Benjamin Matthews

Race: Human
Age: 35
Nationality: Australian
Occupation: Trade Ship Captain (or "Cap'n")
The Captain in numbers


Benjamin was born August 19th, 2135 in Melbourne, Australia, to the very young parents William Matthews and Jane Cedars. William was an American student of international politics stationed in Melbourne for his public service years, Jane was a local girl. The two fell in love and got married right after Ben was born. Ben has two younger brothers - Jordan, born in 2138, and Philip, born in 2141.


Ben grew up in Australia, first in Melbourne, then the family moved to Canberra when he was nine. Ben made friends easily and wasn't afraid of new people and places. He was a clever and easy going child, seemingly interested in everything. Some would say he spread himself thin, lacking focus. Managing that fine balance between brains and sports, though, he played rugby from he was very young and all through his high school years, but it wasn't until his father died from a heart attack at the early age of forty that Ben became more concerned with his health and with keeping in shape. He was 21 when he finally quit smoking for good, after having smoked for nearly five years. He also became more restless after his father's death, unwilling to stay in one place for a very long time. As a result of this, perhaps, he enlisted in the Terran Navy and decided to build a carreer as a naval officer.

When he was 19 he started dating Robin Cole, a girl about his age who studied journalism. They stayed together for a year, and when he was 20 they got married on a whim while he was on leave from his public service in the military. They were hilariously drunk, and got a divorce later that year followed by a mutual break-up, though they stayed friends for many years after. It would take five years before he married again, this time to Penelope Berkeley, who he met through some friends from London. He maintained an on-and-off relationship with her for a year or so before they agreed to get married. They divorced in 2166. Ben rarely talks about Penelope at all, and they're apparently not on speaking terms.

After spending nearly twelve years in the Terran Navy, Ben retired in 2169 and decided to forge a new life as a trader. To anyone who asked he said that he needed the change, that it was time for something different - and to those who knew him well that didn't necessarily sound strange. Ben has, after all, always had trouble sitting still, so to speak. Never the less, some people might wonder what could make him change his mind so suddenly after twelve years, when his military carreer only seemed to be going up.

The real reason Ben quit the military was to gather intel for a mysterious man called Simon. Ben tends to be a little freaked out by Simon, at least now that he strongly suspects Simon to have powers far beyond those any ordinary human would have, but he hides it well and believes he's capable enough to get the best of Simon in the end. Ben doesn't like feeling unneccessarily paranoid, but lately he has been forced to question a lot of things he has taken for granted in the past, and this has made him somewhat more sceptical regarding who he can trust.


As a child, Ben was already outgoing and outspoken. He made friends very easily, and though he could well have been a bully, had he chosen to, he was instead gentle and accepting, with a strong sense of justice. He also was pretty clever, getting good marks in school despite occasionally skiving off. Growing up, he held on to a sort of childish acceptance of (and curiosity towards) anything new and different, as well as a want to include and be included. He quickly developed a talent for inventing and maintaining tall tales, taking advantage of his "gift of the gab" more than his ordinary looks to get girls and recognition. In the Navy he showed exeptional leadership skills that seemed to come naturally, demanding respect and loyalty without ever seeming too harsh or demanding.


Generally, Ben is charismatic, easy going and extrovert. He loves just being around people, and gets grumpy whenever he's left alone for longer than absolutely necessary. If the situation calls for it, he uses his musical abilities, or just his way with words to get people to socialize with him. If he gets stuck sitting still for too long, especially if no one keeps him company, he will get fidgety and restless.

As a superior he always leads in a friendly manner, on a daily basis he will be suggesting courses of action more than giving direct orders. Should he decide that a firm hand is needed, though, no one should question his authority lightly. Though he is more than capable of making decisions concerning his ship, he is also concerned will the well-being of his crew, open to suggestions, and more than willing to listen to reason. He's a brilliant tactician, but ironically enough not a very thorough planner. Most of Ben's plans are invented on the fly, and he hates poring over problems longer than absolutely necessary (normally a few minutes to a few hours depending on the severity of the issue). This impulsiveness is good in one way - Ben hates dwelling on the past and will, if asked if he has any regrets, nearly always reply "Not really".

Even if, or maybe because, his plans are rashly invented and spontaneous - and thereby often risky - Ben likes to lead from the front. When he's the one calling the shots, he should also accept the consequences. He would go to great lenghts to protect his crew, and they know it - which is why they trust him. It seems to be part of his personal code of conduct to put his crew before himself, something he learned during his years in the Navy and has held on to ever since.

