Aisha Laborn, publicly known as the villainess Imp, is a member of the Undersiders, and the sister of Brian Laborn.
Imp has a similar insouciant personality to Regent, but she is insolent, and rebellious rather than lazy. She dislikes authority figures and often gripes with Regent about Skitter and Grue being in charge. She was described as being a flight risk by the care worker in charge of Brian's guardianship case, advising him to take care that she feels equal and welcome in the environment. She has no qualms about lying to make her life easier and does her best to duck out of trouble and difficult relationships. She is often immature but can be quite playful.
It's possible that her mother's drug use during pregnancy led to Aisha's problems with judgment, memory, impulse control and learning ability. Aisha believes this to be the case, that her mother's drug use messed with her brain development, causing ADHD. This upsets her a great deal and likely explains her personality. She has an incredible hatred of drugs and abhors anybody who sells them. She still cares for her mother, spending time invisible in the apartment, watching her life. She hated her mother's numerous boyfriends and repeatedly hid drugs in an attempt to get her mother to stop taking them.
Like Regent, she has a violent personality and explains in graphic detail how adept she is at psychological torment. She promises to drive Skitter insane if she harms Grue, showing how protective she can be of the people she cares for.
Her power both fits and clashes with her personality. Having people forget about her fits with her psychological defense mechanisms, but she resents the fact that she will always be ignored. She describes the best times of her childhood as being when her mother would forget about her, allowing her to watch hours of "brain rotting" cartoons.
Loves him as her big brother even as she drives him crazy as his little sister. Aisha specifically promises to drive Taylor insane through her powers if the girl harms her brother, showing how protective she of him.
They have extremely similar personalities. do seem to love each other but it seem largely to be philia love over something like an adult relationship. She did mourn him and took pains to create a memorial to him through her actions.
Aisha is a beautiful African-American teenager. She was described as being as feminine as Brian was masculine, with high cheekbones, a long neck, large breasts and a purple streak in her hair. She wears ripped denim shorts over neon green fishnet leggings and a strapless top.
Taylor was mildly upset to see someone so beautiful dressing in such a "trashy" way.
As Imp, she wears a pale grey demon mask with black lenses, and a black scarf. In her early role as information gatherer for the team Aisha carried binoculars, pens, notebooks, and a digital recorder, she would later equip herself with more lethal weaponry. Skitter later outfitted her with a spider silk costume that grew increasingly ill-fitting as she matured.
A clear dividing line can be seen between her civilian identity and her cape identity. While colorful and vibrant dressed as a civilian she wears stark grey and black colors as a cape.
Abilities and Powers
Aisha is incredibly perceptive but suffers from untreated ADHD. She could deduce that her brother was Grue, and upon meeting her that Taylor was Skitter. Further she was the only one who noticed the relationship between Taylor's mental state and the actions of the bugs in her powers purview., something that was missed by thinkers like Alexandria and Tattletale.
Aisha's power renders her unnoticeable to the point where the people around forget she was even there in the first place. When explaining why she let Regent have control over her, she said that Regent's control over her would break once he slept and her ability kicked in. As a downside to this ability, she has to consciously make herself visible to others, her power is always on otherwise. She is classified as a Stranger 5. Unlike her brother she could still be found by scent but when her power is 'on' it is incredibly difficult to link that scent to her. Her power was not effective through video cameras, with people able to see recording of her.
In her interlude
, there appears to be another level to her ability. She describes a growing power that disappears whenever she notices it, causing it to never manifest. She has no idea what would happen if it did.
Later development of her power has allowed verbal communication without having to reveal herself. Her power made her immune to Khepri. She could use her power with fine control to only erase the last few moments of a conversation, repeating this until she found the right line to use.
Purportedly records of her do decay over time, including Tinker equipment.
It's possible that her mother's drug use during pregnancy led to Aisha's problems with judgment, memory, impulse control and learning ability.
