Sunday, September 25, 2011

Notorious Villains of Berk: Xander Bonaparte, Berkeley, Kittenbot 3000

I wasn't sure what picture would work for this post, so I found this cool picture on Wikimedia Commons
As if the good citizens of Berk didn't have enough to worry about, what with gangs of raiders, mutant animals, and feral mutants living all around them, there are a few especially nasty characters around who would like nothing better than to see Berk destroyed forever.

Xander Bonaparte, Former Librarian

It is possible that nobody has more reason to hate Berk and its valiant defenders, the Librarians, than Xander Bonaparte. He definitely thinks so, in any case. Once a promising Researcher at the Library, he fell from grace and was exiled by his peers. Now, he wants nothing more than to see the Great Library brought down and all its assembled books blowing as ash on the wind. The scary thing is, he's not just insane, he's also cunning and well-educated. Worst of all, he knows the inner workings of the Library, and he has CIRCE.

Bonaparte grew up and entered the Library like many other young people in Berk. He got good marks and was especially good at navigating the dangerous locales of the city without attracting the attention of hungry mutants or vicious gangs. He became a successful Researcher, and his finds drew great praise from his peers and superiors.

Unfortunately for Bonaparte, it all came crashing down when he went out on a research trip with a fellow Researcher and only Bonaparte returned, with a story about how they had been attacked by a Bearcoon and only he had escaped. The Librarians were happy he had made it back and amazed at his find, an electronic reader capable of being turned into CIRCE and containing an illustrated beginner's guide to beekeeping. A week later, Bonaparte's allegedly deceased companion reappeared, badly injured, and told the shocked Librarians about how she and Bonaparte had discovered the precious ereader together. Bonaparte was unwilling to share the glory of their find, so he ambushed her and left her for dead.

Bonaparte was lucky he got off with exile, but he vowed to return someday and burn the Great Library to the ground. Since then, he has been wandering the Deep City, making alliances with the gang leaders there and taming the mutants to be his loyal killers. He tries to trap and kill any Researchers he comes across. There are many gang leaders who follow him, and he has formed them into a group of Neo-Neo-Luddites who hate knowledge and the Librarians almost as much as Bonaparte himself.

Berkeley, the Rat King of Downtown Berk

There is a common legend in Berk that the rats name their Rat Kings after the cities where they live. The legend does not say how people found out what Rat Kings call themselves, but legends don't have to make sense. According to this legend, there is an ancient, cunning, and malevolent Rat King right under Downtown Berk. The creature allegedly calls itself Berkeley, the ancient and ill-fortuned name of Berk.

Russian Werewolves are among the most ardent believers in the legend, and many Werewolves know the story of a friend of a friend who went out on patrol and got lost in the sewers under the city, only to come across a massive underground space where rats swarmed over every surface. At the center of the vaulted underground hall, the legend goes, is a massive rat the size of a rhinoceros. Whoever is telling the story embellishes it at this point with how the creature's eight tails twitched madly when it sensed the intruder, and it raised its dripping snout and pointed its snuffling nose toward the hapless interloper, its blind white eyes useless but its nose still sharp as it ordered its seething minions to attack. Inevitably, the Werewolf in question barely makes it back alive, with such details as "his fine uniform was torn to ribbons" or "he was never able to go below ground again, and even the sight of stairs leading down would cause him to sweat and shake."

Despite, or perhaps because of how ludicrous the story is, most Russian Werewolves treat it as fact, and many Berk residents also believe in the legend of Berkeley. Even those who scoff at the legend are superstitious about the name of the rat: saying it out loud is supposed to bring misfortune, and having the name written down is an invitation to attack by a pack of rats. Therefore, whenever Berk residents come across anything that has "Berkeley" on it, they immediately scratch out the "-eley" to avoid the wrath of the Rat King.

Kittenbot 3000

Researchers about to set off on their first mission will inevitably hear many warnings about the things they might run into. When the Researchers are told to watch out for Kittenbot 3000, most of them laugh it off as a joke. But Kittenbot 3000 is no joke, and any Researcher who does not heed the warnings will soon learn the error of his or her ways.

Kittenbot 3000 started life as a pet-bot during the Between-Time. Pet-bots were popular amusements at the time. They allowed people the companionship and entertainment of owning a pet without the need to take it to the vet, feed it, or change its litter. Kittenbot 3000 was a tiny, adorable pet that wanted nothing more than to chase things and bat at them playfully. Now, Kittenbot still wants the same thing, only it is no longer tiny or adorable.

Something damaged Kittenbot 3000 so that it had to repair itself. It might have been the Second Event, or a Neo-Luddite. Whatever it was, Kittenbot 3000 was able to make itself almost as good as new, but the repairs were crude and the resulting robot was a little larger than before. Life in post-Second Event Berk was difficult for a kitten Robot, and it found itself attacked by mutant animals, chased by Neo-Luddites, and used as target practice by Gibsons. Each time, Kittenbot 3000 was able to repair itself. Each time, it was a little larger, a little stronger, and a little more scary-looking.

Today, Kittenbot 3000 prowls the streets of Berk. It lies in wait, its barbed and segmented tail swishing through the refuse of the street, until a hapless target comes into view. The Kittenbot 3000 pounces as playfully as a two-ton robot made of every possible piece of junk can be. Despite its name, Kittenbot is the opposite of adorable, and being used as a cat-toy by an unstoppable metal behemoth is the last play-time many unlucky Berk residents have had.


  1. I think there needs to be an adorable story in which a little girl finds Kittenbot and adopts it, awakening some distant part of Kittenbot's programming that makes it cute and playful with her.

  2. But Kittenbot IS cute and playful! It just doesn't know its own strength. :3