Known affectionately as "Wardy" all who know him well enough, Conrad is the son of former-RAF Group Captain, Maxwell Ward ('Dynamite') and, despite being born in Huddersfield, England, he was raised on several RAF and USAF airbases throughout Europe. His mother was half-lioness and half-lynx, which blessed / cursed her son with some unconventional physical attributes.
Although he was as tall as the next lion and boyishly handsome, he was always physically weaker than most other lions and his mane never grew past being a seemingly untamable mess of brown hair. Throughout his childhood and early teens, he was singled out by bullies because of his looks and for not being "pure" lion. The torment was so bad that it led Conrad to develop an explosive temper that was also coupled with incredibly aggressive tendencies when riled.
His father, seeing the effects the bullying was having on his only son, began teaching Conrad to fly in a Scottish Aviation B.125 Bulldog trainer. The young lion took to his lessons with great interest and soon graduated to bigger, faster planes - gaining his PPL aged just 15.
When the War broke out, Conrad and his family moved several times as his father was posted to a number of bases in Europe during the war. It was whilst they were in Germany that the Middle East was razed by nuclear fire and a few straggling pilots who were aloft when the attacks came, managed to limp their planes to the RAF base in Dresden. One of these was an old but still airworthy Grumman F-14 Tomcat that, after seeing service with the US Navy, was sold to the Iranian Air Force. The aircraft was seized, repaired, re-branded with RAF roundels and assigned to Max after the loss of his Tornado, which had been destroyed in an air raid on the base.
Although Conrad idolised his father and took great pains to fly when he could, his father pulling strings where possible to help, he was unsure wether or not following his father's footsteps and joining the RAF was the right move for him. He'd begun to develop a somewhat maverick streak and this, coupled with his temper and aggression issues, made him worry he'd chafe badly under military discipline.
In 2006, when Conrad was 17, his parents were killed when the family home was obliterated by a sudden and devastating explosion. By this time Maxwell had become part of the RAF's intelligence and counter-espionage unit and they were stationed at a sparsely defended base in Yorkshire. Conrad survived the attack as he was outside the house at the time but was sent flying by the blast and suffered concussion and temporary deafness. The subsequent inquiry found that Maxwell had uncovered damning evidence of MultiCorp's more objectional practices and was preparing to go public. Although this information was officially classified, Maxwell's former CO privately informed Conrad that his parents had been murdered and that it was all but given that he was supposed to have been killed too.
After he recovered, Conrad found his father had taken steps to ensure his son continued to receive flight training and other combat skills by pulling in favours and exploiting contacts. Driven by the burning desire for revenge, Conrad became fiercely dedicated to learning to fly and fight. Soon he was flying his father's old F-14 Tomcat following "off the books" training provided by the RAF. He received weapons training and learned techniques such as outdoor survival, guerilla warfare, hand-to-hand combat and close-quarters / urban fighting from an SAS RWW team lead by family friend, Carbine McConnell.
It was while on attachment to the team that he killed for the first time. They were tasked to locate and eliminate a drug-dealer and enemy informant who had fled to the Scottish Highlands. During the assault on the target's hideout, Conrad discovered the fox in the act of sexually abusing a thirteen year old girl. All the pent-up rage contained within him exploded at once and he beat the fox to the point of death and applied the coup de grace by strangling him. He later claimed to feel no remorse at all for the killing, claiming that the fox deserved it and that he would do the same to anyone who committed similar acts against those unable to resist.
It soon became apparent that there was a bounty out on him and so he severed all his ties to the RAF and RWW in order to protect both his comrades and himself from the mercenary elements that had infiltrated the largely-decimated armed forces. Before they parted ways, Carbine presented him with a Beretta M92FS handgun with the simple instruction to "keep it clean".
In 2010, after several years of running to keep ahead of those out to collect the bounty on him, Conrad met Aiden Brosnan, an Irish dingo who was distraught at the apparently accidental death of his fiancee. Conrad witnessed Brosnan's attempt at suicide by jumping off a bridge into a river and dived in to pull him to safety. Not long afterwards, the pair realised that Imelda had been murdered to silence her after her work for Amnesty International led her to evidence of genocide and other war-crimes in a Serbian POW camp.
