Little is known of the life of Colonel Amerigo Erickson before he joined the Imperial Guard. Legend tells that the young Amerigo was the last surviving member of a Necromundan gang wiped out in an ambush. Hunted by his enemies and entirely without friends, Amerigo sought refuge in the 'safest' place he could find, the local Imperial Guard recruiting office.
It is said that our Emperor's galaxy is a place made for hard and bitter men and Colonel Erickson proves the old saying. Cold, calculating, inured to difficulty and defeat, Erickson soon impressed his superiors with his tough-as-nails character and the gift for small-unit leadership common to so many Necromundan ex-gangers. Erickson somehow remained alive amidst the slaughter of the Hrud infestation of Bacchus VI, the Web-Worm invasion of Parg, and several campaigns against the forces of the Arch-Arsonist of Charadon. Promoted again and again for remaining alive and continuing to organize and fight long after his superiors and most of his peers were dead, Amerigo soon attained the rank of senior sergeant, and finally battlefield commission to Lieutenant. Bullying and terrorizing his way through the Imperial officer academy, Erickson returned to the guard and, before his fortieth birthday, found himself in command of the 99th Necromunda regiment. Erickson led the regiment to destruction and victory several times over before he retired, always achieving his objectives, though his regiment exceeded 100% casualties several times during his command. True to his ganger culture, however, Erickson always took care of those closest to him, inspiring a sort of dog-like loyalty in those who walked in his shadow.
After retiring under a heap of honors and medals from the Imperial Guard, Amerigo applied for and received a Rogue Trader's license and a loan with which to buy a ship and hire a crew. His personal influence with the Imperial authorities must have been considerable, for he was allowed to cream off much of the best man-power of his old regiment to make up the best part of his team. This of course, infuriated the officer who succeeded Erickson in command of the 99th Necromunda, but what could he do? "He who carries the Imperial license stands at the right hand of God." so old bureaucrats say.
Colonel Erickson's first, (and possibly last) expedition is to an tail of stars hanging off the very bottom of the galaxy, an area known as the Wailing Reach. The Wailing Reach is a relatively lawless frontier region currently torn by heresy and civil war, but none of this is of much concern to the mighty Amerigo. Of very peculiar interest to him is the recent dispersal of a warp storm called the Vermillion Gate. The gate has writhed and swirled at the edge of human space for 10,000 years, since the time of the Horus heresy, watched over by the hungry guns of the Dead Men Space Marines chapter, but recently it has faded away, it's warp-radiation readings dwindling to nothing. Legend tells of inhabited star-systems beyond the gate, Imperial worlds cut off from the rest of the Empire when the storm appeared in the days of Horus...what is left of those derelict societies? What weird worlds and fantastic technologies lie beyond the Vermillion Gate?
Amerigo Erickson intends to find out, and to seize and plunder his way toward his life-goal. Amerigo has a good bit of plunder from his army days cached here and there. This, together with his Army pension, would allow him to retire reasonably comfortably, if
he were inclined to retire merely comfortably. But such a fate is not to Amerigo's taste.
Amerigo's dream is to spend his twilight years in a secluded fortified mansion, garrisoned by a company of comely mistresses, drinking and whoring his way to the grave with his old cronies. Can't do that on a little savings and an army pension. Who dares, wins, Amerigo figures. And you can understand where he's coming from...I mean...now that I think about it, my own youth seems...ill-invested by comparison. But there you go. Now you know Amerigo.
Now meet his "staff"...
Major Tomzen "Major Tom" Bovey, an old cronie of Amerigo's and until recently, the Executive Officer of the 99th Necromunda Regiment. He remains Amerigo's 'right hand' man, as ruthless and capable as his Commander. "Major Tom" lost his left arm in one of his last campaigns against the hordes of the Arch Arsonist of Charadon. Never able to understand why people needed two arms anyway, Tomzen had the lost limb replaced with something way more cool...a combi-weapon system incorporating a shot-gun, a double-barreled laz-gun, and a mini-missle launcher system which functions essentially as a grenade launcher. He can thus personally engage enemies at close, medium, long, and (with his chain-sword) hand to hand range...and...with direct or indirect fire. Pretty cool, huh? the Major thinks so. Annoy him at your peril.
Major Willem Bonn, "Billy Bonehead" to his friends, insofar as he has any. A formidable sanctioned psyker and former Master Psyker of the 99th Necromunda. A man only too glad to leave Imperial service and strike out anew with his old boss, Amerigo. Fortune and glory, baby.
Lieutenant Genovia "Genni" Starker. Nobody has been able to find any actual evidence of her ever having received an Imperial Army or Navy Commission, but Amerigo insists that she is a Lieutenant and that seems good enough for everybody else. Her official title in the 'Trader crew is Liaison (liason to whom?) and Communications Officer. It is true that she is a very skilled Comms manager and general problem solver, but everybody also knows that she is Amerigo's main squeeze, and questions about her role in the crew tend to trail off at about that point.
The Imperial Assassin known only by his...nome de...nome de mort?
...which is The Nightengale. When the Administratum commissioned Amerigo as a Rogue Trader, they assigned The Nightengale to him, as a...guardian...
somebody to...watch over...
Amerigo on his expedition. Amerigo assured the Administratum that he did not need an assassin monitoring him, but they insisted and sent The Nightengale anyway. Wasn't that thoughtful of them?
Captain Phineas Phibes, called "Doc Badvibes" behind his back. Not surprisingly, Captain Phibes was the commander of the medical platoon of the 99th Necromunda, and is now Amerigo's personal doctor, a position Captain Phibes relishes, as it leaves him plenty of time for 'research' and 'experimentation', especially when there is a crop of new prisoners to work on...Captain Phibes has a particular interest in hands...perhaps a function of his own bizarrely oversized appendages...
Upward and onward...to fortune and glory, baby!
"My Galaxy, My Rules!"
-saying widely attributed to Amerigo Erickson