- "Johnson's the name; here, have my business card."
- ―Larry Johnson
|Date of birth:||2249|
Larry Johnson, usually known as simply Larry to the few friends and relatives he has and "Lucky" Larry to work colleagues, is a particularly renowned smuggler, usually in the employ of the numerous smuggling interests both in and outside of Ewing Bay, who has since made a name for himself thanks to his escapades up-and-down the coastal waters of the southern half of the former United States of America; working as both a silver-tongued negotiator and, if such negotiations failed, a regular gunman. His particularly suave and arrogant manner, made in response to the harsh nature of his occupation, has made him something of a character, adding to his renown, in the smuggling community where he has carved for himself a comfortable position as a "made man" in the employ of the pseudo-aristocracy of Ewing Bay and other powerful smuggling groups and individuals.
Born in mid-2249, Larry Johnson was the only child of an ageing prostitute, addicted to the morphine injecting Med-X and an avid drinker with a penchant for neat Whiskey; apparently, he was the son of one of the many smugglers coming in-and-out of Ewing Bay who had disappeared shortly after his liaison. Whilst not physically violent, and when sober relatively attentive to his needs, his mother was nevertheless prone to emotionally abusing her son, criticising Larry's self-worth and apparent lack of "useful" attributes; Johnson was not physically strong enough to partake in the town's most common employment, the fishing business, and as an infant was very sickly, suffering from bouts of fever and vomiting; were it not for the kindness of neighbours in the tenement that he and his mother resided in Johnson would likely have died, with his mother a being either too inebriated or distraught to aid him. For the most part, thanks to his rather frail condition, Johnson was kept inside the family three-room tenement, with the few childhood friends he had being equally shut-in as himself, except far more religious than he, with these friends either disappearing from Johnson's life or dying from the fairly common diseases then swirling around the town almost as commonly as the town's main market commodity, fish. Nevertheless, the numerous bouts of illnesses and diseases that the young Johnson suffered served to either buff his immunity to the more common and less fatal of them or acclimate him to the misery of poverty, something he would become very keen in his later life to avoid rediscovering its far-from joyous accompanying lifestyle. One of few things in his possessions was that of a pair of Aviator sunglasses, bought by himself from his own little gathering of Bottle Caps, and a small collection of pens and papers that gave him a passion for writing; even if it was only a passion strengthened by writing rather childish, fanciful stories pertaining to fictional adventures. Receiving something of an education as a toddler up to his mid-childhood at Ewing Bay's docks, taken there by his mother when she wanted to leave the house and take in the sea air, usually with a bottle of whiskey cupped in her hand. Johnson would sit by his usually drunken mother and read a variety of small books and pamphlets, his mother, on her rare occasions of sobriety, had bought for Johnson to read, giving him advice on how to do so; thus, Johnson accrued fairly decent reading skills, at least better in comparison with his peers, that would make him something of a valuable employee when, at the age of nine, he was volunteered by his mother to work at his mother's old place of employment; a dockyard brothel.
His days there spent working at said dockyard brothel was that of one of the advertisers; that is, he proof-read advertisements that were written and even learned how to write in the process, doing so over the course of the three years he was employed there, maximising his usefulness and reducing the likelihood of him being fired in the short-term. Despite the relatively comfortable and cordial work environment, Johnson's ambitions extended far beyond simply working as a glorified poster-designer in a coastal brothel - his desires were that of every other would-be smuggler, mercenary or hunter in the dilapidated post-war ruins of Ewing Bay; adventure. This adventurous spirit was fostered only by the conversations that he eavesdropped on whilst employed at the brothel; mostly those of smugglers travelling up-and-down the coasts, hunters clad in stinking pelts and furs and even, on one vividly remembered incident, a boastful Badlander mercenary drunkenly roaring his way through a fist-fight, all the while regaling his opponent on his more exciting adventures. Despite some of these tall-tales inevitably being lies and bluster, Johnson's spirit for adventure, and hopes of escaping the dull drudgery of home, were fostered daily by grim-faced travellers sitting down for a beer and a sexual encounter drunkenly rambling about all manner of