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Admiral Sir Geoffrey Tolwyn, Bt. VC, MOH, DSC, KCB[1] was an Admiral of the Terran Confederation, remembered for his brilliant defense of Earth against Lord Thrakhath's, a classic example of military prowess in the face of overwhelming odds. His subsequent political actions dishonored his name and memory. Frequently he was a direct or nearly direct superior and adversary of the Colonel Christopher Blair.

Since his youth, his eloquence had always been one of his strong suits during pressure, seemingly being able to talk his way out of every trouble. But sometimes he talked himself straight into the hole.

BiographyEdit

Youth and educationEdit

The only son of a British baronet, he was born in 2612, during an era of relative peace. Tolwyn grew up as part of the last remaining vestige of nobility on Earth with estates in England and the Shetlands. Some grandfather had been rear admiral of the Confed Fleet, old tradition type who served 6 years then returned to the family business.

Young Geoffrey never wanted for money and had a 10000-a-year allowance. His family arranged for him a relationship with Rebecca, a girl from a very proper British family with all the right pedigrees, for whom Geoff felt a growing attachment.[2]

He attended the Confederation Service Academy where he met with other species, such as Firekkans, Varni, Hagarin, Wu and others. In spite of their peaceful ways, the Varni always made him uncomfortable owing to the primeval fear of reptiles with poisonous fangs. The years away from the comforts of his home made him understand the value of money.[2] While there he befriended Rhea Bergstrom, and in their youthful ambition they jokingly put a bet: should one becomes an Admiral first, the other would owe him 10 credits.[3]

In his 2nd year, Tolwyn studied under Vance Richards who then served as a summer flight instructor for basic subsonic atmospheric flight. He was first in his class in subsonic, sonic, and transatmosphere training. He also had several hours in the twin seat variant of the Hurricane. He admired commander Winston Turner who shaped his own thinking about the Confed Fleet, its mission, and the inner sense that the Confederation was to face a crisis unlike any before. He would never admit to anyone, his gut feeling that destiny would give him a major part to play.[4] Already there he had developed his almost fanatical dedication, but because of his character he called names his superiors a couple of times; he graduated top of his class, and perhaps because of his behaviour he wasn't #1.[5]

In his youth, Tolwyn also indulged in coode breaking of classified documents like many pilots and cadets. That way he read the reports of the Panama System war games.[4]

By 2634 Ensign Tolwyn had acquired the wings of a basic fighter trainee over the left breast pocket. Tolwyn graduated during a time when many in the Confederation were questioning the very necessity of the armed forces and when Confederation senators were looking to bolster their votes by cutting "wasteful" military programs; all during the slow, steady build of tensions between the Confederation and the Empire of Kilrah.[1]

Just a day before his graduation he received his official orders posting him to start orientation training for the Wildcat fighter on Lunar orbital base 5. The next day, after the graduation ceremony of that year, while going to the refreshments table to bring drinks to his parents, he heard[4] Senator Jamison More being interviewed over a controversial bill to close the Academy. Before realising it, Tolwyn approached and had a run-in with him, making the vid cams turning towards him, and brought up personal motive for the blockage of a new starfighter program to replace the aging "Wildcat" medium fighter. The awkward dialogue was witnessed by Spencer Banbridge and Winston Turner. One of the senatorial aides provoked him but Geoff ignored the bait.[5]

The senior officers knew that Tolwyn's audacity doomed his own career, so when Banbridge offered an assignment to Turner, Turner chose Tolwyn over Robert Singh, to be his admin assistant.[5] Indeed the event hit all the major vid services and More's opponents even used Tolwyn's words for their opposition. Tolwyn was summoned to the office of CICCONFEDFLT Banbridge for a loud reaming for his "insubordination", in front of smiling More's aides; following this, he was "banished" to Base McAuliffe.[4]

He took the transport from Earth and on 2634.120 Tolwyn reached Johnson Island instructed to report to Lieutenant, Richards, who landed 2 hours later. On their way to the flight desk, he was filled with awe seeing the array of the strike force. Vance took an envelope from the main desk at the flight operations office. Geoff was a little disturbed with the inquisitive look from a marine sergeant, but he finally stiffened, acknowledging (with an apparent difficulty) that the ensign was his superior. Vance sighed reading the orders, and transmitted his confusion to Geoff. He knew that Richards would tell in time, and just followed him to the base officer's club for a drink.

