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Gavia
Gavia
First Appearance Comic 21
Species Augmented Human
Gender Female

Gavia is an augmented human female from beyond the habitat (referred to as "spaceborne" by Alice) and is a main character. She is Ardent's sister.

Gavia came to the habitat in pursuit of Ardent, who had traveled here illegally. In order to find him, she "attacked" and terrorized the town so as to scare the townspeople into revealing his location Comic 29. This plan ended abruptly when Alice intervened and subdued her Comic 22,Comic 24.

Biography

Gavia is not native to the habitat. Rather, she is a visitor from another place. She has been raised in a technologically advanced civilisation and has nano-technology implanted in her body giving her many remarkable abilities, all largely indistinguishable from comic book super-powers. During her life prior to her arrival in he habitat, she appears to have lived under the guidance of one of the Praesides, named Cupressaceae.

Chapter 1

Gavia came to the habitat in pursuit of her brother Ardent. In an attempt to coerce the residents of the town to help her find her brother, she simulated an attack, detonating several explosions in the town (although she took care to avoid injuring anyone). This attracted the attention of the town's protector, Alice. Gavia was sufficiently scared by Alice's demeanour that she directly attacked with her pyrotechnic abilities. However, Alice was unharmed and responded by nearly beating Gavia to death, effortlessly punching her way through a nanotech shield. Only Ardent's intervention saved his sister's life.

Gavia healed rapidly and regained consciousness at Alice's cottage. There she revealed the reason behind her actions. Having found her brother, she attempted to return to her home but Cupressaceae did not respond to her calls; neither did any of the other Praesides.

Chapter 2

Marooned in the habitat with her brother, Gavia is currently living at the cottage under Alice's guardianship. Although she has little respect for the older woman, she obeys her scrupulously, even carrying out chores like cleaning up the cottage's outhouse. She is continuing to try to contact the Praesides but with no success.

One night, and much against her better judgement, she agrees to accompany Ardent in his trip through the forest to the Town. The trip very quickly goes bad. The two youngsters are startled by the appearance and strange behaviour of the gigantic Night Walker and end up fleeing into a cave where she nearly gets into a fight with the Giant Birds.

During the returning to Alice's cottage, Gavia questions Alice on several points and receives answers that raise significant questions about their host's true nature. Any attempt to discuss this with her easy-going brother seems pointless; he has no interest in the matter, focussing instead on his determination to again visit the town.

At this point, Gavia and Ardent are set upon by a trio of the local children. Frightened and furious at the attack, Gavia nearly lashes out with her full attacking power but is stopped when Arden districts her by hitting her with a stick. Alice, reluctantly, acknowledges that there is no alternative but to take the two youngsters back to the town because, otherwise, 'the town will come to you.'

Gavia's appearance naturally causes some concern amongst the residents of the town and Alice is forced to persuade (both by reason and threat) the locals not to respond to her violently. Even Amos, the ancient town elder, is antagonistic towards her.

Alice, Amos and Gavia get into a debate on the importance of free access to knowledge and the difference between fact and history. During this conversation, Alice denounces the history of the space-dwelling humans as a myth and concludes with the greatest revelation of all: that she was a living witness to the true history of the division of the human race into high- and low-technology groups.

Chapter 3

Alice and Gavia proceed to have a lengthy discussion on the nature of various aspects of Alice's story, including the existence of fully-sentient AIs (something Gavla has been told is impossible) and Alice's claim to be many thousands of years old. Alice brushes off Gavia's disbelief and the two go to find Ardent.

They catch up with Gavia's brother in the aftermath of his 'Upgrading' the pump component of a water standpipe. Gavia is an increasingly terrified witness of Alice's increasingly paranoid behaviour and, when Alice announces that she has to kill Ardent to protect the Habitat, she is willing to fight Alice to protect him, despite her previous defeat.

Chapter 4

Gavia travels with Alice and Ardent to find Sedna. En route she rescues Ardent from a giant chameleon. She is initially distrustful of Sedna, given Sedna's armed attack on Alice. During the night, the Night Walker catches up with Gavia, and takes all her nanotech, leaving her in a coma.

Chapter 5

Gavia is in a coma for three weeks, dreaming of a diving bird. When she comes-to, she attacks Ardent, but realises that she has to come to terms with not having nanotech. She is not, however, "baseline" and is able to instantly tan her skin to protect herself from the Sun.

Appearance

Gavia is seen to have extremely pale skin, short black hair, and red eyes. When initially encountered, she is wearing a white dress with dark gray edging.

Speculation — The following material is not confirmed.

The name "Gavia" has several potential meanings: It is the scientific name for the genus to which the diving birds known as "Loons" belong. It is also the name used in Latin for a type of duck called a Smew. These are both black and white water-birds, not dissimilar to the clothes Gavia wears. Gavia is also the name of a prominent Roman family and a mountain in Lombardy. Both Ardent and Gavia have been used as the names of USS minesweepers.

Speculation Ends

Background

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Gavia is a member of a subsection of the human race seemingly exiled to space habitats by a supernatural event that ended an increasingly bloody war between pro- and anti-technology human factions. She has lived her entire life under the rule of the Praesedes and trusts them implicitly to the point where being out of their immediate care is distressing. Nothing is known of Gavia's upbringing or live prior to her arrival in the town in pursuit of Ardent.

