Wars World Survey: Helmut "Flak" Kong - By Abalux
|Weight:||270 lb/122 kg|
|Birthplace:||Berlin Compound, Earth|
|Languages Known:||Terran Standard, German, and English (Terran and Orange Star varieties). In the multicultural chaos that is Black Hole-era Earth, even people as dull as Flak need to be multilingual. He learned the Orange Star variety of English at Hawke and Sturm's strong insistence (read: at gunpoint).|
|Relatives of Note:||Flak's mother, Frieda, lives somewhere in what was once Germany. He doesn't know where and he doesn't particularly care to look.|
BackgroundZeffen is no paradise. Still, it is many times better than the wasteland that was once humanity's stronghold. The great wars fought after the invention of the hyperdrive wreaked havoc on Earth. They resulted in a horrifically damaged environment. To preserve itself, humanity moved to underground compounds. Their wealthy residents live with nearly all the amenities contemporary humans know. Everyone else lives in a nasty, brutish military dictatorship. Flak falls into the latter category.
Helmut Kong (Flak's birth name) was born in Berlin Compound, one of the large European complexes. His mother, Frieda, had recently lost her husband in a military uprising. She attempted to raise her son with as little contact with society as possible. Since his father was one of the soldiers on the losing side, and since the Terran government had a reputation for "rehabilitating" the children of dissidents and rebels, Frieda Kong also took advantage of their shared military training. She too was a soldier (albeit an AWOL one), and young Helmut learned warfare at his mother's feet.
There was one major problem, though. Helmut had no interest in military history or discipline. To him, combat was all about crushing one's opponent. His mother's lessons soon began to frustrate him. It came to a head when Helmut turned sixteen, the age of majority in Terran holdings. He sneaked out of the family apartment. Out in Berlin Compound's corridors, he soon found and joined a gang.
The Kong gang soon became notorious for its brutality and chaos. With this recognition came increased scrutiny by the Berlin Compound garrison. It was only a matter of time before the soldiers captured Helmut-and they did. He took down two of them before they could fire the shock guns, though. Wowed by his strength, the squad's sergeant gave him a choice. Helmut could rot in jail or replace the fallen soldiers. Even he could see which choice would be better. He signed up with that squad.
Helmut intensely disliked discipline; it was why he always got passed over for promotion. Even worse, he was not above brawling with his squadmates . . . during missions. To get rid of him, the Berlin Compound garrison transferred him to Zeffen's Black Hole regiment. He was ostensibly there as an undercover agent in a penal unit. The real reason was because Helmut's superiors no longer wanted to deal with him.
Life in Black Hole was boring at first. Then the regiment got sent to a supposedly primitive Earthlike planet. The planet turned out to possess early twenty-first century technology. Just when Helmut was getting bored in orbit, the regiment's commander, Sturm, called him into his office. He had a plan. All he needed the private to do was serve as security while a precocious young scientist performed an experiment. That experiment was what bought Viktor Steinhalt back to life. Against all odds, Helmut was the first person to realize the Direnholmian was speaking German. Sturm immediately transferred him to his new CO's command.
Helmut's powers emerged soon afterwards, when he had to put down a riot among the soldiers. Looking at the carnage, Hawke decided to promote the private to CO rank. (He did not want someone that out of control under his command!) The newly renamed Flak did surprisingly well in his training. He was in command, after all; few could dare question him now. When the call for invasion came, he eagerly deployed to Orange Star. Flak was determined to crush the "primitives" and take what they were too weak to possess.
Flak was surprised to discover that Wars World commanders had their own CO Powers. He hadn't listened during that particular briefing. This was the primary reason why, particularly against Max, he didn't ultimately have the discipline and staying power to maintain his occupation of Orange Star territory. His peers used him throughout the conflict as their basic grunt. Flak also participated in one of Lash's experiments . . . the one that would create Jugger. Ultimately, when Hawke killed Sturm, Flak stayed in Black Hole for a simple reason: Hawke proved himself stronger than his superior.
Black Hole did stay on and in the orbit of Wars World after the Macro Land conflict, and with it Flak. One day, a transmission came in from Earth. It was from Black Hole's sister regiment, the Bolt Guard. Its leader, Von Bolt, was coming in to check on Sturm. Hawke decided to send Flak and Adder to Zeffen to allay suspicions. Adder left the room to prepare. When he did, Hawke explained why he was having him go with Adder. Hawke was no fool. He knew Adder was trustworthy only as long as he was around someone stronger than him. Flak was going to make sure Adder explained (read: lied about) how Sturm had died. He was to use any means necessary. Although he didn't like this condition, Flak willingly boarded the starship and returned home.
PersonalityFlak is, at heart, a thug. Military life has not changed him. Indeed, through its implicit acceptance of violence, it has only encouraged Flak's brutal tendencies. He is also not terribly disciplined. The only people he takes orders from are Sturm and Hawke (and possibly Von Bolt, if he got transferred to his command). Other than that, nobody had better tell Flak what to do unless they can prove themselves as strong as him. (They can also outwit him. That isn't hard.)
One characteristic in particular makes Flak a unique Terran citizen: he is a misogynist. For all their flaws, the societies of Earth and Zeffen are generally beyond gender discrimination. Times are hard. If a woman can do a job as well as a man and be as industrious, she can hold any position she pleases. Leaders also expect men and women to cooperate. Flak, on the other hand, considers only one thing about a woman: her physical attractiveness. He ignores plain women and does everything he can to muscle in on beautiful ones. Other than that, Flak doesn't really think of women as people. Lash is a distinct exception because he doesn't know what to make of the teen prodigy.
Combat AbilitiesOn the battlefield, Flak makes Grimm look like Kanbei and Max like Grit. He doesn't concern himself with planning. When he attacks, Flak charges right at the forefront with his soldiers. The brighter ones consider his behavior reckless. The duller troops take it as bravery. Both are right. Flak is not one to retreat from battle, ever. In the Orange Star invasion, troops reported that the "big ape in the pot helmet" would beat soldiers to death with his rifle when it ran out of ammo. Flak's battlefield behavior caused a lot of property damage and displaced populations during that conflict.
Flak's CO Powers only make him and his soldiers more bloodthirsty and unpredictable. Fortunately for those facing him, they have one weakness: they enrage those affected by them. Much of the time, the rage state is so strong that the affected soldiers' aim suffers. Savvy opponents can see where the bullets are coming from and move out of the way. This weakness even affects vehicle gunners: all the sophisticated aiming systems in the world are nothing if a soldier is too infuriated to use them!
RelationshipsAll COs in the Terran and Zeffenian forces are expected to have camaraderie with their equals; it's only wise. Flak likes two of his peers in particular: Adder and Lash. He and Adder are the odd couple of their regiment. Flak is a rough-and-rowdy sort while Adder might be the most finicky prima donna in Black Hole (matched only by Kindle). Both of them were wise enough, though, to realize that they worked well together. Adder could do what Flak couldn't: act with finesse. Flak was savvy enough to notice that Adder needed his troops as front line grunts. He was content working in this role. Now, with orders to kill his working acquaintance if he steps out of line, Flak is wondering if he could actually do so.
Lash confuses the living daylights out of Flak. She isn't terribly attractive, and definitely not in his age group, but he's drawn to her anyway. Much like Adder, Lash gives Flak something he wouldn't have otherwise. That something is brainpower. Although he is supremely confident, Flak knows he can't handle the most sophisticated equipment. He relies on Lash to understand these devices. In return, he occasionally acts as a guinea pig in her experiments. Flak is wondering how the last one, which involved a military robot, turned out.