- "I guess I just need to... keep going. Somehow."
- —The culminative line of Jared's final journal entry, before the book was found and burnt by his squadmates.
Jared Richter is one of the newest troopers to be assigned to the 5th Penal Legion's infamous Tango Squadron, a notorious yet reliable special forces unit filled with steadfast and brutal military criminals, and holds the distinction of being the only member of the squad without a previous military background. Among a rabble of murderers and deserters held together by a leader crueller than any Commissar, Jared's charges are that of criminal negligence. Barely scraping his way through prejudice and bullying at the hands of his squadmates and blades and bullets at the hands of the enemy, Jared considers himself an extremely unlucky person - but it is through luck alone that he has survived this long.
- Full Name:
Archibald HowitzJared Richter
- Serial Number: 571b-3748xi
- Homeworld: Velixum Secundus
Attempted Rape (one count), Murder (one count), Arson (one count)Criminal negligence leading to compliancy in the deaths of three Imperial Guard servicemen and the injury of one of His Astartes warriors, alongside according charges of minor Heresy for failure in his given position.
- Height: 5'10"
- Weight: Approx. 160lbs
- Defining Features:
- Lanky, gangly build, though with toned, trim musculature.
- Weak, almost childlike facial features - highly enlargened pupils.
- Scar on neck corresponding to positioning of jugular vein.
- Crew cut, outgrown slightly and accordingly unwashed and messy.
- Rudimentary Penal Legion tattoo on right bicep.
- Serial Number tattooed on back of neck.
- Simplified extract from Litany of Faith tattooed on underside of left wrist in High Gothic.
- Small shrapnel, blade and bullet scars on face and body.
- Noticeable limp from leg injury inflicted by Ork Choppa.
- Threat Level Evaluation: Negligible to none unless unnerved, cornered or stressed, in which case unpredictable, irrational behaviour places him at Lower Mild.
- Prisoner Transport Recommendations: Transport with unit in accordance with standard regulations.
Consider providing with reading material if displaying particular good behaviour
- Flight Risk: Richter is very, very unlikely to attempt escape from the 5th due to fear of repercussions from both Imperial authorities and squadmates alongside exposure to hostile forces. Seems placidly if depressedly resigned to his service, if hopeful towards impossible return to civilian life, and still largely abides by Imperial doctrine.
Jared Richter was born on the prominent industrial hive world of Velixum II in the early 900s, M.41, in the middle levels of the planet's vast hive cities. Although he did display surprising intellect at a young age, his social background, while facilitating a much higher standard of education than the average Imperial citizen, virtually eliminated the possibility of him attaining a prestigious off-world occupation, so his parents determined that he would become a worker in one of Velixum II's many armaments factories. Having a somewhat sheltered childhood, he nonetheless excelled throughout his education, proving to be a highly competent and enthusiastic student, if one with poor organisational and social skills. Shortly after completing his education, he was put to work in a Lasweaponry Manufactorum, which provided him with a stable, secure and relatively easy job.
In the Manufactorum
He proved to be an exemplary worker, with a repeat record of punctuality and high-quality production. Due to his somewhat cocky, snide attitude towards his supervisor, who himself seemed to be a bit "spooky" as Jared put it, the two of them nurtured a steady mutual hatred which continued to grow as they continued to work alongside one another. After five years working in the factory, after his (possibly premature) promotion to batch supervisor, the first batch assembly he presided over led to the deaths of three Imperial Guardsmen fighting the Tyranids in the ass-end of nowhere after one of the weapons misfired and the other two simply exploded in their faces when they pulled the triggers. His former supervisor (and now rival after his own promotion) saw some opportunity in this after reading the reports and, out of spite, ensured that each and every one of the men working under himself and Jared could testify that it was down to Jared's personal fault that the weapons were faulty. Through some miracle of bureaucracy, he also managed to tie in some unrelated incident about a Vigilant Blades Space Marine's Power Armour malfunctioning and causing him injury being Jared's responsibility, as well. For this (moreso for the percieved affront towards the Vigilant Blades) he was prosecuted and shipped to the closest Penal World, which was Velixium III's colonised moon, Argonis.
Argonis was rough. Not one to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh that ran rampant on the poorly-governed planet, Jared secured himself a few books and lived out his live in glum solitude. A few of these books happened to concern Imperial military tactics, which he became immensely interested in. His build and bookish habits led to him being the frequent target of beatings and humiliation by the bigger prisoners, but he put on a brave face and persevered, confident that he would be sent back to his family eventually (although this was highly unlikely and merely what he had once been told off-handedly).
