Darlene Vasil, cape name Syndicate, is a sensitive young member of The Heartbroken.
As one of Heartbreakers daughters and as such a member of a power influenced hedonistic cult, Darlene did not have a normal childhood and was ill-adjusted to larger society thanks to, among many other things, a dearth of role models.
Darlene has a quieter personality, unlike many of her siblings. She still participates in her siblings' banter, at times even getting aggressive in response to their teasing. She is fiercely loyal to her family and friends.
She has a habit of biting her thumbnail and number of other nervous ticks. She has a strong aversion to being physically restrained. She also suffers frequently from insomnia and nightmares.
As Darlene matured she didn't consider her older sister as someone to look up to.
Can-can is her closest 'cousin'.
Darlene has a crush on Chicken Little, that he was totally oblivious of until Lookout draws his attention to it. They seem to have a started comfortable relationship so far.
Darlene was initially wary of Kenzie, as she thought that she might be getting in the way of her and Aiden. However, they soon became very close friends.
It was Juliette who took credit for the kill of Operator Red.
Despite her age, Darlene wears lipstick, and later adds red eye shadows as part of her formal costume. She had longer, unruly black hair typical to Heartbroken, later she cut it to chin-length.
Darlene's initial 'costume' consists only of a mask provided by Imp, designed to match Regent's. Her mask has a silver tiara pattern across the nose, forehead, and cheeks, with silver lips and black eyes.
However, her "casual" choice of clothing is very fancy, complex and feminine, if somewhat old-fashioned. She does not consider those to be a costume.
As Syndicate her costume is shiny black, with built in knee-length dress and silver tracery, and her tights have inverted scheme: silver with black tracery.
Abilities and Powers
Darlene can form connections with anybody within her range, these connections need to be anchored on pieces of anatomy her power can immediately recognize. While connected to people, she can feel everything they feel and they can feel everything she does, this allows unfettered communication, coordination, and synchronization. When connected to multiple people, everybody can sense each other, in what is labeled a network. In addition, these people can sense the locations of one another within the network.
It is unknown how far the range of the network extends once somebody is connected, but it has been seen to work over large distances.
This can be used in combat, by forcing her opponent to feel any of the pain they are inflicting on her, or that she is inflicting upon herself. It also greatly enhances her coordination in hand-to-hand fight, but only when tools are not involved.
After starting her formal cape-career she begins carrying a knife.
She was raised by Heartbreaker. Her mother was severely malnourished during the pregnancy. When she was five, her older sister Cherie left, leaving her without any immediate family except her father. She begged her father to go to school, and was eventually placed in a homeschooling network, where she was introduced to how insincere people could be.
She triggered as a consequence of her father going on a power-trip on her schooling acquaintances, sometimes after her brother's escape.
Darlene was adopted by Imp along with the rest of her family when her father was killed.
Survived Gold Morning.
Darlene accompanied Aiden to visit Lookout in the hospital, where she became jealous of the pair's rapport. However this was also the start of her relationship with Aiden.
When Breakthrough made plans with the Undersiders to take down Love Lost, Cradle, and March, Darlene was placed on 'Yellow' team with Tattletale, Chicken Little, Capricorn, Tress, Juliette, and Amias. She single-handedly took out Operator Red during their encounter with cradles forces. She was later mutilated by Cradle along with the rest of her team. She and Lookout collaborated to help out Chicken Little.
She and Candy helped Lookout jeep and eye on the later hunt for cradle. She was overjoyed when the situation was resolved.
Darlene started a team with Chicken Little, Candy, and Kenzie Martin.
Darlene and Candy remotely assisted Lookout during her visit to Earth Shin.
Welcomed Lookout back from Earth Shin, and was invited to the Wardens HQ. Helped out Lookout with some tinkering.
Syndicate was alongside The Undersiders and Breakthrough during the oversight duty of Titan Oberon and Eve, but was delivered back to Wardens base once things got hairy. She still provided her coordination for The Undersiders and Breakthrough.
Darlene stayed together with The Chicken Tenders and Lookout at the Wardens' Compound during the following battles with titans, and helped kids to fend off her older siblings.
Darlene infected herself with the Victoria's plague following Aiden and with some help from Juliette.
- Darlene's name comes from the word 'darling,' with the suffix '-lene'. Her sister, Cherie, has a name derived from the French word 'chérie,' which translates in English to 'darling' as well.