When her parents divorced, she went to live with her mother while her brother went with their father. Her mother started abusing drugs and cycled through boyfriends which resulted in constantly changing disciplines and a chaotic upbringing for her. Even a broken arm.
At least one of her mother's boyfriends started abusing her and it was implied that she was molested by him. She sent a text to her brother saying 'help me' and after he got to the house and saw that she had been crying, he beat the man nearly to death which caused his trigger event.
Aisha's custody was then passed over to her father. While he was better than her mother, Brian planned to get their parents' parental rights terminated and become her guardian after he turned eighteen. It was to get money to pay for the legal fees that her brother decided to become a villain. Her brother told her he had powers and she figured out his alias after studying pictures of various villains around town.
Aisha is first mentioned in dialogue as Brian's reason for being a villain. She is later shown in person in Brian's apartment, bringing her social worker there early.
Aisha triggered when she was out with her father, after being confronted by a group of armed men. She eventually revealed her new powers to her brother. She was immediately inducted into the Undersiders for everyone's collective good. Was unsurprised when Taylor revealed she was enamored with her brother while trying to get back on the team.
Played a large part in getting the Undersiders into Protectorate ENE Headquarters and helping to steal the data.
Would stay behind to spy on the truce meeting.
She would later take it upon herself to seek out the Slaughterhouse Nine and see if she could assassinate them, but failed, unconsciously influenced by one of their powers.
Aisha was willing to kill Skitter when she thought the woman had betrayed her brother and turned on the Undersiders again. She remained skeptical even after her brother was convinced that Skitter was innocent.
Was a massive help in the Echidna fight, and helped remove many inconvenient enemies.
Helped Regent with territory cleaning.
Was amused by Skitter's Surrender more than anything.
Deployed to New Delhi and had to deal with the loss of Regent when he sacrificed himself to save her.
After killing Heartbreaker with the aid of Citrine, she became the leader of the Heartbroken. She welcomed Weaver back to Brockton Bay and had some fun messing with her former boss.
Participated in the extermination of The Slaughterhouse Nine-Thousand personally disposing of a Nice Guy.
After Brian died at the Oil-rig battle, Aisha collaborated with Lisa to keep the truth from Taylor.
Was instrumental in the infiltration of Cauldron's Base.
When the solution to the problem was being constructed Imp was looking after Taylor.
In the final moments of the event, she looked after Khepri as her old friend brought about the end to the abomination.
After the end, she began a mission to protect Taylor's legacy, and educate herself in classic literature so she could become a high class educated villain as a way to honor and fill the gap left by Regent.
After recruiting and traveling with The Heartbroken, Imp spotted from Shadow Stalker hunting them from the rooftop of a nearby building. Imp confronted her, and Stalker, upon seeing Imp badge honouring the Gold Morning, gets irritaed by it by claiming the victory wasn't earned due to everyone being controlled and "used", as well as to deny that is was Taylor's that did it all. Imp correctly guesses, however, that Stalker is irritated by the badge because she knows deep down, no matter how hard she tries, she will never make a bigger impact than or be remembered like Taylor. Imp comments that Stalker will be reminded of this every time she sees the badge on someone, and then leaves her to stew in her anger
She was present during negotiations with Hollow Point villains and Mathers Compound Assault.
When March's Megacluster harassed the Undersiders out of New Brockton, she had her arm swapped with Ixnay's.
She tried to recover intel that was passed to Victoria Dallon by Chicken Little, trashed Ashley's apartment and eventually was captured by Kenzie Martin. Breakthrough exchanged Imp for a guarantee of cooperation from the Undersiders. Imp did some spying on mayor Wynn.
She was shot by Colt while trying to distract Love Lost's gang from the kids and, supposedly, hospitalized. At the end of the same night, she followed Foil to March's Megacluster, and killed Tori Heflin.
Fought alongside Breakthrough during the second Wardens' assault on Teacher's Compound.
She persuaded Breakthrough to make a detour to the local jail. While they were occupying The Custodian, she freed Contessa.
