Carl T. LaFong
Template:Character infobox Carl T. LaFong (callsign Prankster, Hotshot) is a Lt. Colonel (TCSN Retired). He was a pilot on the TCS Tiger's Claw. He fought in many of the same battles as Christopher Blair. He wrote a biography (The Memoirs of Lieutenant Colonel T. LaFong: The Kilrathi War's Greatest Ace (TCSN, Retired)) of his time on the Tiger's Claw and Concordia at the age of 73 many years after the war. He seems he has taken some of Blair's stories for his own(or he at least flew in Blair's shadow, and experienced similar situations).Prankster was one of the war's top twenty aces (an honor he shared alongside Christopher Blair (Maverick), and Todd Marshall (Maniac) whom he often had the honor of flying with throughout the war. They were among a disproportian number of aces who served in the Rapier II squadrons.
In his later years he worked as a consultant on the new Wing Commander holo-vid and wrote his own memoirs between 2689 and 2701. It was one of three major three major memoirs including one written by another former crewmember Jason Armstrong, and later another published by his old nemesis Todd Marshall. It was believed there was an unlikelihood that Blair's own memoirs would ever be published.
He spent all his life, some 18 years preparing to enter the Terran Confederation Space Naval Academy, being one of the 1200 students who enrolled in the 201st Class for Hilthros, along with Todd Marshall and many others. Tanaka Mariko gave them their initial orientation and met Todd Marshall.
He'd quit after the first week if he did not take his duty seriously. During the first two weeks in the Academy LaFong had cleaned a latrine with a toothbrush, packed and repacked his footlocker until the company commander decided he could do it with a blindfold, and stood a three-hour midnight watch over a dead bug found in the hallway outside his room.
LaFong also had to cope with the upperclassmen's badgering. He had put up with standing at the table with his food tray until all the upperclassmen were seated, or sang at the top of his lungs while perched on one leg on top of the table. Plebes had to comform to strict table manners (eg. left hand is down unless holding the knife, which has to be placed on the right side of the plate at a 45-degree angle, with the blade facing the inside of the plate) or had to do with the "Protractor Patrol". A 1st Classman found his knife to be resting at 50 degrees and obliged him to eat with no hands for one week. He promised to himself that if he ever had the opportunity to reach an audience, he would deliver a special message.
His close roomate and friend was Michael Anthony, who also shared the room with Christopher Blair. He, Anthony and Todd Marshall were often at odds and competition with each other. Once tried to pull a prank on him in revenge for Marshall's overall attitude, including the harsh words against Blakely. Once to defend his honor he and Anthony put a mixture of manure, grease, oil, and whipped cream inside of helmet, and put it out of site so when he arrived for his final match this time with LaFong, he'd find himself the victim of a terrible prank. This earned LaFong the callsign "Prankster". Marshall was so irate, and flew irratic that the plebes started calling him Maniac.
As an upperclassman, LaFong rebelled against the system and opted not to repeat to the youngsters the badgering his class suffered from those before them. He made the plebes give one situp or 10-minute breaks, anything to show he did not take it seriously. LaFong was the only one who did so.
He was among the only top 200 who continued training as fighter pilots and graduated from the academy.
His first assignment was on board the TCSFormidable with Todd Marshall, and Christopher Blair and four other trainees. He and Maniac were later assigned to the Tiger claw while the other five trainees remained behind. Though Blair was reassigned not long after (however Maniac and Blair would spend some additional time training on Sirius, and would ultimately board the Claw together in Taggart's transport).
Actions during the Tiger's Claw
After a period of leave, LaFong finally was placed on board the Claw at some point towards the beginning of the Vega Campaign, he was there early enough to apparently meet Bossman.
