The Syndicate: The Characters

Because geeks have sex lives too...

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Born Eustace Allard about 36 years ago, but as he hates his first name has changed his name to ‘Allard Allard’ to avoid confusion. Is still slightly bemused that this causes confusion in bureaucratic circles, but approves of the alphabetical-order ranking.

Dark hair, dark eyes, and leather trousers. Worn for warmth and durability—there isn’t any other reason to wear leather trousers—is there?

A classic Bastard Operator From Hell, Allard is a fairly close match to this description here.

Has few friends and no organic children. You’ll discover what that means later.


Born William William Vaughan (after father and grandfather) 32 years ago, but goes by ‘Vaughan’ as he hates all the puns people make about the composer.

Dark curly hair, practical clothes and a deep mellow voice that could seduce a saint, let alone an overworked IT specialist who should have his mind on the job, instead of ‘on the job’ (we’ve obviously spent too much time writing Harry Chance lately).

Obsessed with his own bizarre mixture of left-wing politics and practical capitalism, Vaughan is quite reasonable and human on the rare occasions one can pry him free of his portable soapbox.

Vaughan is the ship’s engineer, which he is happy with as he can spend hours tinkering. He is also the elected Captain, partly because he has natural leadership qualities. He’s not happy with that—it doesn’t seem to go with the politics.


Harry Chance hasn’t felt the need to fiddle with his name. He is desperately trying to forget the fact that he’s nearly 30.

Fairish but thinning hair. Looks shorter than he is in an attempt to get out of heavy lifting, which worked until his crewmates noticed.

Un-squashable by sarcasm, put-downs or downright rudeness. Allard’s tried.

Works as a valuer. Can effortlessly and accurately price up anything from an antique bookcase to a violin case to a case of vintage wine (on a case-by-case basis, naturally). He also does the syndicate’s accounts.


Karen Bright is a pretty, demure brunette who looks so gentle and innocent people take some time to notice her dry wit and ability to handle large dangerous things.

Works as a weapons technician. Intensely devoted to causing intentional explosions and preventing unintentional ones.


Claire Steele is a very elegant blonde.

Doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and in fact perfectly happy to point out their folly (like Allard), but doesn’t hold long-term grudges (unlike Allard).

Ship’s pilot—“because at least one of us should be able to navigate our way out of a wet paper bag”—with a justifiably high opinion of her skills.


Ship’s AI. Came with the ship, bought secondhand from alien traders.

Most of the crew don’t know quite how to treat it, since they’re not sure about giving a share of the ship to something that in some ways is the ship. Allard treats it as an interesting application of technology that he’d better not annoy if he wants to have hot water in his shower.

Personality seems to be quiet, philosophical and asexual (as far as anyone can tell), which made it a minority of one on the Mary Sue, at least until the next organically-challenged crew-member came along.


Short for ’Mark One’ experimental AI unit. Short in stature (can be easily carried by any human crew-member) and in temper. Curious about sex. Curious about everything.

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The Syndicate | Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Four Leaf Clover | paperback | characters | free stories

Copyright © 2002-2006, Jules Jones and Alex Woolgrave