Mac Cooley is currently a Lieutenant serving in the Special Forces branch of the Planetary Union Marine Corps (PUMC). He was given the task of dropping in to a Ki Commando controlled jungle on the Planet Ki, find the Ki Commandos, stop them from killing you, embed with them and use them to gather intelligence on the Ki Rebel Association’s anti-aircraft installations. Cooley spent the last three months embedded with the Ki Imperial Commandos, headed by Mao Ga. In order to embed with the Ki, he spoke their language, fought their fight, and ate their food. While on a reconnaissance mission for a company of 200 Marines en route to disable an anti-aircraft installation, Mac and Mao Ga come across a Ki Rebel observation post holding three Purist Nation soldiers. Cooley’s interrogation of the captured soldiers revealed a Ki Rebel ambush that was awaiting the 200 marines as they closed in on the anti-aircraft installation. When Cooley’s Commanding Officer, Captain Andrew Morton, ignores Cooley’s warning and cuts off his communications, Cooley is forced to make a decision – obey his CO or save 200 men from certain death. Cooley only questioned Capt Morton’s judgment because he knew the Capt Morton had limited combat experience and was exhibiting an undue urgency to keep to his “time table”. Feeling the Captain was making an egregiously bad decision that would cost lives, Cooley informs his second in command, Sgt Melissa “Trip B” Dyer about the error in judgment and suggests they take out Capt Morton. Although Sgt Dyer agrees the decision is bad, she is affronted by Cooley’s suggestion of murdering the CO. Understanding her resolution, Cooley instructs the Ki commando Mao Ga Ma to kill Capt Morton with a sniper shot. Once Capt Morton is dead, Cooley assumes command of the unit and instructs them to retreat. As they retreat, Planetary Union superior atmospheric fighters are shot out of the sky by the very installation Capt Morton was having his marine unit attack. Finally, Sgt Dyer’s supporting soldiers surround Cooley and take him prisoner for killing Capt Morton.
Cooley is a capable and intelligent soldier. Fluent in several languages, his respect and admiration for the warrior culture makes him the perfect operative for infiltrating and embedding with alien cultures. He welcomes difficult situations that would make other soldiers squeamish and his love of adrenaline rushes earn him the nickname of “Stone Balls” or “Stoney” for short. If Cooley has a character flaw, it would be his sense of morality. In a strange dichotomy, he values life so much that he’s willing to take a life to save the greater population. In the skirmish with the Ki Rebellion this flaw shows itself in two distinct instances. During the interrogation of several captured Purist Nation soldiers, he rationalized that since 200 marines were in imminent danger of an ambush he didn’t have time to follow the proper convention treatment of prisoners of war. This bending of his moral code lead him to torture and execute the captured soldiers, killing one even though the prisoner gave him the information he wanted. The second instance of Cooley’s wavering moral compass happens in the killing of his Commanding Officer, Capt Morton and in Cooley’s hesitation in killing Sgt Dyer. In both Capt Morton and Sgt Dyer’s cases, the deciding factor between life and death was whether or not they had put lives in danger.
Cooley has the ability to embed with different races which gave him a strategic advantage. While most marines would hesitate at the chance to embed with the Ki, Cooley welcomed the challenge. His respect for the Ki as warriors (and all around badasses) allowed him to overlook their more unsavory attributes. Accompanying his ability to embed was his proficiency in languages. Cooley spoke the four major languages of the Purist Nation, as well as the system’s six major dialects. He also learned some Ki from Mao Ga Ma, although it was difficult for a human to physically emulate the Ki language.
- See more works by Paul Elard Cooley at his website.