Backbeat
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Backbeat
Player: @Fox Lee
Origin: Natural
Archetype: Brute
Security Level: 38
Personal Data
Real Name: Beatrice (no surname)
Known Aliases: The Backstreet Beater, B
Species: Human
Gender: Female
Age: 26
Height: 6'9" (205.5cm)
Weight: 370lb (167kg)
Hair Colour: White
Eye Colour: Yellow
Biographical Data
Nationality: American
Occupation: Bartender at Skid Row
Place of Birth: Kings Row
Base of Operations: Kings Row
Marital Status: Unattached
Known Relatives: None
Known Powers
None
Known Abilities
Immensely tough and strong, expert in freestyle close combat
Equipment
None of note
Notes: Currently wanted for vigilantism.

"Then turn selfishness into a weapon! Make all things yours! Make other lives and dreams and hopes yours! Protect them! Save them! Bring them into the sheepfold! Walk the gale for them! Keep away the wolf! My dreams! My brother! My family! My land! My world! How dare you try to take these things, because they are mine!"

- Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

Backbeat was first conceived as a "companion piece", as it were, to Talen's Row-born shaman, Fatal Harmonic. She was made to be a potential love interest - sharing his very personal interest in the Row, and his love of music - but not with the necessity that it would be so. As such, Harm himself is her major inspiration, though she is angrier and much more violent. She was also the completion of a concept Fox had when she first watched Talen play his Energy tanker Redgauntlet (now moved to Guardian), for a natural character who used the Energy powers simply to represent fist-fighting, not superpowers.

Designed with an eye toward Talen's taste for dark skin with light hair, Backbeat was intended to be another deliberately sexy character, but - like The Schwarzstrom - an eminently practical one (Fox can't see what's sexy about a fighting woman wearing a costume that's impractical to fight in). Backbeat actually turned out looking rather more classy than she was supposed to, because of the hair - it's entirely too stylish, but one Fox saw her with the one-eye-covered look, she didn't look right without it.

Most recently, Backbeat was rebooted in i11 to use the Willpower armour set, with the feeling that it was more appropriate to her thematics than Invulnerability (particularly due to its psionic protection).

Personality

"Come on children, go to school, and learn to live the golden rule
Get paid the most to work the least, exploit the man, enslave the beast
Pompous men, so full of pride -
The smartest man I ever knew still lived his life and died."

- Captain Tractor, Ghostriders

A junkyard dog. Protector of the common people, to whom no job is too small. Backbeat is a selfish, proud, jealously protective woman who can't help but have a vested personal interest in her every act of heroism. Kings Row is her city, its people her people, and she takes every threat against them as if it were a personal insult. At first this was a protectiveness that did not extend to other areas of Paragon City, but now she has come to pro-actively "adopt" those outside of her hometown as well.

At first glance, Backbeat may seem almost identical in nature to Fatal Harmonic, but there are some key differences. The first is in how they view the city; Harlem has a deep connection to the actual place, the concrete and metal and industries and the populace all as one. Backbeat, on the other hand, holds the view that the people are the city, and focuses much more on threats to the citizens themselves. The second is in their anger, and how it filters through their actions. For all that Harlem is tough and scrappy and holds his own in a confrontation, Backbeat is the typhoon to his mere storm; a loud, ferocious, bloody-minded force who pursues her goals relentlessly, wields truth and honesty like a wrecking ball, and simply will not back down.

A component of this personality shows in her crimefighting. Backbeat has no faith in the law to punish people who actually deserve it, and thus came to be a vigilante rather than a sanctioned superhero. Though her methods have lately been softened by the Project - who not only have the superhero teams to apprehend criminals, but also a viciously effective pack of lawyers to make sure they get what they deserve - Backbeat is still the sort of "hero" who thinks nothing of killing bad people to save the lives of good ones.

Backbeat is also proudly uneducated. Though she's literate and numerate enough for everyday life - thanks to a community-run school for the underprivileged - she has stoutly avoided getting a real education, particularly in history or the arts. She's something of a natural philosopher, however, and is remarkably insightful when it comes to people and their motivations. She likes to refer to herself as "scrupulously unscrupulous".