Although its not clear if he originally met Bossman before or after his alleged death (in the movie), and its not clear if he came on board before or after Maniac (and Blair). Though the game appears to suggest he came on aboard some time after Maniac, who had been on the ship awhile (in the novel it seems implied that LaFong probably only boarded 3-4 days before first Enyo mission, and been on board a few weeks with Maniac between McAullife and Gateway). Whereas Claw Marks might imply that Maniac was on board earlier than the new pilot who came on board. The itself might suggest he boarded about 2654.110, around the same day that Enyo missions began. The Wing Commander Universe Bible seems to suggest he boarded as early as 2654.085.
He flew missions in Enyo with Spirit, beginning on 2654.085 (or as late as 2654.110 or later August of that year) Christopher Blair, Todd Marshall and Taggart were on the CS Olympus during the events of the Enyo Series, and thus could not take part in those battles (see Pilgrim Stars). Maverick and Maniac did not return to the ship until several weeks later near Earth, and Taggart for a couple of months later (see Pilgrim Truth). The WC4 Guide specifically states that Christopher Blair flew with Spirit during missions at Enyo as well... However, due to the nature of retcons caused by the films, this would have to be a separate set of missions at Enyo, set after the film novels, for it to even to have happened at all. It mentions that Blair meets Bossman at this point, possibly for the first time...
He was busy elsewhere and was not able to take part at Gateway.
At Gimle LaFong had been scheduled to test the new prototype Rapiers. But he contracted Grinard's Virus and hit the sick bay. He was grounded while Tiger's Claw was in the Gimle system, because the disease affects equilibrium, Halcyon had him working communications. On his off time he hit the high-score on the Train-Sim and hung around and jawed with the pilots who went on the missions in the bar and library. He was sick the entire time the Claw was in the system.
Spirit and Angel fly in Gimle instead. In WC3 novel it also confirms Blair flew with Maniac during the Gimle series.
LaFong and Maniac flew several missions together in Brimstone. This was something LaFong did not want to do as he was not Maniac's friend, and did not really like the pilot. But instead of protesting he realized he was to new to the claw to start griping about the assignment. After the first mission Carl T. LaFong was the first to storm into Halcyon's office and report Maniac's lack of discipline. He wanted Halycon to bring court martial procedures against Marshall for disobeying direct orders (he was so incensed that he wanted him hung from the highest yardarm). Halcyon noted that if they could find a yardarm in space he would honor both of his requests, but unfortunately they needed every pilot, even the independent ones.
Before the next mission LaFong waited near the rear of the briefing room, hoping to find Maniac before Colonel Halcyon entered. But Maniac found him instead. He told Prankster in a way that everyone could hear, for him to try to keep up with him, and that he was tired of carrying LaFong. LaFong criticized him for disobeying orders and putting his wingmates in danger with his grandstanding. He pointed out that he was a great pilot, but that there wasn't a pilot in the Killer Bee squadron who wanted him on their wing. He had hurt Marshall's feelings, who moped that there was no reason for LaFong to make it personal. Halycon finally entered the room. LaFong was ordered to join Maniac's flight again.
After the second mission, LaFong was almost impressed with Maniac. He had followed orders, protected his wing, and eliminated a couple of bad guys. There wasn't much more LaFong could ask for. LaFong tried to compliment him on their way to the debriefing. But Marshall claimed he hadn't been listening, and just attacking any targets he wanted to. LaFong couldn't tell if he was kidding or not.
After recovering he flew missions at Brimstone with Maniac. He was reassigned to HQ while the claw was at Cheng-Du, and spent a few days there where he helped out with training of some of the new pilots. He looked at the reports of what he missed when he returned.
While the Claw stopped to take on supplies, while heading towards the ship's library he was stopped by Paladin who knew he and Maniac weren't friends, but asked him to talk to the pilot and try to get him to shape up, or he would be written up. He tried to give Maniac another chance.
