What is Backstory Friday? Every Friday there will be a new article showcasing the backstory of characters past and present. Characters range from various settings, systems, players, and writing styles. The whole point is to share our creative works, and potentially the creative works of our listeners. Perhaps one of these characters will inspire other Players or Gamemasters, but primarily they are for entertainment. Enjoy.
Who all can submit backstories? Anyone! Listeners, Fans, Hosts,  YOU! Just shoot any off to Backstory@BearSwarm.com
Who is this character? Ul’thor is a character from a short-lived Savage Worlds: Mass Effect game. Having grown tired of characters with tragic backstorys, Rob tried his hand at writing up a character who’s actually had a pretty good life. An understanding of the Mass Effect universe is assumed and we highly reccomend you give the game a play if you haven’t. The other interesting thing about this story is that Rob tried to write it from a 2nd person point of view. It doesn’t always work and was extremly difficult to write, but its a fun read none the less.

First Contact of Ul’thor
When you first step into the 37 you think the hunk of metal and parts sitting in the corner booth is just that, a pile of scrap.

“How odd”, you think to yourself, “That someone would just pile junk in that corner.”

You make your way up to the bar and order your favorite drink. You sit quietly on the stool for a moment before deciding to check out the scrap and see if there is anything worth scrounging from the pile. You make your way over and peer at the mess… Then you see the pile of scrap move.

Taken aback, you hop a step backwards; spilling your drink all over the front of yourself. You quickly realize that the mistaken pile of junk is actually powered armor and the armor lifts a drink to its mask. A small metallic tube extends down into the liquid and starts drinking while you stand open mouthed for a few seconds. Then the metal monster erupts in raucous laughter, slightly tinny but with a deep baritone.

“Third one this week.” The metal man says to you.
“Third what?” you ask, deeply confused.
“Third person I’ve tricked into thinking I wasn’t here.” He says, and laughs more.

You shake your head and walk back towards the bar.

“Hold up friend, let me buy you a drink to make up for the one you spilled.” The man says.

Well then, what kinda person would you be if you didn’t take a free drink.

“Name’s Ul’thor-Shub Nar Naggurith. Call me Ul’Thor” he introduces himself.
“Sounds Quarian, is that whats under that suit?” You ask.
“As a matter of fact, it is.” He says, and you get the impression he’s grinning.
“Aren’t you a little big for a Quarian?”
“We know how to grow up big down on the farm.”
“Farm? I though you all lived on ships.”
“Replication farms on agriships are still farms, just farms in space.”
“I didn’t know…” you say and trail off in thought.
“If you’ve got the time, I’ll share my story with you. Maybe teach you a little bit about us Quarians. Spoil some of those misconceptions you might have.”

This is all a little surreal. You just came in for a quick drink at the end of your shift and now you’re getting an offer to learn about Quarians. You remember being warned away from them in school, they created the Geth after all. Then again, you never did do well in school.

“Sure Ul’Thor. Tell me about your people.”

“I wouldn’t say that life is exactly easy on the Flotilla. Its not that hard either. Just… tedious. Something breaks, you fix it. Something fails, you replace it. Maintenance isn’t as much preventative as it is a chore. Like some of the human children take out the trash, we repair the trash compactor. I’m not trying to say we’re better then you, its just a different environment.” Ul’Thor begins and slowly you slip into his story.

Lets start at the beginning; Ul’Thor has two sets of parents. This is fairly uncommon amongst the Quarians but not unheard of. He calls them his Bio-Parents and Ado-Parents, or just Bios and Ados. He insists that Bios isn’t meant to be insulting to the biological parents but its just saying biological over and over again gets annoying. His Bio-Mother was an industrial maintenance engineer for the 112th agricultural ship ‘Atlach-Nacha’ but his father was a member of the Flotilla’s Police Department, or FPD. He took after his Bio-Dad who was a big man, just like his father’s father. Going all the way back, or so his Grandpa claimed, to the Geth Rebellion. A family of big brawny Quarian males, how frightening. Anyway he claims his parents stopped having him work on the ship when he was six, because he was to big to fit into the compartments most kids worked in. You can’t believe that they force children into labor but Ul’Thor assures me they have to for the survival of their race. Since he couldn’t work on the ship anymore his Dad enrolled him in the Junior Flotilla Police Cadets just like his granddad did for his dad and, well, you get the idea.

Between normal school and Junior Cadet training Ul’Thor didn’t get as much free time as most kids, but he was in great shape. So in school when a couple kids teased him by calling his daddy a Krogan he smashed their face into the hull until they looked like the Krogan. Up until now you’ve always struggled to grasp Quarian culture but this is something you can relate to. Even they have school yard bullies… but you’re having trouble telling if Ul’Thor was the bully or the bully’s victim. Well, he got suspended for his attack but it turns out the kid’s parents were some pretty major noble figure heads or something. Word made its way around the noble houses and eventually another family approached his parents.