Geoff brought 2 beers and waited as Vance sipped his beer scanning around. Richards told him to call him Vance when drinking together off duty, the first time he was allowed the privilege since graduation, and said that new orders wait them there. Just then they were approached by Winston Turner, whom he knew as being early retired with other professors; the coincidences made Geoff suspect that he was connected to their mission. He was relieved to hear that his fate was not to be banished to a remote outpost, but thinking that he was attached to an intellectual who was near retirement was not encouraging. Discussing the recent political situation, Geoff expressed his belief that the Varni should have taught them that the Kilrathi can attack without a warning.[4]

They begun their investigation on Gar's Emporium. There, a Kilrathi and a Jarma lizard attempted to pick Vance's wallet; Geoff shot them and the Kilrathi lost a hand (afterwards known as "Stumpie") right before nailing Vance. A Haggan then slithered up and offered them 50 credits for the body. It secured a grudging friendship between the two young officers.[6]

Tolwyn was a widower, with two sons who were lost in the course of the war.

The name of his wife is in dispute; in Action Stations his fiancee's name is given as Rebecca his engagement was one arranged by his family; End Run gives her name as Elizabeth whom he met at a party at the Academy, while in Fleet Action the same author calls her Clara. It's possible that that arranged engagement was broken off at some point, paving the way for Elizabeth/Clara. The fact that she met him at the Academy raises the possibility that she may have been a Navy officer as well.

Beginning of the Kilrathi WarEdit

During the Battle of McAuliffe, Ensign Geoffrey Tolwyn was a fighter pilot in the cockpit of a Wildcat, with barely five hundred flying hours under his belt. He managed to survive both of his sorties, including a battle against the then-Crown Prince of Kilrah (who committed ritual suicide because of his shame at being defeated by a "mere human"). After that battle, Tolwyn was promoted to Lieutenant and given command of a frigate.

Rise to Flag RankEdit

From 2639 to 2654, Tolwyn rose to prominence in the Confederation Navy, rising from Lt. J.G. to Commodore in the 15 years and became the Captain of the carrier TCS Tiger's Claw. His driven nature was as much a hindrance as a blessing, however, and he developed as many enemies in the Admiralty as friends; some of whom blocked his ascension to Rear Admiral for a number of years. Fleet Command didn't trust him, believing that he fought his own private war inside the war. Being opinionated, argumentative and critical of his superiors, his talents went largely useless.[3] Finally his chance to prove himself as a force commander came on the Tiger's Claw's Cadet Wing of 2653-4.

Tolwyn at the academy

Tolwyn announces to the cadets they are coming to the Claw.

While the Claw was being retrofitted, he visited a chapter of the Space Naval Academy on planet Hilthros to see his friend the Commandant. There he met cadets Christopher Blair and Todd Marshall, and seeing the competitiveness between them, he appointed them as leaders for a mock space battle. The exercise was spoiled by saboteur who served as spy for the Kilrathi, and a Kilrathi Blockade Runner nearby. It was destroyed by the joint effort of Blair and Marshall. He announced to them that they needed hands-on training and brought them to the Claw through a number of harrowing engagements with the Kilrathi.[7]

After the death of the hero-turned-renegade Daimon Karnes, he revealed to Blair and Marshall that the Confederation knew the truth about his defection but kept this information secret as this revelation would be bad for the people's morale. He ordered them never to mention their adventure.[8]

According to Star*Soldier The Last One Left occurs during the period between the end of Pilgrim Stars and the start of Pilgrim Truth

When Blair and Marshall were captured on Dioscuri II on 2654.162, he dispatched Scimitars to their rescue, however his orders to Hector Paz not to attempt a solo rescue mission, was disobeyed.[9]

Lords of the Sky occurs on a short down period between the last chapter and the epilogue of Pilgrim Truth. It must be assumed that the Admiral may have been on board the transport with them at the time, when they returned to the Claw.

