What News Novice? Roleplay
Malik sighed. It was a rainy day in Jerusalem, which was rare. Malik walked to the lobby of the bureau and watched as the heavy rain hosed down the fountain and the half of the room. He wondered about Altair. He knew that the novice hated water let alone rain. Malik chuckles to himself as he thinks of Altair huddled under a bench or a shop roof better. Malik walked back inside the bureaus main office and began working on his maps.
Why I like Tobias Vaughn
Tobias Vaughn. Tobias Freakin Vaughn. Tobias Vaughn is the man John Lumic wants to be when he grows up. Which goes a long way towards explaining why I liked “Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel” so much. Played by the truly wonderful Kevin Stoney, Tobias Vaughn is the main villain of “the Invasion,” the episode with the highest density of my favorite characters of any the series. And also some Cybermen. Eventually.
Tobias Vaughn is the head of
Internet Explorer International Electromatics, the megacorporation that has taken over the electronics industry through an ingenious breakthrough with micro-monolithic circuits. What it doesn’t say on the pamphlets is that his plan is also to take over the world by using those same circuits as mind control devices. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling cybermen.
Tobias Vaughn is your standard Corrupt Corporate Executive with a huge side-order of charm and just a dash of crazy. He’s frighteningly nice to them, actually. “Oh, you just broke into my corporate headquarters for really no reason? Here, have a free radio. Sorry about all the gassing.” Like, he gasses them and then offers them tea. And drives them all around in his private car, and lets them talk to the guy they broke in to talk to. He’s extremely courteous and extremely solicitous. And completely ruthless, of course, he just really likes playing the game.
That’s the thing about Vaughn. He seems to really love being who he is. There’s this wonderful scene where Zoe is talking a computer to death, and Vaughn is up in his office laughing his head off. And not in a maniacal laugh sort of way - he seems to be genuinely enjoying watching Zoe get the best of his “idiot machine.” He’s probably the only villain to ever say “Shenanigan X amused me” and have it be literally true. Not the arch snide “amused” of the supervillain, but the “dude that was awesome” of an amused person.
He also really seems to enjoy being a cyborg. “Replace flesh, which is weak, with steel, which is strong? Sure! Count me in! Just leave the grey matter intact, thank you very much. Sweet, guys, now I can STOP BULLETS. That’s awesome! ” And that’s the thing. He really believes the world would be better off under cyber control. Well, under his control at least. He thinks the Cybermen go too far with their total conversion, which is why he plans to wipe them out once the invasion has succeeded, but cyborg bodies for everyone? What a good idea! And notably, he doesn’t have some kind of Freudian Excuse or physical disability to overcome - he just thinks it’s a great idea on its own merits.
Tobias Vaughn is also dangerously Genre Savvy. He is under no illusions about what the Cybermen are or what they have planned for him and the rest of humanity. Which is why he’s been commissioning a weapon to use against them in the event of their sudden but inevitable betrayal. It’s also why he’s been using every means at his disposal to get information out of the Doctor after he is specifically ordered to destroy him. Well, that and spite. The issue of Control is rather his berserk button: “I don’t take orders, Packer, I GIVE THEM!” He is so interested in minute issues of control that his office out at the plant is an exact replica of his London office. He’s just that anal retentive. To be in control is all-important. That is why his mind must not be converted.
I should talk about Packer a bit. Packer is Tobias Vaughn’s thuggish and incompetent henchman. It is unclear why Vaughn keeps him around given said incompetence, in light of is usual obsession with efficiency. It may be because he’s extremely good at the thuggishness, and Vaughn himself is intelligent enough for the two of them. Packer is the Gregor Clegane of this universe. Big, brutal, evil-minded, and not that bright. I figure Vaughn also gets a kick out of raining down abuse on him. Also, most of the fun of being an evil genius is lost if you don’t have someone around to explain how evil and clever you’re being to. Packer fulfills this role admirably. As for his part, he seems happy enough to work for Vaughn and even take his constant abuse, since it also means he gets to brutalize people. They make kind of an adorable pair, if you don’t think too hard about what Vaughn is actually threatening when he calls upon Packer. (If you do stop and think about it, it becomes more creepy and horrific.) The sound of someone who has just watched “the Invasion” is “OH PACKER!”
The best thing about Tobias Vaughn, though (apart from his eyebrows) is his eventual Heel-Face Turn. Because most guys in his situation would be all “I was wrong! Help me to correct my mistakes.” When Vaughn finally gets taken down, he’s not helping our heroes out of the goodness of his heart, or some desire to atone, or even the horrific realization of what he has done. No. He knew exactly what he was doing the whole time, and hasn’t changed his mind about it in the least. He helps our heroes out in the name of revenge. It’s the Power of Spite, ladies and gentlemen. No great redemption or epiphany, just a giant “SCREW YOU CYBERMANS!” Which you’ve gotta respect in a villain. He is consistent the entire way through, and he never backs down.
So Tobias Vaughn is kind of standard in design, the Affably Evil Corrupt Corporate Executive. But rather than just fulfilling those tropes, he epitomizes them. He is amazingly written and amazingly acted, and just a joy to watch. Tobias Frickin Vaughn. Seriously one of the best villains in the entire show.