Name: Josephine ‘Jo’ Liáng
Birthdate: October 10, 2481 (age 36)
Basic Concept: Former Alliance military trying to work out what the hell is going on in her Verse and making a living while she’s doing it.
Primary Motivation: To figure out what it is she believes, stands for, and can fight for.
Goalpost Characters: Athos (specifically as portrayed in the BBC Musketeers series), Riza Hawkeye, John Dawlish (specifically as portrayed by me in my Marauder’s RP)
Think of your history as an outline rather than an essay, using these periods as your outline headers.
● Lineage – It wasn’t an arranged marriage, persay, but Emmeline Lewis and Chao Liáng certainly were not simply in love when they chose to get married. They were warm with one another, more friendly than simply civil, but it was clear that their family’s positive opinions of the match played a major role in their pairing and their marriage. Chao’s family had military standing and a quality reputation among the Alliance. Emmeline’s family had money and a son looking for anything that would help him gain political standing. They made a good match, however, and their marriage was a relatively happy one, if not overly burdened with love and affection.
● Childhood – Josephine was the second child in the Liáng family and she was thought to be the last. She was two years younger than her brother Gabriel and their relationship was a close one. She could be called a tag along but he never particularly minded. They were competitive with one another, pushing each other in every aspect of growing up. He started most things first – sports, martial arts training, schooling – and she pushed herself to catch up at every turn. They were each other’s first friends even when they weren’t best friends. And they always kept each other close.
Josephine was never a particularly verbose child. Though energetic and even gregarious, she didn’t chatter on unless with the closest of her friends. She had a focus that isn’t commonly seen in children. It wasn’t entirely born in her, it was the way she was raised by her disciplined father. When she started something, she finished and usually with gusto. There was very little in her life that wasn’t scheduled and planned, none of the Liángs were particularly prone to spontaneity. From school she went to practices, tutors, and training. She had playdates with other children but none became as close to her as one of the girls she met while training martial arts. Her name was Elisabeth Cho and she and Josephine went from mere partners to best friends.
When she was eleven, her younger sister Louisa was born. It was not planned and the youngest Liáng was raised much differently than her elder siblings. Josephine never developed the closeness with her younger sister that she had with her brother. Her sister was different in every way and Josephine had a hard time understanding her. It certainly didn’t help that when Louisa was still a young child, Josephine was becoming a teenager.
● Adolescence – Josephine grew into a well mannered and dedicated teenager. She was not one for adolescent rebellion, instead she took on the added responsibility of her age with grace and even eagerness. She did well in school but it wasn’t the thing she enjoyed most. While her brother excelled in school, Josephine excelled more in the physical. Her martial arts training took the majority of her focus. Her modest group of friends dwindled to just a handful of close, like minded friends.
This was also a time for Josephine to decide what it was she wanted to do. It was always expected that Gabriel would follow their father’s footsteps into the military life but Josephine had a wider range of choices. Always one to take a cue from her brother, though, she chose the military on her own. She knew from the time she was in secondary school that she would follow Gabriel to the military academy when the time came.
This was also when Josephine began to explore other aspects of relationships. While she was never one of the girls primping and preening, showing off fancy dresses and waiting for the next ball, she wasn’t without her own feminine side and her own slew of admirers. Her interest wasn’t narrowed to just the other boys her age, but girls as well. Dating and romance, however, was low on her list of things to prioritize.
● Early Adulthood – Josephine entered the military academy when she was eighteen years old. She came into her own in the military academy. It was the first time she was out from under her father’s supervision and though it was still a highly controlled environment, she found it was less demanding to please her teachers and superiors than her father.
It was while there that Josephine became Jo. After graduation she entered the military as a commissioned officer. For a few years, her life was relatively easy. And then the war began. While the war was not as hard on the Core planets as the Border or the Rim, Jo was in the thick of it and it had a profound effect on her. She was raised with a sense of honor and while she fought, she believed in what she fought for. It is only since the end of the war that that has been called into question.
● Recent History – In the last months of the war, Jo’s brother went missing. She found a note in her room while visiting the family home explaining the bare bones of what he had done. He’d realized that the Alliance wasn’t all it said it was and that he couldn’t keep fighting for them. But he had been discovered and he had to leave. He was sorry, not for what he’d done but for leaving the way he was. And he loved her. She never heard from him or of him again. After the war, it was clear that the military wasn’t entirely convinced she wasn’t in league with her brother. She was questioned over and over and even though there was nothing to find, she knew it was likely they’d put her on some back burner, out of the way where she couldn’t cause trouble. The stigma was there and she couldn’t stand it, not with her doubts growing. So she left when her contract was up.