As a highly-qualified engineer and fair pilot due to his work with Hughes Aviation, the company who manufactured and supplied the very systems installed in the F-14 Tomcat that Conrad had christened "Mustang Sally", Aiden soon became an adept backseater in the aged aircraft and the pair both approached Thunderbolt Black in 2012; offering the services of both themselves and the aircraft to the mercenary group that was known for being probably the only one in the world with a sense of morality.
In 2014, after completing the exhaustive training and evaluation, both were commissioned and posted to the 101st Tactical Squadron - The Black Knights.
Conrad was posted to the Black Knights in the immediate aftermath of the attack on Thunder Island and found he had to hit the ground running. He quickly integrated into the squadron during his first mission with them, a raid on Ellar island to recover the creator of an orbital-satellite directed energy weapon: ICARUS. Distinguishing himself on the ground as well as in the air, Conrad went on to do battle in Cuba, Atlantica and St. Petersburg, gaining the rank of Captain despite the military nature of Thunderbolt Black grating somewhat with his own maverick and independent nature.
However, the St. Petersburg mission saw the shooting-down and capture of St. Helen Carter, the Squadron Leader with whom Conrad had been in an ever strengthening relationship with. In an attempt to deal with the loss, Conrad spent the following months more or less socially isolated and working to improve his physical condition; wanting to be in the best possible condition should a rescue attempt ever be made.
At the showcase event known as Red Flag, despite his initial dismissal of the event as a "PR Stunt", he ended up scoring the highest number of kills in the final battle against the Black Knights' hated enemies, the mysterious squadron in the employ of MultiCorp and lead by the infamous Black Demon. As well as a personal best, Conrad also uncovered disquiet in Black Demon's squadron and this, added to his recent performances, gained him promotion to Major and he considers this his proudest moment to date.
It has been implied by casual observers and professionals alike that Conrad is a rather conflicted individual. His youth and his thirst for revenge coupled to an overriding need to strike at those who would seek to opress the weak make him quick to charge headlong into a situation without considering the ramifications. His stubborn nature engenders him with a tenacity that means he will continue to fight until he is physically incapable of doing so. In the heat of battle, Conrad's short temper (to which is callsign "Semtex" is attributed to) can lead to the lion becoming and incredibly vicious fighter and he has not been above torturing an enemy soldier to gain information. However, when he involuntarily punched a woman, a reporter named Sidony Whitefox, he was overcome with guilt.
His independent, headstrong nature and seemingly reckless attitude often set him at odds with the military discipline adhered to in the Thunderbolt Black organisation but, as time wore on, he adapted without losing, as he put it, "too much of what makes me what I am."
When not engaged in battle, Conrad is a very different person. He is friendly, outgoing and likes to socialise with his squad-mates as much as possible. He enjoys a laugh and a joke as well as sharing drinks with them in the Sierra Hotel bar. As fiercely protective as he is of them, he never likes to interfere with or upset any of them and is quick to leap to their defence or assistance whenever it is needed.
Conrad can also be prone to moments of deep, introspective thought coloured with paranoia about not fitting in with the squad and this has been known to give him itchy feet. These moments are becoming increasingly rare as he continues to serve with The Black Knights and now his loyalty and committment are largely without question although he still has problems coping with the deaths of those close to him.
Despite rather high-standards of training, Conrad is very much an instinctive pilot, relying on agression and an unorthodox, "gung-ho" flying style rather than employing much in the way of technical skill and tactical know-how beyond what is reasonably expected. He privately wishes he could pilot helicopters and and intends to learn as soon as possible.
As well as being a reasonably competent flyer, Conrad is also rather capable in ground combat situations thanks to his time with the RWW and later years spent on the run. Adept with most small-arms as well as hand-to-hand combat, it could be argued he's better on the ground than in the air.
When not in combat, Conrad is a decent guitarist (he played lead in a pub-band in his teens) and likes to indulge in what he calls "ethusiastic" drving; racing around the island in his customised General Lee replica.