After that he flew missions in the Dakota system with Joseph Khumalo. After Dakota, the Claw traveled to Port Hedland, and LaFong was assigned to pull a "flying bus" assignment while in the system. Instead of a combat missions he was moving fuel by Drayman to Planck's Star, where a kilrathi destroyer had decimated the storage facilities. With pilots at a premium at the time, it was absolute necessary. He didn't get to hear about the combat that took place until he returned. He also missed the TCSO show and Saranya Carr which he had wanted to see during the mission.
He later was able to fly missions in the Kurasawa system with Kien Chen. One of his missions didn't go so well and he lost a Ralralri. But in another he was able to help save his former commander Della Guardia and the Formidable where he had served. He was able to see his old commander again after the mission.
Operation Thor's Hammer
In Goddard System, he flew missions with Hunter Ian St. John. He flew a few missions with Jeanette Deveraux in the Border Zone. He flew a few missions with Kien Chen at Midgard, a few missions with Spirit at Jotunheim. Around this time Taggart requested Halcyon ground Maniac in the briefing room, surprising LaFong, he didn't believe it was correct forum to make such a request. LaFong talked to Paladin after he returned from his mission, and tried to convince him to be a bit easier on Maniac (that he was still suffering from accidently taking out a civilian transport some time back). LaFong knew Maniac needed treatment but there was no way to get it out there. He wasn't upset with Halcyon, but he was upset at Tolwyn, as Tolwyn had ignored their request to send Maniac out on solo missions. A scenario they believed might have helped give a chance for him regain his self-esteem and find himself.
At BiFrost he flew missions with James Taggart, at Valguard he flew missions with Iceman, and he flew missions with Khumalo at Valgrid. Halcyon launched strike wings from two different locations, hoping to confuse the Sivar's defenses. Others were flown by Christopher Blair, and Jason Armstrong. Omega Wing, LaFong's wing was part of the first launch. LaFong and Khumalo took out the fighter cover of Krants, Jalthi, and Gratha. Once the fighters were gone, and the Sivar exposed, plodding enemy. LaFong launched all his missiles, and then kept attacking from the rear. Mindlessly attacking and attacking. At some point the other wings joined in, and they successfully destroyed the ship.
On the return from the battle with the Sivar, LaFong was tired of the war. He was tired of death, flying, combat, and space. He was overcome with complex emotions and wanted to feel grass under his feet, and wind in his face. He had a discussion with Paladin and had an existential moment over the concept of genocide, and if a war could truly ever be won, if the only solution was the outright destruction of the other race. Watching Maniac's own mental breakdowns had taken their toll on his own psyche as well, and he realized it could have just as easily been him could have broken down. He went to the bar to relax.
The Firekka Missions
In the Firekka System he shared missions with Iceman, Knight, and Spirit. He flew with Jazz at Corsair. Near Firekka, he flew with Doomsday. Again in at Corsair hew flew with Hunter and later Angel. At the Border Zone he again flew with Todd Marshall.
Depending on the source Blair was either on R&R (or undercover) during the events of the Firekkan missions away from the Tiger's Claw, or on board the Tiger's Claw but had minor involvement. In Freedom Flight which is more or less a novelized verison of the Firekkan Missions: Operation Crusade, Hunter more or less takes the position of "Bluehair" in the story. Although a Blair is mentioned he is a minor character. LaFong on the other had more involvement during the campaign. Armstrong is not involved, but gets Secret Missions 1.5 instead.
In all, he had spent two years on the space carrier and was one of few to survive the Vega, Goddard, and Firekka Campaign]s. Like Blair he .claims he was also accused of destruction of the Tiger's Claw, and spent ten years on the Caernarvon Space Station, where he was known as the "Traitor of K'Tithrak Mang".
Fall from Grace
When the Claw had reached the Vega System, and settled in for what Halcyon had called "routine patrol duty", it would prove to be anything but routine, and would create drastic changes in LaFong's carreer in the TCSN.