She joined up with a crew looking for hands to do some heavy lifting work and from there made her way around the Verse, jumping from crew to crew and learning about the world outside of the Core and outside of war. Eventually she decided to get a ship of her own, something she could rely on and something she could control. She joined up with an old crewmate and started a crew of her own. The crew grew in fits and starts, one member here and a couple there. They took whatever jobs they could get. A lot of crews avoided Alliance jobs but not Jo. They paid well and her former affiliation made her a good hire. But she wasn’t blind and she knew that in order to make ends meet, she couldn’t always been on the right side of the law. Not when she wasn’t entirely sure she could trust it anymore.
Family: Chao Liáng (father), Emmeline Liáng née Lewis (mother), Gabriel Liáng (older brother, 38), Louisa Liáng (younger sister, 25)
Parents — Jo’s relationship with her parents is rather strained. At one time she was close with both her mother and father. She was raised in a law abiding family, very proud and dutiful. Her father and grandfather were both career members of the Alliance military and that combined with her Chinese heritage made for a very disciplined upbringing. Now, with Jo having turned her back on many of the things she was raised to believe, they are not very thrilled with her. Her father is less forgiving than her mother. Emmeline would welcome Jo, albeit hesitantly, simply because Jo is her daughter. Chao would not be so warm. Jo has shamed him and the family name, in his opinion, and that is hard for his pride to forgive. Her brother, though, is even more unwelcome than she is.
Gabriel — Gabriel rose higher than Jo within military ranks. He was not technically a prodigy, but he was definitely a natural. His position brought with it high access and increased responsibility. With said access, he happened upon information that led him to learning about what had happened on Miranda. (Or maybe he was part of a team assembled for follow up research on Miranda? James, let’s discuss this?) His knowledge of Miranda led to him digging deeper and changing his opinions of the alliance. He chose to use his position to the advantage of the Browncoats. Jo only found out about his involvement with the Browncoats after his disappearance. He left a note for her to find, explaining that he knew the Alliance had found him out. She (and her family) don’t know what has happened to him. (He was arrested by the Alliance before he could escape the Core but he was broken out by the Browncoats)
Louisa — Louisa is significantly younger than her older siblings and lacks the discipline and drive they both developed. Being so much younger, their parents did not give her the same overbearing attention that they did Gabriel and Jo. That being the case, she grew up self centered and spoiled, wanting nothing more than status and a life of luxury. Much of the status she already enjoyed came from the success of her father, brother, and sister in the military. The Liángs were on the lower side of the elite in the Core, just brushing the edges of high society. They were successful and had built a good name but weren’t particularly wealthy. After Gabriel’s betrayal became public, their reputation took a hit. After Jo’s departure from society, it took another and that is something Louisa cannot forgive either sibling for.
Education: Jo received all of her formal education on her home world. She went to good elementary and secondary schools and in place of university, she went to a well respected military academy. Informally, Jo has studied several things since she was a child at her parents insistence. In an effort to make her more well rounded, she was introduced to martial arts, music, art, and so on when she was young. The two things that stuck with her were her martial arts practices and the piano. The latter (specifically Jùnshì Sǎndǎ) she took lessons for from the ages of six to nineteen but she has lapsed since beginning her formal military training. The former she has kept practicing up to the present.
Employment: Jo graduated from the military academy when she was 22 and went immediately into active service in the Alliance military as a commissioned officer. She had every intention of making a career of the military. She was 25 when the Unification War officially began and she continued to be a member of the military until just after it’s end when she was 30. After the war was over, she left the military and the Core, finding work where she could and trying to piece together the fragments left behind for her by her brother. She moved from crew to crew doing odd jobs and learning about life outside of the relative protection of the Core. Four years ago she purchased a ship of her own and began her own crew to do whatever work they could find.
Geography: Born and raised on Persephone. She lived there, though she traveled the Verse thanks to the war, until she left the Core six years ago. Now she lives mostly aboard the Cháoshèng.
Religion: Who/what do they worship? Or do they care at all? How devout are they? How open toward expressing their beliefs are they? How tolerant of other religions are they? How and when did they come to believe what they believe?
