Bakuda is very arrogant, monologuing to the Undersiders about her status as a genius and her ability to think "twelve moves ahead before you've even decided on your first". While she is implied to be highly intelligent due to possibly studying at Cornell University, she displays a lack of common sense. Setting off a bomb to breed unpredictability is what allows the Undersiders to escape from her grasp, and her bombing campaign against Brockton Bay is what leads to the villain alliance against the ABB. She takes having her intelligence questioned poorly—notably, snapping at and threatening Canary after she expressed doubt that Bakuda would be able to free herself from her restraints. Tattletale opined that she was coddled and praised most of her life, and being harshly criticized at some point was what led her to trigger. Skitter speculates that it had something to do with struggling academically.
She acts theatrical, with exaggerated body language, and Skitter remarks that she likes to talk. Bakuda also seems to enjoy taunting people, doing it to both Lung and the Undersiders on separate occasions.
Lung considers her someone who thinks in a similar manner to him, "in terms of power and fear". She willingly served as a lieutenant to him and learned many lessons from him.
Her assault on Cornell was more then enough to put her on the Protectorate's radar.
Her bombing campaign got her quickly sent to the Birdcage.
Bakuda is a young woman of half-Caucasian and half-Asian descent with pale blue eyes and straight black hair. While in costume, she wears large, opaque goggles and a metal mask with a gas-mask filter and a braided cord of black, yellow, and green wires over her shoulders.
Her mask has an audio filter which distorts her voice into a "robotic, monotone hiss". When not being filtered, her voice has a noticeable Boston accent.
Abilities and Powers
Bakuda is a Tinker that specializes in explosive devices. She was able to create bombs with an incredibly wide variety of effects, not all of them lethal. Like many tinkers, she could gain increased versatility by studying the powers of other parahumans.
She once created a bomb as powerful as a nuclear weapon, an estimated nine thousand kilotons, and capable of creating an electromagnetic pulse that would cover a fifth of the United States from Brockton Bay using household materials. She had a strong connection to her shard.
Bakuda's abilities were also useful outside a lab. She claimed to have an instinctive understanding of mechanisms and catalysts. She was able to take apart a tinker-designed collar without triggering its defense mechanisms and rebuild it into a bomb, using only her mouth. She was able to analyse some of the Birdcage's defences, although she estimated it would take her a decade to fully understand it. She created a device out of scrap that would punch through a Birdcage exterior wall, triggering the defences. She could fix broken televisions. She claimed that she could literally perform surgery blindfolded.
She didn't always know the effects of her bombs before she tested them. She got bogged down testing and producing the same type of bomb over just creating as much as she could when she could.
Costume - armored tinker suit includes tools. Mask includes breathing filter and vocoder to disguise her voice. Googles are tinted and have a HUD that can toggle different effects. Typical tinker paraphernalia
Bombs - She would have operated best if she could have just been randomly producing bombs
Adhoc bomb -
Bomb-Bombs - regular grenades and similar that create explosions that are far to big for their size.
Hologram bomb - produces a camouflage cover.
Ice bombs -
Pain bombs -
Time bombs -
Transmutation bombs - transmutates materials into other materials, including but not limited to glass, diamond, dust etc.
Warp bombs - Spacial warping bombs that could permanently twist organic matter. Based on scans from Vista.
Cranial bombs - Surgical implantation of micro explosives in very large groups, repetitive but easy.
Launcher - Delivery system for her bombs, made some for her personal use and for minions, created a larger jeep mounted variant.
Trigger system - uses toe rings linked to goggles above..
Continental EMP Bomb possibly able to be made due to her high conflict yields.
Bakuda was the daughter of a mixed race couple. Given her accent, she likely was born or grew up around Boston. Her father immigrated to the United States from Asia.
Bakuda triggered due to heavy stress after taking a large blow to her immense ego. It is suggested she had received a less than perfect grade whilst studying at Cornell University. She then subsequently held the university ransom, placing several bombs in an academic building to destroy it, as an act of revenge. Her tantrum was thwarted by the New YorkProtectorate, and she was later recruited by Lung and joined the Azn Bad Boys.
