Character study: Babellum Voom

From a very early age, the daughter of Forgotten-Memorial-In-The-Rain and Stolen-Heart-Half-Mended knew that the Mygoni life was not for her. She was accorded the freedom to pick her own cultural pursuits, of course, and so chose a normal Fleet-standard name for herself. She chose Casandrian Go’sana, adopting the name of a distant ancestor from her family’s pre-Mygoni life.

By the time she’d passed her First Prime and the Wild Empire was subsiding into the bland eternity of the Six Species, Casandrian knew not only that the Mygoni life wasn’t for her, but that the Molran life wasn’t for her. Her species was taking the admittedly tried and tested sociocultural models of the Fleet’s long exodus and pushing it down onto everyone else. And that was fine for the other Molranoid species, since they were used to it. It was fine for the aki’Drednanth and the Fergunak, because they didn’t seem to care one way or the other. Each in their own fashion, they just went along with what the Fleet decided was right. But the humans…

The humans didn’t understand, and they were never going to understand, and even more importantly they were never going to be okay with not understanding. They didn’t have it in them to stop asking questions, to stop changing their minds, to continue generation after painstaking generation doing the same thing again and again just because it worked.  And if the Fleet tried to make them, the poor twitchy little creatures would break. The Six Species was a cruel experiment and Casandrian wanted no part in it.

She didn’t really think about any of it on that level though, not consciously. She just knew that being a Molran was going to bore her to death. Fortunately, there was another species ready to hand for her to turn to.

Becoming a Blaran was easy enough. Doing it in style was more of a challenge. Doing it in style, while simultaneously preserving the connection with her family that was her paramount concern … well, that was nothing short of a masterwork. Fortunately, she had her twin sister to help. And so Casandrian Go’sana became Babellum Voom.

The main difficulty was deciding on an augmentation.

For a long time, she didn’t bother. It wasn’t mandatory, and there were as many unwritten rules about the process as there were Blaran clans, organisations, crews, families, individuals. Ultimately, there were no rules, and neither Babellum nor her sister were comfortable in those waters. Not at that early stage, anyway.

Her first attempt was … unfortunate. After a lot of effort and research into Fleet and Separatist history and mythology, she settled on a striking skin decoration as the basis of her own unique Blaran augment-look. It turned out, apparently, to be coincidentally reminiscent of a creature from old Earth mythology: a tragically foolish and ungainly creature incapable of taking care of itself.

Fortunately the myth was extremely obscure, the only real references to it being proverbs unconnected to the misbegotten creature’s appearance. Even more fortunately, the crew of humans and Blaren she encountered on her first official outing on the criminal stage were among the very few capable of even making the physical comparison in the first place. The embarrassment was contained.

Still, she’d been laughed at and there was a risk that the story might spread, damaging her space-cred. And murdering every single one of the offending know-alls, destroying their networks and infrastructure, and then tracking down and systematically taking apart anyone who might have been able to share the joke – all while vanishing from the underworld’s view until she’d re-thought her augmentation –  was a better first outing than she ever could have planned.

With help from her meticulous and ruthless sister, Babellum went on to destroy images and descriptions of the legendary Earth failure-monster whenever she could, up and down the expanse of the inhabited worlds. She eradicated it entirely. It was easy enough, as the Wild Empire came apart at the seams and the reformation’s wholesale destruction of information took off. The end result was an incredible story.

Babellum Voom had done business with an established crew when she was just starting out. And they’d done something to offend her. And she had destroyed them as though they’d never existed. And nobody knew why. And nobody knew what she even looked like.

As the years went by, she settled on a new series of augmentations. They were subtle. Most people didn’t even notice them. Most of those who did notice them didn’t know she was who she was. It helped the rumours and stories to spread. A couple of high-profile vendettas and showdowns, a lot of very successful commercial ventures, her reputation stabilised and her place was assured in the dark pantheon of the shit-dancers. And all the while, she and her sister maintained their partnership. And their terrible secrets.

The years became centuries, the centuries millennia. Babellum Voom and her sister were forgotten. They returned, and they went back to work, and they were remembered again. Then they were forgotten once more. They became myths just as surely as the fabled Earthly creature Babellum had long ago wiped from the ledgers of Six Species knowledge. And they lived on. They endured. They became ancient, and wily, and they watched the children of the galaxy play with a wry and forbearing gaze.

But they never stopped. And they never went into one of those horrible old-people ships.

A certain madness, one might say, ran in the daughters of Forgotten-Memorial-In-The-Rain and Stolen-Heart-Half-Mended. One might more accurately say it hurtled at relative speed.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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