Sunday, April 13, 2008

Character Profile: Shira Thomas (revised 8/25/2010)

Shira Miranda Thomas, main character of Spanner, was born on September 9, 1999 to Cedric Anthony Thomas III (the legendary rocker Ric Thomas/"Red Mercury") and Hope Maureen Reston. This red-haired, dark-skinned, large-nosed beauty was a wild and mischievous child who attracted all kinds of controversy and scandal to herself. Today (i.e., during the Spanner timeline that starts in late August 2014), Hope Reston is the liberal Populist mayor of Metropolitan Seattle, making Shira a major player in the struggle to keep Seattle and the entire State of Cascadia from falling under the theocratic tyranny of the reconstituted Confederate States of America and still escape the rival tyranny of the United Corporations cartel that rules the EuroAmerican Union under the state-socialist system of Corporatism. As a leading champion of democratic Populism, Shira strives to rally people to her side through music, dance, style, and direct persuasion. But those who try to stop her in the name of Authority will find out that she is a legendary prankster for a reason...

Sketch of Shira from 2002

Here are some of the other known facts about Shira:
  • Height: 5'10"/178 cm (as of January 2015)
  • Weight: 140 lb/63 kg (as of January 2015)
  • Hair color: copper-red
  • Skin color: light to medium brown (variously described as "cinnamon" and "bronze")
  • Eye color: emerald green
  • Occupations: A few of the known ones:
    1. Singer (but not idol singer)
    2. Fashion model
    3. Dancer
    4. Wilderness tracker/search and rescue
    5. Bounty hunter (with the notorious "Slasher Hunters" who track down serial killers)
  • Education: homeschooled in a science-based curriculum to the equivalent of high school graduation. In September 2014 she begins college, serving as a high school tutor so that she can attend college without charge.
  • IQ: Tested to an average of 185. Not tested: emotional, social, moral intelligence — but then, they don't have tests for those anyway...
  • Religion: None. She identifies as a materialist and atheist.
  • Political affiliation: Populist (People's Party): member and prominent activist of the party's Democratic Movement. She tends to agree with the free-market wing of the party, but has strong emotional and family ties to the democratic-socialist wing.
  • Sexual orientation: Bisexual, skewing slightly lesbian. Strongly polyamorous.
  • Moral position: free love (some critics would say libertine to a disturbingly amoral degree), Ethical Slut.
  • Ethical position: strongly anti-authoritarian, to the point of anarchism.

She is already becoming famous (above all in Japan) for her hybrid fighting style that combines street capoeira (the Brazilian gangland fight-club style that is itself a fusion of capoeira and Brazilian jujitsu), the joint attacks from Indonesian martial arts, breakdancing, and parkour. Out of her wilderness tracker training, she has developed a strategy of deception and misdirection that allows her to hide from her opponents in plain sight; she will later borrow stealth and deception techniques from ninjutsu. Another fighting strategy she is known for is her use of opponents as human shields against other opponents when she fights against multiple opponents, also doubling as a way to use opponents as weapons against other opponents.

Her hobbies include hoverboarding, raves, Wild Style fashion design, virtual reality games, retro videogames (made long before she was born!), yaoi and yuri manga (creating as well as reading), pranks (some of them already legendary), and of course sex.

She is part of two large and powerful families within the Populist movement, the Richter-Thomases and the Restons. Among them, she has very close and intense relationships with her parents; older (paternal) sisters Ruby Shears, Charlie Richter-Thomas, and Desiree Richter-Thomas; her father's sister Dr. Willa Richter-Thomas and her daughter (and current wife) Jennifer; another cousin, Karen Kubota; and friends Mary Ellen (Polly) Parker and Corwin Jacques (Cory) Belmont, Jr. Her favorite sister (maternal), Talia Espinoza, was killed trying to prevent the assassination of President Obama during the coup of 2012. Maternal cousin Angela Coyne is her (and her immediate family's) lawyer.

As Mayor of Metropolitan Seattle, Hope must constantly deal with the city's leading pro-Confederate pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Light, who is trying to overthrow the Populist government by force in alliance with the Confederate-allied Minuteman terrorist organization. Shira's public support of gay rights and sexual freedom make her a prime target for the insurrectionists; eventually, Rev. Light will go so far as to put out an assassination contract on her. His growing obsession with her (and her rumored alter-ego Spanner) proves his undoing in the end.

