Quentin Barnes is the main protagonist in Scott Sigler’s novels The Rookie and The Starter. As one of the three quarterbacks playing for the Ionath Krakens, he is an important character in the story development.
Life on Micovi
Quentin grew up on the Purist Nation settled planet of Mining Colony VI also known as Micovi. Quentin originally lived with his parents and his brother, however he was separated from his parents at about the age of one. He was left as an orphan after his brother was hung for stealing food. Quentin was five and his brother was only about nine or ten when he was hung. In the Purist Nation family members are responsible for crimes committed by their family for up to three generations. At five years old, Quentin was the last surviving member of his family and therefore he had to serve as an “honor worker” in the Micovi mines for the crimes of his brother. Quentin was 15 years old and still serving as an “honor worker” when he was discovered by Stedmar Osborne, the owner of the Micovi Raiders.
Life in Mining
Growing up as a worker in the Micovi mines forced Quentin to be tough physically and mentally. One childhood story he recalled was learning to kill Roundbugs that wandered close to him while in the mines. Quentin remembered that while growing up in the mines, if a child didn’t learn to kill Roundbugs it often led to a short lifespan. The mines were terribly dangerous places and frequently children were hurt, disfigured or killed in mine accidents. Quentin bore the scars of mine accidents and the subsequent stitches.
The owner of the Micovi Raiders, Stedmar Osborne, tells the story of discovering Quentin Barnes while traveling through a mining community: Stedmar Osborne was traveling to the mines on Micovi when he noticed a gathering of miners. Thinking it was a fight, and always willing to watch a brawl, Stedmar got out of his limo only to be surprised. What he saw was a competition between two miners; the one who threw a stone further would win. The larger of the two threw the stone around 60 yards. The smaller man, a fifteen-year-old Quentin Barnes, then threw the rock eighty-five to ninety yards on his try.
The larger man paid Quentin but Quentin began to dance and rub in his victory. After the ensuing fight, Quentin stood over his opponent having beaten him soundly. Seeing the potential of this child-quarterback, Stedmar sends his bodyguards subdue Quentin. Ironically Quentin ends up knocking out one of the guards before he can be taken down. When Quentin meets Stedmar for the first time, Stedmar asks if Quentin knows who he is. Quentin Responded "You're the new owner of the Raiders." With that, So began Quentin's Career in the PNFL.
Life in Football
Barnes was a star quarterback for the Mining Colony VI Raiders, a Tier 3 team in the Galactic Football League. The team was also affectionately called the Micovi Raiders after the local name for Mining Colony VI. The team played their home games at Micovi Memorial Stadium where Barnes played for four years. At age 16 he took over the Starting QB position and holding until Stedmar Osborne sold his contract to Gredok the Splithead (owner of the Tier II team The Ionath Krakens) ending his career in Tier III
Barnes leads the Ionath Krakens to a Tier 1 birth.
At the beginning of The Rookie, Barnes is 19 years old standing 7 feet tall and weighing approximately 360 pounds. He has two tattoos on his chest, one on either side of his sternum. The right chest tattoo reads, Shuck and the left reads, You.
Initially, Quentin was a product of the bigoted upbringing of Purist Nation doctrine that gave him little regard for other species. While, Quentin did not subscribe to the religion that espoused the hatred of non-human races as its major tenant, he could not deny the indoctrination that his Purist Nation upbringing entrenched in him as a child. However, one of the main story lines in The Rookie follows the arc of Quentin’s growth, understanding and eventual tolerance of the non-human races. It is within the background of football and Quentin’s love and dedication for the sport that allow him to see past his bigotry and embrace his teammates for the beings they are.
The character’s full name Quentin Barnes but he is sometimes referred with the nicknames of Q or Barnes. When Quentin shows his inexperience with other worlds, races, or concepts his teammates refer to him as Backwater. This is in reference his naïve and narrow-minded upbringing on a Purist Nation border planet.
Quentin’s skills while playing for the Tier 3 Micovi Raiders are what impressed scouts to give him the chance on a Tier 2 football team. Quentin’s size, running ability, recognition of defensive patterns and ability to adapt during the play caught the eye of Gredok the Splithead.
In addition to his unusually large stature for a quarterback, Quentin could also run a 40 yd dash in 3.8 seconds. This common test of speed revealed that Quentin was faster than most human running backs and human tight ends. Also with that speed, he would be able to outrun most Tier 2 linemen.
Gredok the Splithead best summed up Quentin’s ability when he made his initial assessment of his football skills,
"The arm of a Plasma rifle, the eyes of an aerial predator and the mind of a general."
- The Rookie, p. 26