Todd Marshall (Callsigns: Maniac, Joker) was Christopher Blair's friend and competitor throughout their careers, with Marshall playing the wild younger brother to Blair's reserved personality. Maniac was one of the war's top twenty aces (an honor he shared alongside Christopher Blair (Maverick), and Carl T. LaFong (Prankster) whom he often had the honor of flying with throughout the war. They were among a disproportionate number of aces who served in the Rapier II squadrons.[1]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Todd Marshall's father owned a charter flight service on Leto[2] and his mother was a pilot. Todd grew up with planes. Before he was old enough to acquire a pilot's license, he was flying light planes against the winds of Leto.[3]

He grew up with Daimon Karnes as his idol. He had watched the holovid The Last Hero about 100 times.[4] He would boast of his grade point average, placement-test scores, athletic prowess and sexual conquests, and of course flying experiences and educational awards.[2]


It was only natural for him to see the Terran-Kilrathi War as a chance to fly Confederation fighters. He joined the Space Naval Academy with the 201st Class[3] and gathered with a group of 1200 kids. They were ordered to report early the next morning for the shuttle to Hilthros, but Maniac felt necessary to say goodbye to a waitress from the sky-lounge, who wouldn't let him go. He delayed the flight (and the rest 1199 kids who were waiting for him) in the launch bay until he arrived. Instead of apologising, he boasted that he'd graduate Number One anyway, making Midshipman Tanaka Mariko furious, "awarding" him with 15 demerits (which however were void as Marshall was not a Cadet yet). The only empty seat in the shuttle was next to Carl T. LaFong, who wished to sleep over the travel time, but Todd wouldn't let him, narrating his life story and achievements for 3 hours. LaFong thought that Maniac was a repulsive character and had to threaten him in order to make him silent.[2]

On Hilthros, the plebes boarded a grav-sled and Todd found an oportunity to regal some nervous plebes with his tall-tales. When they reached the academy grounds, they were assembled by Midshipman Lieutenant Mickey Bitscoe. Marshall interrupted him to ask where his duffle bag was going. As Marshall was concerned about his gear, Bitscoe "allowed" him to carry his own with him for the rest of the day and load all 600 bags on the conveyor himself. It took him 2 hours to finish his task while the rest were standing at attention under the suns (and Bitscoe sat in the shade of the grav-sled, sucking on ice cubes). Marshall was assigned to 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment, with Blair.[2]

Cadet years[edit | edit source]

There are two main versions of Maniac's early history that are contradictory in points. In his first appearance in Wing Commander I and Super Wing Commander, Maniac is one of the pilots whom the player (Blair, Armstrong or LaFong) meets for the first time, after he transferred over to the Claw, which was largely retconned in later sources including the Ultimate Guide and Kilrathi Saga manual. The timing of the Academy tv series is in 'dispute' between itself and later official timelines. It was originally set in 2655, or one year after WC1 before the first episode being reverted to a prequel; Star*Soldier retconned the first episode to 2653, and the rest of the series concurrently with the Vega Campaign. In the series Maniac is one of the Cadets, whereas in the game it is implied that Blair and he already graduated before WC1. The other main chronology appears in the WC1&2 Ultimate Guide.

During his Academy years he developed a flamboyant, competitive nature, believing he is the best pilot than everyone else, he dared himself to all challenges, anticipated dogfights and always went for the big kill showing a flair for improvisational flying.

During his years at the Academy, Maniac was one of the most colorful students there. In spite of barely adequate performance in class, he managed to beat everyone in the simulator. He had a definite talent for flying and soon he was dusting his opponents with his unconventional and daring tricks. But talent alone does not necessarily make for an accomplished fighter pilot. His occasionally irrational behavior and total lack of responsibility to his wing commander more often than not made him a liability rather than an asset.[5]

He considered Raymond Blakely and "old greyser" who remained behind in time. Not interested in by-the-book maneuvers (which the Kilrathi already know) he looked forward for new ideas. This attitude enraged Carl T. LaFong to whom Blakely had been an idol, and considered punching him. At the end of the first year, and during the simulated tournament between the plebes, Marshall was the most likely winner, dusting his opponents in record time, usually with unorthodox tactics. Michael Anthony was one of the casualties, and was taken out in a minute. Eventually LaFong and Marshall were opponents in the finals and LaFong was still bitter about Marshall's remarks to his hero so with Anthony's help (who was assigned in assisting Marshall with the simulator) they filled a spare helmet with a mixture of manure, grease, oil and whipped cream.[2]

He always tried to prove he is a better pilot to his friend, Christopher Blair, as in during a simulation when he decided to attack on his own a Kilrathi Carrier with a Hellcat, despite the objectives of the exercise, until the simulator crashed.

Bullying Blair.

Blair was a more reserved and down-to-earth personality and did not pay much attention to Maniac's rants. This angered Maniac who often bullied and provoked Blair to prove he is the best.

