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#7 - Star Kotze

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JLA DOSSIER

n. BCT - 134217 YUF


CIVILIAN NAME

Inkwenkwezi "Star" Kotze


SUPERHERO IDENTITY

(still undecided; her teammates call her Star in her costumed identity too)


PERSONAL AND PHYSICAL DATA

Born: November 8, 1984
Age: 18
Civilian profession: owner and manager of the Downtown Boardworks skate shop
Marital status: in a relationship with Gabriel Everett-Thompson
Birthplace: Port Elizabeth (RSA)
Height: 173 cm (5' 8")
Weight: 63 kg (139 lbs.)
Eye color: hazel
Hair color: black (dyed platinum blond on the top of her head)
Measurements: 34D-24-35
Blood type: AB-
Shoe size: 10 US female
Distinguishing features: hemihypertrophic legs (left leg 1/4 of an inch longer than the right one); high-instep feet


STATUS IN THE METAHUMAN COMMUNITY

- Daughter of Philippus Kotze (b. 1955, d. 1997) and Ndileka Tshwete (b. 1956), high-ranking, RSA-based operatives of the League of Assassins;

- Her older brother Titus Kotze (21) is the operative of the League of Assassins known as Asem ('Breath' in Afrikaans), active especially in the Republic of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana;

- Member (#7 in the internal rankings) of the Inner Circle of students of the Mirai dojo, i.e. the group of students who are being trained to become heroes by the dojo's staff (and help said staff during the lessons attended by civilians);

- Member of the Gotham Knights since October 2000;

- 3 honorable mentions in the JLA register of young vigilantes.


ORIGIN

1. Unsung Heroes. Starting in 1983, the struggle of the Black peoples of South Africa against the apartheid regime became a battlefield for two of the world's most notorious terrorist organizations: the Sect of Shadows and the League of Assassins. The former and the South African government had been 'business partners' ever since the Shadows had helped jump-start the Republic's nuclear weapon program. The Presiding Committee of course had an interest in keeping things the way they were. Ra's Al-Ghul, on the other hand, was not really interested in the plight of South African non-Whites, but would have never passed on a chance put a spoke in his hated rivals' wheel and promptly formed a special task force of Assassins to counteract every move of the Shadows which could favor P.W. Botha and his cadres. This task force was led by two South African League officials: Philippus Kotze and Ndileka Tshwete. They were very fine operatives, but the fact that a Boer man and a Xhosa woman, who were also husband and wife, were put at the head of a force tasked with ruining the chances of survival of apartheid was way too not to think that it had been done on purpose. For ten years Mr. and Mrs. Kotze and their troops waged a secret war against the pro-government Shadows while knowing that their deeds would have never been written in any history book. It wasn't just a fight for their organization and for their home country, but for a better future for their children, too. As parents, they felt a duty to leave a better world to Titus (b. 1982) and Inkwenkwezi (b. 1984).

2. No Good Deed. The task force was dissolved in late 1993, a few months after the Shadows officially threw in the towel with South Africa, and the Kotzes were put in semi-active status by the new leader of the League of Assassins, Talia Al-Ghul, so that they could spend more time with their son and daughter. Titus and Inkwenkwezi (more commonly known as 'Star' in her group of friends) were growing strong and healthy. Each of them had been told the truth about their parents' true job when they had reached their 9th birthday and, from their point of view, despite the grim name the Assassins were the greatest heroes in the whole world and they were amazed by finding out that they would started training to join the organization on the day after their 17th birthday. Unfortunately, this idyllic state of things was cut short three and a half years later when Philippus Kotze was brutally murdered in the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, right in front of his wife. The masked killer-- who was probably a child, judging from Mrs. Kotze's description-- had probably been sent to eliminate both of them, but had fled after a moment of hesitation. Seeing her husband being swiftly taken from her forever, without being able to do anything for him, had been a terribly traumatic experience for Ndileka. Even semi-active status was too much for her, since she fell prey of panic attacks every time she was separated from her children for more than one hour. Under Ra's Al-Ghul it's hard to say what would have happened to her. But under his daughter, she was just ' honorably discharged' from the League and a new home was found for her and her family in a place with very limited Sect presence. Gotham City. On the other hand, plans for Titus and Inkwenkwezi had not changed. In due time, they would start their training to become operatives.

3. Hanging By A Thread. Star's new life in America was a reasonably happy one. A skateboard enthusiast, the lively skateboarding community helped her fit in chaotic and oppressive Gotham much more than anything else. At fifteen she had become one of the 'people to beat' of the Paris Island skate park, the largest in all of Downtown. She was popular with boys, her grades at school were more than decent and the qualified analysts paid by Talia had helped her mother a lot with overcoming her trauma. However, when her brother turned 17 in February 1999 and left to join other LoA recruits who were training somewhere in the Sahel, she started feeling a huge weight on her shoulders. Perhaps she was just worse than Titus at not letting anxiety affect her and focus only on her duty, but her perception of the League had changed over the years. She wished to have control of her life to be able to take it into a completely different direction, but since she couldn't think of a worthwhile alternative, she feared that she had just become a selfish coward. The solution to this dilemma came on an afternoon of early August 2000 in the form of a teenage boy who came to the skate park of Paris Island to find somebody who could teach him how to skateboard. Star found him incredibly cute in how out of place he looked in the realm of the best skaters of Downtown and decided to adopt him. His name was Timothy Drake, but she immediately rechristened him 'Timbo'.