Tolwyn also had to confront a crisis as 4 cadets, affected by a solar wave which caused delusions, believed that Tolwyn was allied with the Kilrathi. He did not manage to arrest them, but the delusional pilots were stopped by Gwen Bowman and Yulan Chang.[10]

Bridge expendable

Setting up an ambush near the hypernode.

On the discovery of a Kilrathi jump buoy near a pulsar, he ordered its destruction. He decided to send a recon team of two Broadwords to scout the other side. Picking Blair and Lindsay Price for the mission, Marshall complained for not picking him. During that mission, Price disobeyed Tolwyn's orders of non-engagement and lost her ship. During their absence, Tolwyn ordered communication silence expecting the emergence of Kilrathi forces. During that time Blair's Broadsword returned from the jump node. Believing that all soldiers, including himself, are expendable, he refused to Nelson's suggestion to hail the Broadsword and risk the advantage of surprise. After the ambush and the pilots' successful recovery, Blair made up a story to explain how Price lost her ship, swearing to his honor as a Blair.[11]

Stationed near that pulsar's hypernode, and worried by the Kilrathi activity in this sector, he asked the Fleet Command for reinforcements. Expecting a Kilrathi reconnaissance force, he set up an ambush around the node. He chose cadet Blair to be with him in order to learn what it means to command: Leaders don't share the dangers of those under their command, but their role to be right is even harder, as war doesn't forgive mistakes. After ambushing the Kilrathi recon force, reinforcements arrived, TCS Manasses and TCS Trafalgar.
Tolwyn meets bergstrom

Meeting Rhea.

Admiral Rhea Bergstrom of the Trafalgar arrived to the Claw, also making some bitter remarks that she managed to outrank Tolwyn. Tolwyn was tasked by Bergstrom to guard the node as a bait for an ambush at Seti Beta I of their combined forces of 140 fighters and then retreat to an unsecured sector. Tolwyn objected to the foolishness of the plan, and Bergstrom, not trusting that Tolwyn would carry out her orders, ordered cadet Blair to spy him for her.[3]

Not intending to carry out Bergstrom's orders, he ordered the cadets to destroy Kilrathi reckon ships who enter through the node, but Blair warned him about Bergstrom's intentions in time. Tolwyn changed his plans to carry out the ambush. The sudden retreat, while having the advantage, made Kilrathi commander Garahl nar Hhallas suspicious. Tolwyn confined Blair to his quarters. However Tolwyn soon found out that the Kilrathi had already prepared a trap on their own, and Bergstrom's task force was under attack. Tolwyn complied to her request and assisted the Trafalgar right before its destruction. In the sickbay, Bergstrom admitted that Tolwyn was right.[3]

Claw vs sivar

The Claw barely escaping the collision.

Seeing all the Kilrathi forces coming towards the Claw, Tolwyn ordered all head forward to the jump node under all the gunfire with all power diverted to forward shields. Maintaining collision course with Agon Ra Sivar, he played "chicken" with Thrakhath nar Kiranka, until the Prince acknowledged his bravery and moved his Dreadnaught to evade the Claw. The carrier was scratched and made it to the node. Later he would explain to Blair that every time he gives an order, he doesn't know its outcome, he just risked whether the Kilrathi would retreat to allow them to escape.[3]

During a Kilrathi plot, the Claw was unprepared when it received attack by Confederation fighters, piloted by Kilrathi pilots. Once detecting a long distance missile lock Tolwyn sounded an alarm and ran to board a Scimitar.
Tolwyn pilot

Flying as Archer's wingman.