Imp was alongside The Undersiders and Breakthrough during the oversight duty of Titan Oberon and Eve. During the battle of titans she protected the rear group from Eve's maggots. Once capes had regrouped Imp was delivering explosives to titans.
Once Titans proved to be too dangerous and numerous for Imp and The Heartbroken, they retreated to The Wardens' compound and stayed near The Chicken Tenders. Imp babysat both teams and had to deal with Lookout's outburst following the death of Tristan Vera. She met Breakthrough, when they were returning to the complex, and notified them about the situation.
Imp stayed in the Wardens' HQ and skipped the initial engagement with The Simurgh together with the majority of Undersiders.
- Besides her Impish behavior, Aisha's name may come from a pun on imperceptible.
Illustration by aerryi
Illustration by aerryi
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 He nodded. “Well enough. There’s no risk in letting them near Saint.
Imp is a stranger-five, Canary is a master eight, but I would be very, very surprised if she had taken control of anyone here for the purposes of misleading us or breaking Saint out.” - Cockroaches 28.2
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 There's some drugs that, if the mother takes them while pregnant, can lead to children with problems with judgement, memory, impulse control and learning ability. - Wildbow on Spacebattles
- ↑ “You keep going down this road, your kid is going to be born without a face or something,” Aisha said, her voice quiet. “You know how hard school was for me? Even as far back as kindergarten, I couldn’t sit still. Teacher tells me three things, and by the time they’ve gotten to the third, I’ve forgotten the first. And Brian doesn’t have any of that.” - Excerpt from Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
- ↑ Her mom didn’t notice her. Nobody ever noticed her, and they noticed even less ever since she’d gotten her power. It was like a dark joke, a grim comedy. Just when she’d started to figure things out, grow up and catch people’s eye, the world went to hell and she got her powers. Now she became invisible if she lost her concentration. - Excerpt from Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
- ↑ The Hermit
"Upright: Soul searching, introspection, being alone, inner guidance
Reversed: Isolation, loneliness, withdrawal"
Imp's personal challenge is one of being isolated, attempting to gain some agency when the rest of the world or her power are trying to take it away, separating her from the world. Even when working with the team, she's functionally alone.- Major Arcana, bolded addition by Wildbow.
- ↑ Tangle 6.3
- ↑ Sentinel 9.6
- ↑ She doesn’t carry the lethal stuff because she wasn’t going into the situation with the anticipation of killing anyone. Binoculars, notebooks, recorder – her intent was gathering information. She only realized the opportunity when it came up. - Comment by Wildbow on Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Imp, Aisha Laborn – Controls the southernmost end of the city, up to the points the urban area ends and Rachel has her claim. Brian’s younger sister, triggered following Leviathan’s attack on the city, when thugs from one of the roaming gangs attacked her and her father. Her power renders her unnoticeable, to the point that people she attacks don’t remember she attacked them.
As Aisha (civilian), she’s a fourteen year old girl with a decidedly trashy and attention-getting fashion sense.
As Imp, she wears a form-fitting black bodysuit and a gray mask with slanted black lenses for the eyes and two short horns curving back over the top. Was using a taser for some time, but has taken to carrying a knife. - Cast (in depth)
- ↑ “I was just fucking with you,” she whispered. “I thought you probably deserved it.”
My stomach did a flip flop at that. Anger, relief, bewilderment, more anger. Still more anger.
“Man, the way your bugs reacted. Hilarious. You act like you’re all stoic, but then I just have to look over there and over there and I see bees and butterflies circling around like eagles ready to dive for the kill.”
I opened my mouth to say something, but she cut me off.
“She is pregnant,” Imp said.
My mouth shut.
“Kidding. This is fun. Come on, butterflies, I see you over there. Do your worst, I know you want to kill me.”
