The man calling himself just Askai (to the point of pointing out to someone who would address him as "Mister Askai" that they should call him just Askai, this name being "the only one that matters") was an enigmatic agent who handled mercenary liaison as a middle-man or mercenary broker throughout the Jihad on behalf of his employer(s), in at least some if not all cases outside the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission's auspices.
Very little is known about Askai. It even remains unclear if all actions attributed to Askai were in fact always carried out by the same person.
Internal monologue reveals that Askai was previously tied in some way to a dangerous employer, implicitly the Word of Blake or perhaps one particular faction within. Askai had unspecified important knowledge for which his former employer wanted him back and for which he felt they would likely torture him, while he mused that another agency would prefer to see him dead over seeing these secrets revealed.
Askai's thoughts also frequently returned to his unnamed "former mentor-turned-traitor".
By 11 October 3067 Askai already had a reputation for getting jobs done if an employer could afford his implicitly high price. He was approached by one Mr. Wooden from Interstellar Expeditions — one of IE's CEOs — on Outreach with an offer to hire him as a negotiator. Although Askai felt that this was a high-profile offer that might just save him from his former employer and allow him to build his life yet again he kept his cool during the negotiations. Just when Wooden agreed to hire Askai, three gunmen stormed the restaurant in an attack that Askai thought "had written 'Word of Blake' all over it". Askai was wounded in the shootout, but fought the gunmen off; Wooden then saved Askai by shooting the traitor who had sold them out, just before he would have shot Askai. Having saved each other's life, Askai and Wooden agreed to start their negotiations over and discuss a few more points.
Askai would subsequently hire several mercenary commands as a middle man, with a reputation for being always good on the money but not entirely trustworthy. Many missions brokered by him involved false-color operations. In particular, he frequently had dealings with Cumberland's Missiliers, Gannon's Cannons, and Grandin's Crusaders, plus numerous others.
Some suspected he was an undercover agent for the Word of Blake, and he apparently did indeed broker mercenary contracts for the Word of Blake (such as the contracts involving Grandin's Crusaders).
Mercenary missions involving forces that Askai had hired or arranged include:
- The September 3068 attack on Gienah by numerous mercenary units who were contracted independently from each other. Though they achieved their goal of sacking the Gienah Automotive and Gienah Combat Vehicles sites, stronger-than-anticipated resistance from local forces, accidents, mistrust and poor coordination hampered the attackers and led to the destruction of at least one mercenary command, Hal's Heinous Halberds, by the end of the year at the hands of reinforcements for the defenders who arrived later. Named units involved were Cumberland's Missiliers, Gannon's Cannons, and Hal's Heinous Halberds.
- The October 3068 reconnaissance mission by Grandin's Crusaders on Kittery, ostensibly for the Capellan Confederation but in truth reportedly for the Word of Blake.
- The May 3069 action where Cumberland's Missiliers squared off against Reed's Brew on Tohelet under suspicious circumstances.
- The September 3069 attack against site 2B in the Cassini Belt in the Caselton system that saw Cumberland's Missiliers attacking Federated Suns assets against their wishes.
- The July 3070 attack by Gannon's Cannons against the Ennis Weapons Range on Kalidasa and the Word of Blake's Third Militia Division, with a side mission to capture Precentor Timothy Mayo.
- The September 3070 attack by the Dragon's Breath, augmented by Grandin's Crusaders (in Dragon's Breath colors), on Beilin on Sian, a distraction raid in support of the Word of Blake's real attack against the Forbidden City. The Dragon's Breath ran afoul of Canopian forces and Death Commandos and folded under their counterattack. The diversion raid disintegrated, and Grandin's Crusaders ended up with the main Word of Blake force.
- The February 3071 contract by which Gannon's Cannons were to defend a facility on Chamdo, having previously received a contract offer from another party to attack that very facility. Only during the mission did it turn out the objective was a regional HPG substation operated by civilian Word of Blake personnel that was under attack by angry Capellan citizens.
- The June 3071 contract for Grandin's Crusaders to operate on Tharkad under the Lowbräu in what was essentially a counter-insurgency operation against Lyran guerrillas.
- The June 3072 attack by Gannon's Cannons (disguised as AFFS troops) against the Clean Kill Mercenary Command on Althea's Choice in the Taurian Concordat, which turned out to be a distraction raid while real AFFS troops attacked the capital. The reported use of chemical weapons in that other battle upset Gannon's Cannons, who felt they'd been "hoodwinked" by Askai.
- The March 3074 attack by Grandin's Crusaders against Illyrian resistance on Trasjkis together with Word of Blake forces.
- The retainer contract with the Marik Commonwealth for Grandin's Crusaders that saw them deployed — against their wishes, and under threats from the Manei Domini — as bait to lure out SAFE's Dark Shadows battalion on Atreus's moon Wendigo in April 3075. The Dark Shadows were massacred by the Word of Blake, and the entire operation was covered up.
- The 3075 garrison contract for Cumberland's Missiliers with the Malagrotta Cooperative, where they wound up in pirate battles by October 3075.
- The December 3076 contract for Gannon's Cannons to — at their discretion — either fight Deliah's Gauntlet, a wayward Word of Blake-employed mercenary unit, on Capolla, or help them. Gannon's Cannons ended up helping the remnant of Deliah's Gauntlet, and fighting the Word of Blake.
- The January 3077 attack by Cumberland's Missiliers against Word of Blake prison camps on Yorii (where they encountered Clan Smoke Jaguar prisoners and ended up fighting with them until Devlin Stone intervened and made them stop fighting).
- The August 3077 counterattack by Word of Blake forces including Grandin's Crusaders and suborned pirate forces against Marcus, which firmly tied Grandin's Crusaders to the Word of Blake until the end; Askai had promised that he would destroy the contract records, however.
- Vetting Gannon's Cannons as reliable mercenaries for Stone's Coalition in or prior to October 3077, which resulted in Gannon's Cannons being contracted as auxiliaries for liberating Dieron.
- The character was used as a shady employer for the players' unit in numerous scenarios throughout the Jihad era. He is mostly mentioned in briefings or after-action reports.
- Total Chaos featured a first-person short story from Askai's point of view named The Only One That Matters. However, the book's "How to use this book" section wrongly refers to this story by the name Foundation Stone (a name not used anywhere else). It also announced that a continuing serial of Askai's journey would be published on BattleCorps, which did not come to pass.
- Short story The Only One That Matters, introductory fiction to Total Chaos (pp. 4-7)
- Total Chaos, pp. 67 (Track "One for the Money"), 78
- Total Chaos, pp. 69-70, Track "Leading Edge"
- Total Chaos, pp. 78-79, Track "Brew-Ha-Ha"
- Total Chaos, pp. 80-81, Track "Brute Force"
- Total Chaos, p. 90, Track "Binge-Purge-Flush"
- Total Chaos, pp. 91-94, Tracks "Celestial Calamity", "Signs of things to come", and "Final Stand"
- Total Chaos, pp. 96-98, Track "Savage Silence"
- Total Chaos, p. 104, Track "Reasserting Authority"
- Total Chaos, p. 120, Track "Clean Sweep"
- Total Chaos, pp. 133-134, Track "Roman Candle"
- Total Chaos, pp. 139-141, Track "Silencing the Shadows"
- Total Chaos, p. 143, Track "Mortis Rictus"
- Total Chaos, pp. 158-159, Track "Watershed"
- Total Chaos, pp. 160-161, Track "Ghost Tiger"
- Total Chaos, pp. 172-173, Track "Blood and Fury"
- Total Chaos, pp. 175-176, Track "My Enemy's Enemy"