4. Dangerous Friends. Timbo was a good student and generally a pleasant person to have around. She learnt about the falling-out between him and his father which had brought him to run away from home only a few weeks before and he officially gained her respect, since she wished she had as much resolve as him to say 'no' to a life she didn't want. Every habitué of Paris Island was waiting for the moment one of them would put the moves on the other, but Timbo already had a fiancée and Star did not chase after other girls' boyfriends. They were just a pair of very loyal friends, as he showed when he kept coming to Paris Island even after graduating her 'school'. He liked spending time with her and the same could be said for Star. Unfortunately, this friendship ended up involving Star into a huge trouble. On an October evening, while taking a shortcut to reach a place where they could grab a bite before going back to their respective homes, both Timbo and Star felt something biting into their necks and quickly collapsed on the dirty ground. She woke up later that night on a helicopter, her jacket and footwear having been removed and feeling ropes biting her ankles, knees and most of her torso. She saw Timbo-- who had likely woken up earlier than her-- in a similar predicament, with the difference that he was also being dangled from his ankles out of the door of the helicopter, who was flying 2,000 feet over the city. He was complimenting the breath-taking view. Once the henchman got tired of his sick game, she said that she would really like an explanation. Thus she found out that the seemingly innocuous Timbo was also Robin, the most famous young vigilante in Gotham City, and that some very bad people had finally found him after he had crossed them one time too many during his stay in France. While he was saying that and even afterwards, while they were waiting to reach their destination, he looked like he was perfectly in control of the situation, despite the bad hand they had been dealt. But Star, who was good at getting inside other people's heads, noticed that that was only the mask he was wearing for her sake. He knew very well that that could have been the end for both of them, but he just couldn't let his friend fall into despair. And Star chose to believe that crazy boy playing the part of the invincible hero.

5. Enlightenment. Luckily for Star and Timothy, his teammates managed to track them down and come to their help and the very bad people who had ordered their kidnapping killed each other suspecting betrayal among their ranks-- saving Mr. Drake's secret identity in the process. Star, however, had been deeply changed by the experience. Her reluctance to forswear her duty to the League had been motivated by her inability to envision a purpose to fulfill with such determination that she would have stood up even to one of the world's largest terrorist organizations. Timbo, conversely, had found such a purpose back when he was 13 and, as he had showed her on the helicopter, his strength and bravery had become contagious. A few days later, Star Kotze appeared on the threshold of 96 Gorfinkel Street. She was ready to start her training as a vigilante.


METAHUMAN POWERS

None


OTHER SKILLS

- She started skateboarding at the age of 5, back when she still lived in South Africa. As a professional, she placed second in the Gotham City Pro League in 2001 and won it in 2002;

- She learnt from Ma Kai the subtle arts of (1) playing games of chance, (2) recognizing when they are fixed and (3) turning them in her favor nonetheless if possible. She also begged him to teach her all the magician-like trick employing a deck of cards he knows of, since they never fail to impress during parties and can be employed as a very useful distraction;

- Lethal from 1,800 meters (1,969 yd) with a sniper rifle and from 500 meters (547 yards) with a handgun. She can reload an automatic pistol in 1.8 seconds.

- As a martial artist, she's specialized in the following disciplines: (1) Bojuka [teacher: Huntress, who learnt about it just three years ago and finds it quite effective in one-against-many situations] and (2) Judo [teacher: Black Canary, who thinks that Star has the makings of a really good judoka if only she made a bigger effort].


LIMITATIONS

- She knows better than to act prideful in the presence of enemies and to undervalue the danger they represent, especially when they happen to have the upper hand, but she still has a lot of trouble keeping her sharp wit and tongue in check. In stark contrast to her boyfriend, whose self-deprecating humor amused quite a few of his many captors, who subsequently chose to spare him unnecessary torments, Star's talent with coming up with stealth insults on the spot has earned her a lot of pain which she could have easily avoided if she had just stayed quiet in the presence of her jailers. Helena Bertinelli's efforts to improve her discipline have been focused especially on teaching her to hold her tongue and appreciate the importance of being silent, but actual results have so far been limited;

- She's well behind all other members of the Mirai Inner Circle when it comes to the arcane art of qi manipulation taught by Dinah Lance and, to a limited extent, Helena Bertinelli. As of now, she's not even managed to master the ability to keep physical pain under control, a skill which would have been immensely useful during the times she was wounded during missions, while the other Gotham Knights are busy learning techniques for rapid healing. It's Ms. Lance's opinion that Star's difficulties might be a consequence of her supremely extroverted personality and refined inter-personal intelligence. She's so good at reaching out to other people that all of her attention and all of her empathy is always allocated outwards. From her point of view, searching inside her-- and therefore inwards-- might just feel like an unnatural course of action;


SEXUALITY

She’s fond of saying that she’s not allowed anymore to call herself heterosexual after some of the things she had to do for the sake of the Glamour Squad, but the reality is that, romantically speaking, she’s always been exclusively into boys. Her first two boyfriends were skaters like herself, but neither fling was a particularly long-lasting one. The first one had way too much love to offer to restrict himself to a single relationship at a time, while the second one pretty much demanded her to start behaving like a geisha every time he did anything for her. From her point of view, there are only two relationships of hers which are worth talking about:

