Nikolai Andreyevich Rykov

Player: Jeff
Age: 31
Nationality: Russian
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180

Nikolai Andreyevich Rykov was conscripted into the Russian Army at age 17. His superiors noticed a natural ability to handle and repair all things mechanical, and shuffled him off to the appropriate division for training to become an aircraft mechanic. Throughout the his next 10 years, he went from mechanic's apprentice to master mechanic, finding himself working on a top-level Soviet program who's goal was reverse engineering many of the major successful airplane, engine, and mechanical designs found in the west to create a Soviet superfighter. Soviet technology was sorely lacking in the area of aviation, and his program garnered special attention from top generals and interested members of the politburo for its promise of moving Russia to the center stage of aviation.

The project engineers were struggling to reverse the construction of many of the planes they were tasked with building, and were looking the shut down, and with it their execution, straight in the face, when a Hughes employee hard up for cash sold them the plans for their new P21 Devastator. A prototype was built, and officials overseeing the project were invited for a viewing of it's first flight.

The showing was a disaster. The engineers had substituted a Soviet design for the 12-cyl Wright-Cyclone engine, which was comparable on paper. Real-world, however, the Soviet design was a dog. It was prone to choking, bogging down, and overheating. It proved it's reputation during the test flight. The engine bogged down, locked up, and refused to restart. The pilot ejected safely, and the plane dropped from the sky like a rock. It landed directly on the observers, including one Yevgeniy Kirilenko, the aviation-loving son of a Central Committee member, who had come out to observe, and advise his father on the program's continued support.

Outraged, the senior Kirilenko pushed to have the program dissolved, demanding blood. Rykov learned of the program's elimination through a "visit" by a KGB officer with orders to take him to #2 Dzerzhinsky Square for processing. Rykov, recognizing the visit for the death sentance it was, played along to lull the officer into complacency, then seized an opportunity and killed the man with a letter opener. He packed the three sets of clothes that he owned and a book on flight he had aquired from a pilot friend, but had never followed through on reading. People who hear his story remember it this way:

//KGB man come for me during night. He knock on door, ask me to accompany him to headquarters. The KGB only comes to visit for one reason, so either I kill him or he kill me. I play along for a few minutes, even offer him tea. I threw hot water in face, grab nearest weapon, and stab him many times.

I pack bag then, taking with a book on flight, head to airfield where project was. You see, one project we were working on was a long range cargo plane. I never fly before, but I know I must get fuck out of dodge. Taking off…very easy. Push throttle forward, pull back stick, plane go up. Landing… much more difficult, but I think, I die in hands of KGB, or maybe I live learning how to fly… Turns out, I not half bad pilot…//

Rykov made his way to North America, where he excelled at scrounging parts, making adaptations, and generally keeping planes flying for many a group who couldn't afford real parts and labor. He built a reputation as a sort of airfield handy-man drifter, seemingly able to fix anything put in font of him using whatever parts were locally available.

His life as a nomad became tiresome, and did not pay as well as one might imagine. Missing the comraderie of the military, and looking for a steadier paycheck, he found the McCormick group, where he currently flies working fighters (not very well) and fixes busted ones (extremely well). Some people in the group find him difficult to work with, as he finds much of his inspiration in home-distilled vodka, is never without a cigar, and speaks english at a level that would make a 2nd grader look eloquent.

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