|The Mysterious Ms. Harper|
The challenge was to look over the entire RDT site and write me a descriptive
history of Ms. Harper... who obviously was hiding a lot more than she was
telling. Past a point, there were no true "right" answers. Readers voted on
their favorite histories. The actual history of Ms. Harper may or may not match
these entries exactly:
Entry 1 - Laurie (1st place)
Annabelle Harper was born in 1698, in the Boston settlement. Her mother was a midwife, and her father, unknown. She was raised in her mother's trade, trained for a life as a midwife- and, as typical of the time, an herbal healer, of sorts. She learned all there was to know about plants and animals. She was a voracious reader, an intelligent girl in a time when they were somewhat looked down upon, hence her unmarried state by the year 1720.
Her mother had been dead for a few years by this point. Annabelle had continued in her trade, but had various sidelines: a girl with a peculiarly mechanical mind, she began collecting various devices- even inventing some of her own along the way. However, she wasn't interested in the mundane; she wanted to know about the unusual, the dangerous.
One fateful day in early 1720, Annabelle discovered a neighbor "snooping" through her collection. Actually, by the time she knew about the attempted theft, John Governor, he was already screaming bloody murder, having had the ill luck to happen upon the Golden Trapped-Mouth Mackerel of St. Luis, which promptly bit off his hand.
Governor was an influential person at the time, and while they couldn't exactly prosecute Annabelle, since Governor was trying to loot her house, so they decided to re-house Annabelle's collection. They chose a site over a little-used creek. (The creek was avoided because of a fountain close at hand, rumoured to have been erected by settlers that had not been so successful.) In closing in the creek and fountain, they also caged in an odd tree that was said to untangle itself and beat people who got too close. Of course, the people who said they were accosted were generally believed to have been deep in their cups, but the people avoided the area, nonetheless.
This site became the home of The Repository of Dangerous Things, which officially opened in 1721. Annabelle Harper was appointed curator. She used the opportunity to learn more about her collection, and continue adding to it.
Two years later, at the age of 25, Annabelle discovered that the creek running through the site was actually a kind of Fountain of Youth. She used this as a way to continue guarding her collection from the wrong hands, and from the world at large.
Two centuries later, in 1984, Harper took a job at the CIA. She was known to the U.S. Government, and had lent a hand to them from time to time. Eventually they began sending her all manner of Dangerous Things, knowing that she would be able to take care of them. The only thing she found useful during her time in the CIA was the discovery of a pocket dimensional generator behind the Iron Curtain. Taking this, and disposing of its creators and instructions, Harper reported back to the CIA, informed them of her find, and handed in her resignation. She claimed that she simply hadn't been challenged enough, and now had the opportunity to expand and protect her collection, in a greater way than ever before.
Mr. Tavlin was a man she met through her time at the CIA, and when he retired, she offered him a position at the RDT. Tavlin has the rare ability to infuriate Annabelle, and she appreciates that quality, knowing that she needs a way to remain somewhat grounded. She now lives in an apartment not far from the RDT, with two cats that are a cross between feline, familiar, and closest friends.
Oh. And her interest in Davis is strictly business... except when it's not. *winks*
Entry 2 - Josh (2nd place)
Being the quick and relatively accurate history of one Dr. Annabelle Harper:
Born Aug. 19th, 1699 to Sterling and Adriana-Marie Harper. Her father, a traveling bard, died in 1706 of one of the many illnesses sweeping the area at the time. Her mother, a prominent midwife, then raised her.
Following in her mother's footsteps, she became a midwife of relative renown in the Boston area. She was known best for her ability to handle difficult and dangerous childbirth as well as her inability to abide fools.
Due to her extensive knowledge and use of herbs and potions in the puritan Boston community she was once almost tried as a witch. When it was pointed out to the judge that if she had used witchcraft to deliver his son (as it was a difficult birth that both mother and child barely survived), his wife and child must then be the tools of Satan and should be burned along with her. The case was quickly dismissed.
While she did have interest in marrying, her lack of patience for fools translated to a lack of tolerance for young suitors. She preferred instead to try to find solutions to the dangerous challenges of childbirth. The idea that taking a husband might give her more firsthand experience in the matter did not occur to her at the time.
Her life was soon to change forever though.
In the summer of 1720 she attended the governor's annual drunken BBQ (though that was not the official name). The governor had acquired a Golden Trapped-Mouth Mackerel on a recent trip to Saint Luis and had it on display for his partygoers. As usually happened at these parties he became very, very drunk and proceeded to place various body parts into the fish's mouth. Annabelle, disgusted with his behavior, decided to activate the jaws of the beast to teach the man a lesson. It should be noted at this point that while it may seem a cruel lesson, she did at least wait until it was only his hand in the fish's vicious maw. And it was his left hand at that.
The governor lost his hand to the event and decided the creature was to dangerous to be left where others could be harmed by it. He commissioned the building of the Repository of Dangerous Things to hold it and other items of a dangerous nature.