  • Timothy Drake, the first boy she ever truly loved, with a love so pure that she feels like sex has nothing to do with it, despite the fact that she’s intimately convinced that her feelings for him would take a different shape if Tim were a girl. The thought of how hollow her life would be without him is very distressing for her (and the same can be said for him), but that is justified by her current life being possible to begin with because she met Tim. As the counselor of Ms. Kotze suggested, her relationship with Mr. Drake is about faith as much as it is about love. He gives her faith that a single person can make a difference and that she’s not crazy for wishing to make things better for people she doesn’t even know;

  • Gabriel Everett-Thompson is her ideal man, a genuine nice guy-- and she’s had her fair share of people who just kept calling themselves nice guys despite being everything but-- with an admirable goal in life, the strength and determination he needs to pursue it and the willingness to have someone walking at his side on his path towards it. No one could ever assert in good faith that the foundation of their relationship is sex, but Star is ready to admit that she used to think that it was an overrated experience before she started sleeping with Gabriel. Despite her judgment being a little skewed by him being her boyfriend, she just needs to look at him to be reminded of the good side of humanity and why doing one's best to inspire it is a good cause.

Ms. Kotze is the dom of Gabriel in the BDSM aspect of their relationship and of Timothy every time she and Stephanie do some healthy couple swapping-- and, arguably, at the workplace. Interestingly, she wasn’t at all inclined towards sadistic fantasies before getting together with him. She simply decided to take a stab at playing that part once she found out about her boyfriend’s kinks and with time became very good at it. And like it often happens when someone finds out they have a talent, she started deriving pleasure from putting it to use. However, dominating another person is something she’d do only when that person is somebody she’s already intimate with. And that can be sort of an issue, since despite her lack of innate dominating tendencies, she’s been told by quite a few people that she has a pretty powerful ‘step-on-me factor’, that is, something about her which tends to reveal the submissive side of a man. Admirers of hers like Hoanui Greyhurst and Prince Kasi of Nsudal were pretty vocal about the fact that they wouldn’t have minded letting her do absolutely anything she wished to them, but since she didn’t exactly like them that way, nothing relevant from a BDSM perspective came out of those situations.
Star might also be the only female foot fetishist at 96 Gorfinkel Street, at least when it comes to her boyfriend’s feet. She’s never hidden the fact that she feels a form of attraction for them. On one hand, due to the regenerating side-effect of his transmutation powers, the skin of Mr. Everett-Thompson’s feet is always extremely smooth, soft and sensitive, which makes them a very alluring target for a playful torturer. On the other, the fact that she likes using his soles as a dish to consume meals on-- often without using cutlery-- hints at a kind of attraction which isn’t connected to sadist desires.


SPIRITUALITY


Atheism is strictly enforced on all devotees of the League of Assassins. The only kind of spiritual life they're permitted can develop only within the tight confines of 'The Concept', a re-elaborated version of the Greek-Roman Stoic philosophy drafted by Ra's Al-Ghul himself in the early 1700's. It should come as no surprise that Star didn't receive a religious education from her parents when she was a child, since her fate from the day she was born was a lifetime of militancy in the League, but rather a philosophical one, based entirely on the Concept. This has left an understandably big psychological imprint on her. Even today, after Star won against all odds her freedom from the LoA and has power over all her life choices, it isn't hard to recognize just by talking with her that her rock-solid moral imperatives about individual duty and honorable behavior were unmistakably shaped by the Concept. She just acknowledged that there's a way to employ such imperatives in ways which do not involve obeying the will of the Al-Ghul's.


KEY MOMENTS

- Star had found Amazing Man IV to be a very attractive and sunny-natured young man from the moment he joined the team, but things between them evolved only three weeks later, when she was sent to recover him after the criminals who had captured him had set him free-- in the widest sense of the word, since she found him tied up in a cocoon of duct tape and metal packing strips, his mouth filled with the most excessive gag she had ever seen. It took two hours of non-stop work for her to cut through the layers of self-vulcanizing rubber and fiberglass webbing which he wore like a car tire around the lower part of his head and another two to pull out the half pound of hardened putty and the billiard ball jammed between his jaws. All of this while he was still encased in his cocoon and she was cursing at him, his ineptitude and his uselessness for three hours out of four. However, once he was finally free of the gag, tears running down his cheeks and the mark of her heel very visible on his forehead and between his eyes, he smiled at her, thanked her for her hard work and promised that he would be more cautious the next time. She had never felt as close to a boy as in that moment, not even Timothy. That wasn’t the answer of a complete doormat of a man, but rather that of somebody very much like herself, struggling to do her best in a context where slight mistakes could have consequences much more terrible than excessive bondage and a sore jaw. And there he was, owning his mistakes rather than being crushed by them and facing the future with a smile. In hindsight, that was the moment she fell in love with Gabriel;