Ben has the ability to say almost anything with a straight face - to such an extent that he has told numerous versions of the story about how he lost the little finger on his right hand (and still no one is rightly sure which one is the real one). This ability has even had his friends doubt him at times, but when it's something important he'll always come around to the truth in the end. If he doesn't, there's always a good reason for it. Ben's also not easily frightened or intimidated - some people even claim that he can't be fazed by anything, but this isn't true. He's just very good at hiding it. In stressful situations he'll most often try to play it cool and talk himself out of it, which works most of the time. When that doesn't work, he takes a different route. Sometimes he'll work out a persona to take on, which - if different enough from his normally calm and pleasant manner - can freak out even his friends.


Though he's been married twice and has a certain way with women (which can't really be explained by his rather ordinary looks), no one has heard about him doing much serious dating since his divorce. A lot less blatant than Rory, Ben utilises his discreet charms to get the girls he wants. He knows he's not a looker, but he acts as though he couldn't care less. His self esteem might not be as pronounced, but his posture and body language shows a man who - if he doesn't exactly feel as if he's on top of every situation, at least has the chutzpah to act as though he is. As someone (unpleasant) once said: "You're like a damned cat, Matthews. Throw you out from any height, and you'll always land on your feet."


Jane Compton

Born in Melbourne in 2117, Jane is Ben's mother. She now lives in New York, where she works as an administrative for the Terran Federation. She is a strict woman who is used to dealing with anything and everything herself. She had her first child at the age of 18, and when she lost her first husband she was only 37. She got remarried to her husband Ellroy in 2163.

William Matthews (deceased)

William, or Bill, was Ben's father. He was American, but moved to Australia for his public service years, where he met Jane and fell in love. Sadly, Bill only lived to be forty. He was a student of international politics in his younger years, and later became a politician who supported the Terran Federation though he opposed the fusing of individual cultures.

Philip Matthews

Philip, or Phil, is the classic middle child; not young enough for all the attention, not old enough to warrant any huge amount of expectations. Never the less, Jordan finds himself in a high position in the Terran Navy. He lives in Beijing with his wife Xin Sue and their two kids, William Qin (5) and Zhiyi Susan (4).

Jordan Matthews

Jordan has always been a troublemaker, though his recent carreer advancement in the Terran Marines seems to have channeled Phil'shis potential into something useful. He is currently stationed in Washington DC, on active duty. Ben's relationship with his youngest brother hasn't always been all that great - Ben suspects that his brothers might have unconsciously disliked him because he refused to be the father figure the younger brothers probably needed after their father's death.

Ellroy Compton

Technically Ben's stepfather, Ellroy doesn't do much fathering. He accepts that Jane's boys are grown men, and never tries to impose any family feelings on any of them - which probably is the very quality that has made the three of them accept him as their mother's husband. Otherwise, Ben likes him and thinks he's a nice guy. Ellroy works as a surgeon. He's highly intelligent and can be a little arrogant at times.

Penelope Berkeley

Ben's ex-wife that he was married to for six years. When asked about her, he usually says that they both let their carreers get in the way of a healthy relationship.

Robin Cole

Ben's first serious girl and his first wife. Robin is a journalist, and last he heard from her she was living in France. They haven't spoken in a few years now.

Rory Callahan

The self-named "Ginger Cock of Doom," Rory Callahan crashed into Ben's life like a womanizing social bulldozer as he was appointed pilot of the scout ship Ben was in command of. Though he got reassigned a while later, the two got along well, so well in fact that Rory was the first person Ben called up to ask about joining the crew of The Sparrow. They have a kind of mutual loyalty between them, both trusting the other with his life. Ben has a certain gratitude towards Rory for probably saving his life on Dingir. Ben worries that Rory is fixated on Megan and that his loyalties for her could override his loyalties towards the chain of command.

Megan Kim

Rory's ex and a veritable force of nature, Megan Kim became the ship's new steward after Gilman's untimely death. A history of violence against the captain discouraged him from hiring her, but he accepted after Rory appealed to his soft side (and got him drunk). Ben doesn't trust Megan a lot, but he understands that she is important to Rory, and so will let the whole shebang slide for awhile to see how it works out. At the same time he's well aware of the apparent jealousy that both Megan and Rory display, and with Rory's constant habit of tail-hunting, and Megan being such a stunning fox, he expects life on The Sparrow to be just a little bit harder in the foreseeable future. Ben is worried that Megan will disobey orders, especially orders from Rory (who after all is 2nd in command), and that she might not be good for morale on board, with her obvious chip on the shoulder and general unpleasantness.

Maria Ivanovitch

Ben doesn't openly express this, but he finds Maria very cute and adorable, especially because she's so small and doesn't really look her alleged age. He's a little worried about her because she seems so naïve and inexperienced as an engineer, but he's determined to give her a chance to prove herself and become a part of the Sparrow family.