They had a nice daughter that they wanted a big strong Quarian man to marry once they were old enough. Something about selective breeding and trying to ensure their bloodline remains strong. Even Ul’Thor didn’t seem to understand their logic, but isn’t that they way all rich folk are. You don’t understand the arranged marriage thing but neither does Ul’Thor. Still, he didn’t object to the marriage. You guess it must still be somewhat common in Quarian culture. The big catch was that it wasn’t acceptable for their daughter to marry below her station. So her parents pulled some strings and arranged to adopt young Ul’Thor, at age eleven, into a different noble family.

The people who adopted Ul’Thor had been trying to have a child for a few years but apparently one of them was infertile. Something Ul’Thor says is sadly far to common in the Fleet, due to the environment. He says its the same reason they all where those environmental suits. Ul’thor kept close with his Bio-Parents but said that his Ado-Parents were great to him too. There was never any pretense that he was adopted and it was like having two sets of parents. He understands why his Bio-Parents did it; “There just isn’t much chance for a Quarian to rise above his station so when opportunity knocked, you best scramble into your suit, open that airlock, and kiss its damn feet.” he said. He was also quick to point out that at age 12, what kid doesn’t want double birthday presents?

When he turned 16 he was selected to join the Flotilla Police Department, just like his Bio-Dad. Both of his Parent sets were proud of him, but for different reasons. His Bio’s saw him following in family tradition while his Ado’s saw someone willing to rise in station but stay humble and respectable.

This next part Ul’Thor said was something really important to him that someone needed to understand in order to understand Ul’Thor. When you join the FPD you pledge and sign the Hastur. The Hastur is like a code of conduct for FPD but its not legally binding or anything. More like a set of ideals that the officers are expected to uphold. For Ul’Thor, its more then just a pledge to an office. Its family tradition. Its personal morals and oaths he was raised on and believed down to his core. Ul’Thor said that if anything defines him, its his Hastur pledge. The Hastur is as follows:

  • Do what you’re told by your superiors.
  • Always look out for ways to help the Flotilla.
  • Do not hide or hold back from the Flotilla.
  • Respect your elders in the Flotilla, and in the Quarians in general.
  • Never let a debt go unpaid.
  • Never be late paying your debts.

He served two years in the FPD before it was time for his pilgrimage. Its Quarian tradition for family and friends to see you off and since Ul’Thor was in the top 5% of his FPD class, his class came to see him off as well. His Bio-Dad presented him with their family armor (which is the worn piles of scrap he’s wearing), his Ado-Parents arranged a banquet in my honor, speeches were made, and cake was served. Real cake with frosting and everything is apparently a big luxery on the Flotilla. At the end of the ceremony, Ul’Thor made a speech.

“It was there, in front of my two families, my fellow officers, my friends, and my fiancé that I made my Vow. I Vowed, to everyone there, to the Flotilla and most importantly to myself, that I would not return from Pilgrimage until I’ve earned the respect of the the Galaxy for the Quarians. I promised I would do this in the only way I could, by becoming the first Council Specter.” Ul’Thor explains to you.

“That doesn’t sound so bad” you say
“Oh it is. See, everyone knew what I just promised. I promised to be away for a long, long time.”
“Oh.” You say, feeling a bit foolish.

Of course he’s going to be gone for a long time. The galaxy still hates the Quarians for creating the Geth. His families made objections, but he claimed that his fiancé was strangely supportive. He thinks that she’s as thrilled about the arranged marriage as he is. Not that he doesn’t care for her. but as he explained it, “She’s just… ya know.”

With that said, Ul’Thor set off into the Galaxy. His story pretty much ends there. He floated around from ship to ship, working odd jobs, mostly as a mercenary. Just trying to get his name and story out there. So, that explains why he was so eager to tell you about his life on the Flotilla. The big hulking Quarian mass of scrap metal is doing personal PR. you couldn’t help but laugh a little.

“Whats so funny?” Ul’Thor asks you.
“Oh, nothing important. Just a funny thought I had.” You explain

Then, out of almost no where, Ul’Thor stands up. You nearly fall out of your seat, sitting down he looks massive but this creature stands over seven foot tall. He pardons himself, saying he just got a message from his agency and he has another ship to report off to. Running guard on some BioTechnica shipment or some such. He polietly excuses himself and heads towards the door. You sit there, thinking over what Ul’Thor just told you. Its been hours since you arrived at the bar and if someone would have asked you about the Quarians then you’d have a very different story to tell. Now, if someone asks you about the Quarians and what they have done to the Galaxy, you think you’ll tell them a little story about a man named Ul’Thor and his quest to redeem the Quarians.

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