- She played a paramount role in the Gotham Knights' adventure in the lost city of Nsudal, being the only teen hero who evaded capture, freeing the imprisoned prince Kasi, helping him assembling the people still loyal to him and fighing alongside this brigade against the usurping Witch Queen Kinsa. During the climactic battle at the city's Royal Palace, she even defeated Vuyandi, chief of the Palace Guards, who had been made him invulnerable by Kinsa's magic, in 1-vs-1 combat. Star thus became the biggest celebrity in Nsudal after the Avenging Prince and that became sort of an issue. Nobody, either courtier or centuries-old law, would have gotten in the way of Kasi declaring his eternal love to her, one of the shining lights of the rebellion, and his intention to make her his wife and queen. Ms. Kotze hadn't been Mr. Thompson-Everett's girlfriend for long at the time, but she was pretty sure that she loved him. Let alone that she wasn't willing to turn her back neither on Robin, who had inspired her to become a vigilante, nor on her other teammates, who had become the closest friend she had ever had. On the other hand, she couldn't ignore the depth of Kasi's feelings for her. She was genuinely impressed by the extraordinary transformation the dethronized prince had undergone in the time they had spent together. She had found him a hollow husk of a young man, incapable even of rage against the people who had deprived him of his birthright, and then witnessed him gradually recovering his will to live and putting effort into becoming a better person each passing day. And she knew, deep in her heart, that she was the one thing above everything else, even the prospect of getting his throne back, which had inspired him to do all that. She could see it in his eyes every time she looked into them. And she also knew that, deep down, a part of her wanted to reciprocate his feelings more than anything in the world. Although, with the benefit of hindsight, Ms. Kotze's choice to leave Nsudal along with her friends was the only possible one, she insisted to file this experience under this section of her dossier since at the time she really felt like her life was at a crossroads;

- The return of Barbara Gordon to Gotham City in early Spring 2002 was a turning point in the ‘education’ of Star Kotze-- not so much for the addition of Oracle to the list of the Gotham Knights mentors as for Barbara’s boyfriend, Kai, moving to 96 Gorfinkel Street. It was him who noticed Star’s talent for getting into people’s heads and started discussing ways to develop and refine it with her and it was while she was listening to him recounting his feats when he was the ‘Sublime Master of Charm’ for the Sun Yee On Triad that she had the idea of creating the Glamour Squad. On her part, Ms. Kotze managed to persuade him to expand his horizons as a teacher and become one for all the Knights, rather than just her alone;



OUTSTANDING FEATS


- Robin was the mind behind the infiltration of the League of Assassins' complex deep into the cordillera of the Andes successfully carried out by the team composed by himself and Star, but it was the latter who actually achieved the objective that infiltration had been planned for: persuading the supreme leader of the organization, Talia Al-Ghul, to leave her free to pursue her own life goals. However, the stunt the duo had pulled to meet Talia weighed against their chances to make the latter lose interest in Star. The incredible amounts of sheer talent and bravery they undeniably possessed if they had managed to infiltrate one of the most secure installations in the world made the teenage girl an even more desirable commodity in her mind. According to the Daughter of the Demon, she had done a disservice to herself by coming to her. On the other hand, Star had a reply for that statement. She reminded Al-Ghul of another young woman who, years before, had pulled an equally impressive stunt to reach her attic in Singapore so that she could prostrate herself and offer her life and freedom to the woman who had saved her. She had been forced to risk the very thing she would eventually offer if she succeeded because it was the only way for Talia to ensure that she would completely commit herself, body and soul, to serve her. That woman was Dinah Lance, i.e. the one who had believed that Star could really become a heroine. And thanks to Dinah's experience, Star knew that Talia realized that the quality of hers-- and Tim's, of course-- which had helped her defy all odds and overcome every obstacle was the sheer amount of determination a person needs to look at an impossible feat and utter "I can do this". Dinah had to show that she possessed that kind of iron will to become Talia's personal servant since otherwise keeping her that close would have been unthinkable. Now the Daughter of the Demon was confronted by somebody who had shown a comparable amount of determination by coming to her just to say that she refused to serve her. Talia conceded that she had a point. The daughter of Philippus and Ndileka would be free of any obligation towards the League for the rest of her life and neither her family members nor her friends would be at risk of retaliations of any sort from Talia;


- She and her teammate Timothy Drake scored an atrocious 30/100 in the survival exercise held in mid-January 2003. The Gotham Knights were divided in groups of two and each group was tasked with reaching one out of four mountain shelters lost in the snow-clad Rockies on foot from a common departure point in north-western Colorado and, once they arrived at destination, performing four quests in the hostile environment. The quests were pretty straightforward, but teamwork was absolutely necessary to achieve each objective and the teens were not allowed to bring any item from their usual hero equipment with them. Once they carried out all four quests, they had all the time they needed to rest before reaching the rendezvous point exactly one week after the beginning of the exercise. Or at least that was the way things were supposed to go, until Tim fell off from a cliff edge during the outward journey to the shelter because he had failed to fasten the snap-hook on his end of the rope properly. It wasn't a long fall, but he landed right on a snow slab igniting a small avalanche in the process. It was nothing short of a miracle that Star was able to track down his unconscious body, completely buried in the snow, the emergency communication device he was carrying nowhere to be found. She then dragged him all the way to the shelter, which was by then much closer to their position than the departure point, and spent the first day in a tug-of-war with Lady Death for the life of her teammate and the rest of the week before nursing him back to health. The final score was actually the mean value between two individual scores, since the teachers thought that their team's case deserved a different approach. To be precise, Tim's performance in the exercise was rated an unappealable zero while Star's got a passing mark, 60/100, since her cool head and swift, faultless treatments had saved her teammate from certain death by hypothermia;