Friends: Meifeng Hang – trained in martial arts with Jo when they were young and became her best friend all through Jo’s time in the military. They kept in touch through letters even after Jo left the Core, though they’ve had a harder and harder time of it the longer Jo stays away. (female, close in age to Jo, teaches martial arts on Persephone)
Benedict Galvin & Arlen Alers – members of Jo’s squad. (platoon? what do I call this?) She was friends with most of them and at least friendly with the ones she wasn’t especially close to. After it was made public that her brother had been a spy for the Browncoats, relations changed. The ones she was closest to stood by her side but the ones she’d only been friendly with suddenly distrusted her. She was closest with two members of the squad. (both male, close in age or older than Jo, both still Alliance military, both with her since she graduated the academy)
Yung Koi-Tia, Dee Na-Zhiao, Amelia Murray, Rufus Carmichael, and Tery Thardson – these were the people Jo was friends with in school. They know her primarily as Josephine. There were four or five with whom Jo was especially close with through elementary and secondary schools. (both male and female, Jo’s age, at least one left school to pursue companion training)
Interests: Martial Arts; the practice wasn’t required in the military and certainly isn’t required now that she is doing so many odd jobs but she pursues it out of passion. Piano; she studied from ages six to eighteen and can still play, though her skills are rusty. Cooking.
Romance: Eddington Clay – fellow soldier with whom Jo carried out a secret (ish) relationship prior to the beginning of the Unification War.
Wolfgang Thau – A suitor encouraged by her father. While they were civil with one another, Jo had no romantic interest in him. He, however, was completely open to the idea of marriage and partnership. He pursued her but she let him down as gently as she could. This was around the same time she was involved with Clay. (male, 36-40)
Zaine Alleyne – After leaving the Core, Jo found herself without the sort of goals and priorities that had made her forgo serious romantic attachments in the past. She met Zaine on the second ship she joined up with on one of the border worlds and they were involved for the handful of months Jo spent on the same ship. Jo learned a lot about herself and her new life while they were together and they parted amicably when it was time for Jo to move on. (female, 35-38)
Devon Tao – A former fling Jo would meet with from time to time whenever she stopped on one of the border worlds. Their affair ended when she found out he was married, something she didn’t know until his wife confronted her. (male, 30-40)
Antagonists: Karen Thrace – former member of her squad with whom she was never especially close. They were often at odds or in competition. After her brother was outed, this person openly turned against Jo, going so far as to report her for “suspicious behavior” when she attempted to find out details of what actually happened to her brother. (any gender, any age)
Bester Griffin – former mechanic on the Cháoshèng. Jo fired them more or less on the spot when Sully proved more fit for the job. (any gender, any age)
Raquel Tao – wife of the man Jo had an affair with. (female, 30-40)
Tragedy: The death of her first friend in the military during the Unification War. The bullet that killed them could have hit Jo but she was shoved out of the way. The bullet skimmed her arm and she still bears the scar.
Comedy: Graduating from the military academy, making her father and brother proud.
Coming of Age: The first battle she fought in in the Unification War. Leading up to it, her duties comprised mostly of peacekeeping and attempting to de-escalate the rebels before they began a war. The first battle of the war that she was involved in was her first introduction to what it meant to be a soldier, and her to what it meant to be fighting for a cause.
First Adventure: When she was 17, she and her best friend went on a retreat style trip as part of their martial arts training. It was meant to give them time to reflect, to practice, and to implement their training out of the familiar and protected world they had learned it in. It was also Jo’s first time off world.
How did you meet…?
Levi – Levi and Jo met while they were jumping from crew to crew after the war. They bonded over their past with the Alliance and their changes in heart regarding the government they had once served. They reconnected when Jo decided to get a ship of her own. She remembered that his family built ships and she sought him out.
Percival – He was involved with Jo’s younger sister, Louisa.
Interweaving: Alliance – Jo grew up immersed in Core society and never knew another kind of life. Her father and grandfather were both Alliance military and she never had any doubts about that life. To the Alliance, she is not officially considered a deserter but most of the military thinks she’s been influenced by her brother. She left the military before they could force her out but both she and they knew it was coming.
Among most of the Core, her return would go unnoticed but her name is certainly one kept in mind when considering possible threats. On her part, Jo doesn’t know how she feels. The Unification War tested her resolve, made her think about what it was she was fighting for and why. And she can’t say she agreed with all of it. Added to that was her brother’s change of heart. If anyone had been more loyal than her, it was Gabriel, and his betrayal brought to her mind some serious questions. Since leaving the Core, she’s only been shown more and more that not everything is the way it seemed when she was young.
Browncoats – Her first real introduction to the Browncoats came when she was at the military academy. The cadets spoke of them in hushed whispers and derisive language. They became more real to her when she began her active duty. Some of her earliest missions were seeking out known members and meeting places before the war began. The Browncoats know her only by name, thanks to her brother. They don’t particularly care much about her. About them, she started out feeling condescending and judgmental. As the war went on, though, she began to question her feelings about them. This only increased when she found out her brother’s support of them. Now, she is hesitantly curious about them, as confused as she is about the Alliance.
Companions Guild – Growing up on the Core, companion’s were an accepted and admiral part of her society. Jo has never been with a companion but she has known and socialized with them. Some of her friends from her childhood even became companions as adults. The guild as a whole has know opinion on her but she is still friends with some individual companions, though she hasn’t been in touch with them in a long time.
