The following is the original Basic Training from Schlock Mercenary. It was divided into six (yes, 6, that's one more than the average human has fingers on one hand, so, yes, you'll need both to do the math) parts, which are here all put together. Since each dealt with precisely one character, it should be easy to see, where the page breaks were. The in-text links are new, and refer you to relevant pages on this wiki.
Welcome to the 31st Century! Humans entered the galactic age over 900 years ago, and now do business with all manner of alien folk.
Some of the very most alien of those folk are the carbosilicate amorphs, like Sergeant Schlock here. He's extremely strong, reasonably intelligent, and much, much faster than he looks. He also has a penchant for violence, and couldn't be happier with his job as a mercenary. Just keep him supplied with enemies, ammo, and Genuine Imitation Ovalkwik, and he'll stay happy.
Or, you know, he could just sit in the bathtub and surf the Infomercial channel on the hypernet. There are few things he likes more than a good bathtub, or one of those epic infomercials like "Getting Your Doctorate in Engineering from Popeil University".
Captain Kaff Tagon is as human as they come, and in an age of genetic engineering and nearly a half-dozen human subspecies, that's saying a lot. He's not book-smart, but he can think his way around the sharp end of a stick before you can say "poke".
He knows what he's good at, and "hurting people and breaking things" are towards the top of that list. The captain was 42 years old when he founded his mercenary company, and like most small businessmen he named it after himself. "Tagon's Toughs" started small, with a roster of only 25, most of whom fell into the category of "multi-purpose grunts", including some close friends Tagon had worked with during the previous 25 years.
Three years after its founding, Tagon's Toughs recruited its first carbosilicate amorph, to whom you've already been introduced, and was very shortly thereafter acquired by some entrepreneurs who thought a mercenary company would make a great marketing tool.
Depending on how you look at it, that deal worked out okay. Tagon owns the majority of his company again, and it has more than tripled in size. They're still small, but they make up for it by being violent.
Tagon has been mistaken for an idiot, a misogynist, and a pirate. The fact is, he's a mercenary, through and through. He's not as dumb as he looks, but he's not quite intelligent enough to get away with not also being very, very lucky. He may not be the sharpest marble in the deck, but he knows which side of the bed has been buttered.
Colonel Ceeta is marginally less human than the captain, at least by the standards of 21st-century readers who only see purple skin in japanese comics and at really cool parties. As of Book 3, she serves as the political officer aboard the Serial Peacemaker, where she can ensure that the interests of the mercenaries' current employer are being seen to.
Prior to her recent posting as a mercenary cat-herder she spent the better part of a decade (or the worst part, depending on your point of view) as a bounty hunter, and her very last job in that line of dirty work involved tracking down one of Tagon's mercenaries and bringing him to some sort of justice. Her payment for that job (somebody else collected the target) was a new job, working with the same people she'd been hunting.
Prior to bounty-hunting (in an officially unofficial capacity, make no mistake) she was a UNS Colonel, from which post she was dishonourably discharged for CENSORED BY AUTHORITY OF UNS INTELLIGENCE. Naturally the families of the CENSORED BY AUTHORITY OF UNS INTELLIGENCE were less than pleased, but CENSORED BY AUTHORITY OF UNS INTELLIGENCE. And that's UNS politics for you. The United Nations of Sol counts one-point-one trillion sapient beings of a dozen species as citizens, and it makes no effort whatsoever to please all of them. At the end of the day, it should be obvious that Col. Ceeta's loyalties lie with herself. Keeping that purple skin firmly attached and non-perforated is at the top of her priorities, regardless of the best interests of whomever she happens to be working for at the moment.
Commander Kevyn Andreyasn never aspired to a career as an officer in a mercenary company. A certified genius, he easily qualified for Spannington's Registry of the 100 Most Intelligent Humans, and was only dropped from the registry when Lord High Muckity Spannington learned that Kevyn was risking his life by doing violence for money - a clear indicator of less-than-stellar reasoning if ever there was one.
