Campaign: The Keres

Character: Alexa Atreus the Keres
Game: The Sprawl
Episodes: 1
Theme Song: Still Life by Covenant
Keywords: Ideological, tender, contemplative

I honestly never thought I'd be playing a heist focused game. Cyberpunk is a genre I love and hate. But I adore Hamish and I like his design ideas, so when Rach was like "let's play the Sprawl!" I was in. I had heard interesting things about it. Now, that being said, we are playing in a cyberpunk future of Toronto, not the USA. Thus, the culture around technology and such was going to be different, and we all wanted to bring some Canadiana to the genre in how we made our characters.

When I looked at Canadian culture, specifically Toronto culture, I wanted to explore the idea of consensual death and assisted suicide. What did death look like in the future, and with the collapsing of industries into one-stop shops, how did that impact death? So I made an agency that specializes in death and dying. They handle the legal side, the euthanasia side, the funeral plans, the clone plans, all of it. It's the highest end location for the death industry. Everything related to dying is handled through them.

Thus I made Keres, an agent of death who specializes in the dream of dying. Basically, she implants something in your head that picks up on stress levels and DMZ when you're dying, records your memories as they are, and then shuts down the sensory pathways to your brain, ensuring you feel no pain. From there, the implant hacks into the mind, letting you relive or experience whatever you want your dying moment to be, while anything could be happening to your physical body.

Now, if you're lucky and your private health care covers a clone, you will be downloaded into your new body and given six months to adapt. It isn't a fast process. The highest end clones are those who receive neural feedback to create a similar brain pattern and neural pathways as your current brain. They are given electrical stimulation to create proper muscle tone and movement when you walk. But the shittier your clone, the less of these traits they have. It takes about six months to fully grow and create a clone. They're put on ice and stimulated regularly to create healthy human bodies when they are needed.

Keres handles all of this with a grace and ease. All of the agents are pleasant, pretty, and generally symmetrical, to create an aesthetic of agreeable, caring agents. Although all the agents are perfectly capable of killing you without mercy, and often work in protection for the six months post-transfer to ensure time before a new clone is complete, they are often perceived as professional and kind. Keres herself is an ideal agent, in a way. That was until she kept using drugs to find deeper and darker parts of cyberspace and found herself a weird bit of code that hacked her own implant and mind.

Now she's awoken. She's a dragon or something old and transdimensional reborn. When she awoke, she realized that the world was sick, and this was because another thing like her, Kertesz, was systematically destroying and dismantling the world. Enough that people had started noticing and she wasn't about to let him undo the world. After the death of a union worker, whose memory she downloaded into his clone against his wishes, Keres found another piece of the code that broke her mind and downloaded it into the unwanted clone.

And so, Menoetes awoke. His celebrity and popularity continue to grow as Keres plans her kidnapping of Kertesz from the background, planning on awakening his mind to the things that he could be, and how what he's doing is horrible. To her, he's redeemable. To Meno, he might not be. For now, the killer has Meno under control, but she knows it's tenuous and easily shattered if she pushes too hard and breaks the perception of power.

I want to play a killer who's also generally a congenial and nice person. I wanted to play Robin reborn as someone who hadn't been damaged by Vincent, so the character is super self indulgent. Which is fine. I don't mind at all. Rather, I enjoy how different she is from Robin and yet also in the same role Robin would be in. The killer. I figured out that Robin's story is always one of giving up herself to save others, and so the removal of her humanity, to awaken the dragon, is a core part of Keres' story. I want to see what she's like when the plan goes south, when she loses her control over Meno, and what she's like as a woman in the cyberworld.

My personal challenge with her is to play her, Robin-like, yet warm and intimate. As an agent of death, she sees the most vulnerable parts of people and tells them they'll be alright. She's pretended to be wives and daughters and lovers and sisters to make the fantasy real for those dying, as that's part of her job, and she doesn't mind. She's forgiven, promised eternity to, and loved strangers who just needed her for that moment. I want to portray that in someone who also carries around a deadly hidden wire to strangle people when they're not looking. Can you be an empathic killer?

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