Tomasz Majxek

Before he came to work on The Sparrow, Ben knew very little about Tomasz except for what his resumée said about his skills. Apart from Kanashii, Tomasz probably is the person Ben is having the most trouble connecting with - their interests are vastly different, and Tomasz is a lot more reserved in spite of his constant quips and snarky comments. There's a lot of trust between them even so, because Tomasz also knows about (and works for) the mysterious Simon.

Kanashii Shinnurmi

Better known as Connie, Kanashii is Ben's guide into Vilani matters, culture, and language. Though he doesn't understand a lot of the Vilani mindset, he recognises that having Kanashii around to explain norms and conventions is a huge asset when trading with Vilani worlds. Despite valuing her as a resource, interpreter, advisor and teacher, Ben remains wary of her heritage and doesn't trust her with everything if he doesn't absolutely have to. He likes her even so, but wishes he could trust her more. The fact that she's something of a "gangster" amongst the Vilani has made her both more useful and less trustworthy than Ben first thought.

Ricky Herreroa

Of anyone on board The Sparrow, Ricky is the only one Ben would be seen taking orders from. Ben holds medical personnel in high esteem, and Ricky especially so. Not necessarily best buds, Ben still enjoys Ricky's calm company and values his levelheadedness under pressure.

Steven Gilman (deceased)

Not the most pleasant of people all around, Steven gets along with Ben most of the time, mostly because Ben respects Steven just as much as he does anyone else on the ship despite Steven's somewhat bad attitude and aggressive streak. On the mission to Dingir, when it was obvious that one of the passengers had framed Steven for the murder of a fourth passenger, Ben's interests came into conflict and Steven amost caught on that something else was behind Ben's unwillingness to protect him. Ben was convinced Steven was innocent, but the mission demanded that he stay on as good terms as possible with the surviving passengers, and he was forced to deceive his way through two weeks in jump space, juggling his loyalties to his crew and his duty to Simon and the mission. Luckily, it was resolved in the end through some intel from Julie, though Ben had to use his unpleasant "Captain's Voice" to get it. Ben thinks that anything having to do with violence is best discussed with Steven, at least in general terms, and has more than once asked him to help crew members deal with delayed reactions to violent situations. Steven's death weighs on Ben's conscience even though he knows it wasn't his fault directly.

Julie Gustavsson (quit)

With Julie, Ben has forged a kind of friendship that he finds both worrying and enjoyable. Shyness aside, her intelligence, compassion, and general pleasantness makes her a great friend. He thrives on the fact that she's usually at ease around him, and is determined not to ruin that by getting too interested in her in any way. Not an easy task when she's also a stunningly beautiful woman. The two of them have developed a game of nicknames and a social code of flirty banter that never seem to go anywhere serious… or does it sometimes? Ben's ability to keep a straight face saying virtually anything may occasionally get people to misinterpret his relationship with Julie, unless they know them both very well. Julie is one of the very few people Ben really trusts, even if she's a little too secretive herself at times. He's not happy she quit, but understands her reasons.


The death of Steven Gilman has put a dampener on the crew's usual good spirits, as well as Julie leaving the ship. A new law passed recently is threatening to unravel Ben's business, and an old aquaintance seems to have got it in for him, trying to screw him over at every turn. Ben hopes that the new additions to the crew will help shake things up a bit, but he realizes morale is low in general, and they need to get back on track and fast.

Fun facts


He has a tattoo on his back. Julie and Rory got to see it when they crashed a plane in the jungle on the very hot and humid planet Inferno. It's between his shoulderblades, and no more than 10-11 cm across in size. It looks a little faded, and is probably somewhat old.

He thinks Johnny Cash is the greatest musician that ever lived. He even wanted to call the ship "The Johnny Cash", but settled on "The Sparrow" when no one else would agree with him.

Ben owns a white guitar that goes by the name "Matilda". He can be heard playing it while on bridge watch and at other times when he's bored.

When he was sixteen he was the lead guitarist in a garage band called Hung Like A Pony. The band stopped playing together when Ben stole the drummer's girlfriend just to see if he could.

He once dumped a woman he had been dating for a few months because she demanded that he stop being friends with Julie if he wanted to stay together with her. Her name was Karen.

What happened to his little finger? The stories people have been told:

  • His ex-wife chopped it off with a cleaver
  • He was in a car accident
  • A shark attacked him and bit it off
  • He was in a knife fight
  • A dog ate it
  • He woke up hung over one morning and it was just gone
  • He chopped it off by accident while chopping wood
  • He got his hand stuck in a grinder
  • He lost it in a space ship engine accident
  • He was bitten in the finger by a poisonous snake and he had to cut it off so the poison wouldn't spread
  • Someone tried to shoot him and only hit his hand
  • He was born with only nine fingers
  • He suffered from leprosy when he was younger, and it just fell off
  • It got stuck in a coded door and he couldn't unlock it, so he had to cut it off himself to get free
  • He came in contact with a chemical spill and it dissolved
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