Ermingarde Bancroft-Ashpool is considered a phenotypical EuroZone caucasian woman, with a light complexion, medium length brown hair, and brown eyes, indicating a strong Spanish heritage. She commonly wears yellow and white dresses and affects a strongly feminine presentation. Many consider her to be a clueless heiress who does little with the massive wealth and power of the Bancroft-Ashpool interests, which include large shares of megacorps like Union Aerospace, OCP, and the ubiquitous Commonwealth Bank of the Atlantic Federation (CBAF).
Ermingarde is a polite spoken person who cultivates the appearance of vapidity and an apolitical public persona that is better known for hosting social events and the general demeanor of a largely unintelligent and disinterested woman. This is deliberately done.
A Brief History of Wealth and Power
The history of CBAF is tied to several deeply important pieces of arcanotechnology, the most prominent being the current generation of AISC systems, the CogNet itself, and the underpinning cybernetics and robotics that facilitate the creation of seibertronians. This along with sundry things like dimensional reactors and a controlling interest in banking operations allowed for the formation of the Bancroft-Ashpool group, creating the scion line.
The Bancroft-Ashpool scions have existed for several generations, and are composed of genetically improved and polished humans who have been designed to be the best that they can possibly be at the time of their birth. These men and women are born into a stupendous fortune, and their worth rivals that of many existing nations. Accordingly, they are engineered to ave the sort of intellect capable of handling this sort of power, though this has not always worked as planned.
Ermingarde is nearly eighty years old, though still appears as if she were in her early twenties. This is a combination of periods of hibernation, genetic rejuvenation, and regular life extension treatments. As long as she keeps her regmine and doesn't encounter a violent end, she could conceivably live to see three to five centuries of non-senile life. While she may appear in superficially mundane garb, all of her clothing is very precisely made, most has high protective values, and her jewelry is a combination of biotelemtric devices, synthetic communications equipment, or ancient and highly valuable treasures.
Most of the Bancroft-Ashpool scions are parapsychically awakened, though their process is a closely guarded secret, one that they have refused to sell, and attempts to steal it have met with disaster on the parts of those who make the attempt. Ermingarde herself is a demonstrated technopath and technomancer, able to control machines, or become completely immune to psychotronic devices. This fact was not discovered until after her personal yacht was captured by a cybernetic rogue group, the Promethean Faction and they attempted to interrogate her with a device best described as a psycho-probe, and then a cohaagen apparatus. Both devices failed in their task, and the psycho-probe simply broke down and caused a few causes of technicians being electrocuted, while the attempt to brain drain Ermingarde ended with a psychotronic field inversion that functionally brain wiped and or lobotomized half the technicians who were operating the machine, and the other half had their heads filled with fragments of the minds of the others who had theirs blown away. Ermingarde was later rescued by a Federation Reflex team who took the survivors into custody and returned her to the family orbital estate.
The Bancroft-Ashpool Estate: Hi-Brasil
Hi-Brasil is a half mile wide orbital platform in the shape of a Stanford Torus. Gravity is generated through arcanotech devices, and the station no longer rotates to generate centripetal force. The Bancroft-Ashpool creches are contained in Hi-Brasil and it is the birthplace of all the scions. Most spend the first eight to ten years of their life in Hi-Brasil where they use dream tank immersion technology for purposes of education and life experience. The station can house up to 8 thousand people comfortably on it's fourteen decks, though it seldom hosts more than a few hundred, most of whom are dedicated servants to the scions.
Hi-Brasil is located in the Atlantic Federation orbital complex at LaGrange Point 1, so is considered one of the most secure points in the entire solar system. The station counts the Valentine War Academy, Dominion Anchorage, and the Ramiel Space Supremacy BattleSat as neighbors. Given the proximity of Federation space assets at L1, the fleet maintains a strong presence, including the home base for the 2nd Earth Fleet, based around the battlestars Columbia and Arcadia.
The Bancroft-Ashpool Large Cruiser: Waterloo
The Waterloo is a 650 meter large cruiser laid down by the New Hanseatic League shipyards, and is a state of the art civilian ship. Its engines, powerplant, navigation, and electronics systems are all state of the art, and the ship is easily one of the fastest in it's weight category. In addition to being a bleeding edge cruiser, the ship has accommodations and facilities on par with a surgical hospital, a legal administration center, and a luxury diplomatic office. The ship uses sovereign space rights, allowing for the ship to act as a piece of sovereign territory wherever it goes and being protected by the aegis of the CBAF corporate laws.
