hellsbel: (3)
Captain Bel Thorne ([personal profile] hellsbel) wrote2015-11-19 10:58 am

Tactical Room

From here, a splittable holovid screen can monitor telemetry from ships and personal battle armor, allowing pinpoint control of widespread elements of battle from any of the tactical stations. A communications officer provides more vital links with the rest of the crew.

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OUT OF CHARACTER
Player Name: Vik
Are you 16 or older: Yes
Contact: PM this journal
Current Characters: None
Tag: bel thorne


IN CHARACTER
Name: Bel Thorne
Canon: Vorkosigan Saga
Canon Point: Between Brothers in Arms and Mirror Dance.
Age: Late 40s (no exact canon number). Doesn't look it.


History: Bel was born on glitzy, advanced Beta Colony, one of a long-ago genetically-engineered "third gender" minority group having fully functional XX and XY primary (and some secondary) sexual characteristics. Bel usually presents as ambiguous-to-male (possibly in part a peremptory defense against misogyny and bigotry encountered off Beta), but identifies equally as man and woman, using accustomed Betan neuter pronouns and pointedly correcting misassumptions.

While proudly identifying as Betan, Bel speaks of "the old sandbox" only in generalities, and has no wish to return to the colony. The decision to leave Beta after the Barrayaran-Escobaran War was unusual for one of Bel's population, and joining the Oseran Mercenaries even more so. Two decades later, Bel had attained the rank of Lieutenant, serving as First Officer of the light cruiser Ariel under a captain steadily growing more lax and careless during a long, boring blockade assignment. Frustrated, Lieutenant Thorne was more than ready for a change when the Ariel captured an old cruiser which had attempted to run their blockade. Less than two hours later, the five prisoners, led by a little maniac with a big personality, had captured the Ariel right back and drafted its entire crew into the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet.

From the beginning, Bel found Miles Naismith's scorn of the poorly run ship and unstoppable energy in putting it to rights incredibly appealing. Though the man identified as Betan and seemed so at first glance, a couple of things didn't add up; Bel could have quashed the rumors of the nonexistent "Betan rejuvination treatment" which had spread to explain his youthful features, but instead said nothing and worked avidly toward attaining a real rank in the new fleet. Buoyed by hints of a captaincy, Bel planned and executed the capture of an enemy-held rare-metals refinery station and the recruiting of its occupants, and was awarded the Ariel, its former captain dispatched to a different command. Bel would serve as the Ariel's captain for the next twelve years.

With "Admiral Naismith" summoned away by an ingenious bloke named Ivan, former-Admiral Oser staged a financial reorganization to regain control of the fleet, dividing Miles's old inner circle to prevent collusion. Bel, exiled to a distant patrol assignment, was delighted when Miles showed up again, and immediately committed the Ariel to back him in confronting Oser. Subsequently, Bel's first officer died protecting Miles from an assassin; the shaken captain was relieved to find Miles unharmed, and helped him to stand and keep going. Miles proceeded to reclaim the Dendarii, repel an invasion by the Cetagandan Empire, rid the Nexus of several exceedingly nasty individuals.... and assign the Ariel to transport a lean, dark-haired friend of his safely to Vervain. If Miles's "most trusted Dendarii shipmaster" made the connection between the incognito "Greg" and the young Emperor Gregor Vorbarra who so skilfully navigated the Hegen Hub peace treaty negotiation on Vervain, no one ever heard a word about it.

Bel's attraction to Miles grew over the years, but despite attempts to allure him, Miles remained disappointingly heterosexual. Though rueful, Bel's devoted affection lingered alongside their close professional friendship. Galactic intolerance being what it was, Bel met few other potential partners over the years, and -- aside from Miles, with whom the dynamic became almost a jest -- seldom made advances unlikely to be well received.

One notable exception, Nicol, was a gifted musician from Quaddiespace, home of a freefall-dwelling minority genetically engineered around the same time as Bel's people. Bel found her trapped in debt-slavery to Baron Fell of Jackson's Whole, and got thrown out of a House Fell reception for threatening the life of custom-clone-merchant Baron Ryoval, who had attempted to purchase her for her genetic profile. Nicol later contacted Bel, seeking to buy passage out of the system; Bel, delighted to help, charged her a single Betan dollar just to seal the contract. The impulsive rescue hit a snag when Miles, infiltrating Ryoval's stronghold for other reasons, was caught and held prisoner. Panicked, Bel sought Baron Fell's support in retrieving Miles, learning too late that Fell intended to trade Nicole to Ryoval in exchange for Miles's freedom. Miles, however, emerged from Ryoval's lair in the company of an eight-foot-tall genetically engineered supersoldier, clawed and lupine wholly terrifying -- and introduced her to Bel as Recruit-Trainee Taura, all of sixteen years old and another new rescue, despite the squad of goons accompanying each group. Though distraught at the situation, Bel caught Miles's signal and was ready when the little band turned upon their captors, escaping Jackson's Whole with all parties intact. Nicol chose to return to her home system, while Bel, forever seeking new horizons, remained with the fleet; neither regretted the time spent together before parting. Taura remained, to be oriented into the Dendarii by Bel's crew; though initially disturbed by her appearance, Bel later had a good working relationship with her.

