Admiral Groath Betombe is as irreverent and unconventional as he is strategically gifted. He has strategic control of the Fourth Fleet, which he commands from the dubiously named Thunder-class dreadnought ICS Love Tap.
Betombe is credited with being one of the few Imperial Combine navy commanders who truly turned the tide of the Perseus conflict. His career highlights include the successful defence of both the human colony and prime gate during the infamous Siege of Laeara, and the decisive rout of the Viskr Junta's armada at the Battle of Chion.
Between the ages of five and fifteen Solars he attended at the Level 610 primary school in the towering City of Nigeria on Earth. He then studied the Naval pathway at the Imperial War College on Kelvestyr, before spending almost three Solars at the Imperial Flight Academy.
Academically speaking Betombe was never a particularly high flier. He ascended to his rank over decades of service, slowly at first but then with increasing speed and showmanship as he began to realise his own potential.
Admiral Betombe organised and commanded the Imperial fleets involved in Operation Seawall, a military campaign intended to pre-empt and stave off an expected invasion by the Viskr Junta. During that operation his task force fought Viskr forces at the Battle of Gousk (→SFTD).
While retreating from Gousk, Betombe's battle group arrived at the Hujjur system. There he engaged Viskr forces and a Shaeld Hrathan dreadship at the Battle of Blacktree. This latter engagement made the admiral the first Imperial commander known to have warded off a dreadship in battle. Despite his efforts, and due to the disastrous outcome of Operation Seawall, Betombe's command status was temporarily rescinded by Fleet Admiral Tabius Bel-Messari during an interim hearing (→LOTD).
Betombe was summoned before a triumvirate of senior admirals working on behalf of the Navy's Disciplinary Branch, which comprised Bel-Messari, Brea Kalabi, and Xian Hong. Kalabi and Hong were unimpressed with Bel-Messari's obvious vendetta against Betombe, and when Betombe pointed out that the Shaeld Hratha were planning an attack in the Herses system — a fact which had escaped the notice of Fleet Command — they both insisted on Betombe's reinstatement to duty. Betombe then fought against Shaeld forces during the Invasion of Herses, and in the battle which took place in the atmosphere of Ramm Stallahad (→TRD).
A few weeks later, Betombe defied Bel-Messari's direct instructions by volunteering the Fourth Fleet for defensive duties at Lopama. While present at Lopama, Betombe shared information with Elm Caden which included a possible point of origin for the Shaeld Hratha, and speculation on the purpose of their fleets (→FSS).
Betombe is reliable, cool-headed, strategically gifted, and loyal to the last. He is a wilful and atypically eccentric leader. This is most notably evident in his decision to allow ships in his fleet to be named by means of polling the combined crews, which has of course led to a naming convention based primarily around dubious sexual activities.
Amongst the senior admiralty he is a particular favourite of the Empress, which gives him a certain degree of latitude for unconventional behaviour. Betombe prides himself on being able to walk the fine and delicate line between the needs of the Empire, and what he considers to be ethically acceptable. He is willing to sacrifice ships and lives in order to save colonies and worlds, but would never take such a decision lightly.
Generations of Betombe's family have steadfastly followed a dying Earth religion, and his generation is no exception. He is a faithful member of the Church of the New Exodus, a sect of what was once Christianity. Betombe's own core philosophy is something of a contradiction however. In his religion's world-view, humans and their achievements are nothing but embers in the wind. But every action in his career demonstrates that he considers both civilisation and individuals to be worth protecting.
Betombe makes a habit of going against the grain, and is usually reluctant to toe the party line. It is this independence of thought that makes him such a valued officer, despite the embarrassment caused occasionally by his comments and deeds.
It is the navy's worst-kept secret that Betombe has three ex-wives, to whom he fondly refers as 'The Coven'.