During the skirmish Tolwyn flew as Bowman's wingman, since no pilot wished to fly with her. Hunted by a Broadsword, he was saved by Price. After the attack, Tolwyn recommended her for saving the Claw, and Marshall for saving the Pleiku the Flying Cross. Maniac however recommended it to Dr. Kyle and the nurses of the hospital ship, being the real heroes.[12]

Tolwyn grounded Marshall considering him responsible for the death of Emil Zoharian, and later Blair for the loss of three Achilles-class transports under his protection. He would not give notice to the reports that the pilots did not detect any ships near the destruction, and attributed the failure to their neglect. While overseeing the repairs on TCS Suffolk Dr. Guthrig Andropolos who told him that pride is the worst enemy, as it causes one to sacrifice himself for it. Tolwyn commented that he understands why all the cadets hate Andropolos and wished to hear no more. Disobeying his orders, Blair and Marshall tracked and engaged the Strakha stealth fighter of the Kilrathi, and Tolwyn realised that his pride did not allow him to see this possibility. He admited to them his mistake of denying the existence of a stealth fighter, and decided to forget the event that they disobeyed his orders commenting that nobody did anything to be proud of.[13]

Examining the alien

Examining the alien ship.

The Claw was escorting an Achilles-class and a Byrd-class en route to Oasis, when pilots salvaged a mysterious Sleep Ship from a Kilrathi Salvage Tug. Seeing there an alien in cryo-sleep, he ordered Maya McEaddens to seal the ship again until he contacts the Confederation Scientific Operations. However sometime later the alien was restored and attacked the crew, requesting a ship to descent to the planet, until incapacitated by Paz and took him to the brig. Near Oasis, Tolwyn put the ship in stand-by alert because of the presence of a Kilrathi Carrier. Around that time the alien had escaped and kidnapped Blair, but because of the Kilrathi presence, Tolwyn would not spare fighters to rescue him.[14]

When Blair and "Clipper" were lost while investigating a Carrier, Tolwyn denied the cadets a rescue mission, as they should rather patrol for that carrier before it reaches the Claw. However Marshall neglected his orders, and followed by Bowman he rescued Blair. Blair returned to the Claw with the news that a Kilrathi Bokh nar Ragitika wished to defect; Tolwyn however was sceptical, considering it an old trick to ascertain the location of the Claw. He rather set the plan for an ambush to surprise the Kilrathi Carrier. Tolwyn was angered when Blair insisted that the Kilrathi defector would prove useful, and even puts him in charge of the task force. Indeed, Blair "betrayed" the Kilrathi defector and the Carrier was successfully destroyed. Tolwyn then considered to believe the information Bokh gave Blair and turn it against Thrakhath, telling him not to be troubled over a dead Kilrathi traitor.[15]

Tolwyn agon

Preparing the attack against Thrakhath's Dreadnaught.

Tolwyn decided then to personally assault Prince Thrakhath during the Sivar-Eshrad ceremony on Dolos. After arriving to the Dolos system, the Claw destroyed the Kilrati jump buoy and fighters destroyed all guards so there was no warning on their arrival. Talking with Summer, Tolwyn was denied any reinforcements or assistance and was ordered to consider the Claw expendable on his objective to attack Thrakhath. He briefed the cadets about their fake objective to prepare fot a Confederation Marines invasion to liberate the Dolosians. He assigned Blair and Paz for that mission and intimidated Marshall for complaining.[16]

During the process of the mission, Tolwyn informed the pilots that the Marines won't arrive and the Claw would engage the Kilrathi fleet alone, helped by the Dolosian uprising. His intentions were detected by cadet Bowman, who realised that this was the original plan all the time. He ended her confrontation saying that war is making hard choices. Indeed his plan worked and having captured the cadets, Thrakhath expected a military invasion, unprepared for an assault against Agon Ra Sivar from space. The Kilrathi fleet left Dolos dishonoured. Tolwyn awarded the Gold Wings of the Cadet Wing Commander to Blair who denied it, as he was lied and used as bait on a suicide mission, He angrily threw the medal to space, saying that it is deserved by those who died.[16]

Vega CampaignEdit

After the completion of this task, Tolwyn was promoted to Rear Admiral and command of 14th Fleet.