- ↑ From Within 16.1
- ↑ He looked off to the side, to where Roman was leaning against a wall. Twelve year old roman with hair on his legs already, who’d been laughing at him.
Roman was only two years older than Darlene, but he acted like he was four years older. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.z II
- ↑ Look at it this way - at the age that many boys are raising an eyebrow at boobs, family members were saying 'hey, here are all the boobs you could want, in various shapes, sizes, and colors'.
Interested in dick? Big ones, little ones, crooked ones. Dad's not that into it but a sister can hook you up.
At an age when many are just figuring out enough of the world to ask 'what's heroin?' or 'what's weed?' he was given heroin and weed and everything else that was theoretically obtainable and told to only indulge if it was someone else's body.
At an age when many are saying 'sex must be awesome' he was given free reign. Where other 12-13 year old boys might search the internet for weird and disturbing porn and kinky stuff just to see what's out there, he could experience it.
He was given all of this in a context where people either didn't care or they didn't/couldn't judge (or, considering obligatory big brothers and their teasing, judgment didn't count for a hell of a lot compared to novelty.) - Alec's past prior to joining the Undersiders (Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2017-05-03)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 She took in a deep breath, happy, and she could smell the shampoo he wore and the birds he spent so much time around. There had been a time a year ago when she hadn’t talked to him much, and she was still, as Imp put it, ‘understandably fucked in the head about certain things’. Her best ideas of how to go forward with the feelings she already had about Aiden were from raw instinct, because Cherie was a bad big sister to look up to for that stuff, and Papa and ‘the women’ were a worse adult examples.
During that time a year ago, in her ‘fucked in the head’ phase, raw instinct had been to quietly hold her breath and only breathe in if he was close, anytime she was in his company. Smelling him had mingled with the rush of having oxygen again and the dizzying feelings that swam through her. He hadn’t noticed, because as much as her education in things had been a flood of too much, his had been too little. Tattletale didn’t like anyone, Imp was discreet, Bitch was too far away, and his parents had died when he was little, so he could barely remember them or their relationship. He didn’t even like any of the shows that would teach him the little things.
Maybe that fucked up phase had been a good thing, as tragically lame as it had been, and as much as her cousins had teased her once they realized she was doing it, with Aroa and Juliette getting in her way and Candy playing on the other team, trying to get Aiden closer. If she hadn’t needed to push herself to get closer so she could breathe and not pass out or die, she might never have started talking to him.
And then she wouldn’t be warm, her face this close to him. - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ “It’s good,” Aiden reassured. Darlene was the quietest in a lot of ways. She was the odd one out, when the others were what Aisha called high octane drama mixed two to one with nightmare fuel. Whatever that meant. He’d even defended Darlene when Aisha had said it, which had made Aisha laugh way too hard. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.z II
- ↑ He could feel the shift in the tension with that. Roman chuckled, Amias outright giggling. Darlene’s face got hot, and Candy barely reacted. Why did she barely react?
“Aww,” Candy said. “That’s a cute mental picture, isn’t it, Darlene?”
“Shut it, Candy. I have one nerve left and if you get on it, I’m going to take it and choke you with it.” - Excerpt from Interlude 10.z II
- ↑ This wasn’t the only time her mood had turned this black.
“Nobody’s taking them from me. I have a family, a job, and things I want to do.” - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ Darlene was biting her thumbnail again. Aiden could feel the pain as she got to the quick, flinched, and felt her flinch in response. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.z II
- ↑ Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ “Cuff yourself to that bench. If you use a power, I cut you where it hurts,” the man in red said.
She opened the cuff, looking at the serrated metal edge that allowed for the handcuff’s adjustments.
“I can’t stand being tied up,” she said. “It makes me want to barf.”
“It has to be better than being hurt or dead [...] Cuff yourself, then.”
She shook her head. She had to swallow gorge to keep from coughing or vomiting into her mouth. Just the idea of it brought her to that point, made her breathing uneasy. “I’d lose my mind.” - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ “Who has insomnia?” Chris asked Chicken Little.
“Um. Tattletale. Darlene too, she wakes up with nightmares a lot, scares the crap out of the rest of us if she forgets to disconnect from us when she falls asleep. But Darlene doesn’t take anything for it. She hates the feeling of being drugged.” - Excerpt from Infrared 19.10
- ↑ Heavens 12.x
- ↑ “I’m not confused. I really do like it, and I’m glad other people do too. I get being jealous.”
