Major Todd "Maniac" Marshall
Marshall's father, Arnold "Boomer" Marshall, was a star college athlete who was drafted into the Marine corps during the early days of the war, where he served as a platoon leader, attaining the rank of Captain. When a debilitating would to the shoulder ended his military career and hopes for a professional sports, Marshall became the assistant coach of a minor-league football team. The youngest of four sons, Todd grew up in an environment most charitably called "intensely competitive." If he made a straight As in school, it was because Bs were regarded as failure in the Marshall household, and failure was not tolerated. Todd's size, speed and home life also conspired to make him a solid first stringer in all school sports. He was accepted into the Academy on an athletic scholarship.
Many who have reviewed Marshall's Academy record are amazed at how little it echoes his flamboyant "Maniac" persona His grades were good, and his disciplinary record is largely clean (other than a couple of demerits for borderline insubordination, and an occasional reference to undue boastfulness in a faculty evaluation). In the cockpit however, he rapidly earned his callsign. His high-risk, seat-of-the-pants flying style came far closer to washing him out of the Academy than his grades or conduct ever did. Only the fact that his Marksmanship and simulator scores were the highest in his class allowed him to graduate with his wings.
After they were posted to the Tiger's Claw
, Maniac's rivalry with Blair
began to intensify. In the Academy Maniac has always been the brilliant (if erratic) star, and Blair
had faded into the background. In combat, however, Blair's
no-nonsense efficiency exerted itself, and Maniac found himself challenged in the only benchmark that really mattered --the killboard.
, Maniac faced early disgrace. he accidentally destroyed a Confed ship, resulting in the deaths of 16 people. He was cleared of any charges in the incident, but it shattered his self-created illusion of invincibility and led to a long depression ending in nervous breakdown. He was hospitalized for several months ans thus survived destruction of the Tiger's Claw
In a more civilized war he might have been medically discharged and sent home, but Confed could not afford to discard pilots of Marshall's caliber, even if they were damaged. Upon discharge from the hospital, Marshall was assigned to a test pilot unit, a role at which he excelled. During this time as a test pilot his swaggering, wise-cracking Maniac persona fully emerged.
The need for top fighter pilots at the front remained chronic, and eventually Marshall returned to combat. He showed no sign of his former instability. his flying was more confident and tactically innovative than it had been as a rookie. The legend of the Maniac began to grow. His most spectacular exploit came while leading a wing of light fighters on a routine patrol in Deneb sector. Unexpectedly, they came upon two heavy Kilrathi
battleships. With no torpedo bombers available, Maniac's whole strike fleet was completely vulnerable to a strike from the cap ships, expect that Maniac, through dazzling piloting alone, actually managed to maneuver the two ships into a fatal collision with one another. To this day tacticians still study the tapes of the mission and argue whether the feat was sher brilliance or sheer dumb luck. With the Maniac, however, the dividing line between the two is never completely clear.
Over the last decade of the war, Marshall flew constantly, rotating between combat tours and test pilot postings. Eventually Tolwyn
had him assigned to the Victory, an assignment which, like Blair
, he originally saw as a punishment. Marshall flew with Blair
on the mission to Kilrah, and flew the last escort fighter destroyed on the mission, at the very edge of Kilrah's atmosphere. He ejected and was taken prisoner by the Kilrathi
, and was "interrogated" viciously on board a dreadnought for several hours. However, once they absorbed the full import of the homeworld's destruction, they gave him medical treatment and a ceremonial release.
After the war he resumed his pattern of alternating combat tours and test piloting, but the emphasis shifted towards testing -- maniac had little patience with peacetime patrol duties. When the Border Worlds conflict erupted, Marshall approached Admiral Tolwyn
personally to request another chance at a combat tour. After that conflict he resumed the only adult life he'd ever known. he did manage over the course of several years to add several dozen Kilrathi
to his lifetime kill total, thanks to increasingly fractious pirates, smugglers and rebels within the shards of the old empire.
Maniac's attitude towards command responsibility is mercurial to the point of schizophrenia. He often complains loud and long about less-senior pilots getting promoted over him, but he also has been known to resist or even outright refuse any career-building assignments that threaten to take him out of the cockpit. Accepting the posting to the Midway as a personal favor to Senator Taggart, Maniac is at last contemplating the possibility of a career change, possibly retiring from active duty to become a consultant and test pilot for a civilian defense contractor. He's also making plans for his memoirs; working title, Me: The life and battles of "Maniac" Marshall. He has been married twice -- one relationship lasting three years, the other, 22 days. He has no children. Maniac was played by actor Tom F. Wilson.