Bakuda hired Über and Leet to help her deal with the Undersiders. She initially observed the battle between the two groups, before making her appearance with a bow. Regent attempted to make her stumble, but she hung on the edge of the roof, chiding the Undersiders and telling them she was smart enough to learn from the mistakes of others. Giving the signal for her henchmen to come out, she proclaimed her status as the new leader of the Azn Bad Boys, and ordered her underlings to attack.
Grue blanketed the area with darkness before the Undersiders retreated. After a brief chase, she caught up with the Undersiders after they found themselves confronted by her underlings, telling them she had put them in checkmate.Tattletale accused her of toying with them, and Bakuda confirmed it. She ordered her men to open fire on the Undersiders if Tattletale opened her mouth, speculating on the nature of her power. She explained to the Undersiders that Lung had taught her much, but what she took to heart was his lesson about fear—that it was a blend of certainty and uncertainty. Bakuda proceeded to single out one of her minions, Park Jihoo, and asked him if he had ever held a gun.
Park Jihoo responded in the negative, and Bakuda told him that he was perfect for her demonstration. She ordered him to shoot one of the Undersiders, remarking that they were bad people if he was concerned about morals, and telling him he could shoot in a non-lethal spot. Stepping away, she then told another of her underlings to get out the camera and start rolling. Park Jihoo refused to shoot and dropped the gun, and Bakuda expressed disappointment that he was of no use to her as a soldier. Kicking him down, she activated the bomb in his head and liquified him. Then, she laughed.
Regent remarked that her display was "pretty cool", and Bakuda basked in the attention, telling him she had modelled it off Tesla's work in vibrations. Regent interrupted her to tell her that he didn't care, only that he thought a dissolved corpse was interesting, and asked how she'd done it. At Regent's inquiry, Bakuda confirmed that she had surgically inserted bombs into the brains of every one of the Azn Bad Boys. When Regent asked to get a better look, she told him no before saying that she knew what he was trying to do, and that she could think farther ahead than any of them.
Bakuda singled out another of her underlings, asking if she would shoot someone. The girl in question said that she could, all the while glancing at what was left of Park Jihoo, and Bakuda said that it concluded her demonstration. To show the unpredictability she was trying to cultivate, she set off a bomb in her own group, giving the Undersiders the opportunity to flee.
Bakuda and several members of the ABB entered a chase with the Undersiders while in her Jeep. After nearly running over Grue, the driver bore down on the group, only for Regent to mess with the driver. The Jeep spun out, and Bakuda was flung from it. Getting up, she then fired another bomb at the Undersiders.
Angry, Bakuda told the Undersiders that getting the upper hand on her was something they should be terrified of. Noticing Skitter was awake, she revealed she had spies in the Protectorate Headquarters who had told her about what Skitter had done to Lung, and told the other villain that she would get special treatment.
Trying to distract her from hurting Grue, Skitter taunted her about how she had failed at school, visibly shaking the bomber. Grue laughed at her, and Bakuda kicked Skitter in the face, intending to demonstrate one of her bombs on Grue in retaliation. She threatened to shove the bomb down Skitter's throat if he tried using his powers, and then slid it into his nasal cavity as she explained the bomb's effects. Struggling through searing pain, Skitter managed to bring her knife down on the edge of Bakuda's boot and cut off two of her toes. Incapacitated from the pain, she fled and the Undersiders regrouped.
The bombing campaign that she started was more then enough of a distraction to allow Oni Lee to free Lung. While her forced recruitment tactics rapidly expanded the ABB's ranks, her manic phase eventually petered out and with Lung free she gave up her position as leader of the gang. She was eventually captured by the heroes of Brockton Bay with her city-destroying EMP bomb neutralized by Clockblocker and Vista.
Bakuda was sentenced to the Birdcage for her crimes. She was placed in a transport vehicle alongside Lung and Paige Mcabee and had everything aside from her head and her shoulders covered in containment foam. After Paige woke up, Bakuda asked for her help in breaking free of the transport and, noticing Paige's hesitance, threatened to find her in prison if she refused. While working with the mask, Bakuda was asked by Paige why she was sentenced to the Birdcage, and Bakuda responded by saying she'd killed upwards of fifty people. She demanded Lung help her by heating the metal of the mask. Lung initially refused, but Bakuda goaded him to the point of anger and told him to use it to motivate himself.
