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Joel Pearce was born in 2469 A.D., during the rise of Earth's Empire. His parents were agronomists on a relatively low-tech, farming colony. When the Interplanetary Mining Corporation (IMC) discovered valuable mineral resources in the planet's crust, they engineered the colony's economic collapse by using a bioengineered pathogen to destroy its crop yields. Joel's parents lost their entire life savings and ended up managing the IMC's hydroponics plants at borderline-subsistence wages.
Ramon Delfino, one of IMC's major shareholders, was secretly working against it from within, intending to force a radical change in its policies and practices. He created a pirate group called the Lyttell Geste to harass its shipping and undermine its profits.
Joel's family were one of Delfino's first "projects" after his eyes were opened to IMC's true nature. Delfino sponsored Joel's education, along with that of his brother and sister, and helped his struggling parents to stay above water. Joel proved an indifferent academic student but a remarkably talented pilot. Perhaps more significantly, from Delfino's point of view, he nursed a burning resentment of IMC's takeover of his home colony, especially after Delfino revealed that the crop blight which wrecked its chances of survival had been IMC's doing. He also had a thirst for excitement and adventure, and a somewhat cavalier attitude to laws and rules - especially laws and rules that were designed to help the rich and powerful exploit the poor and powerless.
He was one of the Lyttell Geste's earlier and most enthusiastic recruits, serving as a pilot on several pilot raids. Delfino was impressed by his skill and cool under fire, and added Joel to his personal staff, notionally as the pilot of his private yacht. Joel's real role was rather more complex - and clandestine. He served as Delfino's courier, carrying messages, orders and information to and from the pirate gang - Delfino had more sense than to make contact with them through electronic means.
The Lyttell Geste came into contact with Galen when they both tried to hijack the same Mechonoid colonizing ship. Galen wanted the robots as a labour force to build a Silurian refugee colony; the Lyttell Geste needed them to maintain its bases and facilities. After some cautious negotiations, Galen and the pirates formed an uneasy alliance, with Joel most often acting as a go-between.
After Delfino seized control of the Board and began a root-and-branch reform of the corporation, Joel decided that he needed a new challenge. Galen saw the advantages of having the streetwise young pirate around to watch his back, and recruited him as an aide.
Joel wants justice, having watched his parents, his siblings, and many others suffer from IMC's ruthless greed. But he's not a pure altruist. He's a risk-taker and a thrill-seeker who loved leading a criminal double life. The Lyttell Geste allowed him to satisfy both facets of his personality simultaneously. When Delfino took control of IMC's Board, Joel was left looking for an alternative, which Galen offered him.
Joel got used to playing the quiet, attentive aide when he was at Delfino's side, all "Yes sir" and "Of course, sir", and "I'll attend to it at once, sir". He can still play the conformist drone when he needs to, but when he isn't putting up a front, he's passionate, cocky and full of restless energy