She's also a devout atheist, claiming that she "won't kneel to anyone, gods included". This was at first an angry reaction to the school trying to push prayer and christianity on students along with actual education, a practice with which Backbeat made it evidently clear she would never comply. Later, it became a more thoughtful development, established through reasoning that none of the worthwhile morals of religion - altruism, honesty, and such - were things that she didn't already hold dear, so there was no need to attach them to a supernatural figure who, to her, seemed like a raving lunatic.

History

"And after all the violence and double-talk
There's just a song in all the trouble and the strife
You do the walk, you do the walk of life
Hm, you do the walk of life"
- Dire Straits, Walk of Life

Backbeat - in her childhood named "Beatrice" by the orphanage that briefly homed her - is a Kings Row local who took to the "mean streets" as soon as she had any say in the matter. With a natural aptitude for violence, great physical prowess and a stubbornness that put even her fellow urchins to shame, she perhaps could have a had a great future as a soldier or an athlete (or at least as a crazy old junkyard owner), but it wasn't to be. Like most people in her situation, she never had much faith in the law, and after a particular spat of gang violence where several of her close friends were killed, she watched the trial against the instigators founder and fail hopelessly to bring them to justice. Seeing these murderers walk free, Backbeat abandoned any notion of letting the law do its job, and took it upon herself to become a vigilante. If the law could not protect her city and her people, she reasoned, she would do it herself.

Thus, Backbeat became colloquially known as "The Backstreet Beater", simultaneously praised by the ordinary people, hunted by the police, and publicly denounced by Freedom Corp and its sanctioned "heroes". She would likely have remained in this role, had she not finally been caught - after some ten years - during a minor scuffle in Steel Canyon. Although they were unable to prove that she was the the same vigilante who was wanted for a long record of beatings and killings, they were able to make enough charges stick that she was looking at a reasonable prison sentence.

However, her extraordinary abilities - particularly because she was a normal human - were of interest to others as well. Thus, she was offered the alternative of "community service" with a Supergroup, and came to be a trainer at Project Corona. While she at first viewed this with extreme resentment, she since had to admit that the group isn't half bad.

Harm

"So you're walkin' on the edge / And you wait your turn to fall
But you're so far gone / That you don't see the hands upheld to catch you
And you could find the fault / In the heart that you've been handed
For though you cannot fly / You're not content to crawl…"

"So give me a little credit / Have in me a little faith
I wanna be with you forever / But tomorrow's not too late…"
- Nine Days, If I Am

Most of Backbeat's recent history has revolved around her closest friend, Harlem Foreman. In a case of colossal bad timing, Backbeat realised she was in love with the boy exactly when he was too hung up on his "CD girl"1 to seriously consider it; in the aftermath of that issue, it became evident that Harlem simply didn't think of her that way. This made Backbeat somewhat concerned about Harlem - in her opinion, his taste in women has revealed a distinct self-esteem problem that even she, as his closest friend, hadn't previously noticed. Over an extrememly awkward period and some fighting over the issue, Backbeat saw Harlem become more and more depressed over his loneliness, and realised that she, too, was currently hurting more than she was helping.

So, after coming to the conclusion that somebody had to do something, Backbeat left. Hoping to give Harlem time to "find himself" in her absence, she avoided his shaman senses (with the help of the Spirit of the Row, unbeknownst to Backbeat) and took to travelling, making a very modest living performing in various clubs and bars. After a few months, she did encounter Harlem by chance, and the two spoke about their issues - Backbeat promising to come home eventually, but saying it wasn't yet time.

When she eventually did return home, it was to a life much like her days before Project Corona. Having violated the terms of her release by leaving Paragon City, she found herself on the wrong side of the law again, and turned back to vigilantism to protect her city. She also - through people with a less significant criminal record - founded Skid Row.