Upon completion of the governor (partially out of respect, but mostly out of spite) charged Annabelle with the upkeep and oversight of the R.D.T. He also provided her an assistant by way of his son, another dangerous item best kept of the street for the public good.
At first only a few artifacts found their way to the R.D.T. But after a few years word began to spread and a week could not go by without a delivery being received. By the fourth year the building needed to be expanded and a sub-basement added.
Mistakes were made as well. In Feb. of 1727 both Ms. Harper and her assistant died when she allowed him to make a celebratory dinner. (A new sublevel had been completed and they were finally able to sort out a rather large Native American collection. It had so far been packed in with the cursed armor and the room was beginning to smoke at random intervals.) All in all it was a rather nice dinner. Had her assistant not diced the Egyptian Honor Mushrooms (named as such since it was a great honor to die with your pharaoh) into the otherwise delicious pasta dish, it could have been the best night of his relatively short life.
Over the next 3 days several "things" made their way free of the R.D.T. and into the streets of Boston. By the end of the week the death toll was in the double digits. Death, having enjoyed a decreased workload since the creation of the R.D.T, struck a bargain with Ms. Harper. He would allow her and her assistant to go back, and in return she just needed to keep up the good work. To return them he placed a doorway to his realm in one of the unused storage rooms of the R.D.T. (He had been intending to send the door to them anyway as it had recently been uncovered by archaeological dig in Eastern Europe.) He also provided her with a key to the door so that should any further "Unfortunate Incidents" occur, she would be able to get back without his assistance.
Ms. Harper and her assistant were able to return to the land of the living relatively unnoticed. Since no one had been brave enough to venture into the R.D.T. without invitation, no one had discovered their bodies while they were away. They managed to return the escapees without much trouble. Her assistant died once more in the process but he was promptly brought back. As Ms. Harper put it "He hadn't finished cleaning up this damn mess he made." He left the R.D.T. later that year and was promptly replaced.
In 1740 revivalist George Whitefield swept into Boston, throwing up tents and screaming hell and brimstone. He attempted to have a rather large collection of books and several members of the Harvard faculty entered into R.D.T. It was the first time entries had ever been denied. Ms. Harper was quoted as saying, "The danger lies not in reading these books, but in ignoring them." She had no comment regarding the faculty members.
When Harvard Medical moved to the newly opened Massachusetts General Hospital in 1811 Ms. Harper, already having extensive medical training, quickly earned a doctorate. Unfortunately due to school by-laws dealing with woman, she could not be awarded the degree. She has since gone one to receive numerous degrees and doctorates for the various local universities, but still prefers to be addressed as Ms. Harper rather than Dr. Harper. She says it cuts down on confusion.
Most recently she earned a Ph.D. in Emerging Technologies from MIT. The school has been a frequent contributor to the R.D.T. since it's founding in 1861 and now has 2 separate sublevels dedicated to it's donations.
Probably the most trying aspect of her extended existence has been keeping others from realizing just how old she actually is. Death's Door has been her most useful tool so far. Since her first death she has found that she still ages normally. Death's Door works to her advantage in that when you die, your spirit leaves you dead, corporeal form and enters Death's realm. Once there the morphic memory of your body provides your spirit with a form and this form can be changed with practice. Then when you pass through Death's Door into the real world that form is made corporeal and permanent. This allows her to achieve a ripe old age, die, and return in a nubile young body that no one recognizes. The only real downside of course is disposing of your own remains.
Ms. Harper is a work-a-holic and we should all be very thankful that she is. Otherwise, this world could be a much more dangerous place.
Entry 3 - Chance
Only a few points here:
1) Ms. Harper probably received some military training. Her hobbies include martial arts, particularly jiu-jitsu and Judo as she seems to throw monsters (and what have you) around the floor.
2) My big observation: I don't think Ms Harper actually works at RDT. Someone as dangerous as she can only be a "resident" of the establishment. They just let her out on good behavior.
Entry 4 - Ulti
Annabelle Jane Harper
By the age of 8 she was learning to play both violin and trombone as well as showing aptitude for mathematics. Often skipping ahead of the rest of her peers. Annabelle had a passion for only one thing before math and music and that was the natural world, seeming always to have scabs from some adventure or another on her knees and elbows.
As she reached high school Annabelle dropped the violin but kept practicing trombone religiously, she was advanced in math, respected and well liked by her peers. In her school breaks she would disappear for days taking with her rations and some camping gear, her parents did not approve of her unexplained adventures, but with four other children to worry about they eventually began to trust Annabelle without going crazy during her absences.
By her high school graduation she was frustrated with the state of the world, she was sick of the modern life. She couldn’t wait to leave her small hometown and go somewhere where she could make a difference and contribute to the “greater good”; she had already had a few scrapes with the law over environmental protests.