Tolwyn held the rank of Vice Admiral and served in Confederation High Command. He sent a top priority message to TCS Tiger's Claw warning about massing Kilrathi battle fleets in the Firekka system.[17]

Vengeance of the KilrathiEdit

Tolwyn solstation

Tolwyn became Commander of the 14th Fleet. After the destruction of the Claw he believed that Blair was guilty of treason but because of lack of evidence he was convicted only for negligence. He announced to Blair that the court demoted him back to Captain. He also insisted that he resigned from the Confederation Navy but Blair refused. Therefore, he transferred Blair to Insystem Security.[18]

Tolwyn moustache

In 2661 , Tolwyn's flagship, Concordia, was commissioned. Enigma Sectors. In 2664, Tolwyn was reunited with Christopher Blair - this time under much more adversarial circumstances - and they fought together, albeit grudgingly, during the most dangerous campaigns of the war.

In 2668 he led the Earth Defense Campaign commanding brilliantly the defense of Earth against the Kilrathi great offensive. The battle was marked by the fanatical devotion the fleet under him.[1] Tolwyn wom the Battle of Earth, which was mankind's most perilous hour. However, the fleet he inherited after the battle was worn and dangerously thinned, and Tolwyn was reduced to sending decades-old light carriers to battle the Kilrathi in engagements that before would have required full fleet carriers.

Towlyn was transferred off the Concordia shortly after the battle of Earth to head the Terran Confederation Navy's Weapons Development Program at Jupiter Station. While he was away, the Concordia was fighting a rearguard action in the Vespus system when it took torpedo hits to its engines, causing it to fall out of orbit. The Concordia crashed into the massive ocean of Vespus, taking almost all her crew with her. Colonel Christopher Blair located the wreck and reported to Tolwyn that it was a 'total loss'.

War's EndEdit

In 2669, the Behemoth Project was tested. One of the largest space faring structures ever built by the Confederation, its major weapon, a planet-killing superconducting particle beam cannon, was successfully deployed against the test planet Loki VI. However, a Kilrathi spy in the fleet leaked the weak points in Behemoth's defenses to the enemy, and a massive Paktahn bomber strike on the weapon destroyed it, along with Tolwyn's hopes of saving the Confederation. Fortunately, General James Taggart's Temblor Bomb program, the second Confed superweapon program and truly the Confederation's last hope for victory, was successfully deployed against the Kilrathi and saved the human race from annihilation. As a result, Taggart was elected to the Confederation senate after the war.

Peacetime Tolwyn, the SRA, and the Black Lance ConspiracyEdit

File:Tolwyn04.png

After the end of the Kilrathi War in 2669, Tolwyn, burning with humiliation from Behemoth's destruction, was assigned to command of the Strategic Readiness Agency and promptly converted the agency into his personal fief. He was brought into the Agency's two-decade-old Black Lance Project and found that he had a personal skill for misappropriating funding from other projects to fulfill the Black Lance's agenda. Tolwyn's fanatical personality had found his ultimate fulfillment: the "perfection" of humanity into a fighting force unparalleled in the galaxy. By 2674, the biogenic plague intended to destroy the unworthy was prepared and test runs were made against planets in the Border Worlds, but before the plan could fully unfold (which included war with the Border Worlds), Colonel Christopher Blair - operating with Border Worlds forces - uncovered Tolwyn's plot and revealed it to the Senate in an impromptu but impassioned speech. It was during this Senate hearing that Tolwyn was to be given the position of "Space Marshal" (the highest rank in the Confederation military, equivalent to a Fleet Admiral or Grand Admiral) and a decision would be made on whether to declare war on the Border Worlds. With Blair's intervention, the senate voted against war in an impressive landslide. Tolwyn was arrested and arraigned on charges relating to crimes against humanity.

