Wilbur St. James was born in the city of Eadsville on the planet Minos in 2223. His parents were executives with the Boeing-Airbus Consortium who had emigrated from England on Earth shortly before the Bug Asteroid of 2197 devastated the planet, an incident which wiped out most of the rest of his extended family. His parents in turn were killed in a Liberation bombing attack during the Second Civil War only a few years after he was born. Young Wilbur was placed in an orphanage where an illegal government experiement, an offshoot of Project Exo-Genesis, awakened dormant Wereboar genes present in his ancestry, and after going through his First Change he ran away from the orphanage to live on the streets.
Growing up homeless in the slums of Minos, he committed many petty crimes and became a low-level enforcer thug for a street gang of fellow werecreatures hiding from the Draft. However, a Raptor unit caught him in 2242 and forced him into the military. It was during Basic Training that he aquired his nickname of Zinger, from his insistance on pronouncing his surname in the traditional English manner as "Sinjin". His drill instructor was endlessly amused by the trying to stick to such a posh pronunciation despite the harsh gutter accent he picked up on the streets during his lawless youth.
Third Civil WarEditHe finished basic training and reported for duty at his first assignment just in time for his new commanding officer to declare his loyalty to Sarah Dunmeyer's abortive coup attempt that began the Third Civil War. He fought for the Tech Infantry Rebels faction throughout the war, even spending some time in the famous "Dead Boys" unit that was once under the command of Alastar Dimiye, during the Second Battle of Midgar. Defeated by K'Nes forces under the command of Praetor Rror K'Gurr Narrah, Wilbur escaped and avoided capture and was sent to fight on a different front. Posted as a Marine on one of the few warships in the Rebel fleet, the EFS Grafton, his ship evaded destruction or capture even after the rest of the rebel forces were crushed by the new Clarke Administration.
Space Pirate and SmugglerEditDeprived of base support or supply by the defeat of the larger rebellion, the captain of the EFS Grafton had the last two letters of the ship's name painted over on the hull and went into business as a pirate. Preying on cargo vessels in hyperspace and asteroid belts, the rechristened Graft survived on the lam for five years before a lack of spare parts doomed it to malfunction and capture. Wilbur and the other surviving Marines escaped the derelict vessel in an Assault Pinnace and managed to sneak down onto the planet Hadley. There they set up a base of operations as smugglers along the frontier with the Eastern Bloc, bringing untaxed goods both directions across the border until the Vin Shriak invasion not only wiped out their customer base but forced them to flee deeper into the Federation. An altercation with other refugees in a camp on New Tokyo led to his identity as a former Rebel being discovered, and he was arrested and imprisoned briefly on G2. However, the huge losses of the Vin Shriak War led Chairman Clarke to offer an amnesty to former soldiers among the prisoner population who were willing to rejoin the military, and Zinger accepted.
Back in UniformEditBack in the Tech Infantry, Zinger fought with such distinction in the Vulthra War that he was offered promotion and transfer to the Raptors. He accepted, and used his experience as a smuggler, draft dodger, and petty criminal for the side of law and order for a change. His intimate familiarity with the many ways such criminals could evade the law served him well, and he was decorated several times for exemplary service. He was offered an appointment to Officer Candidate School, but the Caal Invasion put those plans on temporary hold that turned permanent when the Federation mostly fell apart. Zinger found himself in a Raptor unit on New Madrid, which soon became the new capital of a rump Federation under Admiral Joseph Smythe.
Kalintos and BeyondEdit
Smythe found himself so desperate for trained soldiers with which to fight the Holy Terran Empire that Zinger was transferred to a front-line unit and sent to help liberate the Kalintos system, which had been invaded by Imperial forces. Zinger fought his way through the Kalintos campaign as part of Second Platoon of A Company in the 10th Tech Infantry Legion. After Kalintos was liberated, his unit was sent on to St. Michael's Star, where they were stranded when the fleet task force that brought them there was forced to withdraw by an Imperial Fleet counter-attack. In the subsequent fighting, his platoon was so decimated that it was broken up and the survivors used as replacements to plug the gaps in other units which also had experienced heavy losses. Zinger found himself now part of Soti's Slammers, as a replacement for the fallen Ryan Sandburg in the squad led by Argus McCall. Zinger survived to be rescued from Port Prosperity by the timely arrival of Admiral Smythe and the EFS Poseidon.
However, his next battle would be his last. Dropped onto Chalfont as part of a strike team sent to capture an Arachnid Queen for interrogation and study, he went into the Bug Tunnels as part of Argus McCall's squad. They successfully reached the Queen's egg chamber, but a Bug counterattack came out of the wall behind Zinger, and he was decapitated by a Warrior Bug's bite. However, his sacrifice was not in vain, as the rest of his team successfully captured the Bug Queen and teleported her back up to the ship.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Zinger was based on a "big, dumb English guy named Zinger" who appeared in a dream Martin had in November of 2005, a rather elaborately weird dream (even for Martin) involving a criminal gang led by Bono from U2 and Kenny G, who were out to rob the members of the band R.E.M. to obtain money to fund the IRA. Ever since, Martin had been trying to find a good use for that character concept, and here he finally did. Some aspects of his backstory are based on the dream, others on allusions to Craig Fairbrass, his actor avatar, who very coincidentally was the voice actor for a character in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series who pretty much dressed like a Dead Boy. The name Wilbur is of course from the pig in Web Charlotte's Web, while the St. James part was just an excuse to retroactively provide a source for his nickname.