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Takeshi Lev Kovacs (Nickname: Tak) is a native of Harlan's World and former Envoy. Kovacs is of Japanese and Eastern-European descent, and was a teenage gang member before enlisting in the UN Marine Corps. After leaving the Envoy Corps, Kovacs returned to criminal life and became a mercenary, and was eventually imprisoned, his Cortical stack stored without a body for decades at a time as punishment before being paroled or hired out to work high-risk situations.
Kovacs born to a poor family in the largely Eastern European slums of Newpest on Harlan's World. Kovacs was largely raised by his mother, his father having left the family when he was still a child. At 15 he was first arrested for minor organic damage to a police officer, a year later he killed his first man after joining the gang Shonagon's Eleven.
After turning 17, Kovacs joined the UN Protectorate forces. After serving for seven years he was selected for the Envoy corps where he was trained by Virginia Vidaura and experienced his first resleeving into a new body. Six years after joining the Envoy corps, Kovacs was deployed to Sharya, a human colony experiencing an extremely brutal uprising by the planet's Muslim population. Kovacs was forever changed after the disaster at the Innenin beachhead on Sharya, where a Rawlings Virus strike drove his friend Jimmy DeSoto to madness. Kovacs was later suspected of the brutal murder of the Envoy commander-in-chief General MacIntyre, however his involvement was never proven.
A year after Innenin, Kovacs left the Envoys, briefly staying on New Kanagawa where he last saw Virgina Vidaura at a local justice facility being taken down for 80-100 years for robbery and organic damage. He would go on to build a criminal career of his own on New Beijing working for Reileen Kawahara. Not long after he would be arrested and sentenced to 120 years in stasis for his crimes.