After the destruction of Tiger's Claw, LaFong having no ship to return to he flew back to the TCS Austin with Angel and Iceman (and other surviving pilots). From the moment of the landing he went directly to the briefing room, and never had a chance to discuss what happened with any other survivors of the event (nor did he ever encounter Christopher Blair or get his side of the story, though both would have similar outcomes and punishments, and were made scapegoats).
On board the Austin, the debriefing was long and brutal. It was claimed he was the only pilot to encounter any enemy fighters, and his stories of ships that mysteriously appeared and disappeared was met with disbelief. About an hour into the session, he was asked by Colonel Fratworth, what happened ot his flight-data controller. Then accused of tampering with the black box. LaFong denied the allegation, and said he returned to the briefing room as soon as they landed.
Fratworth ended the debriefing abrubtly, and issued the general order that all pilots except those form the Austion were restricted to quarters for 24 hours until a full investigation could be completed. He then warned that each would expect a visit from Intel during that time, and told everyone to cooperate fully.
Intel didn't just visit, they griilled for hours. They had recovered the data recorder and discovered just enough to identify the enemy pilots having come from a sector LaFong had patrolled. LaFong recounted comments he had heard form Lefty concerning the electronics on the Rapier. He again recounted the story over and over again about the ph antom enemy ships he had seen near Nav 2 on his patrol. However, in both expressions and comments LaFong was being blamed for the loss of the carrier.
Major Pyle was incredulous and believed the story was preposterous. He had never heard any other Confederation pilot report anything vaguely similar to what LaFong was claiming. When they checked the Rapier they found the Radar system had checked out as being in perfect operating condition, and that his data-recorder was missing. They were recommending charges be brought against LaFong. They then put him under house arrest until furthe notice. No one was allowed to communicate with him, and his computer access privileges were suspended. The court-martial papers were delivered the next day, charging him with treason. Under normal circumstances, the charges and papers would have taken months to prepare, but Admiral Tolwyn, under the War Powers Act of 2634, had sped up the process.
At the end of his trial (the details which are covered in the A Treacherous Hero by Janet Wiiliamson published in 2657), his treason charges had been reduced to mere negligence for lack of evidence. His rank was reduced to captain. Immedietly thereafter he was ordered to a meeting with Admiral Tolwyn, who had come to the Austin for the military tribuinal. Tolwyn made it clear that he thought LaFong was guilty of the orignal charges, and didn't want him in the TCSN.. He had written up a resignation for LaFong to sign, to be signed in triplicate, in order to end what he believed was one of the most disgusting chapters in Space Navy history.
LaFong did not want to give Tolwyn the pleasure of forcing him out of the Navy, as he had performed every duty ever assigned to him with all the professionalism he could muster. he had experienced friends die in the war, and still wanted to settle his score with the Kilrathi. He also realized that Tolwyn was pulling a power play. He knew if he resigned, the reputation would stay with him forever. He knew if he stayed in the Space Navy, he might have the chance to clear his name, no matter how long it took.
He refused to sign the papers, leaving Tolwyn angry. Tolwyn couldn't force him to resign, but meant to make him spend the rest of his career on the most remote outpost in Terran-controlled spacee: he transferred him to InSystem Security on board the Caernarvon Space Station. The Admiral cut his orders so that he would leave within hours for the station, and ordered a pilot's briefing so that he would have no time to visit with any of his former friends from the Tiger's Claw. He only had just enough time to visit Maniac in the Austin's sick bay psych unit, before his transfer.
LaFong had been blamed erroneously for taking part in the destruction of the Tiger's Claw and had suffered the indignity of a court martial. In the public eye, he became known as the "Traitor of K'Tithrak Mang" for the following ten years that he spent at the Caernarvon Space Station.
Serving on board the Concordia
He later served on board the TCS Concordia during the Enigma Campaign (where he may have learned of Blair's actions during the events of the campaign, or Blair of his).
In Gwynedd he flew with Captain Norwood, in Niven he flew alone. In Ghorah Khar he flew with Hobbes.