The Waterloo has a large hanger that is able to function as a small municipal aerodrome for corporate transit craft, aerospace fighters, or flight capable mecha. It most commonly accommodates up to six Lear class corporate luxury transports and a squadron of defensive aerospace fighters. While legally not armed, the Waterloo is typically accompanied by either a mercenary cruiser or squadron of military interceptors, depending on its destination and mission plan.
The Bancroft-Ashpool Long Range Cruiser: Champlain
The Champlain is a very large cruiser built and operated by CBAF, and is a remarkable ship. It is close to 2 kilometers in length, though it has a pronounced rocket shaped body, including a long nose cone and antenna assembly. The shape was picked for thermodynamic reasons, and to accommodate the large antenna, which is used for detecting faint energy signatures in space. Champlain was built to function as a comet chaser and rare material scout, seeking out things like kirkite formations in asteroids and possibly lost or derelict ships. Ermengarde likes to take the Champlain out for pan-solar tours, and to 'stretch it's legs' to set solar transit records. In cases where speed is of the essence, the Champlain is dramatically faster than the already swift Waterloo. The offset is that there is no luxury and fewer facilities about the Champlain.
The Bancroft-Ashpool Vault Base: Floro Dery
The vault base Floro Dery was built on the surface of Mars, Huo Hsing as it is more commonly called in the CE. The base itself is a massive geofront built into the crust of the red planet, and is surmounted by a squat demo-arco landing platform. The main use for Floro Dery as a long term low access security vault for CBAF, typically housing large amounts of hardcopy data, physical records, and the personal belongings of the Bancroft-Ashpool family, a collection several hundred years in the collecting. Floro Dery is well stocked and defended with a robust Butler AISC that manages the archives and vault contents, as well as handling the vault defenses and security. Floro Dery is isolated from the CogNet and cannot be reached by remote means, access has to be done with analog input. The ACPS has signed agreements with CBAF to leave the facility alone, and CBAF has agreements with the Atlantic Federation that Floro Dery is not and never will be used as a strategic or military installation.
The most ironic thing about Floro Dery is that the surface facility is a carbon copy of the CBAF headquarters demi-arco in Chicago, down to the massive illuminated advertising panels and massive holoprojectors that are located on three sides of the building, making the vault highly conspicuous even from orbit.
The Bancroft-Ashpool Auditorium: The CBAF Grand Colosseum
The CBAF Grand Colosseum is a megascale structure built and maintained by CBAF and is used for the staging of large scale media events, ranging from things like mundane concerts, major political rallies, and as a massive cosmodrome in rare occasions to hosting ridiculous events like mecha scale professional sports events, gladiator style mecha duels, and military and naval conventions. The Grand Colosseum is large enough that it affects weather patterns, and two battlestars can touch down inside it.
CBAF and the Bancroft-Ashpool estate were intimately involved in the infrastructure and planning that went into the rebuilding of the old city of New York into it's new form. This involved a massive scale of urban obliteration, reducing a centuries old city core down to the substrate and rebuilding, starting by turning the island of Manhattan in massive seven core geofront, and then building on top of that. CBAF and other holdings maintain a controlling share of the city real estate, and are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the utilities and core services, something that even more residents of the Great Apple are not aware of. Accordingly, the new city is studded with Bancroft-Ashpool holdings and secrets. The interplanetary HQ of CBAF is the Grand Central Arcology, the largest and tallest arco in the New Nuyork Arcoplex, and Ermingarde typically lives in the penthouse suite on the the upper most residential floor of the massive building.
Kasem City is a thriving favela style sprawl located in the Middle East, built in and around the impact crater left by the wreck of the Neo-Soviet dreadnought Rozhestvensky. The ship crashed and had no survivors, and was quickly descended on by Wastelanders and Silk Roads warlords, who ended up turning the hulk and crater into an important trade city on the Silk Road. CBAF is not involved in Kasem City, but the agents of the Bancroft-Ashpool family are, typically searching for rare and exotic things to please the scion members of the family, typically bootleg and stolen hyper and arcanotech, or rediscovered antiquities and treasures. The family maintains a bunker like villa in the city that is used as a sort of deep slum safe house. Ermingarde has little personal use for this den of depravity, but can use it as either a reward or as a punishment, depending on application.
Due to the involvement of the Bancroft-Ashpool scions, as well as a handful of other Western hemisphere social influencers, the city has a social presence in the Atlantic Federation that far outstrips its actual size and importance. Much like exotic locales from yesteryear, such as the exotic interzone of Tunisia or Marrakesh, or opium hazed Samarkand, Kasem City is the neon grunge arabic spiced pleasure palace of the middle east, exotic, dangerous, barbaric, toxic, and euphoric.