Darlene dropped one of the makeup things.
“Oh, whoops, foot in mouth,” Kenzie said. “Can I blame the pain drugs?”
“No,” Darlene said.
“You can blame the drugs,” Candy said, giving Kenzie’s lap a pat.
Jealous? Oh. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.z II
- ↑ I had a projector disc with me. I brought it up, tapping on the side. A group of small holographic figures appeared above the disc, tinted yellow from head to toe.
They were mostly silhouettes, but I could make out details like how one of the Heartbroken was resting a head on Chicken Little’s shoulder, apparently asleep. Chicken Little was moving his hands like there was something in them. A bird, I assumed. - Excerpt from Blinding 11.5
- ↑ Darlene hopped out, crossing to where Kenzie was, doing the same thing Chastity had done with Cassie, with the kiss on each cheek. Kenzie was better at rolling with it than Rachel’s henchman had been.
I didn’t get quite why they were suddenly chattering at high speed from the moment they were reunited when they were connected with Darlene’s body-interlinking power and Kenzie’s cameras and microphones for good portions of the day. Kenzie had fixed her microphones first thing as we’d returned from the Wardens HQ.- Black 13.4
- ↑ Not that Operator Red was with us anymore. Juliette had taken credit, which was chilling to think about. More chilling that she and her brother competed over kills. - Excerpt from Heavens 12.1
- ↑ It was Darlene who looked crestfallen by how upset Chicken Little was. The girl wore bold lipstick despite being Aiden’s age, and it was that lipstick that marked his mask over and over places, even as he tried to look noble and normal. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.x II
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 She supposed she, Juliette and Amias had masks, but Darlene had a hard time calling it costumes. They weren’t costumes any more than normal clothes were costumes. She had her nice coat, her velvet dress with the extra layers underneath, padding out the skirt portion, and black tights with silver-leaf pattern printed onto them. Her shoes were another thing Imp had provided her. - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ Darlene reached into her coat, pulling out a mask. Imp had supplied them, and they were all built around a theme. Darlene didn’t even remember Jean Paul, but apparently that was the style that they were matching to.
It made Imp happy, at least. Darlene looked at her mask, which had silver forming a kind of tiara shape, extending up the nose across the forehead, and down the temples, where they curled around to the cheekbones. The lips on the mask were silver, the eyes of the mask black. She fixed her hair around it. - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ Darlene was wearing more ‘high fashion’, with a ruffled dress and jacket that could have been the very thing for girls to wear to an event eighty years ago, her hair cut to be level with her chin, makeup done up to include bold red lipstick and similarly red eye shadow. The effect was better and more striking than I’d seen it in the past. Practice paid off. She stood out from the pack because of her nervousness, when so many of the others were more the laissez faire sort of confident. - Excerpt from From Within 16.6
- ↑ Twelve or so, Darlene had black hair that didn’t go below her chin, tucked behind her ears, and bold red lipstick that didn’t suit a kid her age. She wore a costume with a knee-length dress built in, the cloth a shiny black, overlaid with silver tracery. Her tights were silver with black tracery. - Excerpt from Infrared 19.g
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 She felt out with her power. Found the Cretan. The Minotaur that was making this maze. He moved so quickly through it that it seemed impossible, though it was possible he was undoing the effect as necessary. His head turned her way.
The power that let her find people also let them find her. She had to be careful. - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ Tress spoke up. She was making her way down the stairs, her hands out to the sides, sliding down the railings. “If you don’t think it’s going to be a problem, and if it doesn’t affect my movements or yours, you could try connecting to me. Don’t be-”
Darlene connected, missing outright on her first attempt, then aiming for the face and finding the connection there.
The others had been gradual, a handful of sensations at a time, as each body part made contact with something. Tress felt like a hundred sensations at once. Limbs as thin as pencils and as strong as small caliber gunshots were fumbling, reaching, thumping against her shell, and groping blindly for rings and switches, hauling back on cords, gripping those cords, tracing the seams of the hollow metal shell, and straining against bondage where metal bands cinched them together into groups, leaving them to rustle faintly against each other. The longest groupings were extended out to and through the metal arms, where they strained and worked, providing a lot of the mechanical movement for the added limbs.
