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NB: for a more organised index of Calliaphone's adventures, see her very own, personal index.


Before being whisked away to the Island, Calliaphone knew only one life: that of the traction fair circuit.

Her parents were academics, specialists in bio-electronic interface design, and both set for glittering careers full of international honours - when disaster struck. They met, and fell in love. Each saw in the other a kindred soul, sensed a hidden wildness, a secret passion for the odd, the quirky, the deviant and, especially, the brightly-coloured vintage traction engine 1).

Abandoning their work on post-ThinkCard prototypes, and exchanging their lab-coats for flat caps and dungarees, they eloped together and ran away to join the Trypsies - a troupe of clannish, pipe-smoking traction engineers, who roamed the country in steam-drawn caravans, unleashing all manner of gaudy mechanical rowdiness on unsuspecting neighbourhoods, along with clouds of pink candyfloss. Calliaphone herself arrived within the year, delivered by a midwife in a flat cap, in the back of a steam calliope.

Personality Traits

Raised among Trypsies, Calliaphone shares their passion for automata of all kinds. She can't see a broken machine without wanting to help it (nor, sometimes, a working one without wanting to dismantle it - just to get acquainted). She has no formal engineering qualifications, but she's a natural-born tinkerer, an instinctive mechanic. Despite her pathological clumsiness most of the time 2), she's surprisingly deft with a spanner or welding torch. And she was reading blueprints before she could . . . well, she still hasn't exactly mastered regular reading, even now.

Calliaphone has a taste for builder's tea, cheap coffee, Wurlitzer-tunes, and the smell of pipe-tobacco in the open air. Perpetually hungry, she will never turn down an offer of food 3) and she'll drink absolutely anything if someone else is buying4). Her favourite colour is candy-floss pink, but she generally loves all colours, so long as they're garish - especially when they're all mixed together with sparkles and fairy-lights. She does a mean wolf-whistle, and she's simply atrocious with money. Lend it to her at your own risk.

Usual Description

Calliaphone is a small lass with a big grin, a whole lotta freckles, and a little gap between her front teeth (ideal for whistling). She has grey-green eyes and pink plaits, and occasionally a stick-on moustache.

She usually wears dungarees and a disgusting tie-dye-top5), with a tweedy flat-cap on her head. A bit of a dull ensemble, really. So to brighten things up a bit, she's also acquired an emerald-green silk bandanna, a pair of mismatched boots, some lime green ribbons for the ends of her plaits, and a hot-pink pushup bra with pink cotton socks for padding (perhaps for the best, this last isn't all that visible, under the bullet-proof vest and battered accordion).

On her bandolier, she wears three badges. One is made of brass and bears the GERM logo. The second is rather professionally made from a beer-bottle cap and safety-pin. It depicts a fish in a deckchair, complete with sunglasses and fishing rod, snagging a beer-bottle on the end of the line. The third badge is a simple aluminium ring-pull6).

Joni the paper canary perches on the tip of her left ear, a little pink screwdriver is tucked behind her right ear, and she is often seen riding a home-made cart, stuffed full of her favourite toys and treasured possessions.

Adventures On-Island

It all began with a screwdriver. She knew she shouldn't have stolen it, but the homesickness was bad and the tools were right there on a workbench in the middle of town. Luckily for her, Uncle Bernard is senile a forgiving sort of chap, and instead of calling in the coppers, he welcomed her into GERM and gave her a roof over her head, a pigeonhole of her own and an endless supply of hobnobs and sandwiches.

Since then, Calliaphone has stumbled and tumbled all round the island, fixing things up and tripping over her feet whenever the opportunity arises. She was fortunate to meet the love of her life early on, and they've been inseparable (if not exclusive) ever since, even though she's not the marrying kind. One of these days she'll learn to play him properly.

The paper canary arrived later, courtesy of Marly. It gradually expanded its role from "singing at the first sign of trouble" to "generally trying (and frequently failing) to keep Callia out of trouble". Lately, it's gotten a bit discouraged, but perhaps it's just missing Darren. Other sometime companions include Rollmop the gopher, a much-loved tin-opener, and a frog.

Calliaphone arrived on the island complete with the belief that all machines are sentient. Somehow, through her entire (extended) childhood, no-one saw fit to correct this notion. And finding an island stacked to the teeth with sentient toasters and rice cookers and accordions did little to disabuse her of it.

Convinced that "machines are people too", it's small wonder she went to such lengths to avoid killing the Drive. Occasional slip-ups did occur, however (usually under the influence of strong intoxicants 7), or sleepwalking in the wake of stressful bank heists.)

Much distressed by these events, she eventually took counsel from wiser heads than hers. After which she determined to find the Drive - not for fighting but for talking, y'understand. Combat lessons were a must (since getting boinked on the head is no way to find the Drive), and soon the Bingo Hall fridge was filling up with gold stars from the Dojo.

Of course, as luck would have it, she found it by accident. We'll just gloss over what else she did by accident that day, shall we? And perhaps that's where the story would've ended, had she not tried her hand at skateboarding. . .

Other Information about Calliaphone

  • She is not related to anyone called Arbuthnot. Never has been. Can't swear she never will be, but she's really not the marrying kind.
  • She has never been in trouble with The Law not NEVER your honour it wasn't her she wasn't there cross my heart and hope to DIE and she doesn't know anything about any shovel NEITHER8)9)10)11)12)13)
1) Despite these undeniable peversions, any rumours asbout their involvement in PAELLA (the People's Anti Electronicals League and Liberating Army) probably just originated from a jealous colleague at the university, who'd been passed over for a big ol' prize. In fact, the very existence of PAELLA is a matter of debate. Most folks dismiss them as mere fiction - after all, if you don't believe that electronicals will ever thrive again, why would you worry about useless drop-out mech-heads and combustionists trying to prevent it from happening?
2) a fairground upbringing will teach even the clumsiest pup a few tricks
3) although now she has finally worked out that she's better off following Uncle Bernard around than braving Bruce's ire
4) but chocomilk, benylin-and-black, or something-from-the-cleaning-cupboard are usually high on the favourites list
5) courtesy of a kindly vegan zombie
6) in foreign parts I believe it's known as a cantab
7) sugar, alcohol, benylin, felt-pens, nutella, you name it. . .
8) shoplifting isn't a crime, right?
9) right! the stuff's sat there on the shelves like that, it's asking for it
10) in fact, you're actually doing it a favour, liberating it an' all
11) and twocking cars?
12) these questions are hypothetical right?
13) conspicuous silence
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calliaphone.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/28 03:34 (external edit)