wondrous discoveries and marvelous misadventures they had endured to reach their current location; not only did Johnson pick up a longing for adventure, but he also learned to copy the mannerisms of some of the more particularly charismatic patrons, for whom he stood in awe of; be they suave local pseudo-aristocrats, wealthy Klansmen nursing a champagne flute with a wry, thin smile etched on their face, or even the odd charismatic merchant in leather. Around his twelfth birthday, Johnson arranged with certain patrons of the brothel for him to work in their employ carrying hot-items and payments to and from the various smuggler's haunts in Ewing Bay; the work was particularly dangerous, with little room for error, with Johnson more often than not given a stern warning ahead of carrying each parcel or pay-package that, if anything disappeared whilst in his possession during the delivery, he would be held responsible in particularly violent fashion. Well-aware that he might well end up in the docks of Ewing Bay face-down, a common way of dealing with "problem-people" in the town, Johnson was naturally careful with how he dealt with these parcels, with his lucky two-year stint as a delivery-boy for the various smuggling underbosses earning him his nickname, if only because of the certain level of charisma he had attained during his stint at the brothel; the rest of his nickname would come with his next move up the smuggling-ladder, having been noticed for his relatively convincing manner. In an age where the pseudo-aristocracy had to be more subtle with their activities, thanks to the pre-2260s religious revival that the town had enjoyed and the widespread condemning of "sinful" acts that followed it, it was hoped that having someone with an ounce of charisma and a reputation for a silver-tongue would reduce the more controversial business-related killings that prior had been the go-to problem solver for the pseudo-aristocracy and it's goons.Johnson was quickly brought into the fold and handed a few issues of Meeting People to read, meant to give him an air of respectability and warmth that he rather lacked, and was slowly nurtured into becoming a negotiator for the pseudo-aristocracy's smuggling rings; this was a slow process, of course, frustratingly so at times, but the generous wages and the anticipation that Johnson had bottled up kept him in his place in the smuggling rings. His first few jobs were relatively minor; getting local vagrants and addicts to pay for the products that they purchased from the smugglers, with a charming smile, charismatic tone and threats of dire retribution if they didn't hand over their caps in these "friendly chit-chats". As time went by, Johnson was called upon to handle more difficult jobs, though still local; namely, more rough-and-tumble locales where he was required to use a weapon; one of these encounters involved his first-time use of a weapon, when one particularly rowdy and uncooperative debtor with a history of barbarity pulled a knife on him and he unloaded a full cylinder of .32 Caliber bullets into his would-be attacker. This event scarred him mentally, earning him a certain amount of sympathy from his now elderly mother and some of the more considerate in the town, but also reassured the pseudo-aristocracy that he could get the job done through both of the two formally recognized methods of acquiring payment. Armed with a slowly growing reputation, Johnson's tendency to keep on the subtle side of persuasion, preferring to use words over fists, made him not only a welcome addition to the roster of many capable smugglers in Ewing Bay, but a welcome sight for those who had to pay their debts. By the age of nineteen, Johnson's escapades in "recovering" money, and occasionally ending up in the odd bar brawl over said money, had made him one of the more trusted negotiators in Ewing Bay, with all the figurative and literal scars, bumps and bruises to prove it. His actions had earned him enough respect, not to mention trust, to be selected for greater things; that is, negotiating more than just the repayments of local hobos, but instead arranging trade on the outskirts of Ewing Bay; some places as far as Klansmen territory. The first of these trips for the young but well-experienced Johnson was to that of Pascagoula, now known as Pentecoastal, in Jackson County, Mississippi; though largely in ruins, as with the rest of the country, there remained a few traders of both independent and Klansmen allegiance who would pay quite a bit of money for goods that were otherwise hard to find or outright prohibited; anything from Louisiana moonshine to pre-war narcotics. Naturally, these traders were savvy enough to attempt haggling for prices, forcing Johnson on the defence to justify the more-often-than-not heavy prices; it was here that he truly came into his own, successfully ensuring that these first trade deals went smoothly and, when guns were drawn, peacefully ended without so much as a single fatality on either side.