Around a few months into his stay, his former supervisor was convicted of the murder of his former lover, essentially proving Jared's theories of him being "spooky" correct, although he never did find out. Roughly, simultaneously, a Chaos cultist living in the Velixum II underhive was apprehended by local Arbites. Some bizarre failure on behalf of the local Administratum clerks led to all their fates being intertwined as the latter two were shipped to Argonis. Jared had been selected among many prisoners on the planet by the Mechanicum Techpriests based on Velixum III for conversion into a Servitor, in an attempt to put his brain, limbs and nervous system to more apt use as was the fate of many Imperial criminals. His supervisor, himself a retired PDF soldier, was picked to be transferred out of the system and to be conscripted into the 5th Penal Legion. The cultist was to be handed over to the Ecclesiarchy to be purified of sin. However, some magnificent bureaucratic fuckup led to the cultist being turned into a mindless drone (one with Chaos taint, no less, that may yet affect its programming at a later date), timid little Jared being sent off to fight the Orks and his former supervisor being forcefully transformed into a horrifying Arco-flagellant. Funny how things work out.
Regardless, Jared was indeed drafted into the 5th Penal Legion and shipped out to their current theatre of war, sitting shackled in an overcramped troop ship among thousands of other convicts. Utterly helpless, he could only despair and couldn't help himself but cry, going largely unnoticed against the uproar of the rest of the bay's occupants. At first, it was out of an utter inability to comprehend his fate - but it soon led onto thoughts of his family, or the utter absence thereof for the rest of his forseeable existence, to be precise. Eventually, the tears stopped coming, and unable to sleep out of anxiety, paranoia of the people around him and due to the noise they were making, he fell into a long, brooding silence for the rest of the unbelievably long journey until the troop ships touched down on the world of Ilosus VI and disgorged its undesirable contents, exhausted and malnourished, out upon the rainy, muddy surface.
On his way out, Jared passed an Ecclesiarchical preacher, who delivered, in a booming, powerful voice of the sort Jared instinctively knew to respect and revere, a sermon. He seemed to be alternating between something akin to giving last rites en masse and promising them salvation and freedom in exchange for loyal service, and he was taking it upon himself to distribute leaflets to all those who would take them. Jared paused for a moment, veering off from the column of bodies to take as many of the leaflets as he could. Beneath his hood, the priest looked haggard and intimidating - hardly the warm, kindly abbot who'd frequently passed through his hive block back on Velixum, bringing with him doctrine and goodwill. As he attempted to engage the man in brief conversation as to his fate, he recieved a scoff, a sneer, and a bolter pointed in his direction by the priest's steely-faced Sister of Battle bodyguard. So the first religious leader and clean, decent-looking woman he'd seen in a long time had hostilely dismissed him. Feeling better already, Jared stepped out into the atmosphere's heavy downpour.
Somewhere along the lines, somehow, Jared was assigned to a special operations unit after his successful first few engagements, consisting of a handful of charges from trenches through No Mans Land that Jared managed to survive by strategic use of his size and build and positioning himself in the midst of the mob and towards the back, allowing his so-called comrades to soak up enemy fire. Observations of such instances of his intellect in practice may have been an influencing factor to his assignment, but like many things in the 5th, it was abrupt, unknown and started off violently. Many were outraged that somebody of his background, reputation and build would be put on the field in the oh-so-esteemed Tango when he would be more suited to a meatshield platoon. He recieved a fair deal of abuse from his squadmates during the first week or so and was given a scavenged Carapace helmet "in case he tripped over a pebble and killed himself" as some sort of vague cruel joke by one of the tougher criminals who'd tormented him on Argonis and had been assigned to the same unit. Originally he was designated the unit's communications officer as they really couldn't think of a suitable role, and nobody else would volunteer to be a "pansy carrying a radio". However, he has also put his considerable tech-savvy to use time and time again during his time in the field, earning him the position of de facto combat engineer as well. Through this and his application of tactics he read up on during his time on Argonis, Jared has earned a miniscule amount of respect from his squadmates.
Personality and Traits
Jared stands at 5'10" and is of lean, lanky build, his limbs looking much longer and thinner than they should be to the point where it seems disproportionate to his torso and head. He has hazel eyes with constantly dilated pupils on account of the ocular correctional surgery he underwent as a small child sitting in a pair of sullen sockets and gaunt, angular but mostly unassuming features. With high cheekbones, a thin, weak and crooked jaw and a tiny nose, Jared has a habit of constantly looking like a frazzled, startled child, something that is not assisted to any extent by his timid demeanour and quiet, often stuttered speech. His coal-black hair is worn in a standard military crew cut and whatever facial hair the kid may have accumulated is clean-shaven, growing back slowly in the form of vestigial stubble. He has a large blade-scar on his neck from a poorly executed attempted murder at the hands of a former squadmate, and walks with a limp on his right leg after his Achilles tendon was shot through, resulting in the implantation of a vat-grown replacement muscle which has yet to properly "meld" with the rest of the body. He also has several tattoos - a service number on the back of his neck, the characters "5-T" on his right bicep, and the words "AVE IMPERATOR" on the underside of his left wrist.