The Bancroft-Ashpool Wrecks: Ermingarde, Arzichelle, and Gallonighter
The Bancroft-Ashpool family has been around for a long time, and has been wealthy and powerful for almost that entire time, allowing for accidents and incidents to happen, and the scion wrecks represent three such events. The locations of the three wrecks are all underwater, are classified, and the ships remain listed in active service so that any attempt at scavenging or salvaging the ships constitutes either an act of war or piracy. The family has other lost ships, almost all of which have since been recovered or scrapped, save for these three. The reasons for their isolation and protection remain unknown, but are subject to many Illuminati style rumors and conspiracy theories.
Most popular theory per vessel:
The Ermingarde, a predominantly medical ship, suffered a serious medical contamination event, bad enough that it would tarnish the name and value of the family and by proxy, CBAF. Raising the ship could also release whatever biological or viral horror that was contained during the controlled crash into the ocean.
The Arzichelle was deliberately wrecked as part of a government coverup, and the records on board the ship could implicate several branches of the Federation government and trigger a massive political scandel that could beggar the family and unseat the current government structure.
The Gallonighter houses the hibernating or cryogenic frozen body of a certain blood thirsty militant member of the family would would love nothing more that to start a hot shooting war with SEMDRC and other international forces. So long as he remains alive but in stasis none of the legal contingencies will activate, and he will not be reanimated through arcanotech technowizardry.
Scion of Scions
Ermingarde Bancroft-Ashpool is the finest engineered human that the creche has ever produced, and she is well and truly aware of it. She is also aware of the many of the forces and factions active in the Cosmic Era, and has decided to act as a stabilizing influence to keep the chaos from spilling over and out of control. She is a founding member of the Small Council, a group of half a dozen powerful and influential people in the Cosmic Era, and they have as their purpose the guidance of humanity as it struggles through transhumanism, cybernetic sentience, genetic manipulation, and socio-economic upheavals and collapses. They are an organic counterpart to the Andromeda Council and anti-conspiracy league devoted to facing down the machinations of the Glassenheim Foundation.
The Small Council is the most volatile of the high power influencers in the Cosmic Era, not being tied to any AISC or thinking machines. This is countered by the fact that their genetic coding and engineering render them virtually a new species of humanity, Homo Sapiens Excelsior.
The Bancroft-Ashpool Secret
The great secret of the Bancroft-Ashpool is hardly earthshaking or horrific, but it is strange. The members are technically ghola, engineered and grown from the cultured tissue samples and their personalities and created from a collection of kakgrams taken from previous members of the family, their genes are sculpted, and their minds and personalities are given the same treatment. In some nations, people like the Bancroft-Ashpools are legally not considered human, but accorded status like a clone or bioroid. Ermingarde was created from a pastiche of six previous matriarchs of the family, as well as the experiences and acumen of famous actresses and female mecha pilots. This, combined with her biological engineering and awakened technopathic and technomantic parapsychic powers makes her one of the most powerful people in the Solar System, and sitting at the head of one of the largest hypercorps, one of the most wealthy and infuential.
Ermingarde is a smart and cunning woman, and she gains a great deal of personal satisfaction in pulling of societal spoofs, where she uses her cultivated image as a wealthy vapid do-little hypersocialite to embarrass others, advance her own personal causes, of cause calamity and ill fortune for the rivals of the Bancroft-Ashpool scions, of which there are many.
In a setting rife with megalomaniac warlords, sentient machines, alien conspiracies, and extra-dimensional events, Ermingarde and her forces represent the hand of order and law over chaos and destruction. She acts like a spoiled debutante but in actuality is herself a social engineering and manipulating mastermind, the princess who is the actual empress, but acting as just a silly girl.
Ermingarde would be lawful good if it were not for a skewed sense of morality, which largely comes the from the rarified position of being an engineered being in a family of staggering wealth and importance, largely divorced from the common person of the Cosmic Era.
Ermingarde Bancroft-Ashpool was inspired by the insipid and highly sexist Astoria Carlton-Ritz, one of the few human characters from G1 Transformers cartoon. She was every sexist trope that the 80s could throw together even being so ditzy and shallow that a Decepticon mind probe self destructed attempting to read her mind. The Bancrofts are a powerful and nearly immortal family from Altered Carbon, and the Ashpools herald from William Gibson's Neuromancer novel.
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