Out of the now-heated metal, Bakuda created a makeshift screwdriver which she used to remove Paige's tranquilizing collar. Paige fell asleep, and when she awoke, Bakuda had created a tranquilizing bomb to use on the personnel transporting them. Bakuda told Paige that she would use her power to convince the men to free them, but when the bomb detonated, there was nobody there to hear Canary's song. As the three of them were taken into the Cage by giant metal claws, Bakuda screamed that she had had a plan.
Bakuda was set down alongside Paige and Lung in front of a monitor where a CGI rendering of Dragon's face appeared and addressed them. Dragon said that the proper procedures for Bakuda's transport hadn't been carried out, that she had a .000126% chance of escaping from the Birdcage, and then sent her off to be placed in Cell Block C.
Later, Bakuda was met by Lung in her cell. She told him of her time in the Birdcage, mentioning that things seemed grim for her until Glaistig Uaine discovered that she could repair the cell block's television. Bakuda expressed amazement at the layout and structure of the building, saying that she could spend her whole life trying to figure it out. Lung asked her if she had been in prison before, and explained to her the four ways a person could survive in prison; join one of the gangs, "be someone's bitch", kill someone, or be seen as a madman. Bakuda asked him which of the options he intended to take, and Lung told her he thought to choose the third and the fourth.
Realizing that Lung intended to kill her, Bakuda backed away before asking him why. He told her that she had failed him, in the city and the Cage, and insulted him. She threatened to punch a hole in the cell wall with an assortment of springs and wires, telling him they would both suffocate if he tried anything. Lung responded that she was not fast enough, and Bakuda asked him if he wanted to bet. He did.
Bakuda was later claimed by Glaistig Uaine.
Her bombs were used against both Leviathan and the Slaughterhouse Nine with variable results. The Scar is the result of the latter bombing run.
↑ 3.03.13.23.33.4What really drives tinkers, in a lot of cases, is the inspiration aspect. We don't really see this, because we mostly see tinkers who are doing their thing with what they've already built.
But tinkers vary a great deal in how they get their ideas. How fast, how many, how varied. In many cases, tinkers can find their way to new ideas by studying powers or studying the work of other tinkers. Bakuda develops time and space warping bombs (the slow grenade, the feature-warping thing she almost put up Grue's nose) by scanning and studying stuff that was affected by Clockblocker and Vista's powers. Armsmaster does much the same, with the time stop halberd (Clockblocker) and EMP pulse (Battery). In Dragon's case, well, she has access to a wealth of confiscated and 'submitted for internal review' PRT stuff.
From the shard's perspective, this drives competition and puts one tinker against another. Stealing another tinker's stuff to study both hurts the tinker and is a fast route to upping the quality of your own stuff. On a similar level, a tinker that's getting in fights is going to find ideas coming hard and fast (Bakuda), compared to a tinker that just hangs out in their workshop and actively avoids confrontation (Leet).
Tinkers are very hard to slap a rating on, but as with anything, they're judged based on the threat they pose to the PRT/community. Bakuda went from threatening to blow up a building with strategically placed explosives (Tinker 6) to getting access to powers to study while working under Lung and alongside Oni Lee, then showing what she was truly capable of when Lung was arrested and she tried to build the ÜberEMP. - Comment by Wildbow on Spaccebattles
↑ 13.013.1"The little bird's awake," a girl spoke, with a hint of a nasal Boston accent. [...] Sitting on the bench beside her was a girl about her own age. The girl had an Asian cast to her features. Her eyes, though, were a very pale blue, betraying some Western heritage. - Excerpt from Interlude 6
↑"Well, most Tinkers have a specialty or a special trick. Something they're particualrly good at or something that they can do, which other Tinkers can't. Bakuda's specialty is bombs." - Gestation 1.6
↑There were three ABB gang members standing at one end of the alley we’d just entered, and a fourth, lone member on the other. Both groups were looking the wrong way, and were standing still, which was as good an indication as any that they hadn’t noticed us. [...] “They do now,” Tattletale glanced over her shoulder at the ABB members behind us, then back to the lone one in front who still hadn’t reacted to our approach, “Trap! Down!”