Originally, Jared was a cheery, amiable person with a good sense of humour, a strong work ethic and even stronger faith in the Emperor of Mankind. However, it is the sad but obvious truth that Jared is simply incapable of living a military life, physically, emotionally, and mentally, and so being an unwilling member of perhaps the most downtrodden and savage arm of the Imperium's military is not an ideal career choice for him, to put it lightly. The effects of his limited experiences with the 5th have shaken him to the core, leaving him a nervous, depressed wreck of a man. Weak of both mind and body, Trooper Richter settles for detaching himself and enduring whatever hardship he may face, be it a routine beating or an enemy shelling. His prestigious natural intellect, nurtured well by a life of relative luxury and high standard of education, may have served him well as a batch supervisor in the Munitorums back home, but does him no good in the field of battle. He tends to think up meticulous fireplans in his head when he knows an engagement is going to occur, but aside from this he quickly panics and loses much of his coherency in a fight.
Among his peers, he speaks in brief, concise sentences and shies away from prolonged conversation, although it is in his nature to digress and ramble on when confronted with subjects he might enjoy or is knowledgeable in - namely mechanics, engineering and similar things. Aside from this, while griping and moaning among the ranks of Penal soldiers is considered normal, Jared is otherwise almost complete silent. He struggles to form proper emotional attachments to his squadmates beyond seeing the value of the presence of several trained, armed and (relatively) friendly soldiers, and generally regards the suffering of his comrades with cold indifference. Under periods of intense stress, however, he tends to contradict his previous sentiments and looks to them for help and guidance in an almost childlike manner. Aside from this, he's primarily dependent on various combat stims to keep him fighting in battle, particularly Reflex and Onslaught.
Being the victim of more than a few cruel jokes and attempts on his life has made Jared extremely and terribly paranoid towards his squadmates, and he is constantly fearful of beatings or worse at their hands. He has been known to flinch and yelp when merely addressed by Sergeant Major Coletrane, something which only worsens the singling out he recieves at the hands of the rest of the squad. However, this also makes him almost hypersensitive of his surroundings, and he is quickly able to identify any potential points where a trip could have been laid or an ambush could be sprung. Even if he doesn't speak very often, when Jared says he has a bad feeling about something, Tango Squadron knows when to listen.
Relations with other Tangos
- "Yes, Sergeant Major Coletrane."
- —Jared complying with anything out of Coletrane's mouth.
- Deacon's generally brutal and sadistic in his treatment of other squadmates, but Jared is a special case. He's even less capable of dealing with abuse and punishment than the rest of Tango, which is something Deek quickly took notice of, exploits at every opportunity and probably delights in. Jared is utterly terrified of Coletrane accordingly, and while he may make vague, brief quips and remarks to the rest of the squad, he is quietly subservient to the Cadian for fear of retribution. However, Jared's weakness in his situation requires a certain level of dependency for him to function - and Coletrane, as the indisputed alpha male of Tango's savage little wolf pack, is the logical choice. Though fearful of him at every turn, he reverently respects and idolises the man in secret, and is more likely to just silently grit his teeth and accept abuse from Coletrane because of this. When he noticed this gradual shift in Jared's attitude, the Sergeant Major was not pleased, and made the point of coming up with newer and more frequent ways of humiliating him.
- "*incomprehensible mutterings and curses*"
- As far as Jared is concerned, Virgil is as frightening and repulsive as some Warp-spawned horror. His sadism really does know no bounds, and Richter rapidly picked up on this during several brutal incidents in his hazing month. His repetitive criticisms and mockery have been the key driving factor in Jared's steepening depressive state and have inflicted far more damage to him than beatings and humiliation could. To this day, Frost is the man that Jared most despises out of all of Tango's rogues' gallery, and the only reason the downtrodden trooper has yet to turn his gun on him is his friendship with Coletrane. Something that repeatedly confounds Jared, though, is his protective streak in combat. This is something Jared's nature as an ineffectual weakling seems to elicit a lot from Tango's members, but Frost is still a special case as he lacks personal honour or sympathy as far as he can see. Richter just doesn't spend too much time thinking about what could be going through Frost's head. It helps.
