As biomechanical entities, androids can theoretically live forever with the proper repairs. While some embrace this form of immortality, most androids live what they feel is a full life—usually around a hundred years—and then voluntarily instigate a process called renewal, in which the android’s soul leaves its body, allowing a fresh android soul to inhabit it. Most people consider this a joyous occasion, metaphorically equivalent to the old android giving birth to a child, and understand that a post-renewal android is an entirely new person who just happens to inhabit the same body. Yet not all people are willing to honor this change or forgive past debts and slights, and such is the case with Iseph.
Iseph awoke in an abandoned storage facility on the machine world of Aballon, standing upright in a black-market renewal crèche. Around them, the place was completely empty, save for a note and a pen left in the center of the concrete floor. Clearly hastily scrawled, the note read only: Run. Hide. Retaliate. Beware the mark. Next to the words was a drawing of a symbol—the same inexplicable design branded on Iseph’s chest. Yet the biggest shock was when Iseph picked up the pen, as the note’s writer had clearly intended—for the handwriting on the note matched Iseph’s own.
Confused and disoriented, with only some basic downloaded knowledge of the world they’d just been born into, Iseph did as the note instructed, doing their best to disappear into Aballon’s bustling android population. It was here that, among other things, they first met other androids and discovered that some identified with particular genders, though Iseph never felt any such personal connection. But the questions raised by the note continued to plague them. Who had worn their body before them? Who were they running from, and why? What was the mysterious symbol? Eventually, Iseph worked up the courage to begin making surreptitious inquiries into the planet’s infosphere. All of these searches failed, yet in curious ways, as if the information was being actively scrubbed and redacted. Worse, Iseph began to get the sense of being watched, faces in the crowds that seemed strangely familiar. After a month of tentative forays into they city’s silicon underworld, Iseph at last tracked down someone who claimed to recognize the mark, but who insisted on meeting in person at a nearby virus bar.
Iseph was almost to the tavern when it exploded in a massive fireball, the blast consuming an entire city block.
Thoroughly spooked, Iseph fled Aballon, taking passage on a ship to the Diaspora. Yet as they worked there, quickly finding themself a deft hand at piloting rock-hopper shuttles and mining tugs, Iseph’s fear turned to anger. Wider Pact Worlds society proved far messier than Aballon’s orderly machine culture, and Iseph was first confused and then disgusted by the prejudice and jealousy androids still encountered from some humans. They met android escapees from illegal colonies in the Vast, bearing blatant symbols of corporate ownership and scars from cruel disciplinary implants, and began to suspect what their own mark might say about their origins. Incensed, Iseph made contact with the Android Abolitionist Front, learning to fly more combat-oriented craft, to sneak through the shadows, and to put down the enemies of their people with ruthless efficiency. Under the AAF’s guidance, Iseph became a black ops expert, until a disagreement with their handler over a messy job led them to go independent. Today, Iseph officially hires on with freelancer crews as an elite pilot specializing in dangerous transport or exploratory missions—and if those jobs sometimes require a little infiltration or a bullet from the shadows, well, that costs extra.
Though paranoia over being hunted by their mysterious enemy (as well as friends of former assassination targets) makes Iseph something of a loner, the android desperately craves companionship, and is fiercely loyal to those few who prove themselves trustworthy. As a result of their early days on Aballon and personal experience as an android in a largely biological society, Iseph questions or rejects many aspects of mainstream Pact Worlds culture, and enjoys exploring the countercultures on different worlds. Iseph believes the ends often justify the means, yet strives to only take on jobs that fit with their sense of morality. An initial focus on android rights has broadened into a tendency to identify with oppressed people and underdogs everywhere, no matter how alien, and to hate any form of slavery with a passion. While Iseph finds the most joy in flying any manner of ship or vehicle—usually too fast and recklessly for the comfort of their passengers—their infiltration abilities remain as sharp as they ever were, and the former assassin has no objections to pulling out their trusty sniper rifle again when the cause is just.