He also jokingly claims to have a degree in "being a pain in the arse" as well as being a distinguished holder of the "Congressional Medal of Hot 'n' Spicy".
Since becoming a combat-pilot, Conrad's main aircraft has been a Grumman F-14A Tomcat that he inherited from his father. Despite being almost antiquated by combat-jet standards and being repaired countless times, the interceptor that he dubbed "Mustang Sally" has defied the odds and kept on flying. Even when pitted against newer and more technologically advanced planes, the Tomcat has held it's own, even when damaged by enemy gunfire.
Sally's skin was originally naval-grey but numerous repairs of varying quality have left the surfaces a patchwork of various hues of grey. The leading edges of the wings are painted light green (for unspecified reasons) and the tailfins are adorned with "hot-rod exhaust" motifs; kills are depicted by rows of piston-head decals painted in rows under the cockpit canopy on the starborard side of the aircraft. Thunderbolt Black / Black Knights markings were also added and her avionics and engines have also received several upgrades to improve her performance and to allow her to undertake ground-attack missions when required. She can also carry a LANTIRN pod which can feed ground-target information to other aircraft with ground-attack capabilities and this system has already been used to good effect, highlighting an enemy Tactical for Natalie "Longhorn" Goldstein to deal with in her A4 Skyhawk.
Conrad is hugely sentimental of the old plane and believes it has a soul; a belief that is enforced certain flaws and 'idiocyncracies' such as the occasional, minor malfunction and a TCS display that will not properly calibrate unless the pilot thumps the housing. Although he would never say it out loud, he considers the Tomcat to have an almost "motherly" instinct to keep him safe in battle regardless of any damage it sustains itself.
Conrad's personal sidearm is a Beretta M92FS model in black. He also carries a small Boyard .22 pistol in an ankle-holster, which he refers to as his "Ace-in-the-hole", and the standard issue combat / survival knife. When something larger is required, he prefers an M-16 / M203 assault rifle and grenade-launcher combination or a GMPG such as an M-60 as they suit his long arms.
His leather longcoat is actually a prototype that he acquired (stole!) whilst on the run. The back is "armoured" with a tight carbon-kevlar weave integrated into the lining. This is enough to stop smaller calibre bullets fired at range and will take most of the energy out of most rifle rounds so that they cause considerably less damage and, unless fired at point blank range, are never lethal to the wearer. To date, he has never revealed where he got this coat from.
Through war, illness and old age, Conrad has no relatives to speak of anymore. He has come to think of his squad-mates as closest thing he has to family and any thoughts he harboured of moving on have long since dissapeared.
Since joining Thunderbolt Black, Conrad has persued a relationship with St. Helen Carter and not long after he admitted he was in love with her, she was shot down and captured by enemy forces. He sees this as typical of his luck with women but has vowed to get her back even if her experiences have put an end to their relationship.
Although he has never told anyone, his first intimate experience was with Carbine.
Conrad does his best to get on with everyone in the squadron but, aside from Brosnan, his closest friend in the squad is Lars Flink. Although he and Lars have near-opposite personalities, the two have formed a close friendship and it is clear that Conrad holds the Swede in high regard.
Before joining the squadron, he had developed a strong friendship with Carbine but, until they were re-united during the Atlantica mission, they lost touch when Conrad went on the run.
- Some say that his hair was originally brown but turned white after Trixie Ellar replaced his shampoo with industrial peroxide...and that the joke backfired as his new hair colour was met with general approval and so he has left it as it is and dyed his eyebrows (and other areas) to match.
- Some say that he claims to be the holder of The Congressional Medal of Hot 'n' Spicy...and that he is aroused by the sound of V8 engines.
- Some say that he always calls his aircraft by name...and that he once headbutted his psychiatrist during an anger-management session.
- Some say that he once drank his own body-weight in lager...and that he can order a round of drinks in five different languages, one of which is rumoured to be English.
- Some say that his favourite smell is petrol vapour...and that he lists "punching complete bastards in the face" as a hobby.
All we know is that he prefers to be called "Wardy"