She practically shoved me to the ground, then took cover herself.
The lone figure in front of us shimmered, then disappeared. In his place, for just a fraction of a second, there was a cylindrical object the size of a mailbox. Knowing what kind of devices Bakuda specialized in, I drew my legs close to my body, screwed my eyes shut and covered my ears.
The force of the explosion hit me hard enough I could feel it in my bones. It lifted me clear off the ground. For a moment, it felt like I was floating, carried by a powerful, hot wind. I hit the ground with my elbows and knees first, and they thrummed with agony at the impact.
Chaos. The four or five storage lockers that had been closest to the canister had been reduced to chunks of flaming brick, none any bigger around than a beachball. Other lockers near those had doors, walls and roofs blown away. More than one locker had been actually used, because the blast had emptied them of its contents. Pieces of furniture, boxes of books, clothing, bundles of newspaper and boxes of papers filled the alley.
↑ 16.016.1See, my two-twenty-seven was something of a happy accident. I'd taken readings of little Vista's powers, thought maybe I could make a space distortion grenade. Purely by accident, I cracked the Manton effect. Or at least, whatever I'd done when I put the grenade together, it bypassed the Manton effect. - Shell 4.10
↑ "While experts on the scene refused to offer hard numbers, a local cape was quoted as stating the superbomb could have had a yield of nine thousand kilotons of energy." - Excerpt from Tangle 6.4
↑ 19.019.1“How’d you do it? You stuck bombs in these civilians to get them to work for you?”
“Everyone,” Bakuda answered, almost delirious on the high of her successful ‘experiment’ and Regent’s attention. She half skipped, half spun through the crowd and leaned against one of her thugs, patting his cheek, “Even my most loyal. Bitch of a thing to do. Not the actual procedure of sticking the things inside their heads. After the first twenty, I could do the surgeries with my eyes closed. Literally. I actually did a few that way.”
She pouted, “But having to tranquilize the first dozen or so and do the surgeries on them before they woke up, so I’d have the manpower to round up everyone else? One after the other? Really tedious once the novelty wears off.” - Excerpt from Shell 4.8
↑Bakuda – ABB member, an ex-student from Cornell, she’s a tinker capable of creating explosive devices with a variety of effects. Her costume includes a gas mask with tinted lenses and a mechanical voice synthesizer. - Cast (spoiler free)
↑ 21.021.1“Tameka Schooley. Lee Pemberton. Tom Kahn. Bakuda’s test run and one use when she was terrorizing the city,” Jeanne Wynne spoke up for the first time. “Alabaster, Jotun, and Dauntless… Leviathan hurled them into a time stop effect when defenders tried to use one of Bakuda’s leftover tinker weapons to stop him. Wanda Fowler, Sarah and Patty Martin. Henry Holmes. They tried to break into what locals termed ‘The Scar’, an ongoing cataclysm from a bombing run that had been made using more of Bakuda’s leftover technology. They entered because someone had told them that The Scar had veins of diamond, gold, and other rare materials inside it, where matter had transmuted to different forms.”
“Did it?” Aleph Wolf asked. “That someone was right?”
“Yes. Rumors got out while barriers to contain the effect were being put up. The workers saw things. Unfortunately, that area also had a lot of active dangers that hadn’t gone off, settled, or stopped. The four risk-takers tripped an inactive weapon and were trapped by a fourth time-stop effect.” - Excerpt from Blinding 11.4
Megaprojects are a major, large scale, or high-end endeavor on the tinker’s part. Some tinkers (Architects) are built around creating megaprojects, while others have it as an option, and yet others do not have the ability.
Megaprojects have to be researched in multiple stages, and during the research process, the tinker will be able to outline the kind of project they want to make, in keeping with their specialty and methodology.
Generally speaking, megaprojects are gamechangers. They’re a quest unto themselves, and on completion, they give the tinker a massive edge, while becoming a quest or focus for others. Examples of megaprojects include… [...]
A bomb capable of nuking a city and nuking all electronics within a 2000 mile radius. - TINKERS, Excerpt from document by Wildbow.
