This character is a member of the Jade Hand.
|Adviser to the Republic and Chancellor of Eastern Business Operations|
|Affiliation||The Jade Hand|
Marcus Cunningham is a well known member of the Guild of Merchants, a founding member of the Emerald Republic, and a high ranking member of the Jade Hand. More importantly, perhaps, he is known for his tendency to help others regardless of factional alliances.
Marcus Donald Cunningham was born on the Skyland of Eltsina on November 23rd, the youngest of three kits, all male. His father, Otis, was a coal miner who became a mechanic due to a diagnosis of black lung, while his mother, Margaret, helped at a local bakery. His two brothers, Demitri and Johnathan, never heard the call of the sky as loud as young Marcus, who would stare at the clouds and watch the zeppelins roam. As young as nine, Marcus knew the sting of the Faction Conflict, and remembers well having to run out at night after dark to gather supplies during a blockade. Marcus' love of zeppelins is said to come from his great-grandfather, whom his middle name comes from.
As soon as he was old enough, Marcus applied for a flight license and took to the skies. He ran planes to their absolute limit, squeezing every drop of fuel from them before refueling, and was even known to coast onto landing pads dry, gliding in from high enough up. It is said that he once returned to his home Skyland of Eltsina in a Mastiff, which ordinarily would not be capable of making the trip from Getty. Experts claim a good tailwind, but folks who know Marcus know that he landed on Eltsina like a paper airplane.
Upon his return, he immediately sought out a Guild Official and swore the oaths to become a recognized member of the Guild of Merchants, and has become a highly recognized and respected member of both the Guild and the Skytopian society. Currently, Marcus is known for flying the Iron Vulture, a Bismarck-Class gunship zeppelin that was reconstructed to resemble more a luxury liner then a military gunship. Along with his famous, handpicked crew, the Iron Vulture tours the sky lanes, patrolling the less-defended areas and ensuring that the threat of Pirate control never comes to pass. Though, Marcus is unusually lenient towards pirates, often giving them ample opportunities to flee a combat scene, and deploying provisions and a radio beacon via dropped buoy at the site of every aerial combat. Some say it's the humanitarian in him, though others say that his great-grandfather was something of a pirate himself, and Marcus' leniency towards them could be summed up as Professional Courtesy.
Marcus walks with a noticeable limp, and medical records do indicate that his right knee was shattered some time ago, and never properly set. According to Marcus, the wound was received during the aerial battle for supremacy between the Crimson Armada and the Guild of Merchants, at which time his knee was hit by a piece of superheated shrapnel. Deciding to stay and finish the fight rather then withdraw merely delayed the victory of the Crimson Armada, though when he landed, he received the news that he'd never walk on that leg again. Unwilling to lose twice in a day, Marcus now walks with a permanent limp, with the assistance of a walking cane, of which he has a significant collection.
Or at least, he thought the wound would be permanent.
After aggravating the wound in some tavern-based shenanigans, Marcus traveled to a surgeon on Uurwerk to finally have something done with his shattered knee. During this time Marcus' radio presence was all but nil, and while he gave his crew the week off, pending the surgery, most of them were more eager to see their friend and boss back on his feet then they were about shopping or vacation time. After a week-long procedure and healing time, Marcus now can walk just as good as he ever could. Running, however, is another matter...
On March 17th Marcus' majestic gunship returned to the Prop N' Rotor tavern airspace, where Marcus unveiled the full extent of the success of the surgery. Marcus was walking, no limp, with no sign of pain. The cane that he was pretending to need was given to the bartender at the time, Talon Karrde, and the suggestion was made to mount it to the wall of The Rotor and Prop.
In a recent communique between himself and the elusive Mistress Eltsina, Marcus was commended for his loyalty and service to the cause and goals of the Guild of Merchants, and as such, he was awarded the title and responsibility of Chancellor of Eastern Business Operations, which has allowed him to not only ensure that supplies reach The Rotor and Prop, but he has even begun work on establishing a trade route to the elusive northern skyland of Lavina, though it technically lay outside of his jurisdiction.
The BVX-799 "Iron Vulture" was assembled in the S&S Research Inc shipyards of Gonk on personal commission, and is quite possibly one of the most well known ships in the sky not piloted by one of the leaders of a faction. A massive zeppelin bristling with guns and layered with armor, the massive Bismarck-Class gunship is not a foe to be taken lightly. Marcus is well known for giving pirates the chance to flee the area of engagement before giving the order to shoot. His gunnery crew, hand picked as the rest of the crew, are exceptionally skilled, and know very well the capabilities of the Bismarck's gun racks.