She felt Tress’s lips part, the words barely audible over the screech of the alarm. “Oh wow.”
“You okay?” Capricorn asked.
Tress nodded. “It’s… nostalgic. The sensations of a normal body.” - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ She’d felt a boy’s body, with her brothers and Aiden. Capricorn felt like a man’s body, in a way that even Samuel didn’t, and Samuel was close to the same age. Strong, burdened by armor, breath hot inside his helmet. That was the Capricorn who was walking down the stairs.
Another Capricorn was overlapping that, frozen like a robot with the power switch thrown off, suspended and moving along with the Capricorn she saw. Frozen as it was, she could feel the heat of the brain against the skull.
She reached for him, grabbing the lower half, and dragged it closer by inches.
Unnecessary. It just took time.
Capricorn with the blue armor, now. Intact. With her power, she felt the two separated parts, floating superimposed around him. - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ Not sight, not really- but the sensation of touch that bubbled gave him a good idea of where those people were looking, and why this was happening. He peered past crowd to see the security officer at the end of the hallway.
There were two more members of the group, straggling. There was no need to say ‘wait!’ or ‘we have to take care of this security officer!’, which was good because it was noisy inside.
She bent down to whisper in the ear of the last member of their squad, and he could feel the air go out and feel the air against ear as the sound was received. Try as he might, he couldn’t make out the words.
He felt the emotions running through Darlene’s body, and looked back, “Are you okay?”
He was heated enough that Darlene and Candy roused a bit, paying attention. He waved a hand in their general direction, and the half-asleep Darlene cut the connection. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.z II
- ↑ Lookout moved her ‘hands’, and through the link that Darlene provided, Candy could feel the motions in hand and attached finger, and moved appropriately. - Excerpt from Heavens 12.x
- ↑ “Oh. Shit,” Capricorn said. “So that’s a thing.”
He sensed it too. Part of the network.
“And Sveta’s… wow.”
“Don’t get lost in the network,” Aiden said, quiet. “As neat as this always is, it’s supposed to help, not distract.” - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ I didn’t get quite why they were suddenly chattering at high speed from the moment they were reunited when they were connected with Darlene’s body-interlinking power and Kenzie’s cameras and microphones for good portions of the day. Kenzie had fixed her microphones first thing as we’d returned from the Wardens HQ.- Black 13.4
- ↑ She’d aimed for fingers, hoped to chop them off, but the knife wasn’t an extension of her or her power. Had she used her fingernails, she knew she could have gotten them exactly where she wanted them, respective to her opponent. - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ “Knife,” Darlene said. “I try to always keep a knife now.” - Excerpt from Sundown 17.8
- ↑ Interlude 15.a II
- ↑ Darlene wasn’t sure why Tattletale had to do that. It sounded so insincere, but it was the backhanded kind of insincere where she could use an eye roll or a simple denial to shrug it off if ever called on it. Back when Darlene had turned five, Papa had been in a black mood for a while. From what Samuel had said, Papa had wanted to collect Sidney Saile, the girl from Vancouver, and he failed. That had been when Cherie had left and with Darlene’s mom being gone, she had no immediate family except Papa. - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ Her sister and some older ‘cousins’ had gone to school. Cherie had. It had seemed like a fairy tale. The girls on television and in movies had gone to school and dreamed of being princesses and singers, even Sidney Saile had. Darlene had just dreamed of going to school. So she’d begged. She’d fought and even went on a hunger strike, until her dad made her eat until she was sick.
The compromise had been a homeschooling network and the homeschooling network had been Darlene’s introduction to the backhanded statements, the fake smiles, the two-facedness. Mostly it was the dads and moms, but some of the other boys and girls had learned it too. - Excerpt from Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ From Within 16.8
- ↑ Scarab 25.6
- ↑ Interlude 10.z II
- ↑ Interlude 11.c II
- ↑ Blinding 11.11
- ↑ Blinding 11.12
- ↑ Heavens 12.x
- ↑ Interlude 15.a II
- ↑ Dying 15.1
- ↑ Radiation 18.4
- ↑ Infrared 19.f
- ↑ “it would be because Juliette froze Roman so Chicken Little, Candy, and Darlene could touch him and get the effect. Well, technically, it was Chicken Little doing it, then Darlene did it because he did, and Candy joined in after…” - Excerpt from Last 20.10