↑ 23.023.1“And the fact that you, a halfbreed, recruited me, a halfbreed, and built a gang of a bajillion different races, it’s totally not a freudian thing, tying back to some childhood issues.”
↑The disaster at Kyushu, the number of refugees seeking living space/work and the pressures on the rest of Asia’s pacific [sic] border might have led to some more unrest and tension. [...] Bakuda was born to a Westerner mother and Immigrant father. - Comment by Wildbow on Colony 15.5
↑Bakuda serves as one example. It’s implied that her trigger event involved her building up a huge ego with natural genius/intellect, only to have a crushing blow delivered to that ego & her self worth in an case of failure or academic rejection while attending University.
In a broader context for tinkers as a whole, the trauma would be more likely to be mental strain than anything physical, quite possibly an ongoing challenge rather than an immediate crisis. - Excerpt from Monarch 16.4
↑Bakuda (Deceased) – Lieutenant of Lung. Half-asian tinker, member and once-temporary-leader of the ABB. Specialty in advanced bombs, including gravity, time-stop, physical distortion, cryogenic and flesh-to-glass transmutation effects. Imprisoned in Birdcage and summarily killed by Lung. Resurrected as Glaistig Uaine’s puppet. - Cast (in depth)
I mentioned, in a previous comment spree, that some characters are top-down (Have a name/concept in mind, create backstory from there) and others are bottom-up (Build a backstory, the name/concept follows). Bakuda was the former. Creating her was sort of a spur of the moment thing as I wrote 1.06. She’s one of relatively few characters that I hadn’t/haven’t tried writing a short story for, prior to knuckling down and writing the Worm you’ve read here.
I dislike giving characters boring powers. As a consequence, even for characters who seem fairly generic on paper (laser beams, super speed, whatever) I’ve given them nuances or underlying mechanisms that set them apart. Sometimes Taylor/the reader isn’t explictly aware of them (Glory Girl’s super strength, for example, isn’t just her being disproportionately strong), sometimes you are (Aegis’ strength being based in adrenaline & ability to push past normal physical limits, Velocity’s speed).
So that’s one facet of what I had in mind when approaching the tinker/mad scientist thing & Bakuda, specifically – it’s a powerset that’s not uncommon, but I wanted there to be something to set them apart. So every tinker has a specialty, a knack or a trick. In truth, any power category/subclass (super speed, super strength, laser beams, teleportaiton) has this, but people pay more attention to it when tinkers are concerned.
Beyond that, one thing I tend to do when I want to come up with ideas for something/someone quickly, is take a common stereotype or element and play with it. Turn it on its head, tweak it, generally defy expectations. When I played pen & paper roleplaying games, I did this a lot to make characters that stood out from the crowd. It’s usually my starting point.
So when I was writing 1.06, and Armsmaster was explaining what’s up with the ABB, my thought process was something like, “Okay, I need to round out the ABB some more. Probably not a frontline individual, given that Grue didn’t mention him/her. Maybe a girl, to balance out the genders. Lung and Oni Lee aren’t so atypical, so how can I reverse common stereotypes for Eastern Asians, Japanese or Asian-Americans and round out their group with someone more interesting? Common ideas tied to them include studious, hardworking, inoffensive, striving not to stand out, bad drivers, intelligent, ninjas, yakuza…”
I briefly considered having her be a vehicle tinker. A super skilled driver and/or pilot. Didn’t really go anywhere or tie into the rest of the group, and as I was already beginning to conceptualize how Lung might have recruited this person, it didn’t jibe. It also didn’t seem to have a lot of versatility or flexibility to the idea. Not that interesting.
It was the ‘striving not to stand out/inoffensive’ thing that was the seed for the bomb specialist bit. There’s few ways you can stand out -more-, it’s dramatic and potentially powerful enough for Lung to go out of his way to recruit her, and it sells the notion of how tinkers can be very specialized. The rest sort of wrote itself and flowed from there.
Of course, this thought process wasn’t so long winded. After pondering the getaway driver thing, I went with the ‘bomb specialist tinker’ fairly quickly. - Comment by Wildbow on Buzz 7.7