Cado Smith

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Cado Smith was a well-respected Harpy pilot and is the ace of aces of the Kamian Succession Wars.

Early Life

Cado was born in A.Y. 6408 in a GS Town, where both of his parents worked for the Gudersnipe Foundation. Though civilians, both were actively and heavily involved in the war effort. Young Cado showed promise early on, demonstrating keen hand-eye coordination and an uncanny aim. The earliest footage of him shows a routine performed for a school talent show at the age of six, in which he popped balloons using darts and a mirror.

As a youth he was heavily involved in various sporting pursuits. Being a GS Town these were primarily track and field, and while he was certainly a fit and able athlete, he did not find much excitement in these activities. Archery seemed the most obvious draw, but he lacked the patience for it.

In his teen years, Cado developed a great fondness for video games, and dropped most of his extracurricular pursuits. While he performed passably in school, his parents began to worry about a lack of discipline, and enrolled him in pre-academy. When asked about it later, Cado said the decision was an amicable one, and he was excited to go.

The specific pre-academy in question was close enough for Cado to attend without having to live on campus, allowing him to maintain his old friendships, but consuming a great deal of his free time. Like most young boys, he had always been a military enthusiast, and enjoyed close-order drill. In his memoir, he said the only thing he really regretted was, he went to an all-boys school and got so busy 'playing soldier', he never had time for romance.

While pre-academies did exist specifically to feed into proper Crimson Blade academies, Cado had not initially intended to join up. However, he showed great aptitude, and at 16 was offered the chance to begin flight-training. He relished the idea, as simulators of such things were his favorite game, and did extremely well in the program.

At 18, he was sent to an advanced program to train as a Harpy pilot. His parents, who had been eager to keep him away from the fighting, were mortified, but Cado was excited about the program.

Flight Training

Cado's abilities served him well, especially his excellent sense of spatial awareness. In the simulators he was notorious for completing the entire pre-flight routine blindfolded, using only touch and careful listening. He could still complete the program faster than anyone else, and quickly rose to the top of his class.

Like most Harpy pilots, Cado was not well-known for discipline, but his instructors liked him anyway. He had a reputation for owning up to his transgressions, and that earned him their respect. Being seasoned pilots themselves, they could easily see his potential, and it is important to note that he never committed a serious infraction while on duty.

Flight Career

In A.Y. 428, at the age of 20, Cado was sent on his first deployment, and saw action within two weeks of graduation. He scored his first kill against a Kamian starfighter in his very first engagement, and made ace-in-a-day on his second. He was an uncannily precise pilot, and proved also to have a remarkable ability to handle his spacecraft.

Over the next twenty-two years, Cado scored a record-setting 12,012 confirmed kills, over two thousand more than any other pilot on record. Part of this is owed to his station as a Crimson Blade Elite, being by nature a front-line unit, he was exposed to considerable combat. His wing averaged at least five sorties per week, and Cado made an average of 2.1 kills per sortie.

In his spare time, he gained notoriety on the sublight racing circuit. While officially an amatuer, he was able to compete at the professional level when allowed, and was known in racing circles as "the mercenary". Since he was not a full-time racer and often had little notice, he was popularly hired by various teams as a ringer, since he was so good he could practically guarantee a win.

Later Life

At the age of 42, Cado retired from the Crimson Blade as a decorated war hero. There had been talk of going full-time as a racer or even being given charge of a racing team; he could also have continued in the Blade as a flight instructor or joined the command program, but as Cado put it, he had 'had enough' of war. Most biographers speculate he was suffering from exhaustion, but close friends and family do not note any difficulties with his demeanor. He was tired, after flying 5-7 missions a week for 22 straight years.

In his memoirs, Cado admitted the decision had more to do with his age. He was 'losing his edge', and no longer able to fly with the precision and capability that made him famous. He could have kept on piloting and still done well, but as he had reached a stage whereby he could no longer improve, he didn't relish the idea of struggling to maintain and slowly loosing his edge.

Moreover, he did not wish to continue with the Crimson Blade. While an elite member of their fighter corps, he had never gone past the rank of Captain, and didn't desire to continue on with a career in the military.

Attempted Retirement

With his full pension and additional stipends based on some of the commendations he had received, Cado was provided with a generous income. He bought a house with money saved from his racing career, in his home town not far from where his parents still lived. Comfortably furnished with a middle-class lifestyle, he set about as an affable bachelor.

In his ample spare time, he enagged in sports and hobbies like never before. He wasn't much for revelery, but began to date heavily, looking, as he said, for 'Mrs. Right'. As he said in his memoirs: "I'd been out with a lot of girls in my time, but never more than twice. I moved around so much on deployment that I never got to have a real relationship." Within a year of retirment, he'd become engaged to Ella Waynright, who was 14 years his junior.

Second Career

Upon conclusion of his nuptials, Cado realized that his pension would not be enough to support his new wife, let alone a family. He had never really planned to stay retired forever, but hadn't expected to actually need money in any significant quantity.

He first began working for a sublight racing team, even competing in and winning six races. While this earned him a tidy sum, it required extensive travel. He could already tell a career as a racer would not last long, and anything he was qualified for would mean extended periods away from his home and new wife (who was pursuing a career of her own, and planning a family). He considered going to work for the Foundation as a combat flight instructor, but found he had lost his taste for the Blade.

He made a few attempts at motivational speaking, but didn't find he had much to offer. 'Fly fast and shoot things' wasn't very helpful, and despite his impressive accomplishments he'd never actually felt he had 'triumphed' over anything.

After bouncing around between various endeavors, Cado found his one-time passion: video games. Games based on his own exploits were extremely popular, and he was able to work as a consultant. Doing this would, again, have kept him away from home quite a bit; but he liked the industry and the culture. After borrowing against his pension, he bought a small game studio and focused on managing it, a job he could do working normal hours. His name recognition was still a huge draw, and the company saw moderate success.

Civilian Contractor

His buisness interests were successful and he had by now become a minor mogul, owning the game company, three casual dining establishments, and an accounting firm which mainly serviced the other companies. He also owned an apartment complex and several houses he rented out.

In his late 60s, Cado finally returned to the Crimson Blade as a civilian contractor, teaching tactics at the same academy he had attended. Despite nearly 40 years of advancements, he was still a highly capable combat-thinker and very sharp. While he did not care to rejoin the Blade and felt he had done his duty to the Foundation, the war was still going on, and his services were needed.

He continued to teach until the age of 74, when he retired permanently.

Retirement and Death

Cado placed most of his business interests in the hands of his adult children, and sold off some assets to pay for extensively renovating his home. A millionaire by net-worth, he still lived in the quiet suburbs he'd moved to when he left the Crimson Blade.

His wife retired along with him, and together they set about composing his memoirs. While the war would go on for another three hundred years, his accomplishments were still significant. At the time he did not know he was to become the Ace of Aces and believed, in his first edition, his record had already been beaten.

The book sold quite well, and he enjoyed a brief resurgence in his one-time fame, going on tours and speaking engagements, before resettling in the quiet life.

Cado lived to be 102, and died quietly in his sleep.

Accomplishments

  • Ace Harpy pilot
  • Ace-in-a-Day
  • Highest number of confirmed kills in a single sortie (54, accomplished through in-flight rearming)
  • Only pilot in the war given sole credit for a capitol-ship kill (accomplished when a well-aimed bomb payload crippled a subcapitol, which went off-course and collided).
  • Competed in 66 sublight races, won 59 of them