Knowledge & Equipment

Gavia is shown to possess advanced technology and can be assumed to have the necessary knowledge to use it. During her initial confrontation with Alice, Gavia is seen to be able to fly or hover, create explosions at will and even conjure up a shield for her own defense (Comic 23). While the source of the explosions is not yet confirmed (no missiles or projectiles of any sort were seen), Alice identifies the shield as nanotech. In Comic 31, Alice notes that Gavia's "pyrotechnic display" was just for show, and that she clearly used restraint (having the capability to have caused death or injury with the explosions, but choosing not to). In Comic 83, she is able to manifest two knuckleduster-like weapons; it is not clear if these are energy constructs, or if her nano-machines actually assembled into physical objects.

Gavia also has the ability to move whilst suspended a distance above the ground. She described this in Comic 64 as being a direct result of her nanotech, with a "skein of nanomachines" generating lifting force that negates the planet's gravitational pull. The limits of the lifting capability of her nanomachines is unknown although, in Comic 39, she is shown hovering several times her height in the open air.

Gavia prefers flight to physical locomotion. In Comic 43, she is shown automatically attempting to fly from safety when feeling threatened by the Night Walker. This is despite this is a relatively slow way of moving and normal running would be much faster.

In Comic 36, Gavia is shown manipulating a wooden pail without being in physical contact with it. It is possible that this ability is related to her flight ability in some way.

In the same comic, Ardent reminds her that she used her nanotech to clean the outhouse of Alice's cottage. The precise means by which she achieved this feat are unknown.

Physical Traits

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She is very short by human standards and her body proportions suggest that she is not yet a fully-grown adult. She also has very pale skin, possibly a symptom of the fact she has lived her entire life on a space habitat out of direct exposure to sunlight.

Personality

Despite her extraordinary abilities, Gavia has a very childish personality. She can be demanding, uses insulting language (sometimes without really knowing it) and reacts in extreme ways to emotional stimuli. For example, despite mostly simulating her attack on the town, Alice's 'scary' demeanour was enough to make her use lethal force. She clearly had no real understanding of why her behaviour would trigger a violent response, further emphasising her childishness. Alice clearly understands Gavia's immature nature; in Comic 38, she mentions that she cannot leave Gavia "to her own devices" at the cottage whilst escorting Ardent to the town.

Gavia also has a forceful personality, quick to take charge and act decisively. She has shown no interest in waiting for some manner of consensus with others before doing so.

Gavia was clearly concerned at the possibility that she may have caused harm to the 'primitives' during her 'attack'. This suggests that she also has a gentler side to her personality. Despite this, she has a violent temper and, if threatened or off-balance may react with the full attacking power of her nanotech without necessarily thinking of the consequences.

Gavia is strongly pro-technology. It is her belief that, as humans prowess as tool-makers very much defines their nature and success as a species, only by using technology to its utmost can you truly be experiencing the human condition. She also notes that her technologically-provided levitation abilities are 'cool'. She is so habituated to using her levitation abilities that, even when in peril, she will attempt to 'float' to safety rather than run (which is faster). In Comic 51, she is shown to sleep whilst floating about half a metre in the air.

Although Gavia is clearly frightened by the new and unusual, she has courage enough not to freeze. In Comic 45, she shows she is willing to fight the Giant Birds, despite being outnumbered and them being vastly larger in size.

Family & Relationships

Ardent (Brother)

Gavia has a brother, Ardent. When Gavia intially appears, she is in an extremely aggressive mood and appears to be hunting him down. When she regains consciousness following the confrontation she still appears to be relatively angry at him, in a way that is typical of siblings, but her attitude softens somewhat as it becomes clear that Alice is now in charge. Gavia holds her brother responsible for her life being ruined by his desire for a vacation.

Despite their occasional arguments, Ardent is very important to Gavia. She was willing to fight Alice to protect him, despite the ease with which Alice nearly killed her in her previous fight.

Gavia's confrontational relationship with her brother may be related to their diametrically opposite positions on technology as part of the human condition.

Alice

Gavia has a strained relationship with her host/jailer. The two have strongly opposed belief systems and Alice's tendency to treat Gavia as a fool or a dangerously unstable hazard to others irks Gavia. However, Gavia is clearly fascinated with the breadth of knowledge Alice possesses. Although she is wary of accepting the older woman's often-fantastical claims, she continues to question her in an attempt to understand the world where she has become marooned.

Gavia's relationship with Alice has been disrupted by Alice's abortive attempt to kill Ardent and it is clear that she is uncertain if the ancient woman is sane.

Cupressaceae (Praeses)

Cupressaceae is the Prases directly responsible for Gavia and Ardent. Gavia has complete trust in it and the thought of being without its assistance clearly frightens her. She continues to attempt to contact the Prasides even weeks after her initial failure.

Gavia profoundly trusts in the Praesedies and the history of her culture as they tell it. Alice's claims that they are withholding the full truth and have actively lied to her on occasion disturb her greatly.

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