I considered jabbing her with my taser, and the thought was vivid enough that I imagined it buzzing at my hip. - Excerpt from Scarab 25.6
- ↑ Sting 26.2
- ↑ Or augmented with an un-association with her. 😉 - Comment by Wildbow on Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
- ↑ “Ah, bup bup,” Calvert raised a hand, “I was talking. As I was saying, I have other resources available. I have a small cadre of supervillains, a small group of heroes, all the resources of the PRT and PRT computer systems, and all of their tools.”
He snapped his fingers, and soldiers began to teleport down to the edges of the market. Most were positioned so that the Undersiders would have to run off the edge of the pavement, over the grass and into the water if they wanted to get away. Surrounding a target while holding guns only promised to get people shot. The effect, as it was, was good enough.
The Travelers teleported in behind Calvert, followed by Chariot, Circus, Über and Leet, and a few of his lieutenants. People in suits. One held a laptop while the other typed on it.
Every gun, tinker made or otherwise, was pointed at my teammates.
Another gun pressed against the back of my head. Soldiers had teleported in behind me.
I felt despair sweep through me. No. Too many. Didn’t think he could teleport this many in.
The gun barrel prodded me, and I stood. I walked with the gun pressed between my shoulderblades, just above the spot where my utility compartment hung.
“Skitter. How nice of you to join us.”
“Cut the fake civility,” I said. “Where are our teammates?”
“Regent and Tattletale are safe and locked up, rest assured. I must say, I’m quite disappointed. I really had hoped this would work out, and the loss of the Undersiders sets me back by weeks or months in the grand scheme of my plan. Imp, you can cease trying to run. My men have cameras on you,” Calvert gestured toward the laptop.
Imp moved her mask to spit on the ground, just to my right. It was a bit of a shock to find her standing there. - Excerpt from Monarch 16.13
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Teneral e.2
- ↑ Cameras record her better than the eye does, but the footage degrades over time. - Excerpt from Interlude 5d
- ↑ Of course, there was no way to avoid the countless reminders in everyday life that would remind her of Guy, or Bridge, or Darren, or Lonnie. Thinking about a broken arm was one such reminder. Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
- ↑ But the entity can still see fallout effects. There are parallels in memory storage. Not many, but there may be glimmers where the subject is capable of perceiving the information stored in the shard as the connections are formed.
For good measure, the entity breaks up one shard cluster, tunes it, then codes the effect into each and every shard. It studies the host species further, refines, attunes.
It takes time, but the entity forms a sufficient safeguard. The host species will forget any significant details.
The broken shard is cast off, joining countless others. It will bond to a host. The entity looks forward, checking.
After the target planet has revolved thirty-three times around its star, this shard will connect to a host.
A male guards his offspring, a female, with his size and bulk. A group of hostile bipeds cluster around them. They call out, making unusual loud sounds, suggesting intoxication. One of the hostile ones gestures, gripping its male parts, pulling them free of their coverings. A sexual gesture follows, waving the organ left and right, thrusting it into the empty air.
Sounds of amusement, laced with hostility.
The male and his offspring retreat as far against the nearest construction as they are able.
The shard connects, attaching to the male.
No. It is ineffective. The female is clearly more distressed.
There is a way to maximize exposure to conflict.
The entity taps into its understanding of the bipeds and how they operate, recognizes the signs of distress, the nuances such things can have.
It views the future again, with changes made in the code.
This time, the shard settles in the male, then immediately shifts to the more distressed female.
Insinuation. The shard connects to the host’s neural network.
The bond is created.
The shard opens the connection as the stress peaks, and the host doubles over in pain, bewildered, stunned. The shard then forms tendrils that contact each individual in the area. It retains traces of the entity’s tampering, of the studies in psychology, awareness and memory, and is quick to adapt. It finds a manner in which it can operate, then alters itself, solidifying into a particular state. The remainder of the functions are discarded, the ones in the shard itself are rendered inert to conserve power, while the ones in the host fall away, are consumed by the shard. The host’s neural network changes once more.
The female disappears from the awareness of the hostile ones that surround it.