Affiliations

After her previous run-ins with the law, Backbeat was forgiven her prison sentence only on the grounds that she cooperate with a sanctioned Supergroup, which turned out to be Project Corona. Technically a field trainer amongst their ranks, Backbeat liked to think of herself as more of a general bad influence than a role model, and most often tried to convince her students to loan her their IDs so she could get back into high-clearance areas.

Since long before either of these involvements, Backbeat has also had an enduring friendship with Fatal Harmonic, a fellow Kings Row local and former Project member. Being significantly his senior, Backbeat looks upon him in a big-sisterly kind of fashion, and the pair have mutual respect for each others' work. She has also probably slept with his sister. That notwithstanding, she is clearly in love with him, though Harlem can't seem to think of her that way.

Backbeat is also the owner and tender of Skid Row, a laid-back bar in the Kings Row slums. It serves as an unofficial meeting place for the Knights of the 93rd - Harlem's former gang - and other similarly illegal but righteous groups, though the patrons are careful to maintain that nothing can be proven.

Powers and Abilities

"She's a B-cup. If she was any bigger you're remember, but if she was really flat you'd notice that too. And brown hair - if you can't remember, it's always brown. She's white, because you'd remember if you heard an accent. Very short hair says 'lesbian', and very long says 'attention whore', so she's somewhere in-between. But she has pretty eyes, because you're an absolute sucker for expression. And you owe me a beer."
- Backbeat, describing Wayfare, having never met her

Backbeat is a street-bred fist-fighter of no small skill. Unlike many other naturals, she has no dependence on equipment, on mysticism such as "chi", or on racial advantages. She's simply an extraordinary human whose natural gifts have combined with intense practice and a hard-bitten life on the streets to make her a combatant on-par with proper "super" heroes. If there is anything truly superhuman about Backbeat, it's her mind - she's not particularly intelligent and not well-educated, but her strength of will is truly phenomenal.

Whilst it appears superficially similar to the "energy" powers displayed by other heroes, Backbeat's combat style is simply remarkably good fist-fighting (it's not boxing, per se, unless boxing is a broad definition for any way to hit a person with a closed fist). It is roleplayed as being without the shiny effects - a bit of a stretch, perhaps, but nor do most natural tankers have a reason why Temporary Invulnerability covers them in glowy rainbows. The reasoning for her attacks dealing unusual amounts of damage to creatures like ghosts is that of willpower once again - Backbeat is confident that you can hurt anything if you hit it hard enough.

Backbeat's non-combat abilities are fairly sparse; she has a talent for breaking and entering, she's financially adept (albeit nothing special), and she's a fairly good singer and guitarist. She previously has a sort of permanent "writer's block" which had prevented her from writing her own material, but after a certain incident involving Harlem, she has overcome this problem.

Equipment

Backbeat's equipment consists of a Police Band radio, occasional travel devices usually acquired from Project Corona, and a pair of piston-boots that enhance her jumping ability, making it somewhat less tedious for her to get around.

Weaknesses and Limitations

Due to her lack of proper superpowers, Backbeat is fairly limited in her modus operandi; her blows are often hard enough to stun her enemies momentarily, but that's essentially the extent of her combat tricks, and she has no ability at range. She's otherwise limited to simply taking damage and, in melee, dishing it out.

Also, due to her criminal record, Backbeat has an enduringly low security clearance. It was slowly being raised as she cooperated with the project, but was lowered again when she broke her parole. She's now resorted to illegal IDs and such to gain access to higher-level areas, but it's still an immense source of frustration and a serious cramp to her style.

Other Notes

Fiction

Arranged roughly in chronological order.

  • A Great Day - Harlem deals with crushes and maturing. Backbeat is a slob.
  • First Time - Harlem does something he's been meaning to do for a long time. Backbeat runs support.
  • To the City - Backbeat reflects on her relationship with Harlem, and does what she has to do.

Trivia

  • Backbeat will not willingly divulge her name to anybody, and has made threats of serious bodily harm against people who insist on using it after they've somehow found it out. Harlem has been known to get away with it now and then, though.
  • "Backstreet Beater" was a name given to her by the PPD, not chosen for herself. She finds it rather embarrassing.
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