Lyle Merrick was the pilot of a chemical-rocket scow, who made his living by playing off the poor reputation of antiquated vessels like his own to clandestinely smuggle high-value cargoes.

Unfortunately, on one such run he did draw the attention of authorities, who began chasing him and demanding he allow them to inspect his hold. While trying to hide his ship in a repair well on Carousel New Copenhagen he botched his landing -- likely due to making the attempt at high velocity -- and crashed into the rim. The resulting explosion from the chemical fuel killed several hundred people -- as well as members of the primate emergency-response team -- and got Lyle condemned to irreversible neural death.

Under such a sentence any and all alpha-level simulations would also be destroyed. However, Lyle's old friend, James Bax, acquired a copy his alpha-level and secretly installed it on his ship, the Storm Bird.

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