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Andreas Roth was born in 2648, in near-slum conditions, on the lower levels of one of the huge artificial islands that floated on Earth’s polluted oceans. His mother had been the mistress of one of the Alexandrian Society’s Board members. She’d tried to blackmail his father, but her scheme backfired disastrously, and she’d fled in well-founded fear for her life.
Until he was twelve, Roth grew up amongst the poverty and gang culture of Earth’s underclass, running with the adolescent gangs of thieves and scavengers, who roamed grimy streets cast into perpetual twilight by the gigantic towers all around them.
When his mother died – the unlucky victim of a stray blaster shot fired in a bar brawl that got out of hand – Roth was left alone. The undercity’s overworked social services ran a routine check on his genetic profile, looking for any surviving relatives that he might have. The check triggered one of the Alexandrian Society’s software search agents. Roth’s father had discovered too late that his mistress was pregnant with his child, and he’d been searching for her and the infant for almost thirteen years.
Roth was swept from a life of poverty to one of privilege and luxury, but he never forgot the grim lessons of his earliest years. His father had other, legitimate children, but none of them could match Andreas’ drive, ambition, resourcefulness and ruthlessness. The young man became his father’s favourite, a prospective future Board member, and was appropriately trained in all the skills the Society felt that position required. Oscar Wilde once commented that a cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, but a thorough grounding in history, archaeology, art and economics ensured that Andreas Roth knew both the price and the value of everything the Society traded in. He also received instruction in less respectable subjects, from computer hacking to gunplay and safe breaking.
He was a true Renaissance Man of twenty-seventh century crime, and a rising star in the Alexandrian Society, when the Board appointed him to take charge of what seemed like an obscure research project on the frontier world of Badonicus – an investigation into an ancient Egyptian mummy case that was actually a staggeringly advanced piece of alien technology. At first, he suspected that jealous rivals within the Society had conspired to manoeuvre him into a dead-end job on the fringes of the Empire, but he quickly decided that if so, the joke was on them. The mummy case had the power to create artificial wormholes of some kind, tunnels through space and time. If only they could master its secrets, the Alexandrian Society would have access to a working time machine.
The mummy case did give the Society access to time travel, if not in precisely the way that Roth had intended. The random, uncontrolled activations which were the best his research team could manage attracted a group of aliens to Badonicus – aliens with their own time ship and an understanding of how to build more. Roth captured them, and forced them to design a time machine that could be reproduced using twenty-seventh century human technology.
He shared his discovery with the Board, largely out of loyalty to his father, but he was careful to retain the blueprints for his own use as well. Recognizing that his access to time technology would make it difficult for them to control him, the Board made a virtue of necessity and made him the leader of their entire time-travel operation.
Roth is primarily interested in increasing his wealth and power in his own era. He feels a strong bond of loyalty and affection with his father, who is possibly the only person besides himself that Roth really gives a damn' about. He is loyal to the Alexandrian Society partly because of his father's position on the Board, and partly because it is the vehicle of Roth's own ambitions. He is, however, also a scholar and historian, and is genuinely fascinated by the opportunity to study history "up close and personal". Surprisingly, he does have some standards of personal integrity – if he gives his word, he'll usually keep it – but he has very few ethics aside from that.
Roth is calm and controlled, with a dark and wry sense of humour. He cultivates a veneer of polite sophistication, although an occasional flash of cold ruthlessness sometimes breaks through the façade. On the whole, he prefers to keep his dealings with others cordial – one of his maxims is that people who are working in their own interest don't need to be forced to obey at gunpoint, which saves a fortune in guards' wages – so he'll always look for a "mutually satisfactory arrangement" before resorting to threats.