During one of those arguments Gwen Bowman threw him on the floor. This was witnessed by the Academy Director and Commodore Geoffrey Tolwyn; seeing the competition between the two Cadets, he assigned them as leaders of opposing teams during an exercise. Maniac invited Maverick to a private dogfight far from the exercise. To teach him a lesson, Maverick kept him occupied while allowing his Blue Team win Maniac's Red Team. Things got complicated with a sabotage which made the ships fire lethal shots, and the presence of a Kilrathi Blockade Runner. Maniac and Maverick jointly attacked and destroyed the ship. After the exercise Tolwyn announced them that they'd continue their training on the TCS Tiger's Claw under his command.[6]

On the Formidable[edit | edit source]

Maniac, Blair and Carl T. LaFong spent a year on the TCS Formidable during their third year at the Academy.[2][7]

The first month was spent in training flights in Hornets, practicing different formations, communications skills and even engaged in mock dogfights. Maniac performed even the most simple of missions in his own flamboyant way which drove crazy his instructors; such as hot-dogging maneuvers, pulling snap rolls and then level out at the last second while docing, or flying a few loops or bzzing the conning tower while pulling escort duty. Training progressed to combat maneuvers in asteroid fields, after-burner slides against unmanned drones, or practicing keeping track of targets by radar in crowded conditions.[2]

Weapons training began in the final month against stationary and moving targets with lasers, dumb fire and heat-seekers, practicing against targets moving at different speeds and how to lock with the Javelin HS.[2]

Flight School[edit | edit source]

During their senior year, Maniac and Blair were transferred to the CSF Flight School at Sirius, an adjunct to the Hilthros Academy, and trained under Major E. Gonsalas. During training he was involved in 3 accidents and he lost a training ship, but subsequently he was cleared of any charges.[8] While at Hilthros, during a routine training flight near the Hilthros system's nebula, they surprised and destroyed a Kilrathi blockade-runner.[9]</ref>[10]

Marshall's Academy record

Marshall was one of the highest-rated Academy graduate ceremony in '54 (of the 201st Class of 2653[11]), and his rivalry with Blair had already been kindled by the time both graduated and were transferred to the TCS Tiger's Claw.

Joining the Claw[edit | edit source]

Piloting the Diligent

Marshall with Blair were on board the requisitioned merchantmant Diligent Captained by James Taggart, assigned as replacement pilots in the TCS Tiger Claw. Because of the destruction of the Pegasus Station, it was urgent to reach the Claw as soon as possible and Taggart led the Diligent through the Scylla anomaly.

Meeting Hunter

On the Claw Marshall saw Blair misunderstanding their CO Jeanette Deveraux. They entered the mess hall where Marshall made an introduction to the pilots, and Blair as "the second best pilot". When Hunter asked him who is the best pilot, Marshall suggested two ways to find out: either kicking his ass or joining him to a Scotch he brouht with him. It was there where he met Rosalind Forbes, who started teasing Marshall. Soon after Blair mentioned Bossman, angering Hunter and Bishop, and Marshall took Blair's side, until Blair's Pilgrim Cross was revealed, and Deveraux came in preventing the fight.

Flying with Forbes

Later Marshall pulled security with Forbes, and before leaving he visited Blair in his quarters to remind him that he had promised to remove his Cross as it will bring him trouble. Marshall's first duty was flying with Forbes as Delta 2 during which they had an argument about whether men or women had better flying skill. Marshall then proceeded to impress Forbes and boosted at high speed, going inverted and straightening at the last moment landing to the Claw moments before hitting G. Peterson. Forbes followed him, rolling at 540 degrees and called him "a total Maniac".

Getting closer to Forbes

When the Claw jumped a pulsar to the Ulysses corridor, Maniac found an opportunity to perform some acrobatics with Forbes. The two came even more closely and he admited that she was what gave meaning to him being there. Moments later the Baker Wing was called. During the flight Maniac picked 3 targets which soon started to attack the Claw. He and Blair covered Deveraux and the Broadswords and Taggart launched 4 torpedoes which totally destroyed the Sivar-class battleship, and the remaining Ralari-class destroyer next to it. The Claw recalled all fighters home, but Maniac and Forbes decided to ignore the order and hunt some bogeys. Maniac showed off a move against a Dralthi, which exploded and hits Forbes' Rapier. Having lost control and the eject system, she failed to line up with the corridor. Maniac started running towards the corridor and shouting calling medics and a rescue team, and run towards the force field if Blair did not stop him. He even shouted to the Flight Boss to stop the bulldozer pushing the wreckage off the corridor.

About to be executed by Angel.

Soon Deveraux landed and was about to shoot at Maniac with Hunter's C-244 Pistol. Blair attempted to dissuade her. She warned him that he is dead if he endangers another pilot.