The Iron Vulture's incredible longevity is due in part to her Uurwerkan redesign. The engines are hybrid Steam / Diesel engines which are, for the moment, unique among Skytopia. Many other innovative systems have been integrated into the Bismarck's hull that increase her operational time to triple the usual operational time on such a ship. In fact, the only reason the Iron Vulture needs to pull into port at all is to fill up the fuel tanks, perform a few trades and routine maintenance, and then she's off again. Much like Marcus, the crew considers the Iron Vulture their home, and she certainly tries to be an accommodating hostess.
A detailed list of the specifications on the "Iron Vulture" can be found at the Skyrates Mechanic under file number 222. Marcus' proposed final design of the massive gunship was listed under file 468.
While in defense of The Rotor and Prop against a massive fleet of well organized pirates, the unthinkable happened. Running afoul of a booby-trapped Bismarck, the Iron Vulture's starboard stability fans were destroyed and an internal fuel line ruptured, injuring dozens of crew, some critically, and sending the Iron Vulture spiraling to the Skyland below. The Vulture's crash landing shook the Skyland like a micro-earthquake, and she dragged across the surface, scarring the park and the hangar nearby. The Vulture was initially deemed "Unrepairable" and was designated as "Salvage" rather then a wreck. Marcus was determined to prove the port authority wrong.
After two weeks of nearly round-the-clock repair work, incalculable donations from dozens of Marcus' closest friends, time and effort, and just a little bit of faith, the Vulture was airborne once again.
After The Storm
The Iron Vulture was instrumental in the relocation of refugees from the Skyland of Romeo to the haven of Gonk. Enroute, the crew picked up the distress call from Abigale of the Freedom, which ran afoul of a Leviathan and crashed. Upon landing at Gonk, the Vulture buckled under all the damage she took from the great storm, and once she was no longer being held aloft, she began to settle. Almost a half hour later, she was deemed to be unworthy of airflight by the hangar masters at Gonk, and a repair mission began immediately.
At this time, Yvonne of the repair crew has estimated that the Vulture will be airworthy again, "When repairs done".
Yvonne's hard work, along with the work of several other members of the crew, finally paid off and the gunship was airborne once again. Thicker armor, massive engines, and an overall increase in hull size allowed for the Iron Vulture to carry more, go further, and carry larger weaponry, including her main gun, the "Spirit of DD" - A massive Piecemaker-Class 120mm belt-fed turret cannon, using fin-assisted high explosive rounds. According to rumor, the Spirit of DD has so much muzzle energy that its recoil actually moves the Iron Vulture.
The rumors are true.
The Great Market Crash
Marcus donated a substantially charitable sum to the program to assist young pilots with financing their first Junkers, though that's not the reason the rumble of the fans is absent from the skies. Something about mandatory maintainence...
The crew of the Iron Vulture is as well known as the ship itself, and has been collected from every corner of Skytopia, even as far away as Uurwerk itself. Chefs, security, bridge crew, gunnery crew, engineering... all picked from what Marcus views as the best of the best, and brought together to serve on the massive gunship liner.
Extraordinary examples of Marcus Cunningham's crew are:
- Lucas Shaffer, Male white furred Ferret from the ALPHA 1 platform. Lucas is the master chef aboard the Iron Vulture and, though quite unpleasant at times, has a hidden heart of gold. Lucas bears a faint scar across his muzzle, earned by 'methods unknown', and hardly mentions anything about it, and mentions his past and his younger days even less. As master chef, he is often called upon to cook for seventy people or more, and can do so at the drop of a hat.
After the crash, Lucas hasn't really changed much. He's far more protective of his kitchen staff, but on the whole, Lucas is still the same lovable Lucas that everyone knows and loves.... from a distance. (5'11" 32 years)
- Kratos Leonides, Male black furred Boar from Fuseli. The Gunnery Master aboard the Iron Vulture runs the gunnery mounts like a military camp, with prayers of war and promises of doom to the foes of his friend and blood brother, Marcus. They met on the battlefield, and Kratos was impressed with the way Marcus handled himself in battle. From that day, they were allies despite colors. Kratos' prayers of death and war howls can easily be heard throughout the pipes of the Iron Vulture, with or without an intercom. The massive Boar is covered in scars, some ritually self-inflicted, and his gunnery crew often can be found sporting similar scars and marks. Scars can mean anything from "First Kill", "Tenth Kill", all the way to "First Leviathan Kill", though there is one scar that only Kratos sports... a mark above each eye, for sending an afterburning Ingersol to a watery grave.