- On the late evening of April 27 2003, in a private room of the Casino of Montecarlo reserved to poker, she won 24 million Euros at a game of Omaha hold'em that saw Star finishing in the final two with Countess Erica Alessandra dal Porto, ex-wife of Metropolis tycoon Lex Luthor and, most importantly, head of the criminal organization known as The Agenda (q.v. JLA Dossier n. NGB - 234502 DEQ). The Countess thought that the American so-called heroine was there to to spy on her illegal operations under a false identity. Instead, from the beginning of the tournament 48 hours earlier, she had been functioning as a decoy to distract her attention from what was going on in The Agenda's secret laboratory for human experimentation in north-eastern Corsica. Dal Porto learnt about the loss of her organization's most valuable asset at the hands of the Gotham Knights and INTERPOL minutes after going all-in against her full house with only a flush in her hands and losing everything, but by that time Star had already vacated the Casino. Ms. Kotze destined all of her winnings to a charity fund for the victims of The Agenda's crimes against humanity, except for the money she needed to pay the debts she had incurred to play the part of a very wealthy heiress with a gambling addiction for two whole days.



FUN FACTS


- Her mother will always be the most important woman in her life, but she'll never forgive her for choosing 'Inkwenkwezi' as her only daughter's given name. It's not that she chose the Xhosa word for 'star'-- she's never been anything but proud of her native African ancestry and thinks there a lot of beautiful Xhosa names-- but rather that she chose a word that nobody had ever thought of using as a girl's name, since it's just a syllable away from inkwenkwe ("a boy" in isiXhosa). Even worse, Mrs. Kotze adamantly stands by her choice to this day and is the only person in the whole world who refuses to call her anything but 'Inkwenkwezi'. It gets quite annoying for Star when her mother and she are not the only people around;


- She often goes skateboarding barefoot, a habit she acquired since was a child. Practicing the discipline that way is not completely unheard of-- after all, back when it was just a pastime for Californian surfers looking for something to do when waves were flat everyone performed barefoot-- but in her case it's mostly for comfort since, due to her high-instep feet, she's prone to developing ingrown toenails if she doesn't wear very specific types of shoes and orthopedic insoles. Skateboarding with those on tends to be quite awkward and therefore most of the time she opts to fix the root of the problem and do without shoes. The only stunt she accurately avoids while not wearing shoes is the kickflip, since she literally grated half of her right foot's sole the first time she attempted it. Interestingly, she was barefoot on that pivotal Saturday afternoon when she met Timothy for the first time. During the first half hour or so of teaching him the fundamentals after taking him under her wing, Star noticed that his gaze was fixed on her lower extremities even while she wasn't showing him how to perform the first few basic moves and that he was sweating a little too much for that day's mild temperature. She eventually asked him what was wrong with her feet and, quite embarrassed, he replied that there was nothing wrong with them, he was just wondering why she would choose to practice without any kind of footwear on. She answered with a wink and a cheeky "because like that I can spot pervy degenerates". It took ten whole minutes before the last traces of red disappeared from his face;


- At the time she joined the group, i.e. when Rose Wilson was still a member, Robin was ready to put his hand on fire that Ravager and Star's personalities would have gone as well together as a tank of gasoline and a lit matchstick. Instead she ended up being the only member of the team aside from Timothy who never quite antagonized her. Star's stoic attitude shielded her from the abrasive personality of Deathstroke's daughter, while the latter was a fan of her her talent at delivering stealth-insults, even when she was the one on the receiving end. In fact, it could be said that the two teens bonded quite a bit before the internal and external discords made Rose quit the Knights and it's likely that Ms. Kotze would be a different kind of heroine without Ravager's influence. At the very beginning of her vigilante career, when Star was still in the process of finding her identity as a crimefighter-- that is, a modus operandi, not a battle name-- Rose was the one who tutored her in the use of firearms, which would later become her main asset on the field. She might have honed her skills as a sniper only some time later, when Ray Thielman brought his expertise to 96 Gorfinkel Street, but the basics came from Ms. Wilson. Rose was also the one who introduced her to the underground network of suppliers dealing in the special products which would later become her favorite gadgets: computerized glasses for tactical analysis of the battlefield, stun grenades and, most importantly, gel bullets with anesthetizing effects, which enable her to be the sniper of a team with a strictly enforced no-kill rule;


- The design of her dust coat, with its very dark green hue and small steel plates on the collar and sleeve loops, was inspired by the trademark clothing article of the late Tommy Monaghan, a.k.a. Hitman. While he killed for a living and hated the idea of being considered a hero by people naive enough to call him that, in life he developed a reputation as a defender of the innocent throughout a vast section of Uptown and Midtown, including the area where Star and her mother lived. Once her training to become a vigilante began and Ms. Kotze found out that she had a real talent as a sniper, the idea of adopting a look inspired by that lethal but effective not-a-hero didn't seem like a bad idea. However, when the Gotham Knights rushed to the place of the shootout which cost both Hitman and his partner Matt the Hat's life, she carefully avoided to wear the coat since she imagined that, if Monaghan was still alive and saw her, he would be mortified by the thought that he was leaving that kind of 'legacy' behind;


