APAGear - Volume 5, Number 3 - May 2003

Unusual Suspects: Toy

Scott R. Blow

Note: This article makes extensive use of the following gender-neutral pronouns, 'sie' and 'hir.' They replace 'he'/'she' and 'his'/'her,' respectively.

Toy is perhaps the most aptly-named individual on Utopia. A virtual sculpture of flesh, Toy has been molded, shaped, and trained to be the ideal consort for Nineveh's reigning crime lord, Mackie 'The Nutcracker' Zalez. Toy is a slave, but one that enjoys a life of privilege that few free Utopians could even imagine.

No one but Zalez knows whether Toy is male or female, and everyone else is too afraid to ask; insulting the boss' "special friend" is a mistake very few survive to make twice. As far as anyone not intimate with hir can tell, Toy is completely androgynous. Sie could either pass for a slender and sweetly handsome youth or a slightly tomboyish and robust young woman. Hir curiously modulated genderless voice and carefully tailored clothes provide no hints, contributing to the rumors that sie may be either hermaphroditic or something completely unique. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Toy's appearance is constantly changing. Sie rarely keeps the same face for longer than a few months, periodically traveling thousands of kilometers to undergo radical cosmetic surgery performed by the best physicians Deep City Babylon's University of Essenes has to offer. It is unknown whether or not these alterations are something sie, hirself, desires, or a concession to some private fixation of her master's. However, while hir features, facial bone structure, and hair color vary drastically from season to season, each face is infused with a purely unnatural beauty that tends to make most people in hir presence vaguely uneasy even as it seduces them. Bo Ryoku, one of the Zalez cartel's top enforcers, once summed up this phenomenon rather succinctly: "Looking at Toy makes my knuckles itch. I'm never sure if I wanna throw it down and fuck it or just smash it to pieces. Things that pretty shouldn't exist in this cesspool." This statement was, of course, made out of earshot of anyone important.

While Toy's appearance regularly changes, there are a few characteristics that remain constant. Sie can always be identified by hir androgynous beauty. Normal human beings simply do not look like Toy; hir features are too symmetrical and only world class gymnasts are able to boast such lithe, flexible physiques. Sie can also be recognized by hir striking emerald-green eyes. They never change, remaining completely untouched by cosmetic surgery no matter what face sie currently wears. Some whisper that Toy was once a rather plain Wastrel child that Zalez purchased for the beauty of hir clear, serene eyes alone. A final reliable method of distinguishing Toy is by hir ever-present necklace. Fitting close around the throat and wrought from the finest platinum on Utopia, the unusual thickness of the chain's links and its durable padlock "pendant", emblazoned with the initials 'M.Z.', make it abundantly clear that this accessory is less a token of affection than a symbol of ownership.

Toy may be chattel, but as any of the CEF's Steelgate sycophants can tell you, being the boss' favorite is not exactly an unenviable position. Toy's unrestricted access to Mackie Zalez makes hir the de facto second-in-command of the cartel, despite lacking any official authority. Sie has Zalez's ear, and he has shown time and again that he is willing to go to great lengths to indulge hir frequent whims. In fact, while Toy is visibly the sole pleasure the uncommonly ascetic crime lord allows himself, it is sie who truly makes the most of Zalez's substantial wealth. Utopia is a world without much luxury, but Toy attaches hirself vampire-like to those few pleasures that do exist, denying hirself nothing. Sie clothes herself in breathtakingly expensive haute couture, partakes of only the most exquisite cuisine, and visits the finest vacation retreats the other Deep Cities have to offer (such as they are). An unabashed hedonist, Toy has become somewhat of a celebrity among the Greenway Federation's Deep City Babylon glitterati, despite keeping a rather low profile in her own Nineveh.

Toy is also a connoisseur of the finest drugs on the Utopian market. There is practically nothing sie has not experienced, and sie is always on the lookout for the latest and greatest highs. While sie is notorious for spending vast amounts of Zalez's money collecting "antiques" dating from Utopia's pre-subterranean history, sie mainly uses narcotics manufactured by the Zalez cartel's own laboratories. In fact, batches of various drugs are specifically set aside for hir use and are held to the highest quality control standards, assuring that they are much purer than those sold on the street, which are inevitably cut with a variety of cheaper and frequently toxic substances. It's no secret that sie is addicted to a wide variety of substances, but unlike the average junkie, who rarely knows where his next fix is coming from, sie is blessed with an inexhaustible supply. Zalez apparently has no objections to hir decadent hobby, simply sending hir on seasonal "spa retreats", where teams of first-rate doctors work diligently to reverse the long-term damage caused by hir various habits.

While Toy is constantly riding high on one mind-altering substance or another, making hir typically mercurial personality downright unpredictable, sie is also capable of sudden and sustained interludes of surprisingly analytical thought. Hir intuitive, genius-level grasp of the ebb and flow of the Utopian drug market --hir very livelihood-- make hir more to Zalez than just a mere plaything. However, during these lucid periods sie is also brutally pragmatic, often to the point of borderline sociopathy, and even members of the Zalez cartel become especially wary of hir. Toy is not the type to resort to crass physical violence, but sie can easily arrange to have some unfortunate soul "get lost in the Angles." An offhand remark like, "Mackie, he touched me!" is all it takes.

For his part, Zalez is pleased by how his boys are forever walking on eggshells around Toy. "Doesn't hurt 'em to show some fuckin' respect," as he is fond of saying. He is fiercely possessive when it comes to his treasure, and hir movements are closely monitored. Sie has hir own dedicated bodyguard / chaperone, a massive brick of a man known to Zalez's Lads as "The Monk." The Monk is rumored to be both mute and a eunuch, as that's the only kind of man any of the Lads can even conceive of Zalez allowing near his precious plaything. Whatever the truth of the matter, the Monk isn't talking, and it's precisely for that ability to keep silent that he occupies his position in the first place.

Talk of a hot new drug named Icepick has piqued Toy's interest, and sie has begun to devote a considerable amount of Zalez's resources towards discovering more about this newcomer to the Utopian drug scene. Hir objective is not only to monopolize the Icepick trade, but to also secure a pure source of the drug for hir own use. Despite being both incredibly jaded and prone to frivolity, Icepick has completely captivated Toy, and there are fears that sie may be urging Zalez to go to war against the rival Stark cartel in an effort to gain control of the drug. While a gang war might not be in the organization's best interests, there are signs that Zalez's resistance to the idea is weakening, and some of those in the know have begun to wonder if this so-called Toy may be, in reality, the new power behind the throne.

Vital Statistics

Age: unknown
Height: 165 cm
Weight: 45 kg
Hair: currently black
Eyes: emerald green


APP +4
BLD -2
FIT -1
INF +2
KNO +1
PSY -2
WIL -1
STR -1
HEA -1
STA 10
UD 1
AD 1


Business 3 +1*
Dance 2 +0
Dodge 1 +0
Etiquette 1 +2
Human Perception 2 -2
Notice 1 +0
Seduction 3 +4
Streetwise 2 +2

*Specialization: Drug Trafficking