DRH Character Background 1: John O’Brien

22 Oct

John O’Brien is a blue collar working man, pretty patriotic as is general among his friends and social sphere, and works hard to provide for his wife and daughter. Or did.  Before the rebel bomb that killed his beloved wife.

John has a sister Jacqueline and daughter Constance who we shall deal with in later backgrounds. Some of Jacqueline’s background overlaps with her brother John’s of course.

Their parents back in the day were both Voodoopunks, a popular and rather wild subculture of their parents’ generation which combined raucous parties with voodoo religion and not only had its own music and style but combined religious aspects with a sort of political anarchy. However, it crashed, burnt, was outlawed and thus disappeared (supposedly) after the riots that destroyed part of the city and led to the police crackdown that changed New Albion into a more martial police state.

It was John and Jacqueline’s dad who was the raucous Voodoopunk. Their mother was interested in it more in the way a conservatively raised youth will be immensely attracted to a forbidden, thrilling subculture and lover within it, but who is always destined to grow out of it and back into a more calm and secure place in society.

She fell madly in love with John’s father who was a true hellion in his youth. However the riots and resulting government crackdown brought an end to their wild days and it was their mother who was well suited to building them a place in society to hunker down, raise children and keep their heads low and out of trouble. Their father followed suit as best he could and there is no question he was devoted to his family.

Their parents’ deaths when John and Jacqueline were hitting their adolescences was tragic, but for more details on that, Jacqueline is really the one to ask, so we’ll wait until it is her turn to share her background to address this.

John was not only the older sibling but the one who took after his mother, and so took on the responsibility of caring for his much artsier sister. He would have described her as annoyingly flaky and they were not particularly close until their parents’ death which forced them to bond to a greater degree.

John got them through their adolescence and made sure Jacqueline finished school. As they grew into adults her wilder and wilder thoughts, ideas and free spiritedness irritated him more and more. As the one who had to go to work each day and bang out the money for them to live and for her to go to school, he obviously cherished a strong work ethic and practicality and saw Jacqueline and her friends’ yammerings and circular philosophies as the navel gazing idiocy of pampered younglings who don’t know what it’s like to have to step up and fend for themselves.

It’s a classic dichotomy and was fueled by John’s deep missing of his mother and Jacqlueline’s utter failure to replace her and fill the hole. John was very lonely and he simply couldn’t relate to Jacqueline, which made him sad. However his drive to take care of them did not allow for sadness and depression, so it would be channeled into anger and the drive to keep going.

It would also be channeled into drink. John was a hardy drinker, as were the mates he worked with. It was part of their working culture and how they as men learned to deal with their sadness and other emotions which might otherwise bring them down.

By the time John and Jacqueline had grown and drifted apart John was lonely in a way his mates and bar culture couldn’t fill. Thus when Vivian entered his life he was ready to be a devoted family man, as he had always been anyway.

John and Vivian loved each other. Vivian was a bit looser and artisier, a little like Jacqueline, but just enough to complete him and not enough to annoy his world view. John and Vivian loved each other truly and deeply and they loved their daughter Constance.

Like most good men of his social sphere he was disgusted by the rebels causing trouble all over New Albion and upsetting law and order, putting good honest citizens in danger for their idiotic attempts at whatever crazy coup they were attempting.

Vivian is killed one day by a rebel bomb and John utterly falls apart.

His grief is unmanageable. His rage unbearable. He shows up at his sister’s place with Constance and they move in. Jacqueline helps with Constance who is in her early teens. John’s drinking soars and he stays out longer and longer.

Soon John gets The Offer and his life changes. As the scene opens in The Dieselpunk Radio Hour Act 1, Song 3, it is a few years after The Offer.


Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “DRH Character Background 1: John O’Brien

  1. Justin Blackwell

    September 18, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Paul, I thought I’d share with you a New Albion propaganda poster I made based on John O’Brien and “The Pitch”. Here it is:

    • taltosreader

      June 6, 2018 at 10:44 am

      this link is dead, might you have a copy to re-post? Thanks 🙂


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