- She's the self-proclaimed 'official polyglot' of the GK's. This is less than impressive if one considers that Cassandra has serious trouble articulating a whole sentence in English if it's longer than six words. Stephanie, Tanya and Thomas can only speak their native language. Gabriel knows a little German thanks to Emilia, one of her mother's colleagues who was born from a German mother and spent her childhood in Hamburg. Timothy is fluent in French thanks to his long Parisian stay. Luke is effectively bilingual, having been raised in a household where conversations were held more often than not in Japanese. Therefore Star, who is the only team member who can speak three different languages (English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa), technically beats them all on that front. One time her teammates brought up the (not completely baseless) matter of Afrikaans and isiXhosa not being the most useful languages to know and she simply replied that, since isiXhosa has a tone system and is rich in uncommon consonants, being able to speak it is of great help while trying to learn languages with phonetics far removed from English-- she still has to show any intention to learn them, though-- and that anything yelled in Afrikaans has the uncanny ability to strike fear in the hearts of enemies. Timothy can confirm such claim since he was also present when she managed to chase away a gang of six wannabe lowlives from the Paris Island skate park using only a string of invectives in Afrikaans and a little exertion on her vocal chords;

- Moving from Port Elizabeth to one of America's largest metropolitan centers was a bit of shock for pre-teen Star but one she overcame pretty soon. While the hustle and bustle of her hometown can't obviously compete with that of Gotham City, she was no country hick and it took mere weeks for her to acclimate in the densest urban jungles on US territory. Despite being a city girl through and through, she still craves some contact with nature from time to time to calm her senses. That's the reason why her favorite vacation places are natural parks and in general any area where she can peacefully enjoy the spectacle of nature. He rfavorite place in the whole world, for example, is the Tsitsikamma National Park, not very far from her native Port Elizabeth, and in particular the astonishingly scenic Storms river suspension bridge that is its main attraction. The fact that she managed to take all of her friends there for a tour just before the end of their African experience was the perfect conclusion for that long odyssey. Other natural sanctuaries that hold a special place in her heart are the Coban Sewu tiered waterfall in East Java, Indonesia, with its characteristic box canyon collecting the falls' water, and the Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. Since she learnt about the existence of both places during missions with the Gotham Knights, that's the reason why she likes asserting that being a vigilante is worth the effort just for the traveling opportunities. Also, the thing she looks forward the most during her team’s excursions to the armillary dimension of Atalu is finding natural wonders which on our Earth have been lost due to human activity but are still extant in a world with lower urbanization levels;

- The origin of her unwillingness to choose a battle name for herself can be traced back to her botched rescue attempt of the Daily Star reporters in 2001. The fact that they didn't even know the name of the new teen vigilante from Gotham who had miserably failed right in front of their eyes made it really hard for them to write an incisive attack piece against her-- though it cannot be said that they didn't try. From that day, Ms. Kotze has preferred not to have a name which she can ruin whenever she 'underperforms', so to speak. That doesn't mean that she doesn't like playing tricks on her teammates by pretending to have finally found the perfect battle name. The one she's proudest of is when she told her friend Stephanie that, from that moment on, criminals all over the world would have learnt to fear Doreah, Gotham City's finest heroine. When Steph asked her what was the reasoning behind the 'Doreah' name, Star answered that she had been skimming through a fantasy book from a few years back for the past two days. She had found it mostly unremarkable, except for a few passages where one of the female protagonists, a very Aryan teenager, is schooled in the art of lovemaking by one of her female slaves, the latter's name being Doreah. Those mentions had made Star recall all the 'grammar classes' she had taught Steph at the time when she finally admitted that she needed to get a better grip on the 'language of love' and she realized that she was a Doreah through and through. Her friend's reaction was everything she had wished for and more;


- Meeting the son and daughter of Dr. Ronald Greyhurst after she successfully escaped from the clutches of the scientist's security personnel-- she hated herself for having left Power Girl II behind, but nobody in the whole world would have helped them if she hadn't flown the coop while she still could-- was the kind of one-in-a-million stroke of luck Star needed to survive completely alone and with no equipment in the Gotham City of 1897. Bursting with youthful energy and always looking for ways to vent their wild side away from their mansion on the mainland, Hoanui and Mili could spend the entire night in the brick-and-mortar jungle competing in long, adrenaline-filled races on the rooftops of Downtown and Midtown, climbing the towers of the city bridges and the frameworks of the elevated railways like geckos and having scuffles, more often than not of the amicable kind, with gangs of corner boys, returning to Greyhurst Mansion on the mainland only an hour before dawn. Star, who had spent more nights than she could remember doing more or less the same things, became fast friends with the two mixed-race 16 year-olds, who on their part invited her to move to their mansion, reassuring her that, despite her being worried about being found out, it would have been easy to hide her presence from both the staff and their father. This friendship which literally transcended time left quite an impact in the history of Gotham City according to Ms. Kotze's deposition after returning to the year 2002. Some are pretty obvious, like the photograph exhibited in the museum of the Statue of Justice portraying Hoanui, Mili and a girl who could be recognized as Ms. Kotze only 105 years later posing in front of Gotham City's greatest monument. Some twists and turns in the personal lives of the people the two girls interacted with can now also be explained. Ms. Kotze asserts that she was the one who gave Hoanui the final push towards his historical career as an artist, making him realize that he just wasn't cut out for the role of heir to his father's company. The female figure in The Muse and the Artist, sculpted by G. Miller (Hoanui's nom-de-plume in his adulthood) in 1903, bearing a striking resemblance with Star lends credence to such an assertion. Ms. Kotze's additional claim that she personally encouraged Mili to follow her father's footsteps and become a scientist, igniting the spark of greatness in the Nobel Prize candidate and important figure in the movement for Women's Rights in the 1910's and 1920's, is on the other hand harder to believe;


