Senator Philip Dermond
Philip Dermond was born out on the largely ignored Quadrant
4 world now known as 'The Hump'. At the time of his birth it delighted in the
even more memorable title of 'Stephan's Bloody Rock', named after the particularly
persistent navigator who insisted that it be fully scouted despite the fact
that cold beers were waiting as soon as the crew knocked off. Dermond was born
in the main city of Chasmstop, situated in the mouth of the famous 'Stephan's
Bloody Great Canyon' which snakes across the whole width of the main continent
and reaches 10 kilometres in depth in places.
The Dermond family were not wealthy - Phil senior was a factory supervisor in the local agricultural machinery manufacturing plant and his mother, Shirley, taught in the local school, but Philip had a normal enough childhood and eventually entered the local (and only) university of Chasmstop to study engineering (the main speciality of that institution). Once in university he fell rapidly into politics (mostly of a radical nature - Martian reunification in particular), but just about found time to scrape a pass in engineering and marry his childhood sweetheart Jill Romero, literally the girl next door. Jobs weren't plentiful on SBR and Philip ended up working as a guide to visitors travelling up the canyon - planetologists, white water rafters, rather deranged rock climbers, hunters with armour-piercing ammo (the native life on The Hump is tetraradiate and secretes iron-based exoskeletal plates). He stuck at this for eight years and this might have carried on for some time, but for Jill's death, caused directly by the incompetence of an off-world hunter.
Philip flung himself into politics and secured the post of Speaker for the Pathfinders' Guild in the planetary assembly, campaigning on a basis of needing to make SBR more self-sufficient and less reliant on off-world tourism. (Politics on The Hump is still organised on the same basis - each Guild chooses a speaker for the assembly by whatever means the Guild itself chooses. The Pathfinders were and are a straightforward democracy, but other examples include the Academicians use of acclamation at public debate, the Militia use of trial by (non-lethal) combat and the Guild of Unemployables drawing names at random). The next six years followed a course of a steady rise on the political scene, with marked success at attracting investment to SBR and improvement of the economic conditions. SBR improved to such an extent that outward investment in the other worlds of the quadrant became possible and it was at this stage that some journalist with a taste for history commented that SBR was the hump over which all resources flowed into the quadrant. The inhabitants of SBR rather took to the description and used informally for a number of years before it was adopted with the Star Registry.
It looked like Dermond's career was set for life at this stage, but the now-infamous 'smear' murder case intervened. Dermond was charged with the deaths of two off-world canyon-crawlers who were found crushed beneath the corpse of a full-grown rusty pyramid beast (which can weigh several tons). The prosecution alleged that this was a revenge killing for the death of his wife, engineered with old friends in the Pathfinders Guild and the Judges Guild found for the prosecution. Dermond served five years hard labour, protesting his innocence the whole time, until concealed evidence was uncovered by genuine friends in the Guild and it became apparent that the whole case had been a smear in another sense. The two members of the Judges Guild implicated were disgraced and removed from their posts. Their bodies turned up deep in the Canyon a few months later and fingers were pointed at Dermond until a high-profile libel case bankrupted the Hump News and all accusations fell strangely silent. There are still those who (very quietly) claim Dermond was guilty, however and some who maintain (very, very quietly) that he was guilty of the original 'smear' murders in the first place and that the exonerating evidence was faked.
Dermond's political career got back on track at this point and he worked his way back to a position of pre-eminence in Hump politics. Over the next decade he was a perennial figure, but always hesitating to be involved at a higher level than planetary. His decision to finally take the plunge into MAFC waters is attributed (rather snidely) by some to the influence of his secretary, Miss Thysa Kimbo (once voted most tacky personality on The Hump), whom gossip columnists also regularly accuse of being more than just a secretary. So it came that at the age of 50 he finally moved into the interplanetary arena which was to be his home for the rest of his working life to this day. Regularly returned as the Q4 senator, due to his steadfast support for local issues and the fact that he was never too busy to make sure that he paid regular trips home, Dermond moved steadily through a variety of portfolios until arriving at Domestic Affairs, where he appears to have taken root. Private Spy regularly depicts him as a Old Testament-style prophet crying doom, with flowing beard and robes and he does tend to play up to the image, hamming it up as the grand old man of Martian politics. Still accompanied by Thysa (more recently voted most impressive product of plastic surgery in Q0), he is not a confrontational politician, but has a reputation of a man who will stop at very little to get his own way in the end.