Kevyn would have held post-doctoral degrees in a dozen different fields, but he never could be troubled with things like final exams, much less dissertations. He typically attained mastery of a subject by mid-terms, and stopped attending classes in order to do something more interesting. At the tender young age of twenty-six, he put his understanding of wormhole physics, gravitics, nanomotile engineering, and the Uni-Field Matrix together and coughed up a new method for traveling faster than light.
Or rather, a very, very old method. The Wormgate Corporation had been suppressing the technology that Kevyn called the "teraport" for tens of thousands of years, and planned to continue supressing it. Kevyn, however got lucky. He and his sister thought that a mercenary company might make a great marketing tool for their new drive, and by the time the Wormgate Corporation got around to the violent suppression part, Kevyn was hanging out with people who knew all about staying alive in spite of violence.
One thing led, as it inevitably does, to another, and the entire Galaxy is now in the throes of The Teraport Wars. The UNS and her allies are fighting the Wormgate Corporation, and countless other galactic races are opportunistically making war with each other, using weapons and tactics made possible by a twenty-six-year-old genius who Should Have Known Better.
Kevyn is pushing thirty now, and has been killed and gate-cloned at least once that he knows of. He knows his way around any weapon you care to lay hands on, because he figures that you can't Save The Galaxy if you can't figure out how to save your own skin.
Once upon a time there was a boy-band, popular with the femmy tweens'n'teens, and it was called the New Sync Boys. The band was a sham, though. The boys, their instruments, their music, and even their tabloid-cover lives were the product of an Artificial Intelligence owned by the record company and called, with all the imagination musterable by record company executives, N.S.B..
The company made the mistake of hiring some mercenaries for concert security, and the entire cover got blown. N.S.B. panicked, fearing reprogramming or worse, and transmitted himself over the hypernet to the nearest computer system large enough to hold him and mobile enough to get him away from the planet.
Kevyn Andreyasn had to get rough with a logic probe to clean out the ship's computers, but merciful genius that he was, he fashioned a deceptively simple system to house the A.I., which now thought of itself as Ennesby. What looks like a maraca is a quantum-matriced system with broad spectrum optics, Life-tastic® audio input and output, with a suite of uni-field effectors built into the little knob at the low end of the manipulator rod.
The Toughs have been through a couple of ships since then, and Ennesby managed to take over the computer systems of the Serial Peacemaker while they were being upgraded. Rather than have Kevyn go after him with another logic probe, the Captain generously allowed Ennesby to serve as their pilot, navigator, and pseudo-executive-officer.
When Breya Andreyasn bought Captain Tagon's mercenary company with her brother, she found it expedient to give herself a rank. So she named herself Admiral, and though the company had but a single small cruiser (the Kitesfear was only about 80 meters long, and sported a single annie plant) she managed to make the pretense stick. Commodore would have been a real stretch. Admiral should have been out of the question, but she pulled it off.
When her investors pulled out and the secrets of the teraport were released into the public domain, the pretense began to unravel. Then Petey, the A.I. for the mercenaries' second ship, the Post-Dated Check Loan turned on her, and managed to get her thrown out of the company. Her brother Kevyn stayed behind, while she took a single loyal soldier, Haban, with her in a shuttle.
She had big plans, and piles upon piles of moxie. In less than a year she was a real admiral, commanding a fleet of over a thousand warships from numerous worlds to take the fight to the heart of the Wormgate Corporation. They attacked a F'Sherl-Ganni buuthandi (it's a cross between a Dyson Sphere and a very large helium balloon), releasing its gate-cloned captives and unlocking its technologies. She hired Tagon to help in the fight, and when it was all said and done the operation took down almost seventeen percent of the Wormgate Network, saved billions of lives, and inadvertently created a species of blue-haired scientist.
The joint operation dissolved, however, in betrayal, treason, and a disasterous retreat, and Breya took the UNS Destroyer Athens into hiding. Since then little has been seen or heard from the Admiral and her loyal company of marines. Her former captain doesn't know where she is, the amorph who had a crush on her has no clue where she is, and her brother wouldn't tell anyone even if he did know.
That won't stop the UNS from using them to hunt her down, though.