Saving Blair

While the Claw was hiding in an asteroid crater, a Destroyer bombarded them breaching the hangar door. Blair was suced towards and Hunter with other pilots watched him. Eventually he saved his friend by tying himself to the wall wounding himself in the process. Blair understood that Maniac was feeling responsible for Forbes' death. He then approached Deveraux and convinced her to forgive Maniac, as he can't go on questioning his every move.

Against the ConCom

In a following operation, the best pilots were called and Deveraux had to visit Maniac and order him to participate, and do it for Forbes. Maniac flew one of the Rapiers who covered the Diligent and disposed the Dralthi escort of the Thrakhra-class ConCom.

Angel rescued.png

Much later, the Claw entered the Sol system. After the incursion of the Kilrathi was stopped, Maniac reunited with Blair in the hangar as he returned from his mission, and he offered his jacket to Deveraux having being rescued by Taggart.[12]

Vega Campaign[edit | edit source]

On his third mission he flew under Angel escorting cargo ship Bonnie Heather near Kurasawa when through an asteroid belt they encountered a wave of 5 Dralthis. Angel killed the first and Maniac nailed the second with a heat-seeking missile. The Kilrathi began to retread but Maniac chased them down and killed onemore ship, this reaching his fifth Kilrathi and reaching ace status. Angel however thought of his actions as ridiculous misuse of firepower.[13]

The Olympus Ordeal[edit | edit source]

On 2654.088 Todd Marshall's ship is hit by shots fired by Pilgrim Rapiers. He is able to eject. But the Olympus drew him into its maw. The Claw thought Taggart and Blair had defected, and thought Marshall dead, and had a memorial service for him.

He was captured he was locked up in the Brig, and not allowed free reign of the ship as he was just a Terran and considered a threat or insignicant to the Pilgrims who had stole the ship. They were stuck on board until 2654.128, when Blair and Marshall would finally escape orbiting Earth, but Taggart chose to remain behind. As such they were not around for the Enyo] missions on 2654.110.

Tortuga Mission[edit | edit source]

After returning to the Claw, Maniac served with the Cadet Wing as a 2nd Lieutenant. He continued to dare Maverick, as in "who will reach the briefing room first". One of their first joint missions assigned by Tolwyn was to scout the M4-21a System. During that mission they witnessed a pirate raid against a Kilrathi Transport, and are captured and taken to Tortuga Base.

Being a guest of Karnes.

Maniac was amazed to see that their leader was his childhood hero, Daimon Karnes, turned pirate. In the dungeon the two pilots engaged in another brawl about who was responsible, until Karnes invited them to join a raid, which Maniac seemingly accepted. Equipped with an Epee, he avoided the fight and then turned against Karnes, only to see he was given a "secure" ship, only to have his loyalty tested. Karnes disabled his ship but received an alert sign before destroying it; the Kilrathi attacked the base. Maniac then managed to make some makeshift repairs and returned to Tortuga to rescue Maverick. Tolwyn revealed that the Confederation knew the truth about Karnes but kept this information secret as this revelation would be bad for the people's morale. He ordered them never to mention their adventure.[14]

Following this mission they returned to earth, and Maniac briefly transferred over to the Concordia, with Maverick and Tolwyn.[15] The Claw was sent orders to station itself over Netheranya.

The Return of Ivar Chu McDaniel[edit | edit source]

The Diocuri Incident[edit | edit source]

On 2654.162 shortly after returning to the Claw over Netheranya, from a four day trip on a shuttle, Maniac with Maverick and Grunt were sent on a mission to investigate Kilrathi influence on Dioscuri II, he dared Maverick to split up and investigate alone. Maverick was attacked by Dralthis and Maniac and Grunt flew to his assistance. Maniac fell straight into a chasm to make his pursuer crash on its walls. He found Maverick's eject pod and soon after he was apprehended by the primitive Dioscurans who took him to a temple where Maverick was also kept and started arguing. In vain they attepted to explain to the Shaman that they are not the "Lords of Darkness" the Kilrathi told them. The two cadets then were transported to an altar to be sacrificed to the "Lords of the Sky". Then the Kilrathi emerged to receive the "sacrifice" and make the two pilots to carry the food offerings for them.

Maverick, Maniac and Grunt fire at the domme.

They escaped with help from Grunt. Maniac collected two Kilrathi rifles fell from their pursuers and the trio went to destroy the station which sent the activation signal for the Dioscuran Dralthis. They were surrouned by Kilrathi until Archer came and destroyed the installation dome. When Confederation fores arrived, Grunt was taken to an ambulance saying that they performed like Confederation Marines.[16]

Following this the Claw returns to Netheranya the same day, on the return the peace between the Pilgrims and the Terran Confederation is finalized on 2654.163.