The entity looks to the future, to see if this is sustainable, efficient. - Excerpt from Interlude 26
- ↑ Everything went into a compact black handbag, along with her taser and knives.
Small things. Nothing she couldn’t have bought in a well stocked convenience store, maybe. But she would operate best if she was relaxed, and having some personal items made her feel better.
That only left the problem of finding them.
They’d attacked the Merchants, and observing her mom had given her the chance to find out where. It was a starting point. - Excerpt from Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
- ↑ A combination of what Jaki said (Imp gets nudged away by her shard, she gets a bad feeling as she prepares to attack, and if and when she does attack her attack is off-target, or she hesitates, creating a window), intuition on Jack's part (suspicion, a hyperawareness of odd details, the movement of air in the room, 'it's too quiet', etc., happening to move to another location just as Imp strikes out), and leverage of the broadcast... Crawler wakes to initial commotion, he uses his full senses with his shard happening to kick into full gear (a la Skitter and her varying range) and/or moves across room, forcing Imp to back up from Jack, Shatterbird lashes out in a blind attack that happens to connect.
On that last point, the Nine can be considered to be an [editing to add 'unconscious'] extension of Jack for all intents and purposes. To Imp, it's just a 'This feels like a bad idea, I'm going to do it anyway! Fuck, missed! Oh shit, ow! Well now I'm bleeding and, it's pretty damn serious. That must be why it felt like such a bad idea!'
Take note of Jack's discussion of keystones in his first appearance. He's getting help in identifying points to manipulate, and then those points are getting nudged further in the broadcast. Communication is a two-way street. - Coments by Wildbow, archived on Spacebattles
- ↑ “Did the doggie get you?” Imp growled the question. “Good. Turn off your fucking power.”
I had only a helpless noise to offer in response.
“I warned you. Warned you what you were in for if you let my brother down. So do I use the knife, make it quick?” she drew a knife. Then she drew her taser with her other hand, “Or do I stick you with this until you stop using your power? Then we can find some place where you don’t have your bugs, and take the slow option.” - Excerpt from Monarch 16.12
- ↑ “You’re not buying this, are you?” Imp asked.
“It wasn’t her.”
“She’s playing you.”
“It wasn’t her.” - Excerpt from Monarch 16.12
- ↑ Wildbow The Citrine/Imp vs. Heartbreaker interlude I ended up canceling would've touched far more on that - Exerpt from conversation with Wildbow, archived on Spacebattles
- ↑ I heard a voice, female, kind words, spoken haltingly, out of place in the midst of this. I had trouble placing the memory.
Again, the voice interrupted. Patient, almost like I was overhearing something being said. It made for a kind of… what was the word? A conflict between two ideas. Dis- Dissonance.
I was preparing to go down with the clairvoyant, making sure we wouldn’t break contact even if we had a hard landing, when I heard that voice again, small and afraid.
I couldn’t place the recollection.
Again, that soft voice I couldn’t place, something to help me keep moving onward, a human sound when abstracts were becoming all too real.
I could hear the voice again.
Another person appeared twenty or so feet to my left, startling me. My bugs moved, creating a barrier.
No. She was a familiar face, so to speak. A gray mask, horned, with mischievous eyes, a mouth hidden by a scarf or cowl she’d piled around her shoulders. She was the source of the voice. She’d been with me, keeping me company.
Tears came unbidden to my eyes. - Excerpt from Speck 30.6
- ↑ Ixnay fixed his gloves, one looser-fitting than the other.[...]Then Ixnay, as alone as she was, though she could pretend he had a bit of company with the arm he had borrowed. - Excerpts from Interlude 12.z II
- ↑ Blinding 11.3
- ↑ Blinding 11.4
- ↑ Interlude 12.e II
- ↑ Heavens 12.x
- ↑ Dying 15.6
- ↑ Radiation 18.5
- ↑ Radiation 18.6
- ↑ Infrared 19.f
- ↑ Infrared 19.10
- ↑ Last 20.2