Shira is famous for her charisma. Some claim her charisma is so powerful that she generates a "reality distortion field" around her, distorting people's perception and judgment as if they were in a reality warp. She does not, though, actually have the power to warp reality. However, she is very careful with the power she does have, since she can enslave and destroy people with it.

Her seductiveness is infamous. It has already claimed the careers of two politicians, a corporation boss, and a powerful Evangelical pastor, all of whom she seduced and then betrayed for various reasons; the pastor later committed suicide. A group of Seattle-area women in the Christian Conservative Party and led by family enemy Drusilla Becket formed to, as she puts it, get revenge against her; she calls Dru (her father's estranged ex-wife) her "Evil Stepmother" and her group the "Anti-Shira Club". This group is closely connected to Hope's mortal enemy Jeremiah Light.

During her stay at Bremerton High School as a tutor, Shira gets heavily involved in the conflicts over gay rights and the Union-wide "Tournament" system that determines middle and high schools' "head boys". These controversies get so violent (due to the extreme intolerance of "head boy" Barton Green) that Shira forms a team of non-Tournament fighters to defend her cause(s) and protect weaker students. They call themselves "Team Spanner" in homage to the anti-Confederate vigilante, though only a few of them know that Shira may actually be the vigilante. The founding members of Team Spanner are Shira; her cousins Jennifer Richter-Thomas and Karen Kubota; longtime friends Cory Belmont and Polly Parker; and school allies Rob Shelley, Kio Marques, Brandi Quinn, and Seika Tachibana. Many of these are "international" students from other parts of the Union.

During Shira's late childhood, a huge scandal revolved around her like a hurricane yet somehow never touched her. Rumor has it that she deliberately struck up a sexual relationship with a known pedophile when she was six and carried on a passionate affair with him until she was twelve; this may be impossible to confirm because he was executed by the Confederate religious police after the coup and Shira isn't talking. She is known to have helped break a child porn ring; but rumor states that when she got involved with it, she noticed how enslaved pedophiles are to their perversion and concluded that they're a perfect cash cow because they're so easy to exploit. The result, it is said, was the infamous "Rebel Rebel" child porn videos. Internal evidence shows that the videos were produced by the child starring in them. These videos are low-resolution, blurry enough to prevent positive identification; furthermore, if the girl in them is indeed Shira, she has altered her skin, hair, and eye color, her voice, and the size of her nose to match the stereotypical "loli" template to make herself unrecognizable. But this girl shares Shira's famous charisma and notorious seductiveness, which are so intense in these videos that men have been known to go mad, commit suicide, and even go on murder sprees after watching too many of them. There is a very similar series produced (apparently by the same girl) in Japan, in which she masquerades as a "loli" named "Aya Shibata" who follows the stereotype (except for the hair, which is bright red). Strong evidence that the "Aya" in those videos may indeed be Shira lies in the fact that the videogame character named "Aya Shibata" (in fighting and dance games) is known to be based on Shira (whose legal name in Japan is the vaguely similar-sounding Mirai Shiratori) and uses her distinct fighting style. Also, Shira uses the American video girl's name, "Fee Rebel Styles" in full, as an alias, sometimes merely to taunt her enemies.

Shira is widely connected in the public mind with the anarchist vigilante or terrorist (or whatever (s)he's called) known as Spanner, whose name means "monkeywrench". Spanner is one of the last surviving "kid vigilante" opponents of the Confederate regime who appeared in the wake of the 2012 coup. His/her strategy involves elaborate trickery and sudden assaults on gatherings of Confederate or Corporate leaders. A massive police investigation (by the FBI, MI5, Shin Bet, Europol, and Interpol) trying to identify Shira with Spanner has been ongoing since his/her first appearance, but has never been proved. There is sufficient evidence to confirm the suspicion; but Spanner has very cleverly covered his/her tracks, and of course Shira is saying nothing.

She is known to have had a sister named Kira, widely considered to have perished during the 2012 coup. If Shira was indeed responsible for the "Rebel Rebel" and "Aya Shibata" videos, then Kira clearly participated with Shira in the most infamous of them, the "twincest" series. Rumor has it that Kira was Shira's clone, though their family continues to insist that Kira is in fact Shira's twin. Furthermore, her body has never been found. Kira may indeed be dead — at least in this reality...

(Revision Note 8/25/10: I completely rewrote this entry to give Shira a complete and proper profile. The original post was more a quickie introduction to the character. All story information has been updated to match the novel version of Spanner that I'm posting online starting November 1.)

Copyright © 2008, 2010 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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