Training Continues[edit | edit source]

When the Claw was attacked by Grikaths, Maniac (who was not on duty) "borrowed" Bowman's Scimitar and flew to defend the Claw. While outside, he was affected by a solar flare, along with Blair, Goetz and Price. On his return, Maniac was commended by Tolwyn for his initiative to fly Bowman's Scimitar when she fell down. The earlier flare caused them to have delusions and hallucinations. Maniac considered Archer his enemy for sabotaging her ship so he couldn't fire, and for reporting his initiative to Tolwyn. When a security guard arrested Goetz, he attacked him and with him they found the other two.

The four paranoid mutineers.

With the other two they hid in a room sharing delusional ideas believing that the Claw was overran by Kilrathi and planned to destroy the ship and escape on Broadswords. In the hangar, Maniac manages to fight the security guards, but was shot and stunned. Later, Guthrig Andropolos did bio-electric stimulation restoring their mental state.[17]

Flying Sabres.

Maniac, along with Payback, flew a Sabre as Bowman's wingman in a mission to rescue Blair and Paz who crashed on a planet. Maniac detected a Kilrathi Jalkehi (piloted by Garahl nar Hhallas but was ordered by Archer not to engage. They cleared all the Kilrathi presence on the planet.[18]

Upon the discovery of a Kilrathi jump buoy, Maniac scanned and uploaded its data to the Claw. Ordered by Tolwyn, he destroyed it, activating thus its defense mechanism. Maniac was pursued by its missiles until saved by Maverick. Returning to the Claw, Maverick mocked Maniac for being necessary to save his life, to which Maniac replied that he won't ever need him. Later, Maniac with other pilots, volunteered to fly a jump reconnaissane with Broadswords. Maniac reacted when Maverick and Payback were chosen, but Tolwyn put him back in line. Envious, Maniac complained that Tolwyn showed favoritism to Maverick because of the Blair family connections.

Rescuing Maverick and Payback.

During Maverick's mission, Maniac participated in an ambush around the jump hypernode, with powered down engines and maintaining communication silence. Maverick's Broadsword emerged, but Maniac was unable to rescue him as this would ruin the ambush plan. After the skirmish, Maniac tractored the Broadword back to the Claw. In the sickbay, Blair narrated his experience to Maniac and Payback, about seeing his father, and then imagining that Maniac saved his life, which Maniac denied.[19]

Maniac participated in yet another ambush around the hypernode against Kilrathi scouts. After the skirmish, they detected the arrival of a Confederation task force. Mistaken them for Kilrathi, Maniac told Archer that he'd fly in a Kilrathi Carrier's hangar to gut it from the inside, to be scolded by Archer for his childish behaviour. Returning to the Claw, he once more teased Maverick for being chosen by Tolwyn to stay on the bridge during the ambush and "polishing Tolwyn's brass". Later they engaged a task force led by Garahl, which was to be lured into an ambush near Seti Beta I coordinated by Admiral Rhea Bergstrom. The plan failed and Maniac with the other pilots flew to rescue the survivors of the TCS Trafalgar task force.[20]

Seeing that Archer suffered from psychological breakdown after having to kill Blizzard, he considered Guthrig Andropolos crazy for assigning her unfit for duty. Angrily, he removed Blizzard's medallion from Archer telling her to let go.

Maniac flew under Maverick to support the Hospital Ship Pleiku and escort it back to the Claw. Maverick's sensor picked up a ship, Maniac suggested that someone must stay behind to guard the hospital. Knowing that this would enrage Maniac, Maverick ordered him to stay behind, forcing him to miss the action. While patroling, Maniac heard his comrades' intercommunications and decided to go and assist them, when approached by a Kamekh-class. After a brief show of flying and accuracy, his ship is destroyed, and Maniac had to dock his eject pod with the Hospital's airlock.

Inside, he assisted Dr. Kyle with the wounded and operated a manual lung pump. He warned Kyle that the Kilrathi were boarding the Hospital and with his assistance, after sealing the medical bay from the main ship, Maniac operated a pod, which broke the glass and hurled into space, hitting and destroying the Corvette as a projectile.

In vacuum.

The shockwave broke the windows, causing the Kilrathi invaders to be sucked out in space. Maniac and the doctor were rescued by two nurses from the airlock.

Back in the Claw, Maniac returned Blizzard's medallion to Archer, who decided to send it to his family. Tolwyn recommended them the Flying Cross for saving a ship. Maniac however recommended it to the doctor and the nurses of the Pleiku, being the real heroes; this noble action made him embarassed.[21]

Maniac was soon perceived by his comrades as an aggressive pilot and glory hound. While flying with Emil Zoharian, and while going against a Kilrathi Destroyer, "Easy" was killed by a stealth Strakha fighter. While Maniac did not read a Kilrathi presence in his sensors, he was considered responsible for Easy's death and was grounded, scolded and shunned by the crew of the Claw, including Maverick. Soon Maverick was also grounded for failing to detect the presence of an enemy ship (again, a Strakha) and the two friends asked the opinion of Maya McEaddens. As Tolwyn would not listen to their claims of a stealh ship, they decided to act on their own. Maya feigned a malfunction in the derelict transport TCS Suffolk and Maverick with Maniac used it as a bait for the stealth fighter.