MegaCorps – Like the Companion’s Guild and the Alliance, these had always been something Jo accepted as a fact of life. It wasn’t until she saw life on the border planets and the rim that she began to see what was so wrong with them. They have no opinion on her but for her, the mega corporations are a problem. They’re greedy and corrupt and they certainly make it harder for her to make a living.
Crime – Her earliest exposure to the crime families was whatever made the news when she was young. She dealt with some of it once she was in the military but that wasn’t really her purview. It wasn’t until she left the Core that she had any direct dealings with them. She’s not incredibly well known around the crime families, though she has worked for a fair few of them doing smuggling and salvage type jobs. She does her job and does it well and can be counted on to be straightforward. Jo sees the families and the groups as a necessary evil. She doesn’t particularly like them but a girl’s gotta eat.
Core – It’s her home and while her view of the Alliance has shifted, she still calls the Core planets home. She is now more aware of the entitlement and privilege she was born with and is much more aware that the Core is not the way most citizens of the Verse live.
Border – She’s pretty neutral on them. The planets aren’t as enticing as the Core but the people are fine by her.
Rim – She often has to combat her predisposition to look down on the people she meets from the Rim. She doesn’t look down on them actively but it’s also hard for her not to instantly assume she is better educated, trained, informed, and civilized.
Levi Brooks – Levi and Jo had similar life experiences and their shared history in the Alliance military gives her a sense of comfort. Their shared disillusionment also makes her feel less as if she’s made the wrong choice.
Dionaea Holliday – Jo respects and admires Dionaea’s free spirited and independent nature
Duplaix Getties – Jo has an inherent respect for Duplaix’s profession and admires his decision to see the Verse.
Percival Devolo – They come from the same planet and the same background and that is comforting to her. She trusted him more easily than anyone on the ship save Levi and he gives her a sense of familiarity. She doesn’t feel so different when he’s around.
Sullivan Horner – She connects with his snarky sense of humor and she likes that he keeps her ship in the air.
Contention: Levi Brooks – His family has always leaned more towards the Browncoats than the Alliance and his distaste for the Alliance is more solidified than Jo’s. Sometimes they clash over this.
Dionaea Holliday – Being from a military background, Dionaea’s occasional disregard for orders, especially when it has dark leanings, get on her nerves.
Duplaix Getties – He brought trouble onto her boat and she is not thrilled with that. She gets herself into enough trouble as it is and she doesn’t like when she doesn’t cherry pick what she gets caught up in.
Percival Devolo – He reminds her of her sister which puts her on edge.
Sullivan Horner – She’s noticed the way he clams up at any mention of her or Levi’s history with the Alliance military and it makes her feel uncomfortable. She is proud of her service, despite her opinions now.
Law, Chaos, or Neutral? She is naturally lawful but she finds herself forced more to the neutral side of things because of her circumstances.
Good, Evil, or Neutral: Same as above. Naturally good but forced to be more neutral in order to put food on the table.
Primary Motivation: To figure out what she believes and what she stands for.
Disposition: Disciplined and serious with bouts of snarkiness. Somewhat cynical. Seems like she wouldn’t be able to take a joke but she can. She doesn’t know how to let loose.
Moodiness: Very much in control of her emotions and moods. She is very hard to shake. Good in a crisis. Hard to upset.
Outlook: Somewhat cynical, considers herself a realist or a pragmatist.
Integrity: She can almost always be expected to be straight forward with her beliefs and to stick to them.
Impulsiveness: Jo likes to have a plan. And a backup plan. And he training and trust in a team so she can guess plan C ahead of time.
Boldness: She definitely can be bold if the situation calls for it. She doesn’t lack confidence but she doesn’t feel the need to brag about it.
Flexibility: She has the ability to be flexible but she prefers not to be. She likes her routine but she also know that plans sometimes need to change.
Affinity: Pretty standoffish with people she doesn’t know, warmer as she gets to know you better though she never seems to open up completely. The only people who really see her without any barriers at all would be her best friend from childhood, her brother, and some of her friends from her squad.
Comportment: Tall, proud, rigid, confident. Definitely militaristic unless she is actively trying to disguise it.
Interactivity: At first she likes to observe passively before she gets involved in things. She is cautious.
Disclosure: She’s naturally private but not to the point of outright hiding. If she trusts someone enough, she’ll offer some personal information but rarely everything. She will tell war stories, though, and is open about her past in the military. It’s more her family she keeps to herself.
Conformity: She is all about conformity. Or used to be.
Humor: Sarcastic, caustic, snarky.