The unusual set of circumstances had brought him to the Concordia, and he had a reunions with old acquaintances from the Tiger's Claw including Angel, Spirit, and Paladin (and even Christopher Blair). Angel believed LaFong's (and Blair's) accounts of the stealth fighters, and she had even tried to make many attempts to change Tolwyn's mind, though unsucessfully. They had flown many times on the Tiger's Claw together when he was a young pilot, and LaFong had made several clumsy attempts to step beyond friendship, but Angel was always business, and always rebuffed his advances (she was after all dating Christopher Blair at the time as well. LaFong wished he could renew those efforts on the Concordia but figured as she was a Colonel and he just a pilot, it was just wishful thinking.
LaFong met Paladin while flying an escort mission of a Free Trader back to Concordia, and he didn't even realize Paladin was on board. He learned later that Taggart was the owner, and the commander of the Bonnie Heather. They only met a few times while he was on board, but he couldn't figure out exactly what he was doing, just that he was an agent of some kind, but wasn't sure if it was in official capacity or he was doing it under his own capacity to help the war effort. At one point he offered LaFong a job, but LaFong turned him down.
LaFong kept trying to find out what happened to Maniac since he was on the TCS Austin, but was careful not to contact Todd's parents on Leto not wanting to dredge up bad memories of him. He learned from Paladin that he was in the Deneb Sector.
LaFong would later fly with Doomsday in Novaya Kiev, and Spirit in Heaven's Gate, and one mission alone there. In Tesla he flew with Stingray, and finally with Angel in Enigma.
He and other crew and pilots knew there was a spy among the pilots, and it made everyone wary. LaFong and Angel's relationship had changed, and he wondered where it might lead. He wondered if his closeness was based on love or the fact that they were some of the few on board that really trusted each other. LaFong worried that Angel might try to protect him from harm, and just order him to fly support missions. He didn't want their growing relationship to affect logical decisions, and he wanted the opportunity to finish his job.
In K'Tithrak Man System, LaFong flew with Jazz for two missions, and flew alone for the last two (unbeknownst to him that Christopher Blair was out there as well). He believed his last torpedo took out the headquarters. He had to still face Tolwyn for disobeying orders, he was ordered to the Bridge when he landed on the Concordia. But Tolwyn was pleased with him, and he smiled for the first time in his life, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel. He either became a very close friend of Jeanette Deveraux or initiated a love triangle between her and Christopher Blair but this was brief. Both are known to have had champagne celebrations in her quarters.
A month later he travelled to the Deneb Sector to visit Todd Marshall one last time, before he retired, and finally admitted that Maniac was a friend of his. But Maniac treated him poorly, and he was forced to walk away, thinking he would end up back in trouble again. He returned to the Concordia and wrote a letter to Tolwyn about his concerns. He sent it by e-mail regulation channels to ensure it would be an official part of the record. He felt he had taken enough lives during the war, and believed if it would do any good, he would try to save the life of one.
He retired not long after, having served a total of 15 years in the service.
In total he had spent fifteen years fighting for the Terran Confederation, before he retired having grown weary of the war and killing others.
Late in his life, at age 71, he received an unusual call from a brash kid who identified himself as Tristan Roberts. He wanted to hire Long for his next bionetic holovid. He was designing interactive holovids that would allow people to experie the Kilrathi Wars as a pilot on the TCS Tiger's Claw, and in the sequel, aboard the Concordia. They needed LaFong as an advisor so that they would be as accurate as possible. He was given a solar, antigrav limo, and fed fruits from the second planet of the Brimstone System. These were released as Wing Commander I, and Wing Commander II respectively. During the project he thought about writing a book on his experiences as well published around his 73rd birthday at some point between 2689 to early 2701.