Arguing who is whose wingman.

Indeed, once the transport was attacked by the Strakha, the two piots emerged and disabled the Strakha. The Kilrathi pilot refused to surrender and self-destroyed his ship. The duo were soon engaged by Sarthas. Maverick was shot but Maniac refused to leave "his wingman" behind. They were joined by Payback and Grunt. Tolwyn admitted his mistake of not believing their reports, and decided to forget the event. Archer also apologised to Maniac for believing that he sacrificed Easy for another kill.[22]

Maniac participated in a raid against a Kilrathi Salvage Tug towing a Sleep Ship, and took it to the Claw. While the Cadets were preparing to descend to Oasis for a shore leave, an alien emerged and requested to use one of their ships.

The alien zaps Maniac

Angered that someone wanted to fly his ship, Maniac attacked the alien, but was pushed back by an electrical beam, before being apprehended and taken to the brig. On Oasis, Maniac was not very fond of the Oasians' custom of hugging. He approached Archer who was pondering whether it's right to participate in a war. Maniac showed to her that he just enjoys what he does and doesn't let coplex thought come in the way of his game. These words simply angered Archer who did not think of killing a game. Soon they were joined by Kilrathi visitors. Maniac tried to harass Drak nar Kul'ragh who threw him down, claiming that "the Sphere" will be theirs soon.

Not even Maniac is a match for a Kilrathi.

Later the Cadets learned from Tolwyn that the alien had escaped and kidnapped Maverick. As he would not spare fighter, he flew with Archer to his rescue, and found them at a summit where the Sphere was kept. They fought off Sarthas who came to steal the Sphere. Maniac lost his ship, but the Kilrathi forces were destroyed by the alien's power.[23]

Maniac with Maverick and Archer were sent to Greenhouse to investigate if the sciene base there is safe. On their way they encountered some Grikaths which Maniac happily engaged. One survivor made it to the planet with an eject pod. Not finding his trace, they spent some time in the base, and the two male pilots were infatuated by the striking leader, Bronwyn Sing, who kept the pilots occupied by encouraging their competitiveness and jealousy, and their wish to impress her.

Boasting to Sing.

Maniac, when asked by Sing, revealed the enabling code of his Scimitar. Archer notied Sing's game and while investigating for the Kilrathi, she mentioned it to Maniac, who attributed it to Archer's female jealousy. Soon after Maniac had to rescue Archer who was attacked by a robotic walker used by the scientists.

That night, Maverick and Maniac found Archer fighting with Sing, who revealed her plan to end the war by spreading a plague among the Kilrathi, who would infect the others by escaping on Maniac's ship. Maniac stayed behind with Sing as the two others went to stop the Kilrathi pilot, and the plague.[24]

When Maverick crashed on a planet, Maniac volunteered to fly to his rescue, which Tolwyn refused. Instead he resumed Maverick's mission with Archer. Maniac however disobeyed Tolwyn's orders and proceeded to the planet, so as to save Maverick "and remind it to him every day for the rest of his life". Archer was forced to follow him. Maverick, assisted by Bokh nar Ragitika, contacted Maniac and coordinated an attack on the Kilrathi force so that he can escape. Maniac later participated in the attack against the Kilrathi Carrier, during which he lost his wingman, Razor.[25]

Maniac participated in Tolwyn's ruse to enter the Dolos system undetected, by piloting a captured Sartha and luring the Kilrathi guards to their destruction without reporting to the Kilrathi force. On the briefing about the operation of invading Dolos, Maniac once more complained to Tolwyn for not choosing him, who put him back in line. Because of his optimism and enthusiasm about the assault against Agon Ra Sivar, Tolwyn appointed him leader of the task force. During the attack he ordered Archer and Jazzman straight into the Dreadnaught, but Jazzman was lost. The Dreadnaught's shields were still up so he decided to perform a run to the hangar alone.

Gutting the dreadnaught.png

Joined by Archer, Payback and Hyena, he entered the hangar, and begun a shooting spree "for Jazzman" and emerged out of the hangar. After the battle and the destruction of the Dreadnaught, Maniac was among those present in the ceremony honoring the casualties of the battle and Maverick's awarding the Gold Wings.[26]

From McAulliffe to Venice[edit | edit source]

Maniac during the Vega Campaign.

