The ranch was located on the dry foothills just north of Lake Eyre where it is said that the meagre rains that fall on Mount Aeyre are tears shed by souls of ranchers who died during the Hundred Year Drought from 2222 to 2310. The parched tears form the salty Eyre Creek that intermittently flows back to Lake Erye in a never ending cycle of hope and despair. During the drought the Eyre Basin justly earned its title as the cruelest place in all of Old Earth. The drought had broken several years before Jake's birth, and though the rains weren't generous, they were enough to bring back the ranchers and other fortune seekers as well as more than a few bounty hunters.
Jake spent the first year of his life tucked between (or on) the ample breasts of Kate. That soon changed when Jack decided he should be weaned on Dan Schooner's Outback Whisky, and by age two Jake was fetching whisky and absinthe for Captain Jack, scrounging gnawed chicken bones and mutton fat for meals and generally trying to stay out of reach to avoid a beating and hiding in the caves and sheep fields around town. Jake learned quickly to keep his eyes open and his mouth shut.
At seven, Captain Jack and Kate had to quickly leave Mount Aeyre for reasons unknown, but all knew their hasty departure had something to do with Jack's "earlier life". Having to travel light and needing cash, he sold Jake to Digby "Digger" Wullmagroo. With a tear in her eye and so Jake would never go hungry, Kate gave Jake her most treasured possession - a ancient black leather sack, thought to have been crafted by a distant aborigine shaman relative, and mysteriously imbued with the powerful mojo of an obscure aboriginal god who liked to take the form of a large rodent. With the black sack slung over his shoulder, Jake turned away from his short but rather exciting life in New Queensland.
A few months later there were rumors that Jack and Kate had been a outrunning customs police cruiser in a plundered scramjet racer when it inexplicably dove deep, disintegrated and burned up in the atmosphere. Their bodies were never found, which isn't particularly surprising since most debris is burned to a crisp in such an incident. Although some rumors suggested the accident was staged and Jack and Kate took their ill-gotten earnings from the synthmesc drop and skipped off Earth to live in the Miriani sectors.
Rumors about Jake's parents didn't pay the bills and Digger promptly put Jake to work on his tramp suborbital courier/cargo pod. Jake served as cabin boy, cook, butler, stevedore, and even pilot when Digger was too drunk to land the pod - although he was smart enough to make it look like Digger was at the controls.
During the turbulent decade of the '30s, Jake continued to work for Digger and he rapidly became very skilled with flying a suborbital pod. Studying suborbital flight mechanics in his spare time, he figured out how to use the Coriolis Effect to his advantage by shaving nearly an hour off the delivery times. Time is fuel and fuel is money, so time must be money and Digger was sufficiently impressed that he allowed Jake to map all the delivery routes. Of course, more money allowed Digger to buy more whisky and pretty soon Jake was doing all the flying.
In 2341 Jake convinced Digger to sell the old hauler and put a mortgage on a sleek but somewhat-used scramjet pod. They moved into a condominium in Alice Springs and set up shop. With the new craft, Jake expanded Digby's courier business by winning the suborbital hypersonic scramjet route between Alice Springs, New Australia and Reykjavik, Iceland. This was a very lucrative contract and for nearly four years Jake would make the flight hauling raw wool from Australia to Iceland with dried cod back on the return trip - always flying just ahead of the terminator (ostensibly to keep the scramjet engines cool, but really to ram-surf the dawn pressure wave and stay an hour ahead of the competition). There was very little time to sleep or even shower. It is said that few things smells worse than a mixture of dried cod and lanolin, except perhaps a cod pod pilot.
Digger died of acute alcohol poisoning in 2345, after himself killing a liter of Old Forrester (circa. 2294, reputed to be an extremely excellent bourbon) in about an hour that he won in a game of Red Dog (aces low). It was said that the mortician didn't need to embalm Digger's remains, since he was already sufficiently pickled. Even though the business was booming (literally, with double sonic booms twice a day), creditors repossessed the pod and Digger's condo in Alice Springs to pay unresolved debts. It seems that Digger was drinking and gambling away the profits faster than they were made.
He became Jake A'Kilaruu Aeyre, dropping his adopted name of Wullmagroo to avoid the creditors who sought to garnish his wages for Digger's past debts. Broke, with no ship, no home and only his flying skills as a trade, in 2346 Jake stowed aboard an FTL ship headed for the Miriani colonies and worked as a shipyard stevedore around the Thirty for several years, keeping a low profile and generally out of trouble.
Jake was unloading engine blocks when the Praelor first attacked High Guard Command. In the ensuing call for civilian pilots to defend High Guard there was so much confusion that pilot credentials weren't checked and Jake was able to board the eight-person gunship "Heaven's Grate" where he racked up a decent kill score against the Praelor.
In the afteraction post mortum it was discovered that Jake had illegally impersonated a pilot, and Interstellar Ship Corporation promptly and severely fined the owner of the gunship for allowing a non-pilot access to heavy weapons. However, based on his combat record in the foray and the usual dearth of civilian pilots turning out to defend Miriani space, High Guard and ISC gave Jake the option of either returning to the Old Earth colonies, or attend the Civilian Pilot Academy for space pilot training, both options at his own expense, of course. Jake chose the latter.
Fortunately, Jake had been saving his credits, and with his many years of suborbital pod flight experience, he excelled in all aspects of his training, and with noteworthy expertise in combat flying and gunnery. Jake graduated in the top ten percent of his class, but having spent his entire savings on the Academy, was once again broke, but at least he had a brand new cargo hauler.
Upon graduation he joined the Alliance of Interstellar Expansionists, where he has been a staunch and loyal member his entire career as a civilian pilot. For the next year Jake continued to develop his combat prowess, and to grow his net worth. Studiously avoiding conflict, he none-the-less stood by and fought for his beloved AIE in the Great CW-AIE Scuffle of 2353. The Scuffle was appropriately renamed the Great Fizzle of 2353 when it ended rather unresolved but much to the relief of many pilots on both sides. Jake is an ardent supporter of AIE and will defend the right for Humankind's unfettered expansion of the galaxy.
Lately, Jake has been thinking of his parents, and wondering if they might be flying right beside him, not just in spirit but as other pilots in this new frontier. Perhaps there still is a bit of Captain Jack in Jake, waiting to make that great score so he can retire. It's a big galaxy out there, who knows?