- The sheer exhilaration with which Marshall tells his war stories gives his book a leg up on the likes of Armstrong and LaFong.” —Michael Gallagher
Perhaps having a higher ego than even Maniac (if that is all possible) he calls himself the Greatest Ace, and takes credit for all the major events of Wing Commander I and II. He has been pretty successful with Tristan's help with releasing to the universe with his possibly embellished story. He openly admits that fame has gone to his head. Perhaps stealing Blair's stories and embellishing them was the greatest prank of his lifetime. Then again any resemblance of his past to the history of persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and his life mirrored Christopher Blair's).
Like Maniac, he doesn't play entirely by the book, and is known for his elaborate and often malicious pranks, which earned him the callsign Prankster during the academy. However, unlike Maniac he is willing to listen to advice of his peers, and tries to keep them safe.
He is not really a friend of Maniac's they are often at odds with each other, although he has due to other's suggestions tried to help Maniac to become more of a team player. He also began to care enough when Maniac started losing his mind, to try to get psychiatrical treatment for him the following two years after the destruction of the Claw.
He is almost the complete opposite of the lowkey and mild disposition of Christopher Blair. Perhaps the fact that he and Anthony shared a room together at the academy inspired him to steal portions of Blair's life story, incorporating it into and to embellish his own. In particular he is one to directly tie himself into nearly everything about the Enigma Campaign ten years after the destruction of the Tiger's Claw to 'prove his innocence'. Events that were clearly similar to Blair's history and experiences. Thus anything claimed from the point he survived the Tiger Claw's destruction forward may be suspect.
He claims to have gotten close to Jeanette Deveraux and didn't know if it was just a trusted friendship or love, he hoped there was the spark of romance there, whereas Blair actually had actually been physically and romantically involved with her. However, he did go as far as get a champagne celebration with her in her quarters after the destruction of K'tithrak Mang. He also believed he was the only one who could save the Confederation when it came to the K'tithrak Mang headquarters.
Still he never tried to incorporate Blair's later career and the destruction of Kilrah into his story, and it seems that he himself may have retired from the Naval force some months after the destruction of the K'tithrak Mang, and after developing a disgust of war and the taking of lives.
Though he wrote his book at some point between 2689 and 2701, he was blissfully unaware of the the Nephilim war, believing that the Confederation hadn't encountered any hostile races since the Kilrathi Wars. But this is not surprising as the Nephilim attacks were kept largely classified until a few years after the Nephilim war.
Behind the scenes
Carl T. "Prankster" LaFong was created for the Wing Commander I & II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide as the protagonist and narrator. He also appears in the Wing Commander Bible as the narrator of the timeline given in the bible.
He is representing the actual canonical "truth" behind the first two games, while the games themselves are treated as an "adaptation" of his career; as such he is represented by the (unnamed) player character. The book has details of LaFong's background outside the games, such as his enrollment to the Academy, his studies, his life between some missions and the two games, and his retirement.
Prankster is referenced as a seperate canonical character alongside Maverick (Blair) and Todd Marshal (Maniac) in Star*Soldier on page 7;
- "The Rapier II replaced the aging CF-117 in 2654 and immediately made an impact: Dragon, Bandit, Maverick, Maniac, Prankster... a disproportionate number of the war’s top twenty aces served with Rapier II squadrons."
According to the writer and designers notes for understanding this reference;
- "Prankster" - This isn't the last time you'll see this: as awful as it is, I find the idea that Carl "Prankster" LaFong (the character from the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide) and Chris Blair are two different people hilarous.
Another reference is made on page 26 of Star*Soldier
- “The sheer exhilaration with which
- Marshall tells his war stories gives
- his book a leg up on the likes of
- Armstrong and LaFong.”
- —Michael Gallagher
This reference is explained by the designers and writers as such;
- "Armstrong and LaFong" - I love this joke and I get the feeling everyone else hates it. Armstrong and LaFong were alternate names for Blair, used in Super Wing Commander and the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide respectively. This is actually addressing a real book, since the conceit of that latter guide is that now-octogenerian LaFong has written his memoirs and you're reading them. Sorta contradicts Blair's death, too, if they're the same character...