Maniac flew with Christopher Blair during the Gimle series.[27]

During the Vega Campaign he flew with Carl T. LaFong in the Brimstone System.[28]

In one of the possible scenarios it is mentioned that he and Turtle were assigned to fly in the Killer Bees to fend off a Kilrathi attack against the Claw in Chengdu System. The Ultimate Guide mentions that Chengdu campaign actually occurred, after Brimstone. However it was Paladin and Angel that took part in the Chengdu missions rather than Blair or LaFong. Blair's whereabouts at the time are 'unknown', technically he could have been involved but assigned another wing man.[29]

He accidentally destroyed a Drayman-class when he pursued a Dralthi rushing toward one of the transports. He locked a heat-seeking missile on its exhaust and launched, only to lose its lock on the enemy and hit the transport. Its engines were severely damaged,and the ship was soon destroyed.[30]

Operation: Thor's Hammer[edit | edit source]

In the Goddard system Maniac flew with Spirit as Beta Wing assigned to clear the system of any Kilrathi remnants.[31] While the Claw was in the Deneb Sector, Maniac suffered from a nightmare, that he lost his ship's guns and armaments and that he could only steer his ship against a Kilrathi capital ship.[32] He started believing that he was spared for the higher purpose to destroy the superweapon.[33] His condition started to deteriorate worrying his copilots. Paladin's concerns made Peter Halcyon to ask Maniac if he was fit for duty.[34]

Maniac doesn't fly with Maverick during the Operation: Thor's Hammer. He flies with him only when the Claw is in retreat. As Iota Wing they aided the retreat by patrolling and wiping out Kilrathi forces such as a Fralthi-class and two Ralari-class. As Mu Wing they protected the Claw from an attack of starfighters near the border of the Empire of Kilrah.

Operation: Crusade[edit | edit source]

After Thor's Hammer, he took a medical leave and spent some time in Sickbay, causing some relief to the pilots.[35] After some days he was still in the Sickbay; although he wanted to return to active duty, the doctors didn't let him.[36] Maniac was briefly let out of Sickbay and spend some time in the Rec Room. He looked forward to flying with Prankster again, having the feeling that they would do something important together.[37] One day he escaped the Sickbay and still wearing his pajamas tried to sneak to the flight deck and inside a Raptor. The MPs caught him and took him back to Sickbay, as he was kicking and screaming.[38] Eventually Maniac was released when the Claw had to withdraw. Some believed he was still insane, but Peter Halcyon just needed all the hands he could use; the Colonel also had disabled the self-destructs on his ship. In his first mission he was assigned as Hunter's wingman. To play a practical joke on him, Hunter reprogrammed his ship sensors so he thought he was being attacked by a thousand Kilrathi and Maniac attempted to destroy his ship, if the Colonel hadn't prevented it. As a result, Hunter was grounded.[39] He flew with Prankster in the Charon system as the Claw was retreating to the Vega Sector. Together they attacked a Kilrathi strike force that were in their way.[40] and then protected the Claw from fighter assault.[41]

Lieutenant Marshall attended the funeral of Puma, the pilot from the TCS Austin that flew next to Spirit. He didn't like how Hunter tried to console her for feeling guilty and told him not to try to make time with a lady who just had lost her wingman. This remark caused an angry glare from Knight. Not much later, Maniac along with other pilots were called to the flight deck by the ship's intercom; the Fralthi-class KIS Ras Nik'hra defected to the Confed, and pilots were sent in solo patrols to locate it and escort it to the Claw.[42] A week later, Hunter found him sleeping alone in the Barracks, while looking for Angel. He woke him up and he told him that he saw Angel going to Colonel Peter Halcyon's office. He commended on his bloodied nose and fell back to sleep.[43] Although Maniac was going as crazy as ever, Peter Halcyon had put him back on the Flight Roster as soon as the Claw returned to Confed space, as he needed all available hands.[44]

Vengeance of the Kilrathi[edit | edit source]

Sometime before 2556 Maniac left the Claw so he did not die with most of its crew in K'tithrak Mang.

In the following 10 years he saw some action in the Deneb Sector where he saved an entire strike fleet by causing two Ralatha-class to collide with each other (although some say that he was flying on autopilot).[45]

One tale from this period had Maniac as the wingman of Jack A. Lombard. They were flying a reconnaissance mission in the Gwynedd sector when they were attacked by a contingent of Jalkehi. Instead of obeying Lombard's orders and remaining with the escort, my wingman Maniac broke away and engaged two Kilrathi pilots in a dogfight. Lombard did not stand a chance against the seven accomplished Jalkehi pilots without cover from his wingman. He was forced to from his badly damaged ship just seconds before it exploded. His injuries left me virtually blind in one eye and destroyed his career as a pilot.

One tale, circulated endlessly during the last five years of the war, told of a time when Maniac, leading a recon wing, came across two Kilrathi destroyers. Lacking anywhere near the weapons to deal with these two craft, any other pilot would have bugged out; but Maniac, through sheer flying alone, managed to coax the two capital ships into a fatal collision. Nobody has any idea how he did it. But the demands of his reputation and high-risk flight patterns eventually took their toll; partway through the Vega campaign he suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be rotated off of frontline service.