- She was the one who came up with the idea of the ‘Warbling Knights’, the singing quartet of her team, made up of herself, Tanya Spears and the two Drakes, the members of the group who have good singing voices. She got the idea of having Knights who train their vocal chords in addition to their muscles and minds during her first trip to Atalu, when it became apparent that being the life of the party was usually the best way to be quickly accepted in a Casteless community. They eventually realized that they genuinely liked singing together and the Warbling Knights were (kind of) made official. They even got their proverbial 15 minutes of fame on our world during the Knights’ study trip to Japan, when they beat the trio composed of Imagine Breaker, Railgun and Accelerator-- arguably the country’s greatest teen heroes-- in a karaoke challenge issued by Railgun to Star;

- She's the only other member of the Gotham Knights with a regular driving license besides Tim Drake (Thomas took the exam in May but narrowly failed the written test). She's also the owner of the other official means of transportation of the Gotham Knights besides the Redbird, a well-maintained 1991 Toyota Corolla All-Trac that she got after winning a bet with a Californian skateboarder who just couldn't walk the walk in a competition with Star. It was on board of that station wagon that the team reached Canning Island (NC), the place of their first Summer vacation as a group in 2002. It's also their vehicle of choice any time they need to comb a residential zone in full daylight without attracting unwanted attentions. With no garages at 96 Gorfinkel Street-- no official ones at least, though digging one secret entrance to the Redbird's slot in the building's basement was enough for everybody involved-- Star's Corolla is kept in a car park storage in the Upper West Side, close to the northern stretch of Dixon Docks. Being the only other Gotham Knight with a license, Robin let her drive him back to the HQ on the Redbird after the injury that almost cost him all the fingers of his left hand-- the very first time somebody not named Tim Drake got behind his precious car's steering wheel. She got used to driving a stick shift surprisingly quickly, but being in control of all those HP's and in a hurry made her break all of Tim's speed records and add a heart attack on top of his hand injury;


- She's utterly determined to quit skateboarding "only when [her] bones turn into ash and dust", but she also can't see herself running a skate shop until her old age. She's very proud of the job she does at Downtown Boardworks and her customer base, while not very large, is very dependable, but ever since she started her business she's just managed to turn out any kind of profit every other month, needing some monetary support from her mother just to break even if she didn't. Unfortunately she can't see that many feasible options for an alternative career. Star's mentor and friend Ma Kai of course doesn't lose a chance to remind her that she has a talent that is just waiting to be exploited in contexts unrelated to Gotham Knights missions. At just 18 years of age, she could begin a brilliant academic career in the field of psychology and, once she manages to integrate her already developed insight of other people's personalities with a solid theoretical foundation, make her way into the world of professionals. Most certainly Star's never not thankful to Kai for his faith in her ability to 'read' people but she also always has to remind him that university costs money and, in the chance her post-graduation career ends up being not as stellar as he hopes, she doesn't wish to swim in debt for the following decades. Unwilling to give up with his most talented pupil, Kai recently pulled out his ace in the hole: the Gotham Knights' counselor, Dr. Barbara Strand. After telling her about Star's potential, Dr. Strand personally wanted to inform the latter that she actually has a chance to get a scholarship that would keep her solvent until she earns her degree. Counselors specialized in the psychological issues faced by young superheroes are unfortunately a rare commodity in the US and her organization, the American Foundation for Psychological Assistance of Metahumans, has been offering incentives to students of psychology willing to pursue an education in the field of the issues most commonly faced by heroes for quite a few years. A vigilante with a talent for psychological evaluation choosing such an academic path from day one would be such a heaven-sent opportunity that she'd gain that scholarship with very little effort. Intrigued but still not completely persuaded, Star has given herself a deadline. If she can't find a better paying job or improves the finances of Downtown Boardworks before she turns 20, she'll apply for an AFPAM scholarship.