The player character in the series was later canonized as "Christopher Blair" in Wing Commander 3 and from then on, the characters have diverged and Blair was developed a different background. In the Kilrathi Saga manual there are a few references to the Guide, now mentioned to refer to Blair, like the terms "Hilthros" and "201st Class" and references of Raymond Blakely and Michael Anthony as Blair's roommate, and the Kilrathi Saga versions of WC1 and WC2 defaults to the name Blair and Maverick callsign. It seems that the Saga manual and Kilrathi Saga versions of the games intended to merge LaFong and Blair or simply rename LaFong as Blair. While Star*Soldier again makes them seperate characters who often served together.
An understanding of the conceit behind the first half of the book (concerning the WC1 material) is that LaFong is telling his story, not necessarily Blair's story although they served together and presumably had missions that were very similar to each other (although specific stories for Blair during that era have never been published. Wing Commander the game itself offers a number of alternate missions with similar objectives with just character and location names changed (the book points this out by suggesting that the video game is a composite of many different missions and stories from many different sources in the war, the Memoirs of Carl T. LaFong just represent experiences and the missions he specifically was on). This also plays with the fact that in WC1 during mission briefings there are a number of pilot heads who all represent pilots out on missions at the same time assigned the same or different squadrons (game limitations only allow for a wing commander and his wing mate in a mission at a time, when the stories suggest there are many more pilots out there patrolling many different points).
As Wing Commander 2's events became a bit more problematic as they give specific references tied into hard cutscenes, and other sources give direct references to Blair during those events (the reliability of LaFong's account is thus less clear in those chapters, and would seem less likely that he would encounter the same specific events, punishments and locations as Blair). Although Star*Soldier may suggest otherwise, that any resemblance in histories is coincidental.
This wiki follows Star*Soldier in that the Memoirs are canonical in-universe documents written by LaFong, and that Blair, LaFong and Armstrong are each separate canonical characters who 'coincidently' seemingly happen to have shared the same or similar adventures (in actuality or form of plagiarism). Some fans may see the missions as referring to the actions of Blair, rather than LaFong, but this does not always work as LaFong's actions outside of the scope of game's missions are often tied back into those missions themselves, including his motives and choices, and thus are an important part of LaFong's background (but these do not necessarily fit with Blair's backstory or motives as discussed in other sources).
Technically the exact details of Blair's actions during that period have never been given in any published source. This is nodded to in Star*Soldier when it mentions the unlikelihood that Blair's memoirs would ever be published.
- “Given the unlikelihood of seeing
- [Blair’s] memoirs, Me: The Life and
- Battles of ‘Maniac’ Marshall offers
- the clearest possible picture of
- the missions that defeated the Kilrathi.”
- —Dr. Silas Torg, U. of Central Florida
From the developer and writer notes;
- "unlikeyhood" - Is this Torg's passive-aggressive way of reminding everyone that Blair is dead, or is he still alive and just unlikely to write a memoir (like Neil ARMSTRONG)?
Also noted in Star*Soldier as part of the meta-joke is that it implies that Marshall apparently embellishes his stories and egoistically inflates his own importance during the war, possibly even going as far to insert himself where he might not have been (an accusation which may be handed towards Armstrong and LaFong as well).
Participation in Vega Campaign
Ultimate Guide allows for the 'alternate' losing paths in WC1 to exist within the same continuity while LaFong were dealing with the main path.
LaFong flies both winning and losing paths; Enyo to McAuliffe (loses a vital mission), heads to Brimstone, to Dakota, to Kurasawa (loses a vital mission), to Rostov, to Venice. Gateway, Chengdu, Gimle, and Port Hedland are put chronologically between other missions, but LaFong is out of commission elsewhere and cannot take part in them.