Once pieced back together, Marshall was assigned as senior pilot in the new Morningstar Heavy Fighter flight-test program. Here he reunited with Blair aboard the TCS Concordia (the Claw being long gone) and was peripherally involved in the Mandarin affair. He was in command of the newly-formed Wild Eagles Squadron, which included pilots Jeffrey Burkheimer, Markham Colt, and Maria Grimaldi. Unfortunately, Grimaldi betrayed Confed for the Mandarins and in her successful attempt to steal a Morningstar, she murdered Colt and left Burkheimer incapable of flying. Grimaldi herself was eventually killed and the Morningstar destroyed, but Maniac was distraught to lose an entire squadron that had yet to enter combat duty. After the Battle of Earth, he was assigned to the TCS Victory, where he flew alongside Blair in a number of missions, including the doomed Behemoth defense and the Temblor Bomb run at Kilrah. He was, in fact, the only one of Blair's wingmen to survive the Temblor run; he ejected in Kilrah's atmosphere and was captured and 'interrogated' until the Temblor Bomb ended the war.

Instead of deactivating into the reserves, Marshall decided to remain in the cockpit, and was aboard the TCS Lexington (CV-44) when Blair was assigned there to investigate the Border Worlds' alleged aggressions. He defected to the Border Worlds alongside Blair, Capt. William Eisen and Lt. Winston Chang, and flew in the Black Lance campaign. He continued in active service for over a decade and was aboard the TCS Midway during the Nephilim campaign. Temporarily achieving the long-desired position of squadron commander, he led the Black Widow squadron for a short time before renouncing the post and its associated responsibilities. He was in space on Blair's and Casey's respective wings when the Savior of the Confederation made his final jump. Now over fifty years old, the only major hero of the Kilrathi War who is still in the cockpit, he is finally considering retirement. He is also working on his memoirs: Me: The Life and Battles of "Maniac" Marshall.

Character[edit | edit source]

Maniac had a "creative interpretation" of colonial history (and comparative Naval Academy standings) and believed that he descended from the most talented and gifted colonists who left Earth and ended up on Leto. Maniac also believed that naval regulations and tactics are already known to the Kilrathi, and what would make the difference to outwit and outfight them, would be creativity and improvisation.[10][2]

During his duty on the Claw he was a usual victim of Hunter's practical jokes. In one instance he found a slime rat in his bunk and climbed to the ceiling where he remained for 2 hours.[46][47]

As a pilot, Maniac was considered extremely gifted with infinite promise with tremendous talent for finding unconventional solutions. In the Academy he noted exemplary Flight and Marksmanship scores and classroom grades[8] and was one of the highest-rated Acadamy graduates in the '54 class.[10]

During his training Maniac realized that he can't control himself in the cockpit, and for him the joystick has a mind of its own, something that "just happens".[2]

His fearless aggression and commitment however resulted in him taking unnecessary risks. Seeing flight as a challenge and not a life-death struggle, he trivialized personal danger and adopted a high-risk flying style. Although having excellent teamwork skills, his highly developed offensive insticts made him forget his wingmen behind, making him reliable only with more experienced pilots.[8]

Outgoing and likeable among his peers, showing (longterm) leadership potential. However his temper was possible to create tension and was deemed too immature to be given command authority, despite his charisma. He accepted suggestions, but was defensive in criticism and did not know when to shut up.[8]

His dazzling flying skills only excelled, but he became notoriously unreliable, preferring to "do his own thing" than obey a wing-leader's orders... or pleas for assistance. Regardless, his abilities were top-notch. During the entire duration of his flight career, Maniac amassed more than 2,000 confirmed kills.

Callsign[edit | edit source]

Todd Marshall has earned the callsign Nickname from at least his academy days. Some say it was given to him after one Carl T. LaFong ("Prankster") pulled a prank on him in the sims, and in anger he began to fly in an irate manner and as far from the book as possible. While it was intended to bother him, it barely fazed him, and it fit in with the image he was trying to develop in the Academy.

Although he tried to leave the callsign behind when he transferred over to the Tiger Claw with Christopher Blair, but it wasn't long before crew members on board started acknowledging him as a Maniac as well. It was Rosie his first true love who first called him Maniac, and lead him to accept the moniker since she used it in a endearing manner.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Academy[edit | edit source]

  • Kilrathi Saga, Wing Commmander Academy (game), and Pilgrim (movie) novels (and lesser extent the WC Handbook) follow the history of Maniac more or less portrayed in the WC1 & 2 Ultimate guide. With a minor mention of the events of Red & Blue. This includes the last year on the 'Formidable' rather than on the TCS Tiger's Claw.
  • Star*Soldier tries to merge elements of the Academy series into Vega Campaign (but places first episode around the time of the Ultimate Guide).
  • Academy tv series has many conflicting issues with both takes. Even trying to set most of the series chronologically one year before WC1, would conflict with the year on the Formidable.

