- Mr. Fix-It
- Mechanics IV
- Photography III
- Empathy (Mechanical) III
- Empathy (People) II
- Streetwise II
- Charm II
- Seduce I
- Bluff I
- Diplomacy I
- Knowledge (culture and art) I
Kerouac, a young and talented empath, was born in the Sol Belt to a family of (what else?) miners, although he's been offworld for so long that he blends pretty well, and doesn't anymore wear the Belter Crest. His psychic abilities impact not only humans, but machines – he can intuitively figure out how very complex and technologically advanced systems run, and has a knack for locating and solving problems. These manifested early in life, and before he knew it he was hauled off to a school for psions, which he dutifully attended for a while before getting bored as all get-out and making a break for it. He wandered around for a while, went to night school a couple times and managed to get a few varieties of mechanical certification, if just to make it easier for him to get jobs on ships like the Lucky Penny. Got to support yourself somehow.
In his late teens, however, he managed to find his niche in life – photography. His empathy for machines made it easy for him to coax the best out of his cameras and equipment, and his empathy for people made his photographs particularly beautiful and sensitive. It also leads him to seek out particularly controversial subjects, and many of his photographs feature the disenfranchised – everyone from children living in poverty, to snatch men, to the disaffected, marginalized young wireheads lost to their sexual subcultures. "Ardent" and "raw" are often used to describe his style.
He's published a few monographs and done some installations and shows under the sobriquet "Kerouac" – particularly arty characters might even have heard of him – and is thinking about putting the money together to get a journalism degree, do something useful with his life and his talent – that is, if he can settle down long enough to finish school.
He's a hard drinker, a little too fond of the current, and lives his life skating from one pleasure to the next. He loves parties, he loves people, and if you asked him why he seems to have a slight self-destructive streak, he'd simply say that it was because he worships life and everyone in it and wants to live it to the fullest. And, in general, he does come off as being joyful. Not in the least bit jaded (although he is restless, mercurial, and easily bored). But there's an undercurrent of hopelessness in it somewhere, no doubt brought on by his empathy – deep down inside, it hurts him that he can't truly do anything for all of the people whose pain he's seen and felt, just be with them for a while, photograph them – preserve, at least, the fact that they existed – and move on.
His real name, incidentally, is Jack Benoit Magreaux, but he considers that highly sensitive information. More likely than not, the crew of the Lucky Penny doesn't know.
Kerouac is a good-looking twentysomething with a wide, bright smile and tired but affectionate brown eyes. He radiates a laid-back, carefree warmth, mostly because of his voice, a low, slow, boyish drawl. He has messy black hair, getting long enough to touch his collar, always a bit of scruff on his chin. He's about 6'4 and all skin and bones, wears tight jeans and colorful T-shirts like a teenager. Shows off his body when he walks. You can tell just by looking at him that he's an artist of some sort, the Andy Warhol type, and as promiscuous as hell. He smells, pleasantly, like axle grease, and the tips of his fingers are always black.
I imagined that Kerouac simply wandered by the ship one day, and, of course, his heart broke for the poor girl; got into a spectacular argument over the proper way to treat a little lady like the Lucky Penny, and somehow or another ended up getting hired to take care of it.
He has more compassion for her long-suffering ship than her, and the way Lexi treats the Lucky Penny is a constant source of irritation to him, but otherwise, he clicks with her free-spirited, devil-may-care ways. Probably party together more often than is really healthy.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More specifically, he's always looking for new subjects to photograph, places, people, or causes that move him. Anything that can break him out of apathy, even if just for a day.