After the crash, Kratos' anger and blood-lust towards the free-roaming pirates of the world has only increased. While he will still aim for wings and tails if so ordered, the normally honorable boar has been known to aim at engines, and even pilots now, especially those who fly under a unified marker or banner. (6'5" 30 years)
- Yvonneavar Galligsky, Female gray furred Mouse from Uurwerk. Even though she only speaks a smattering of Skytopian Basic, Yvonne (as she's known) is well understood in the Engineering section. From maintaining hybrid Steam / Diesel engines to reinventing scientific standards, Yvonne is well known and loved for her trade. When she's not drinking her captain and friends under the table, she's curled up on her hammock catching a power nap before the next catastrophe. Folks taking interest in the rather shapely Uurwerkan mouse should take note that her capacity for drinking alcohol is almost legendary, as is her promiscuity. She has several admirers, male and female, and that's how she likes it. Of all of her features, it's not hard to imagine that the one that often gets missed are her eyes. The Uurwerkan is a complete heterochromic, with her right eye being a soft blue, and her left a piercing green.
The crash hit poor Yvonne the hardest, even though she was one of the only ones to emerge without a scratch. A young maintainence worker by the name of Sebastian Walker was on scene when the blast started, and threw himself into the path of both a blast and a few fragments of shrapnel. Left unharmed, Yvonne was able to oversee the repairs of the Vulture, though until Sebastian recovered from the hospital, she wasn't really herself. Finally, she set up an old fan in his recovery room, hoping that the sound of the fan would guide him home. Sebastian eventually made a relatively full recovery, though has no memory of the events leading up to the crash. Once he was released and cleared for work, Yvonne was back to her normal drinking, loving, hugging, chasing, flirting self. (4'9" 28 years)
- Jennifer Krijgsman-McKinney, Female White (With black spots) Rabbit from Cidade. Marcus' chief radio operator is a cheerful and happy rabbit who has a secret that not many know, but quickly find out once they speak with her and gaze into her hauntingly pale blue eyes for any length of time in person: She's blind. Though, her blindness has never stopped her from living life, and she frequently navigates to The Rotor and Prop with nothing but her cane to assist her, and recently she has re-discovered love. After several failed attempts at lifelong happiness, she found love in the most unusual location, in the arms of someone else who had also failed to find happiness, Sadistica. The two are wed in matrimony, and have started a family together with the birth of their twin children: A feline named "DD" and a rabbit named "Marcus", named after the two most important people in their lives.
The wedding of Jennifer McKinney and Sadistica Krijgsman took place aboard the Iron Vulture, presided over by her captain, Marcus Cunningham.
After the crash, Jennifer pretty much returned to life as usual before the crash. Shook up by the events, but surrounded by friends and loved ones, she was able to pull through relatively unchanged. (5'8" [6'0" including ears] 22 years)
- Brianna Henry, Female red furred Fox of Earthbreach. A member of the engineering team responsible for keeping the Iron Vulture airborne, this shapely red-furred vixen is well versed in all things mechanical. Hand-picked by Yvonne from, according to the story, a potential class of ninety, the vixen not only is a wizard on the bolts, but is as sharp as a knife out of the bay, and when she's not relaxing or swimming in the Vulture's on-board pool, she's playing chess or trading mazes with other members of the engineering department. Well, all except Yvonne... something about mice and mazes doesn't sit too well with her.
After the crash, Brianna's 'have fun' attitude only heightened. Her brush with disaster left her bruised, but not scarred, and she now takes the time to enjoy the company of friends, the feel of a loved one, and new experiences. (5'7" 27 years)
- Gunter James Quackenvich (Dr. Quack), Male Platypus of Lhasa. Chief Medical Officer aboard the Iron Vulture, it's his job to ensure that all the day to day bumps, scratches, tears, bruises, bullet wounds, knife wounds, and near-fatal injuries remain as far from fatal and infected as possible. His medical knowledge is sufficient to make him a highly desired commodity in any hospital, but their requirements of insurance, proper coverage and referrals is, to him, a slap in the face of what being a doctor is all about. His duties aboard the Vulture allow him a bit of freedom in other fields, including distilling several varieties of topical anesthesia from his own poisonous spurs, once the pain-inducing toxins are removed, naturally. As his personal doctor, Gunter is one of the only doctors in the world that Marcus would trust the checkup and treatment of his shattered knee to.
His attitude towards saving the injured after the crash did not falter. His dedication to the cause and his impulse to help others has only grown more powerful since that day. Though, it never stops him from reminding the crew about up-coming appointments or recommending follow-up check ups. Well, he did plenty of that before the crash too... (5'4" 36 years)