Desper Galen Valane-Hammond (known as Desper Valane) was born in March 2430 in Dhaka.
Early Life as Imperial PrinceDesper was a somewhat shy boy who often felt like he disappointed his father who he had a tense and difficult relationship with. Desper was not as confident as his brother, Grayson, and found growing up in the public eye difficult. Prince Desper attended a private high school and became a lot more sociable as he got older and learned more about who he was. His father, in an effort to toughen him up, insisted that Desper choose a sporting extracurricular activity. Desper chose to take up fencing as he didn’t want to be compared to his brother on the rugby pitch. He turned out to be an average Fencer but he did enjoy the discipline and it boosted his confidence. After high school Desper went to Cydonia College to study Literature, though there was a heavily implied expectation from his father to join the Marines after graduation like all the men in his family had done before him. Desper did very well at college and grew more confident. He was a member of several societies and was a very well-liked student. Desper graduated in 2451 in the top 15% of his class. His sisters, who were both artistic, were incredibly proud of Desper for graduating with a degree in something he cared so deeply about and were often among the first to read Desper’s written works.
Military CareerAfter Desper graduated from Cydonia he immediately joined the Marines and completed his training in 2452, graduating in the middle of his class as a 2nd lieutenant. He was posted to Nova Terra as a platoon commander and promoted to the rank of 1st lieutenant and reassigned to Mars as a staff officer in 2454. Desper was deployed to New Corinth in 2455, initially taking over as a platoon leader but later he was elevated to company He was promoted in 2458 to company commander and gained the rank of Captain. Desper enjoyed an excellent reputation as a field marine and a leader. In 2460 Desper was assigned to the reconstruction effort on New Carthage and enjoyed the hard work and feeling like he was accomplishing something positive. Desper was initially not going to be promoted but intervention from his cousin, General Austin Valane, saw him achieve the rank of Major. By 2465 Desper had taken up a post at the Marine Officer Training School in San Diego where he greatly enjoyed the work and the opportunity to teach and guide. He was in this position when he was named as Lord-Governor of Mars, taking over the title in name but leaving much of the day-to-day administration to the Lt-Governor, Lady Lola Whirry. Desper retired from active duty in 2480 as he became more active as Governor.
Family LifeDesper was close to his sisters Charlotte and Aurora, and became very close to Iylah Collingwood after she moved to the Imperial Palace aged 13 as part of a fostering agreement between Regina and Stafford. Desper and Iylah were the same age and moved in the same social circles. Desper would frequently describe Iylah as his best friend and the relationship between them was sweet and strong. Desper wrote to Stafford Collingwood to ask for permission to court her once he had finished his Marine training course, stating that he would not want to step out of line and jeopardise any future arrangements her father intended for her. Her father responded positively and the young couple began dating. A couple of years later, Desper wrote to Stafford again, this time asking for his blessing for his intentions to ask Iylah to marry him. Again, Lord Collingwood gave his blessing and Desper proposed to Iylah a few weeks later with her great-grandmother’s ring and hundreds of Lawrence Rain Blossoms. Prince Desper married Iylah Collingwood in 2455 in a lavish ceremony. The two were often described as being ‘sickeningly blissful’ together. The couple went on to have two children together:
- Aldrich Valane - born in March 2460
- Jackson Galen Valane - born in August 2462
Regency Era & Governorship (2476 - 2499)Following the tragic death of his sister Desper became the legal guardian for ‘The Imperial Three’, the Regent of House Valane and the Governor of Mars as according to Aurora’s Will. He took a place on the Imperial Council and was seen as a key part of the Conservative faction at Court. He was part of the Council that resisted against Elethuria Ashpool and her Disputed Regency. Desper, who refused to believe that Kotek Grumman was responsible for the deaths of his sister and brother-in-law, called for an investigation into the Rexes deaths. He was removed from the investigation and blocked from those who were allowed to investigate. As Governor of Mars Desper oversaw a trying period for Mars and its people. One of the major projects of Desper's governorship was education campaigning. He spearheaded initiatives to build more schools and to get poorer children into education and for them to progress to further education. In 2480 Desper announced that he had started the 'Aurora Valane Scholarship Fund' which was a fund designed to help would-be students from less fortunate backgrounds access to ten pre-selected prestigious universities across the Terran Empire. The Fund was weighted so that 60% of successful applicants would be from Frontier Worlds, 35% of successful applicants would be from Core Worlds, and the remaining 5% of successful applicants would be from Earth or Mars. The scholarship covered the costs of university education in full, including funding to pursue extra-curricular activities and travel to and from the student's home world. The Fund hoped to 'enable the bright minds of The Empire who are from poorer backgrounds a chance to shine their light and change their lives for the better'. The Martian legislature matched the money invested by House Valane. Desper and Azrael Krane were good friends and after Azrael was sworn in as Emperor of the Terran Empire their relationship strengthened as the two leaned on each other for support during a very trying time in the Empire’s history. The two were considered to be close allies, later boosted by the marriage between Prince Alexius Krane and Princess Indigo Valane (later known as Indigo Valkrane). Desper served in Azrael’s cabinet as Minister of State Intelligence, and later as his Chancellor. Desper was in post as Chancellor during the Fall of The Empire. He was devastated, and he took the loss of his friend and Emperor particularly badly and after a short transition period with Nova fully retired from politics and public life in 2499.
Later LifeDesper continued to live at Sycamore Heart with Iylah, and the two of them kept a low profile following the string of executions and assassinations that came to anyone who carried a Collingwood name. During his retirement Desper returned to his love of writing. He wrote and published three historical texts that were very well received. He also continued writing fiction though never sought publication. The slower pace of retirement also meant he could enjoy time with his remaining sibling, his children, and his grandchildren. Desper became unwell in 2525 and though his health recovered he remained more fragile than he had been before. The only time he was seen outside of the Valane Estate after that period of illness was for his grandaughter’s funeral. Desper passed away in 2539, aged 110. His funeral was held on Mars and was widely attended, as were the thanksgiving ceremonies held across Mars. Indigo led the eulogy though was joined by Aldrich, Jackson, and Nova.
Do not be the kind of man that wants to make his father proud but do be the kind of man that wants to make his son proud. The rest will fall into place as it should.