In the beginning, there was humming. After the humming came echoes of a vast universe, and then, blackness and pain tempered by curiosity and a desire for life.
Born in the sewers of an Imperial bioweapons facility, the Dianoga who would eventually choose to be called Sir Howard Worthington the First, swam eye-first into an area full of noxious chemicals that seeped through his skin and into his primitive brain. Changes occurred. His tissues became thicker and more resilient, his dependency on water faded into oblivion, and he was left considerably smaller than regular, fully-grown Dianogas. The most important change, however, took place in his mind. The great imperative was no longer to feed, but to explore—to know. He could taste the vastness of the universe, and he wanted to learn all he could about it.
Sneaking into the Imperial facility to obtain usable data became part of his daily routine. Unfortunately, during one of his many escapades, Howard tripped the alarm, and was promptly captured. He spent the first year in a tank, being prodded and poked by scientists. When they found out he could speak intelligently, things changed. The Imperial scientists became determined to unlock the secrets behind the Dianoga's accelerated evolution, and hoped to harness it as a weapon.
Howard became a resident, rather than a captive. He now had his own quarters, access to as much material as he wanted, and also received military training, such as piloting, weapon handling, infiltration techniques-which bolstered his natural abilities tenfold-and marksmanship. He would devour data, particularly in the fields of history and xenology. The latter would become something of a lifelong pursuit for him. The Imperials, fascinated by this creature and its scientific ramifications, acted like scientists first and Imperials second, giving Howard more leeway than they would have otherwise.
The Imperial facility was heavily guarded, and while Howard wanted to leave and see the universe, he knew escape wasn't an option. Yet, in a stroke of luck, or fate, or karma, a Rebel Commando cell raided the facility and shut it down permanently. They found Howard, who spoke to them in perfect, if slightly accented, basic. Perplexed, the Commandos looked at each other and, after a lengthy discussion, agreed to take the strange creature with them. The Rebellion had always been about freedom and saving lives. Strange as this one was, they could not simply trample their guiding principles.
During his time with the Commandos, Howard was given Strike Commando training, an armored vacuum suit that would allow him to blend in, as well as additional pilot training. His instructor said he flew as gracefully as Sludge, and the callsign stuck. Howard thought it fitting, for he believes one should never forget one's roots. He became a decent pilot in time, and his skills were put to the test when the Empire attacked the small base the Commandos operated out of. Howard got behind the controls of a transport, and helped with the evacuation, drawing Imperial turbolaser fire while his friends and the civvies escaped. He managed to survive due to the monologue with the gentle voices in his head telling him where he needed to be in order to avoid being vaporized.
With the loss of their base, the Commandos scattered, and Howard went to an unassuming fringe core world planet where he got a position as a xenology teacher. He would also work as a substitute history teacher whenever he was needed. He was nicknamed "Professor Hazmat" by his students, as he would always be wearing his armored, vacuum-sealed suit with a polarized visor due to, in Howard's own words: a lifelong medical condition, as well as an excruciating sensitivity to light.
After a few years of a quiet, erudite life, Howard once again yearned for new horizons. He got in touch with one of his old Commando mates, who said he would be a good fit for a New Republic military outfit—the misfits known as Renegade Wing. Thus, Howard, the distinguished and refined scholar in perpetual pursuit of knowledge, decided to have at it.