Later jobs saw him going even farther than Mississippi; by the time he was twenty three, with four-or-so month long excursions under his belt, Johnson had seen much of the post-war South's coast; from the almost submerged-in-swamps coasts of Louisiana, replete with all the dangerous flora, fauna and fungi that so commonly appeared on the coast, to the dried-out husks of ageing coastal towns in South Carolina, awash with traders keen to capitalise on the every-present smuggling business, Johnson had been to and worked in all manner of locales, having seen many things that he had originally dreamed of, one of them being the power-armour clad Brotherhood of Steel soldiers of the North Carolina Brotherhood of Steel branch, and things that he had never even wanted to, namely the victims of the vicious wildlife of post-war Mississippi on a trade deal gone wrong. It was around the time that he was nearing his twenty-fourth birthday, late 2272, that his ageing mother passed away. Having grown distant from his mother in the intervening years between his first jobs for the smuggling rings and his excursions beyond Ewing Bay's borders, the death of his mother came as both a shock and a time of deep regret and remorse. Struggling to deal with this, Johnson took a few months off his otherwise constant work to mourn; it was here that he developed a drinking habit, namely that of Bourbon mixed with Nuka Cola, and began visiting a recent arrival to the town; that of Mortimer Kersey, the town's rising religious star and preacher to the masses. Despite usually being on the side of total drunkenness when engaging in conversation with Kersey, some of the more poignant passages from Kersey's tattered Bible were remembered and, during some of his more maudlin moments, recited by Johnson. The two became relatively good acquaintances, though Johnson didn't hold the same zealous love for the Christian religion that Kersey did, and maintained fairly warm relations; although Johnson, owing to the general smuggler's hatred of Kersey for his sermons denouncing them and their ilk, preferred to keep this fact under the proverbial rug. It was these early encounters with Kersey that would begin to re-awaken the somewhat dormant compassionate side that he had long since buried for the sake of making money; these forays into being "moral" mostly consisted of giving known alcoholics a fistful of caps to spend on drowning themselves in liquor or giving out recommendations for wage-raises to workers struggling to feed their families at the docks. Though these actions raised a few eyebrows amongst both his co-workers and his clientele, Johnson's judgement was still trusted enough for him to be sent on two further escapades, both to the grim locations of North Carolina, in an effort to expand their range of available goods and clients wishing to buy those goods, before returning to his, at least in his mind, long over-due reward; a status as one of the "made men" amongst the smuggling circle of Ewing Bay. Whilst a largely ceremonial title, it afforded him a certain amount of respect amongst his employers and earned him an even more generous salary to boot. Unwilling to leave his family's old tenement apartment for sentimental reasons, Johnson simply renovated the ageing room and set up a rather comfortable office space for himself; it was here that his old childhood passion, writing stories, came to pass; with his own fair share of hardship and experiences of the smuggler's life, Johnson began to write and, once he had purchased an ageing but effective Carlisle Typewriter, later type out his memoirs, an ongoing piece of work that Johnson had a particular interest in finishing.
Continuing with his career in smuggling in between penning his memoirs, Larry Johnson's dealings have taken him up-and-down the post-war coast of the Southern United States; as one of the most trusted negotiators of the pseudo-aristocracy and others involved in the Ewing Bay smuggling trade, Johnson has seen the best and worst of the post-war South's coastal communities and lands; from the brutality of the Klansmen Confederacy and the savagery of the Brethren of the Shroud to the cold calculations of the North Carolina Brotherhood of Steel. Throughout his time in the employ of these smuggling groups, he has undergone his own slow transformations; from wide-eyed, shut-in child, to determined adventurous teenager to charismatic, suave young adult, all the while enduring a roller-coaster of changes in his own emotional state, going from thoughtful to thoughtless and back in the process. For Johnson, his determination and drive to become a bigger man, and not necessarily a better man, is his current driving force; an arrogant, suave gentleman of values, negotiating fine wares across the South; for a price.
- "Now, now, let's all calm down and have a pleasant, productive discussion.."
- ―Larry Johnson
- "I'm no fan of close-quarters; it'd, uh, stain the suit."
- ―Larry Johnson
- Cream Suit & Aviator Sunglasses: An old pre-war cream suit, replete with an-all-but mandatory folded white handkerchief, green tie and polished brown leather shoes, with the shoe polish kept tucked in a trouser pocket, serves as Johnson's most common attire; rarely seen without this suit, Johnson is even more rarely seen without his Aviator Sunglasses, bought by himself when he was a child and painstakingly repaired and modified in the years they've been in his possession, this seemingly rather trivial and useless item has a very emotional attachment to Johnson, having been one of the few possessions he owned during his childhood.
- Small Firearms: Whilst nominally adept at utilising pistols and rifle weapons, alongside the odd non-automatic shotgun, Johnson's skills with firearms are rather limited; though admittedly better than his abilities with melee weapons. For the most part, Johnson prefers to carry any firearm he can acquire and hope that he will not need to use it, preferring to talk his way out of situations that inevitably arise as per his job's natural dangers rather than fight his way out.
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