Posts Tagged ‘special agent’

Day Two Hundred and Thirteen: The Iron Avatar

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

For the month of December, I’ll be world-building. This means taking a look at the people, places, and institutions that I have created over the last six months and trying to figure out more about them. This will involve a look at the stories in which they’ve appeared, and then some speculation, stream-of-consciousness writing, and with any luck a few revelations. In addition, I may come back and add new material as the Elves in my unconscious ship out new ideas, so I’ll be sure to link them up.

Your feedback as readers is, of course, more than welcome. There are probably questions that I’m forgetting to ask and holes that I need to fill.

Wish me luck!


All right – the Randomizer has spit out an interesting one for us today. This is a character that I created on a whim, out of a desire to write a male Mary Sue story – a Marty Stu, as it were. I’m not entirely sure it succeeded, but it was fun to write. Ladies and Gentlemen, Khrys Ferro, from Special Agent Khrys Ferro, parts 1 through 3. Let’s see what the stories have to say about this Man of Action!

133: Part One

  • Chief Jerrold Mire hates Khrys Ferro.
  • Ferro once blew up a busload of nuns. They were terrorist nuns, yes, but still. It’s an image problem.
  • He has a “lean, athletic frame,” green eyes, “impossibly white teeth,” and a baritone voice. He dresses casually.
  • He can impale a fly with an unfolded paperclip while the fly is in mid-flight.

134: Part Two

  • Ferro is a master at driving sports cars and making them do ridiculous things.

135: Part Three

  • He knows how to pick handcuffs.
  • He’s gay. And has a thing for Tanner Quan.

I did this story because, as I said, I wanted to write a Mary Sue. What’s a Mary Sue, you might ask? Well, according to the fine folks at TVTropes [1] she is:

an original female character in a fanfic who obviously serves as an idealized version of the author mainly for the purpose of Wish Fulfillment. She’s exotically beautiful, often having an unusual hair or eye color, and has a similarly cool and exotic name. She’s exceptionally talented in an implausibly wide variety of areas, and may possess skills that are rare or nonexistent in the canon setting. She also lacks any realistic, or at least story-relevant, character flaws — either that or her “flaws” are obviously meant to be endearing.

She has an unusual and dramatic Back Story. The canon protagonists are all overwhelmed with admiration for her beauty, wit, courage and other virtues, and are quick to adopt her as one of their True Companions, even characters who are usually antisocial and untrusting; if any character doesn’t love her, that character gets an extremely unsympathetic portrayal. She has some sort of especially close relationship to the author’s favorite canon character — their love interest, illegitimate child, never-before-mentioned sister, etc. Other than that, the canon characters are quickly reduced to awestruck cheerleaders, watching from the sidelines as Mary Sue outstrips them in their areas of expertise and solves problems that have stymied them for the entire series.

In other words, she’s the character that the author wishes she could be, if she were somehow transported to that world. Having arisen out of fanfic, there was a rather sexist connotation to it – the term implied both that only women wrote fanfic, and that only women would be so crass as to create such a blatant author avatar. Surely men would be immune to such things!

Well, no. The Marty Stu is the male version of this, as guys are just as prone to idealizing themselves in fiction as women are. He is:

devastatingly handsome (or if not, possessed of a strange, saturnine magnetism) and desired by all significant women, yes, but romance is not likely to be the main dish. He’s an unstoppable fighter, a rogue agent, a fearless freedom fighter, a master of disguise. However, as times have changed, just as Mary’s acquired a bratty temper, Marty’s had the occasional opportunity to show his softer side.

So you can see where I was going with Khrys Ferro.

As for the name, that’s pretty simple – I just tweaked the spelling of my own given name, and then hunted around for a “manly” surname. I didn’t want to go with Steele or Irons or Rock or something like that, but Ferro seemed to fit. It’s the Latin for “iron,” and one of my favorite Legion of Super-Heroes characters. [2] And so Khrys Ferro was born. Having done that, I pretty much just fit him to the template and watched what happened.

The one twist I put on him, of course, is that he was gay. Partly because if he’s going to be an author avatar, then he should at least be marginally authentic, and also because it kind of plays against the expectation that he’ll be hooking up with a hot lady somewhere in the story.

Interestingly enough, when I was plotting the story out in my head, there was a female character who worked in the Department of National Security offices who was just a-flutter over Khrys Ferro. If he asked, she would have dragged him into the nearest broom closet at a moment’s notice. And Khrys was going to be nice to her, but not in the way she was expecting. He was going to be nice because she was a good agent who deserved his respect. He had zero interest in sleeping with her whatsoever, which would have made for some wacky hijinks.

I’m not sure why that scene didn’t make it in. Probably because I was telling the story from the point of view of Tanner Quan, so it was a little harder to get Ferro and the Nameless Woman together in the same scene. Maybe in the re-writes I can manage it, or in another Khrys Ferro story.

The reason I wanted to tell it from the POV of Tanner, of course, was that it made it much easier to idealize Ferro. Here we have a young agent who’s just itching to get out into the field, partnered up with a guy who is a living action hero. Tanner idealizes Ferro, which is what you need for this kind of character. We don’t want to see his flaws or his inner torments – we want to see him chock full of confidence as he executes some split-second driving to derail a freight train with a Ferrari.

Also, it made it easier to hide the Gay Twist.

Despite my best intentions, I think I’ll hold on to Ferro for a little while, just to see if I can get anything of substance out of him. Where does this boundless cockiness and skill come from? What is going on inside that gorgeous head of his? And, of course, what kind of gay man is he? It seems that he’s not very open about it with his co-workers, which is kind of the soft spot in his armor. The only reason he soul-kissed Tanner was because he thought that Tanner might have died. The great Khrys Ferro was overcome by emotion, which made him drop his Manly Man facade for a moment. Can we see more of this? Will he let us? Who knows?

Either way, I think I can make him work. We’ll see…


[1] Motto: Come For A Moment, Stay For A Lifetime!
[2] Post Zero-Hour, mind you. The original was a little too cocky for my taste.