On Tiger's Claw in WC1[edit | edit source]


  • During production of the Wing Commander I game, an early callsign for this character was "Joker". This can still be seen in the final game, as his helmet the VDU screen reads "JOKER", with an icon of a jester above.
  • Upon Maniac's first appearance in the game Maniac is depicted as an insane and somewhat unstable character, rather than a talented and flamboyant, if obsessed, pilot.
  • He acts as if he doesn't know the 'player's character' (assorted identity depending on version of game), and introduces himself to the player for the 'first time'.

Portrayal[edit | edit source]

  • Maniac was played in Heart of the Tiger, The Price of Freedom, Prophecy and Academy by Thomas F. Wilson, best known for his portrayal of "Biff" in the Back to the Future movies. (Mark Hamill initially auditioned for this role, and was sorry to lose it, as he felt that Maniac was by far the more amusing character.)
  • In the 1999 Wing Commander film, Maniac was played by actor Matthew Lillard.

Death[edit | edit source]

When Maniac dies in WCI this is his funeral speech:

"Now we say goodbye to one of the newest members of our Squadron Lieutenant Todd Marshall, whom we all knew as Maniac. His enthusiasm and confidence were models for us all it is a shame to see his career end so soon, and so unfortunately."
Peter Halcyon
"Goodbye, Maniac. I swear I'll get the furball that took you down."

In Operation: Thor's Hammer, the speech becomes:

"Second Lieutenant Todd Marshall was one of our youngest pilots and perhaps misunderstood in his methods of battle. Although he often spoke of his desire to die in combat his death is truly our loss. Farewell, Lt. Marshall."
Peter Halcyon
"Goodbye, Maniac. I guess you got what you deserved."

Appearances[edit | edit source]

  • Wing Commander I
  • Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi
  • Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger
  • Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom
  • Wing Commander V: Prophecy
  • Wing Commander Academy (game)
  • Freedom Flight
  • End Run
  • Heart of the Tiger (novel)
  • The Price of Freedom (novel)
  • Wing Commander: The Movie (novel)
  • Pilgrim Stars
  • Pilgrim Truth
  • Claw Marks
  • Star*Soldier
  • TCSN Academy Simulator Handbook
  • Kilrathi Saga Manual
  • WC 1&2 Ultimate Guide
  • Wing Commander Academy (tv series)
  • Wing Commander (film)
  • Wing Commander Confederation Handbook.

References[edit source]

  1. Star*Soldier, pg 7
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Mike Harrison, Wing Commander I and II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide, The Academy Years
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wing Commander Academy Bible
  4. The Last One Left
  5. WCA manual, pg
  6. Red and Blue
  7. Peter Telep, Wing Commander, ch.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Chris McCubbin, Official Authorized Wing Commander Confederation Handbook, Final Evaluation, Lt. Todd Marshall
  9. Peter Telep, Wing Commander, ch. 8
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Chris McCubbin, Official Authorized Wing Commander Confederation Handbook, Final Evaluation, Lt. Christopher Blair Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "prof" defined multiple times with different content
  11. The Kilrathi Saga
  12. Wing Commander film
  13. Super Wing Commander Claw Marks (Wing Commander I box package), Comm Relay
  14. The Last One Left
  15. Pilgrim Truth, pg
  16. Lords of the Sky
  17. The Most Delicate Instrument
  18. Word of Honor
  19. Expendable
  20. Chain of Command
  21. Walking Wounded
  22. Invisible Enemy
  23. Recreation
  24. On Both Your Houses
  25. Price of Victory
  26. Glory of Sivar
  27. WC3 novel, pg
  28. Wing Commander I, Brimstone series
  29. Wing Commander I, Chengdu series (Mission 3)
  30. Wing Commander I, Rostov series (Mission 2)
  31. Wing Commander I, Goddard series (Mission 2)
  32. Wing Commander I, Border Zone series (Mission 1), Rec room
  33. Wing Commander I, Midgard series (Mission 1), Rec room
  34. Wing Commander I, Jotunheim series (Mission 2)
  35. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission a1), Rec room
  36. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission b2), Rec room
  37. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission c2), Rec room
  38. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission d1), Rec room
  39. Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission c2), Rec room
  40. Wing Commander I, Charon series (Mission 1)
  41. Wing Commander I, Charon series (Mission 2)
  42. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 4
  43. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 6
  44. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 7
  45. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Ghorah Khar series (Mission 2)
  46. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Ghorah Khar series (Mission L1)
  47. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Niven series (Mission 1)
  • McCubbin, Chris. Wing Commander Prophecy: The Official Strategy Guide. Prima, 1997. ISBN 0-7615-1207-1.
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