Beyond the Cascade
The True Story of the Valerius

The History of Rory Jennings

Rory Reginald Jennings was born in ISD 550, son of Reginald Jennings and Lauren Fendale. He was the last of five children; his mother, unfortunately, did not survive childbirth. He had two older brothers, Joseph and Henry, and two older sisters, Elizabeth and Harriette. The death of Jennings' mother is significant, not so much because of an emotional distress, but rather from the dramatic lack of a maternal figure in Jennings' childhood. Though his sisters did, of course, play some role in his early years, they were both married by the time Jennings reached his 11th birthday.

Thus it was that Jennings was left in an extremely masculine environment. It can safely be assumed that it was in these formative years that Jennings came to develop the strong senses of propriety and respect of hierarchy that became evident as he matured into adulthood. Indeed, Jennings' history of strict adherence to rules is noted as far back as his time at the Ellenwood School, as a young teenager, when a particular incident was recorded:

"January 14th, 565 [ISD] - Noted that several students were involved in an altercation outside Gerby Hall. The incident appears to have arisen when one student, Mr. Rory Jennings, attempted to correct the misconduct of a group of fellow students, who were incorrectly attired for an educational evironment. Jennings appears to have been particularly frank in his assessment of their conduct, and thus aroused an angry response. The group of students... set upon Jennings, beating him with their fists. Further violence was prevented by the arrival of staff members."

Mr. Jennings' penchant for strictly interpreting the code of conduct inevitably extended to his schoolwork as well. It was noted that he was "forever the studious pupil" and that few of his peers displayed the respect and diligence which Mr. Jennings afforded to his education. Despite this, Mr. Jennings never achieved the level of academic success that would ordinarily arise from such a work ethic. Indeed, when writing a letter of recommendation for Mr. Jennings to the Minister of the Exterior, one teacher had this to say:

"There are few, I believe, who are truly destined for a specific role in their life. Many, it seems, would serve well in many different roles. However, Mr. Jennings is one of those few. He embodies several traits which recommend him heartily to the work of a bureaucrat, and little else. Allow me a moment to elaborate; Firstly, Mr. Jennings is perhaps the most diligent student ever to enroll... Secondly, Mr. Jennings will obey rules to the letter, without affording himself or others leeway. If ever there was a man who could be untouched by the slightest possibility of bribery or scandal, it would be Mr. Jennings... Thirdly, Mr. Jennings possess that trait which I believe to be the most undervalued of any for those of government, and that is a complete lack of imagination or brilliance. Though he has achieved some level of success in academics, it has not been from any inherent gift or brightness. He simply does as he is told, and does it exactly as he has been taught... Truly, there is no better model for efficiency than studiousness without brilliance."

Mr. Jennings was hired into the Ministry of the Exterior immediately upon leaving school, at the age of 18, and thus began the career of a bureaucrat.

The Ministry was, at the time, being controlled by several competing factions within the military. Although nominally separate from the military, the true independence of the ministry had been lost with the forced retirement of the last competent Minister of the Exterior, Sir Henry Farren. a decade previous. The Ministry had since been converted into a tool, or perhaps more accurately a weapon for the various factions of the military to use against each other.

For the first few years of his career, Mr. Jennings played no part in the intrigue within the Ministry. His positions were of only minor import and barely worth mentioning. However, it became increasingly apparent to the competitors that Mr. Jennings had the potential to be used as a rather effective and unique weapon in their backstage wars. With his inherent resistance to the temptations of corruptions, he had the unique ability to enforce rules whilst remaining impregnable to scandal, blackmail, or bribery. Once this potential was recognized, Mr. Jennings' career began a steep assent. He was transitioned through various regulatory roles, primarily overseas, and was catalyst to the downfall of several of the more corrupt officers within the higher circles of the military.

Whether he was fully conscious of his being used as a tool with which to engineer the downfall of opponents remains an unanswered question. At a time when the perceived character of Mr. Jennings as a symbol of a corrupt military bureaucracy was at its highest, a particular sentence, taken from a correspondence with an old friend, was often cited as example of his awareness of the situation:

"I cannot say that I have imparted justice upon the gentleman entirely alone, for I do not believe that I would have been able to do so without aid; I was offered the position I occupy after my name was recommended by Fleet Commander Geston to the Minister, and I believe that the Commander had some notion of what it was that I would uncover."

This sentence would seem to confirm that Mr. Jennings did indeed realize that he understood that his placement in positions of significance was not fortuitous. However, to consider that statement as proof of complicity in the corruption of the bureaucracy would be unfair in the extreme. Given Mr. Jennings' history of conduct, it seems far more likely that Mr. Jennings merely recognized that he had been intentional placed in situations which would afford him the opportunity to deal with the corruption, without necessarily understanding the true motivations surrounding the decision.

Mr. Jennings' final post before being assigned to accompany the Valerius was with the 5th Fleet in the Remington, in Horrow county. This position was a particularly powerful one, and considered to be revenge against the Fleet Commander Geston. It was also Mr. Jennings' first posting within the Home Country, and thus the first to allow him the opportunity to enter into imperial society.

The sharp assent of his career brought with it a vast increase in wealth, and it is understood that any single man of fortune must be in want of a wife. So too it was with Mr. Jennings. Though of low birth, Mr. Jennings was considered to have been a good match for the daughter of Sir Cole, a nobleman who had assumed a large amount of debt that he was eager to be secured against. Though there does not appear to have been any particular passion between Mr. Jennings and Miss Cole, the match was satisfactory enough for both, and in June of ISD 578, the couple were married.

Four years later, Mr. Asper's innovation became known, as well as his intent to cross the great mountain range, the Cascade. The military, having failed in their attempts to uncover the mysteries of Mr. Asper's invention, required that an envoy of the Empire accompany the voyage. Seeing an opportunity to place Mr. Asper under close watch and rid himself of that same oversight, Fleet Commander Geston recommended Mr. Jennings for the role of envoy, a position that he eventually was convinced to accept. And thus it was that Mr. Rory Jennings became Envoy of the Empire aboard the Valerius.