- "Yeah, she mostly stopped ripping on me when Coletrane let me order her into solo mine-clearing duties one time."
- Either out of childish insecurity with the fairer sex or of some gentlemanly presumptions from his civilian life, Jared completely misjudged Liana at first. Now he knows to keep her at a fair distance, though he does sympathise with her somewhat upon witnessing the verbal beatings she recieves due to her inflated opinion of mechanised warfare.
- "He knows more about explosives than I or anyone else in the unit does. Given our differing viewpoints on the necessity of their usage, that's really, really bad."
- Jared doesn't know Barakus particularly well, and would very much like this part of their relationship to remain static. Cale regards Jared as a petulant, useless coward and only ensures his continued survival to help himself sleep at night, while Jared regards Cale as a terrifyingly unstable man with a morbidly complimentary skillset. While his skill with making things explode is something Jared's technical side admires, his tendency to destroy where the budding mechanic would rather create or work around is aggravating.
- "He's different to the Tech-priests you'd see back home. Different in a good way, though."
- —Jared, said with an absent smile and a distant, somewhat hopeful look in his eyes
- Initially deeply unnerved by Fredric's cold, literally mechanical mindset, cybernetics and his lack of expression, Jared grew to nurture a legitimate respect for the ex-Tech-priest beyond one of fear and later a sort of friendship due to Aslk's surprising tolerance and kindness and their shared affinity for machines, and he is more than willing to overlook their differences if only to get a civil conversation or discussion once in a while. Fredric is a character Jared could actually grow to like outside of the field of war, and as such, could be called his only real friend in the unit. Their mutual hatred of Frost only brings them closer together.
- "So what if we're both civvies? He stole quadwheelers for a living where I earned mine honestly. Still a whole different kettle of fish."
- Jared was only too keen to have the mantle of FNG taken from him, and was naturally inclined to look upon Raynor in a more positive, sympathetic light when he first joined the squad - until he heard his history. With his ideals an an Emperor-fearing, law-abiding Imperial citizen well ingrained into his skull and unlikely to budge, Jared is especially wary of Raynor, as they both come from opposite sides of the Lex Imperialis. However, he finds the thief's upbeat, endearing personality to be a refreshing change from callous and abrasive legionaires, and P'tar's caring streak has more than once in the past given Jared an ear to open up to when under particular distress. However, Raynor is still prone to make less than savoury observations about Jared, and he, as always, reacts adversely. And he's always quick to check his pack after speaking to him for any prolonged amount of time.
- "What's that? You, um, want some of my rations? Uh... sure. F-... fill your boots. Eheh."
- —Jared after being asked (remarkably politely) for a bite to eat and subsequently trying and failing to crack wise
- The new guy. Rugar's caginess about his background and reserved nature is something Jared thoroughly approves of, if he is rather scared of his footwear-related fighting skill. The fact that Rugar serves as the team's medic automatically earns him some brownie points with the frail, easy-to-injure young trooper, and the various medicines and drugs he carries in his pack serve well to keep Jared calm, relaxed and placated in the battlefield.
- "He's... nice."
- As Oscar is technically the only member of Tango Squadron completely incapable of causing him injury or badmouthing him, Jared feels strongly attached to the young pup, and, like practically everyone else in the unit, delights in spoiling the little Mordian hound. Oscar, in turn, seems quite keen on Jared's tendency to make a fuss of the dog and his gentler way of handling him. He only ceased his habit of excessively coddling the dog after a punch to the gut and a harsh lecture from Coletrane about how they won't make a fighting beast out of him if he grows up pampered in a friendly environment. These remarks stuck particularly close to home in Jared as his abrupt transition from middle-class civilian life to Penal Legionary service seems a metaphorical example of this hypothesis. Now, Jared regards the dog with caution and restraint, if only when other people are watching. He's all too eager to slip him a spoonful from his mess tin when he can get away with it.
Skills and equipment
Jared's most noteworthy skill is his almost complete lack of skills applicable to his life as a Penal Legionnaire, which is the source of much direct and indirect misery for him. Having recieved no formal combat training in his life makes him a severe liability in the eyes of most - however, another noteworthy quality of Jared's is the fact he learns very, very quickly. Having extensively studied Imperial Guard tactics from his (admittedly heavily censored and saturated in propaganda) books and seen enough combat in the past few weeks mean that Jared is a semi-competent, if inefficient compared to most, soldier. His surgically enhanced eyesight and above-average hand-eye co-ordination makes him a fairly talented marksman, even if his tendency to shiver and shake is extremely delibating to his aim. He's also surprising (but not necessarily good) in close quarters combat, with his ability to withstand a beating coupling well with his tendency to wait for his enemy to make a mistake before lunging in with his bayonet.