CONFIDENTIAL INFO


Dismantling The Creed (q.v. JLA Dossier IOF - 984230 VDC) in April 2002, before it could launch its continent-wide attack against the North American metahuman population, was a great success for both the Gotham Knights, who had uncovered the whole operation, and the Titans, who rushed to the Knights' side when it was time to storm the terrorists' base in south-eastern Idaho. One detail though has never been revealed either to authorities or to the media: the two young hero teams found out about the exact position of the base thanks to two members of the Knights who were already inside the facility. Cassandra Thielman and Star Kotze had been flown to the organization's HQ after being apprehended in Seattle, where they were following a promising lead. Star wasn't exactly new to defeat in hand-to-hand confrontations, but the real reason behind that debacle had been Cass freezing and going down without a fight when she faced the leader of The Creed, a figure from her past known only as 'the Sculptor'. She didn't really hold a grudge anymore against David Cain's 'failure', but she was enough of a sadist that she couldn't pass up on the opportunity to tell Star that Cassandra was the one who killed her father, even producing an assertion Star would have never believed if only her teammate had denied it. But she didn't and Ms. Kotze had to accept it as the truth. During their flight to the headquarters, trying to avoid eye contact with an unmasked Batgirl and holding back her tears were the only things she could do. After spending more than a day in separate cells, Star was finally brought in front of Philippus Kotze's killer. A knife had been put in her hand while Cass, by then a sobbing mess after 24 hours of physical and psychological torture, was restrained and completely vulnerable. The choice was clear: either Cassandra died at Star's hand, or both girls would have died at the hands of the ten operatives who were also present. We can only imagine Ms. Kotze's conundrum in those tense moments, not helped by the 15-year-old in front of her whimpering something that sounded awfully similar to the words "do it". But things didn't quite go as the Sculptor had planned. Three minutes later, while the security personnel were rushing to put down a fire which Star had started as a diversion, she was freeing Cass from her restraints and telling her that not even at the height of her rage she had really wanted her dead. From that moment on, Cass should have concerned yourself with living with virtue rather than dying for her sins. Then she asked her to clear the path to the communications room. Cassandra complied.



TEACHER REVIEW


Barbara Gordon (electronics and IT):
Star! Star! No Star No Star No Star

Dinah Lance (tactics and hand-to-hand combat):
Star! No Star No Star No Star No Star 

Helena Bertinelli (discipline):
Star! Star! Star! No Star No Star 

Jason Bard (detective work):
Star! Star! Star! No Star No Star 

Ma Kai (psychological profiling):
Star! Star! Star! Star! Star! 

Karen Kent (strategic approach to metahuman foes):
Star! Star! No Star No Star No Star

Ray Thielman (survival in hostile environments and armed combat):
Star! Star! Star! Star! No Star 

Terry Thielman (infiltration and dissimulation):
Star! Star! Star! Star! No Star

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Comments25
anonymous's avatar
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Otar3000's avatar

Fun Twist : Her feet will be tickled in a few seconds...

Scenario : Star lies on the carpet unaware that Y/N sneaks on her.

Star : Huh? ( Y/N holds her feet)

Y/N : Tickle time!!!!

Star : Y/N NO--HAHAHAWAWAGAGGAHAHA

rabastanlestrange's avatar

Heh, I reckon it would probably go like this instead:


Scenario : Star lies on the carpet perfectly aware that Y/N sneaks on her.

Star : Awwww, this guy is adorable! ( she proceeds to back kick Y/N right in the face)

Y/N : Huwurrrghghgh!

Star : Nice to meet you, sweetie! Now, prepare to suffer.


=P

Otar3000's avatar

Yeah if only my Y/N character wont se a special trick

rabastanlestrange's avatar

Have you even seen her face? That's the expression of somebody who's going to out-trick you. :nod:

Otar3000's avatar

Unless she lets you tickle her

rabastanlestrange's avatar

True, but the only person Star has ever granted this kind of privilege is Helena. Out of the teacher of the Gotham Knights (the group Star is a member of) she's the one who's in charge of disciplinary measures.

Helena Bertinelli
Otar3000's avatar

REALLY?! That's even better if someone familiar tickles her so she tickles back. Thanks for the update

rabastanlestrange's avatar
rabastanlestrange's avatar
Thanks a lot! :) (Smile) ThoughI'm genuinely surprised by how many people are complimenting her good looks. I must have done something really right with her! =P (Razz) 
Draconicat's avatar
You're most welcome -- and you definitely did!
LaReforma1857's avatar
She looks so pretty. 
rabastanlestrange's avatar
The girls I draw often do. Wink/Razz Is there anything in particular about her that struck you?
LaReforma1857's avatar
Her face probably.
rabastanlestrange's avatar
Ha, yes, of course. ;) (Wink)

By the way, I see you included her in a folder named "Awesome OC's". I just want to let you know that Star right here is not an original creation of mine.
LaReforma1857's avatar
Oh... Well what is she then?
rabastanlestrange's avatar
A supporting character from the Robin title which ran from 1993 to 2009. She was first featured in issue #75 and appeared a couple of times after that. I liked her character design quite a lot and decided to turn her into a main player of my 96 Gorfinkel Street series.
MetalBeowulf89's avatar
TEACHER REVIEW, ADDENDUM

MetalBeowulf89 (Assessment of foot beauty) :star: :star: :star: :star: 
rabastanlestrange's avatar
Out of five? Heh, I'll have to do better next time. Wink/Razz 
MetalBeowulf89's avatar
As far as this instructor goes, here's a tip: He finds red nail polish irresistible. ;)
rabastanlestrange's avatar
But I'm a black&white artist! Crying 
MetalBeowulf89's avatar
That advice was intended for Star.. ^^;
rabastanlestrange's avatar
Whoops, I thought it was a piece of advice for the artist. =P (Razz) Anyway, she already follows it every time she's on mission with the Glamour Squad (more info on that is in the dossier): red and deep blue are her favorites.
anonymous's avatar
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