- Gateway Missions are flown by Iceman and Paladin, and Knight. It is set after McAullife, or concurrent.
- Gimle was flown by Spirit and Angel while LaFong was sick with Grinard's Virus, it was an all women wing. Spirit comments she wishes there had been all women wings (if so the war would have ended faster). It is set after McAulliffe, but before Brimstone.
- Brimstone is set chronologically between Gimle and Cheng-du and flown by LaFong and Maniac (technically a losing path for him).
- Chengdu is flown by Paladin and Angel while LaFong was off at HQ to train new pilots. It is set after Brimstone, and before Dakota.
- Port Hedland is flown by Spirit and Knight while LaFong delivers fuel in a drayman to Planck's Star. It is set after Dakota. Followed by Kurasawa, Rostov, and Venice.
Hubble's Star and Hell's Kitchen are flown from the TCS Eagle's Talon by Pitak Puzaki, Marsha Shannon, and Reynolds Carpenter. These appear to have occurred about the same time as Rostov and Kurasawa.
Blair's memoirs or the exact events during this period have never been published in-universe or out. It's possible that on the other hand Christopher Blair may have flown in these sectors and took winning paths every time; he missed Enyo and was on board the CS Olympus at the time (although he did take part in some early Enyo missions in the movie), McAulliffe (one has to go through McAullife to reach Gimle in the games), Gimle (he flew with Maniac during that mission a change from the game), Dakota, Kurasawa, and finally Venice. ...or perhaps he took an opposite path to whatever Carl took, other than those leading to game's bad ending. It's not clear if he ever directly interacted or flew in the same wings as LaFong. Based on the perspectives of LaFong's account, its fairly unlikely.
WC3 novel suggests that Blair first flew with Paladin, if that is originally a reference to an alternate Enyo missions or McAuliffe missions is unknown. Although in the game Spirit is the first wingmate at Enyo. The movie has him flying with Taggart in his ship to board the Claw (but he flies under others later in the movie).
LaFong's age at the time of WC1 (2654) is not easy to figure out. But there are a couple of references that may imply that it was probably between 18 to 27 years old. He was 9 when he learned bout Blakely which lead to him wanting to be a fighter pilot. He mentions he spent 14 years of school previously, and mentions that he and the students spent 18 years preparing to join the academy (this could mean 18 years of life, or 18 years of exercise and training total). Following this he spent about 3-4 years at the Academy. In his 3rd year he was onboard the Formidable, and then transferred to the Claw. He was on the Claw for about two years before it was destroyed. Then ten years on Carnaevon, and a year or two on Concordia. He claims to have been 15 years total in the navy before he retired. Many years later some date after 2689 at age of 71 he helped make the holo-vids, and the memoirs were put together and written when he was 73 some point before 2701, and most likely around 2700.
Assuming he was 4 when he started education, 14 years later, he would have been about 18 when he joined the academy. If he started preparing 18 years for the academy after 9 he would be 27.
Taking Star*Soldier into account if the Memoirs had been published as late as 2701 before the publication of Marshall's book; LaFong would have been born about 2628, and he would have been about 26 in year 2654. If he had published it as early as 2689, he would have been born in 2616, he would have been 38 in 2654. Which as Taggart at 45 is an example way past regular flying age, and 25 is considered within normal regulations. This this would more than likely make the publishing of his book between 2699 and 2701 to avoid being too aged.
More detail can be found in LaFong timeline, through more detailed analyses of references from the book, it might suggest that he was born around 2627, and was about 27 in 2654.
Other ideas for possible continuity and retcons to this character given by Bandit Loaf is that perhaps the first half of the book about WC1 is Carl T. LaFong and the second half concerning WC2 is Christopher Blair.
He does acknowledge its not perfect 'fix'/'retcon' as there is sections in the front of the book where Carl mentions he is the "Traitor of K'Tithrak Mang", and the second half of the book does continue to call the character in the story "Prankster" in a couple of spots.