His real talent lies with machines. Having previously been a Manufactorum worker, Jared knows the workings of Velixumite lasweapons in and out and the design of such weapons overall are so consistent that he can apply his knowledge of these to virtually any variant. Further pro-active adaption and application of his skills mean that he is a decent machinist when it comes to most weapons he can get his hands on, and an alright mechanic. This makes him an ideal vox-officer and combat engineer for Tango, something which the squad's leader rapidly picked up on and made so.
Jared wears the standard-issue fatigues, flak vest and webbing of the 5th Penal Legion, often with the sleeves of his jacket rolled up to his elbows. Accompanying this are a pair of similarly standard-issue combat boots, and a pair of specialist's steel-backed gloves looted from the body of a combat engineer of one of the fully-fledged Guard regiments that happened to be fighting in the same theatre of war as the 5th. Another piece of looted equipment of his is the Carapace Helmet sans visor he wears, which originally belonged to a Blood Angels Scout but was taken from his corpse and given to Jared by a squadmate as part of some obscure practical joke. He's also fitted his regimental Chem-inhaler into the otherwise none-functional respirator mouthpiece of his helmet, the main canister of which is linked to his mouth by a tube and is clipped to his webbing at his hip. In the place of a visor, he wears a pair of welding goggles - the only souvenir from his original life as a Munitorum worker he carries. As per most Penal Legionnaires, an explosive collar sits clamped around his neck at all times, ready to be detonated at will by senior officers - although said officers seem to neglect their ability to do this, which is quite fortunate for him.
Jared was initially issued a battered stubber pistol by one of the 5th's quartermasters before his first engagement. This quartermaster had taken one look at the kid and quickly decided he wasn't going to last very long, and accordingly gave him one of the lowest-tech, lowest-priority weapons in his armoury that could be spared. After Jared managed to kill an Ork with this stubgun and survived said engagement, he went on to acquire a Mk4 Catachan Lascarbine and a Velixum-pattern Laspistol from the bodies of various soldiers, Guard and Penal Legion alike. He makes use of the Carbine for its lightweight, compact size and reliability, and the Laspistol for its delightful familiarity. He still carries the stubgun, however, as a backup weapon.
As Tango Squad's official comms-trooper and de facto combat engineer, Jared carries a portable vox set worn as a backpack and a combat engineer's kit as a shoulder-bag. The backpack contains a multi-tool, portable blowtorch, folding spade, collapsible mine-sweeper and essentially everything a sapper could concievably need to carry out his designated position in his squad. Sitting at the bottom of this bag is a small prayer leaflet containing several litanies and chants handed to him by an Ecclesiarch as he prepared to ship out, several books concerning weapons maintenance and Imperial Guard tactics, and a holoportrait of him at eighteen accompanied by his smiling family.
- "I-I was waiting for my las to recharge! Honest!"
- —Jared's futile attempts at justifying how he sheltered behind a boulder for a large duration of a firefight.
- "Well, what you're doing wrong there is that you're trying to jumpstart the 'Mera using hotwiring techniques that are only applicable to a civilian-model quadwheeler-- GYACK EMPEROR'S MOTHER NOT AGAIN"
- —Jared's inadverted smartassery is interrupted with a fist to the stomach.
- "How we ever got saddled with such a moron, I'll never know."
- —An anonymous soldier of Tango Squad
- "He's got some good stuff in his pack, but he's utterly useless in combat. Hell, I may have broken a lasgun before, but even I know how to actually kill something with it."
- —Virgil Vasquez, Tango Squadron XO, commenting on Jar-Head.
- "I only ever saw Jared get pissed off once. I dunno what it was all about, something another convict said about his mother. That moron shoulda known better not to dick around with a Tango at the end of their hazing. I know as well as anyone else that even bad men love their mothers, but Emperor on Terra, I've never seen someone over-react like that. I had to pull him off that idiot myself. Once I saw that, I knew we'd make a Tango out of Jared some day."
- —Deacon Coletrane reminisces about Jared's first murder in the 5th Penal Legion
- "Sir, that his highly incorrect, i hated my mother and was most pleased when she was executed, and Frost 'did in' his own mot- AH SHIT"
- " I like the kid. Remind's me a bit of my little brother back home. "
- — Cole Dunbar when asked about Jared.
- "I won't hurt you... much..."
- "Get behind me!"
- —John Tompson when Jared was un-able to find some cover