/2], Psychology-17 [4], Psychology (Grey)-15 [1], Research-16 [1], Running-14 [1], Savoir-Faire-16 [1/2], Scrounging-17 [1], Scuba-15 [1/2], Shortsword-14 [1/2], Sign Language (AMESLAN)-15 [1/2], Skating-14 [1], Skiing-13 [1/2], Spear-14 [1/2], Stealth-16 [2], Streetwise-17 [2], Swimming-18 [4], Tactics-15 [1], Telegraphy-16 [1/2], Throwing-14 [1], Traps-17 [2], Wrestling-16 [2], Writing-15 [1/2], Xenology-15 [1], Zoology-15 [1].

Note: Many of Chester's skills are no longer usable due to his blindness, and he is at -6 to combat skills unless he makes his Blind Fighting roll.

Points: 500

Equipment: Chester's only equipment of note is a now outdated Company palmtop computer (still slightly ahead of modern technology), that includes a scanner and ear piece that lets him read documents. Chester is also still fitted with an Omicron device.

Quote: "Chyort! Don't touch that kid, it's fragile! And don't think that just 'cause I'm not looking at you I don't know what you're up to."


Before joining the Company, Chester Lawless lived a fairly normal life. He grew up in a fairly normal small town, went to a fairly normal high school, where he was a fairly normal student, if rather bright and in good shape. He went to college on an Army ticket and got a fairly normal degree. When he came out of the army the Company recruited him, and nothing about his life was even remotely normal ever again.

Chester didn't just survive at the Academy, he excelled, working with a solid determinism to be the best of the best, but at the same time always willing to help out his fellow cadets. At the end of his second year he was ranked first out of 157 cadets. In the Draft at the end of the year, he picked the Security Department and the Security Department picked him. The later three years went quickly, and still Chester was constantly doing well, including setting a record time for the six-day maze that wasn't beaten until the early '90s.

Chester was on active duty for 12 years, chasing down Greys, Demons, and wigglers for the Company. His final mission was supposed to be a simple clean up job, cleaning out a nest Brainsuckers in the sewers of Vancouver. Instead, the Ops stumbled onto a Gullet. When a tendril grabbed Lillian Forbes, the squad's Techie, the rest headed after her. As they closed on the Gullet more and more tendrils started attacking. With the squad mauled, the surviving Combat Op, Matt Reynolds, resorted to suicidally direct delivery of explosives. The Gullet was badly wounded by the blast and fled, Chester, battered and blinded, picked up the only other body that was still breathing, Science Op Karl Teller, and made his way to the surface. They were found the next morning in the local office of Universal Underwriters. Karl had lost an arm and a lot of blood while Chester lost his sight, and ever since has suffered from nightmares of his escape.

With a blind Black Op obviously unsuited for active missions, Chester was reassigned. At the time there was a glut of retired Ops, but Chester wasn't too upset at getting a make-work position. His job in the Occult section at the Museum of History isn't exactly strenuous, though he finds the occasional school visit stressful. The job also gives him time to work on his new hobby, tracing the tangled web of conspiracies, occult happenings, Prima influence and similar that might be of use to the Company. He feeds his conclusions to Intelligence Ops who generally humor him but occasionally find useful information in what he turns up, as well as his other research and museum work. Chester remains a Black Op at heart, and while he won't hesitate to investigate unusual happenings in the area, he is aware of his limitations and takes precautions. He also remains an imposing fighter, barely limited by his disability.

Chester's peaceful "retirement" took a twist when Corina Adner started work at the Museum. She took an interest in the unusual blind man and his work in the Occult section while Chester fell in love with the enthusiastic woman with the gentle voice. He was surprised by his strong feelings and found that after 17 years in the company followed by the relative solitude of his early retirement, he wasn't sure what to do about them. He is mildly amused that the Academy and Company life, intended to make him ready for anything, has left him unprepared for life outside the Company and a real relationship.

Corina, an enthusiastic museum guide in her mid-thirties, remains blissfully unaware of her friend's true feelings. She is about 5' 4" with short light brown hair and metal-framed glasses, and tends to dress in flora patterns and wear a collection of bangles and other jewelry. She is energetic and cheerful, and adept at controlling the tour parties she takes round the museum. She is also extremely curious, and is particularly fascinated by anything unusual or mysterious, characteristics that could easily get her into trouble.

In Campaigns

GMs can choose the exact location of the museum to fit a specific adventure or campaign. The Edge on Al Amarja is one choice, in which case it might be found in the back streets of the Science Barrio, but the museum could just as well be in any middling to large city in North America. Black Op characters might come to Chester following up his occult conspiracies or just seeking his local knowledge. He'll happily provide whatever assistance he can.

Characters who aren't Black Ops will probably be visiting the Museum looking for information about Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know. Being confronted by a muscled and scarred blind man as they try to make off with ancient artifacts should discourage them from blatant theft. Attempted B&E after hours is also unlikely to work; Chester will almost certainly notice any characters casing the Museum and find an excuse to work late. With the lights off, characters will find Chester has a distinct advantage. If characters approach Chester for information, he will be amicable, and if he thinks they are sincere and not likely to get in over their heads, he might give them some advice or information based on the museum's collection and his own research. He would not, however, reveal any Company information, either the Company's knowledge of its foes or anything that might endanger the Company, though he might pass on "deniable" information, such as recommending bright lamps over holy water to would-be Vampire hunters. If he thought it relevant or was concerned that they might be about to stumble onto something more than they could handle, he will forward their information to the Company. Characters who discuss their plans to capture a beast with Chester may find that a Black Op squad deals with it before they get there.

Chester may also approach characters for assistance, particularly if anything were to happen to Corina. He knows his limits, particularly in places he isn't familiar with, and would seek allies before rushing headlong into danger. Risk to Corina is possibly the only circumstance under which he might betray the Company -- if contacting Black Ops for help might endanger her, he would look for outside help, such as the characters, and if necessary would give them any information to ensure her safety. What happens afterwards would depend on if the characters kept their mouths shut. If the situation is kept from the ears of the Company, everyone lives happily ever after. But if the characters start blabbing, things could go badly. Chester might try to cover it up himself, or call on old friends in the Security Department who wouldn't ask the depth of his involvement. If upper levels of the Company find out that Chester had talked, he would be faced with disavowal or death. Naturally he'll do all he can to avoid this, but considers Corina's safety worth the risk.

Article publication date: June 4, 1999

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