During Miles's costly fleet action on Dagoola IV, Bel was temporarily posted on the Triumph as his adjutant, later taking charge of Intelligence during the Dendarii's recuperatory layover in Earth orbit. Complicating this task was the apparent simultaneous arrival on Earth of Barrayaran envoy Lord Vorkosigan, who, the news channels reported, shared a mysterious resemblance to the little Admiral. A mysterious stranger contacted Bel at Intelligence and hired the Dendarii to kidnap Vorkosigan, throwing Fleet Intelligence headfirst into a complex Komarran plot to replace Miles with a genuine physically-indistinguishable clone. Reporting Vorkosigan safely redelivered to the Barrayaran embassy, the admiral explained to Bel that both he and the Komarran-financed doppelganger were themselves Vorkosigan's clones, and that the third one -- "my only surviving clone-brother" -- must be saved from the plotters. Bel continued to run the investigation, taking a recording of the vid-call from the chief plotter, who had kidnapped Ivan Vorpatril and who addressed the Admiral as "Vorkosigan." Bel later took charge of the recording from Miles's confrontation with these nemeses on Earth, during which the Admiral promised his clone-brother immunity from Barrayaran security and referred to Aral Vorkosigan as their father; the clone's boastful threat to take his place as Admiral Naismith was spiked by the news that the entire conversation had gone to Bel. It was later confirmed that Bel had figured Miles's secret identity out long ago, though (despite these shenanigans) Miles would not learn this until later.

Bel's canon point is shortly after the between-books Tau Cetan operation taking place immediately after these events.


Personality: Conscientious, loyal, and aggressive, Bel Thorne delights in decisive action and new horizons, forever seeking the next unanswered question, the next crisis to confront. Bel is unusual in leaving Beta Colony and faring among less tolerant galactic populations, but has never looked back, and explains the whole mercenary career as a combination of wanderlust and "a low taste for unsettling people." More than most Betans, Bel is ready to make unilateral judgments and stand up for the rights of others without the backing of a committee or social movement. With Bel's stubbornness, such snap judgments have been known to backfire, but the ability to make quick decisions in a crisis is usually useful. That said, Bel is equally comfortable in a supporting role, willing to back a competent commander to the hilt.

While capable of living rough, Bel likes small comforts, delighting in good music, complex tastes, and tactile pleasures. Silks and velvets appeal to Bel, as do perfumes and teas, good food, fine interiors, and hotels with all the amenities -- though the thrill of a good adrenaline rush is best of all. A catlike neatness as to personal space and belongings goes hand in hand with an attentive eye for what others might need, like, and take comfort in. Little irritates Bel more than waste of talent or resources; while allowing others' rights to squander their own, Metabolically fortunate, Bel can easily hold strong drink -- and, with a wickedly dry sense of humor, is more than adept at making others choke on theirs.

Others' gender, sexuality, and preferences are not likely to faze Bel; Betan culture is all about free love and self-definition. While allowing that non-Betan galactics might have unfortunate hangups over such completely normal things, Bel prefers to live and let live unless offered disrespect (which would be promptly offered right back). An experienced galactic traveler, Bel is not interested in liaisons which merely indulge another's curiosity. Mutual desire, comfort, and enjoyment are essential.


Abilities/Skills: 23 years as a mercenary, 10 of these as captain; experienced in everything from hand-to-hand combat to security protocols to fleet maneuvers. Intimately familiar with the Ariel's technology and with military technology in general, and a quick study of anything new. A forthright leader, equally capable of executing a ground raid or an orbital assault, choosing and deploying crew to best advantage; Bel planned and executed the Dendarii's first capture, the enemy refinery station. Good at reading peoples' subtleties and seeing under the surface.

Strengths/Weaknesses:
  • Strengths: a consummate organizer with good instincts about people, able to deploy personnel and resources to best advantage. Quick judgment and good eye for detail; good at assessing value accurately, both fiscal and aesthetic. Combat-trained body with normal human strength. Familiar with military technology and ships' systems in general; capable ground and space pilot. Wide range of knowledge and interests: pet care, antique collecting, food tourism, historical sites, genetic engineering history and activism, etc etc etc.
  • Weaknesses: Has been known to pick fights -- at impossible odds -- if exposed to bigotry, personal insult, or injustice. Prone to keeping others' secrets long past their use-by date, assuming them perpetual unless instructed otherwise. Though (almost) fearless in self-expression, less capable of expressing a vulnerable inner life, especially when it matters most. Occasionally shortsighted enthusiasm can lead to poor or uninformed decisions; leaps in where angels fear to tread. Paradoxically, meticulousness and methodical habits can lead to a steadily narrowing circle of frustrated stagnation. Bel usually avoids this dark state by diving headlong into the nearest unknown that presents itself -- but even traveling the galaxy can get a little old after a while.


Items: Items under a strikethrough were lost in the Ingress.
  • Dendarii undress uniform (grey velvet pocketed tunic/pants, silver buttons, captain's insignia, grey boots)
  • socks, undershirt, compression bra, briefs
  • In pockets:
    • three newly-bought packets of herbal tea
    • a holocube map of a nice resort city on Pol
    • a multitool penknife
    • two small earring studs
    • a tiny spray vial of lilac perfume
    • a personal commlink/notepad with stylus
    • wallet containing:
      • identification
      • a credit chit
      • a single Betan dollar, folded and preserved in a plastic slip
  • On belt: a stunner (capable of light or heavy stun).
  • Internally: a Betan contraceptive implant.


SAMPLES
Network Sample:
[A sharp, knowing, bare-cheeked face appears on the monitor, framed with soft brown hair. The voice that comes through is a bright alto in a broad Betan accent, heavy on the rs, indistinguishable as to gender.]

Hello, Moira! Bel Thorne here, fresh from the Wormhole Nexus. I'm told we're a captive crew and there's no way out but forward, so I look forward to meeting you all as we bring our ship home.

[Pause; then an ironic smirk.]

If you're wondering whether I'm a woman or a man, the answer is "yes." We'll surely all learn more about one another as we get better acquainted.

Oh, and if the word "Dendarii" means anything to you, get in touch.


Prose/Action Sample: Securing the floating rec area on the Test Drive Meme.

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