Writing process

Why Captain Wendell dyes his hair

Not Wendell’s ship, or not as we imagine it, but a ship, nonetheless.

Over on Goodreads, a reader asked about Wendell’s age. We answered the question over there, if you want to read it but Wendell is actually a character we have a lot of backstory for. We thought you might be interested in some snippets.

The Cord Gambits

The Cord Gambits were a series of two hundred and four war scenarios proposed by General Cord three hundred years prior to the start of the Linesman novels.

They were supposedly unbeatable, and were given as part of the final exams for students passing out of the Wallacian Fleet Academy.  The idea being to show the newly-trained soldier that sometimes you couldn’t win.

The only person to ever come up with a solution for one of the scenarios was Piers Wendell.  (He actually came up with solutions for two of them.)

How old was he?

Wendell was young when he made captain.  Too young, some people said

A soldier isn’t normally considered for captaincy until his/her late forties, and usually not appointed as one until they were in their fifties. First, because captains need experience. You don’t want a raw soldier in charge of a ship. And second, ship captains stay with their ships, so once they take up that role, that’s as far as they go, career-wise.

Yet Wendell was thirty-two.  (He’s thirty-nine now.)  The youngest captain in any known fleet, ever.  Why didn’t Wallacia wait?

Wendell was a brilliant strategist. He worked his way quickly up through the ranks.  The Wallacian fleet didn’t want to lose him.  Some saw him as a potential future leader of the fleet. But Wendell was getting bored, thinking about leaving the fleet altogether.

There was one sure way to keep him there. Give him his own ship, let him bond with it, and he’d remain in the fleet forever.

Why does Wendell dye his hair?

Wendell has steadily been working through the Cord Gambits ever since.

His crew bet him they could come up with a solution to one of the gambits as well. If they did, he’d have to dye his hair for a year.

It took months, lots of ‘what would the captain do now’, and precision teamwork, but they did it.

The crew chose the hair colour.

In Confluence, that twelve months was just up.  Wendell was growing out the dye, but the crew had spent the last twelve months working on a new gambit and had just come up with a solution.







3 replies on “Why Captain Wendell dyes his hair”

Thanks for brightening my day – Wendell info that surprised a laugh out of me.
He’s an interesting character, and I hope you have many more opportunities to write about him.

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