Highly capable with a mathematical mind and a photographic memory Annabelle excelled in anything she cared to put her hand to. Her studious nature and perfect memory led her into working as a librarian part time while studying higher physics at university, with a particular interest in Chaos Theory. She dropped out, never getting around to finishing her degree.
Working in a library was the first step towards working for the CIA as an archivist. An ambition of Annabelle's was to make a difference and she felt her job made a real difference. Gradually the CIA began to jade her and make her cynical about human nature. Never knowing how cases turned out. Recording, filing and organizing information about some of the worst deeds performed by members of the human race for a few years was enough to convince her to try for transfer to any other government job, any department.
Co-incidentally at that time the RDT was looking for a new curator, the previous one had vanished leaving nothing but jumbled notes, cluttered hallways and what could be confused for a natural disaster zone. Mr. Tavlin was desperate to find someone capable of fixing up the mess and then staying on as the curator. The CIA heard of the potential disaster in the making and decided to cut the problems off at their roots by sending in one of their own people to clean up. Annabelle’s first move was taking care of sapient beings in the RDT, and using any of them willing to assist to tidy up. Golem was invaluable, and many others helped out in their own ways, she had won their respect with her logical attitude and attention to detail.
Entry 5 - Matt
Miz Harper overall view: She enjoys arguing almost to the extent of being sadistic. One would even say she's amused by the torment of morons or adversaries which is greatly reflected in her sardonic sense of humor. Often, if she is proven wrong by some freak chance, she quickly changes the subject even if it means involving sexual innuendo until someone calls her bluff. Enjoying empowerment but also seeking attention only if she deserves it, she yearns to become a great scientist AND a chart topping singer. Very seldom does anything shock her or at the very least does she SHOW it on the surface. When provoked, she resembles a Mack truck spliced with a rottweiler.
THE HISTORY: Annabelle Harper was born as an only child military brat under a since vanished U.S. Colonel. He was very proud of the spitfire in his little girl and only encouraged her behavior. Often, she was noted as beating up on much larger and older boys for the sake of hearing them cry. Once they began crying, she lost interest. Her mother, a substitute school teacher, taught her at home as they moved around the globe wherever her father was stationed. As she grew, her parents noticed that she had the keen intellect of her mother and the rugged military instincts of her father. Bored by the actions of other girls such as pining for boys and going shopping for clothing they didn't need, she dismissed them as stupid and chose instead to fight with the officers that served under her dad. Since she was a Colonel's daughter, they put up a convincing fight but ultimately succumbed to the arguments and physical onslaughts of this hydrogen bomb with red hair.
At the age of 18, her father vanished. Her mother moved on and settled in a the small New England city of Saratoga to work at Skidmore college. Annabelle, wanting to be with her mother so she didn't have to accept her father's disappearance, applied to enroll since it was free to the children of any faculty. A requirement of taking the SAT's was required since she possessed no "actual" high school or private school experience. Amazingly, she scored a 1600. Later, she took an IQ test quite by accident when she walked into the wrong classroom on a Saturday and figured it beat working on another ChemLab assignment. Once again, lightning struck when she scored a frightening 173. Her majors in college included Science, Psychology, Macro Economics, Literature, Renaissance Art, Western History, Advanced Applied Physics, pretty much any Martial Arts Study available, Theatre, Vocal Performance, and Sexual Education. She took the maximum of 25 credits a semester and attended Summer classes. She became eligible for an astounding 4 Master's Degrees in just two years. Oddly, the day of her graduation, she decided to enroll in the CIA. Not being an official college graduate, her mother pulled several strings her husband had to get her in. To date, she has not yet gone back to collect her degrees.
After completing the training, Miz Harper took every available assignment that involved danger, unresolved facts, and interrogation. She often traveled to some of the most remote and dangerous locales and seemed to be looking for something in particular in between jaunts and assignments but one can only speculate as to what. After five years of dedicated work and decoration for bravery under threat of death and breakthroughs in forensics and psychological tactics, she resigned after making a discovery in the jungles of Mexico and vanished from the public eye.
Of course, we're pretty sure where she went, aren't we?
Side notes about this: Miz Harper's relationship with Tavlin also makes sense with this. Her father was the only one she ever took "orders" from and for the most part the only male figure she ever respected. Tavlin to her is a father figure of sorts with his military background.
Her relationship with Davis? Davis is the embodiment of all things stupid to her. He is inadequacy, he is failure, he is a reminder of all those newbies she beat up and out debated as a kid. However, he is also a VERY controllable male and cute as well. Since she practically LIVES at the RDT, he's pretty much the piece of ass she's been in contact with in awhile.
Unless I miss my guess, the RDT's in Boston, right? Well, I lived in Saratoga for seven years and that's only three hours away. This still gives her a quit trip to her mom for visits and being in Boston, she has access to an airport, travel by sea, many different university references, and a ton of different museums to explore. A plus side is an endless supply of cannon fodder college interns. As WELL, Boston fits her needs for order almost perfectly. Did you know the bars close at 1:30am and Tattoo parlors are banned within city limits?