Words, words, words. Time to make another tired offering to the Magic Spreadsheet.
The previous post told a snippet of the story of Charlie Duke, my forever unrepentant cowgirl who began as a bit of a desperate joke among a group of villains in the City of Heroes (well, okay… City of Villains) game. Agent Rawhide, as she was christened back in the day, came from a blend of costume creator genius and a character I had put together as a joke for a long-gone game based in the Sailor Moon mythos. I wanted to make a spitfire blonde with an assault rifle and a bit of a metabolic mutation… and Charlie Duke sprang to life, with all of the “yeehaw” that I could muster.
I always played Charlie as a hot-tempered, foul-mouthed, trigger-happy member of the paramilitary band that produced much of her initial backstory. Her metabolic mutation allowed her to drink as much as she wanted, and a small bar in-game allowed for a wealth of roleplay that focused on shotglasses and swearing. I played up Charlie’s hedonistic streak; she had girlfriends and boyfriends, one-night stands as well as ongoing relationships that wound up nothing short of complicated.
Charlie had a thing for foul-mouthed redheaded assassins. She pined after that mean cuss of a woman for years, until circumstances took Maggie away and left a painful reminder in place. In her grief, she fell in love with a Fallen angel who took it upon himself to console her and try to keep her happy… but he grieved for his own losses, too. In the end, he told Charlie that he couldn’t love her the way she needed to be loved, and Charlie left the bar to drink herself stupid before running off to another dimension and try to prove that she was worth that Fallen’s love.
But, thank goodness for Agent Delta. Had it not been for Stephen Deltano, Charlie might have ended it all. Instead, she always kept her promise to Deltano that she would never end it, not unless she asked him for the one bullet that she made him keep for that single purpose. Deltano served as her voice of reason (although “reason” for either of them didn’t always make sense) and kept her focused on their ragtag cell of misfits and forgotten soldiers. Once under her command during their time with Team November, Deltano rose to serve as the commander of their group, with Charlie as a close second. The pair exchanged strong truths, nasty arguments, and many harsh words that only true friends could share and still remain friends. Zen and I developed much of our friendship over writing Charlie and Delta together; Delta could lay down charges and blow a map to kingdom come, and Charlie could lay down a spray of gunfire and liquid flame. The swearing and innuendo happened in between the missions, with the result being chatlogs that would never be safe for work (but that would belong in a Tarantino film without question).
Charlie had her crushes, way back in the day. One of my favorite bits of roleplay involved none other than John Murdock, played by Cody Martin in the days before Cody and I wrote together via Secret World Chronicle. Even in game, ol’ JM was easy on the eyes and make a pair of fatigues look mighty fine. In the bar, Charlie would make a pass or six at the poor guy, and he would deflect in that ‘aw, shucks’ way that only JM can manage. Of course, the first time it happened, Cody didn’t realize it was me… Charlie was so far removed from my “main” character that the whiskey-drinking, gun-toting, ass-grabbing cowgirl made several people do a double take. And I apologized… didn’t want to make the poor dear uncomfortable, y’know? Muaha.
The Outer Colonies will be where Charlie and some others are ‘reborn’ and brought into their own lives. I can’t wait to show more of my darling girl to y’all.