After being found guilty on all charges stemming from the Black Lance conspiracy, convicted and stripped of rank, Geoffrey Tolwyn was imprisoned.
His sentence differs slightly in the novelization of Wing Commander IV with him being given life imprisonment as opposed to execution.
Wilhelm Schwarzmont interviewed him in 3 occasions in his capacity as Historian of the Fleet. Tolwyn committed suicide in his prison cell on the eve of his execution in 2674, believing he had failed humanity. After his body was removed, Schwarzmont visited his cell and found arranged on his bunk a photograph of his deceased wife and children and the wings and ensign's bars issued to him on the day he graduated from the Academy.[19]

LegacyEdit

The incident of the "lost war orders" where he took part remained one of the biggest mysteries of the War that fascinated both Terran and Kilrathi historians. Schwarzmond thought that his command during the Battle of Earth "would stand for centuries as a classic example of military prowess in the face of overwhelming odds".[19]

However his subsequent political actions dishonored him for ever. He remained a controversial figure of the War; historians wrote much but few dared to approach his topic.[19]

Appearance and characterEdit

In times of pressure he could talk his way out of anything, but there were times when he talked himself straight into trouble as well.[4] During his cadet years Winston Turner admired his guts, his sharpness and almost fanatical dedication to the Fleet. He also admired, but also worried for, his driven edge; he could be a scapper when necessary, even to his superiors, something that perhaps costed him his #1 position. As an Ensign Tolwyn was a good looking, tall, slender, gray-eyed.[1]

After more than 30 years of military life, in his Admiral years he existed solely for war. He had kept the wings and ensign's bars with him even until his last days, kept along with the photographs of his wife and children.[19]

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • Admiral Tolwyn first mentioned in the Secret Missions (and box as 'vice-admiral'), he first appears in Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. In the full motion video cut scenes beginning in Wing Commander III, Tolwyn is portrayed by Malcolm McDowell, who also voices him in the animated series Wing Commander Academy. In the 1999 Wing Commander movie, Tolwyn is portrayed by David Warner, as McDowell was unavailable.
  • In the Film, Wing Commander: The Movie, Pilgrim Stars, and Pilgrim Truth Tolwyn is an Admiral between 2654.070 to 2654.163 (if not earlier). As an Admiral explains how he is able to issue orders to Commodore Taggart in the film. Star*Soldier calls him a "Commodore" during the film (but this may be a mistake or an attempt to link Academy into the period). In Pilgrim Stars (and especially in Pilgrim Truth), Tolwyn does a number of actions such as making orders without the Senate or presidents support, going AWOL, or going against the Space Marshall's orders which might be enough to have him demoted back down to Commodore following the story.
  • In Star*Soldier it places events of Wing Commander Academy between 2653 and 2654 and most overlapping the Pilgrim Crisis, Vega, and Secret Mission campaigns. As such has Tolwyn (as "Commodore") acting as acting captain on the Claw. A period that saw Sansky, Paul Gerard, Thorn, and Halcyon as the ships captains/acting captains. In WC1 the captain or ship commander on the bridge is never named. This period also sees Tolwyn on board the Concordia as well most of the time.
  • The Wing Commander: The Movie novel places the events of Blue & Red during Blair and Maniac's academy days on Hilthros (approximately back in 2653 to early 2654). The handbook also mentions this event but is not entirely clear when it occured (but it is mentioned while the book discusses post-academy flightschool at Sirius in 2654). The novel has them leaving directly from the Academy/Formidable.

References and sourcesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named SA1
  2. 2.0 2.1 William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, ch. 6
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Chain of Command
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, ch. 2
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, ch. 1
  6. William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, ch. 8
  7. Red and Blue
  8. The Last One Left
  9. Lords of the Sky
  10. The Most Delicate Instrument
  11. Expendable
  12. Walking Wounded
  13. Invisible Enemy
  14. Recreation
  15. Price of Victory
  16. 16.0 16.1 Glory of Sivar
  17. Wing Commander I, Secret Missions 2 Reference Card
  18. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi introduction
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Action Stations
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