Character Playlist: Ainsley “Sonata” Avison

Sonata - Talent (Emotion)

This was a campaign run for a different group than my usual, using the Wild Talents system, which I had never even heard of, and took some time to get used to. As such, there’s no archive of this to listen to, so unfortunately there’s no retrospective review to be had. Sonata’s playlist can be found here: Ainsley “Sonata” Avison – I Wanna Be Free To Feel The Way I Feel.

The setting behind the game, “The Thunderchild Initiative” was based on the premise that H.G. Wells’s War Of The Worlds actually happened, but instead of being defeated by the flu, the Martians were repelled by people with superpowers, known as talents. The organisation that looked after these Talents was named the Thunderchild Initiative, or TI, for the battleship that was sunk during the invasion, as a testament to the human spirit. It’s been years since that incident that we join the story.

Ainsley Avison grew up in an orphanage before aging out of the system and left to her own devices, which of course landed her in trouble with the law and then government. But I’ll go into that with the song choices. Sonata’s character was inspired most prominently by Ember McLain from Danny Phantom, as well as Major Winchester from M*A*S*H, but also the stereotypical “white woman with an undercut” meme. Here’s the playlist:

“Clarinet Quintet, K 581: Allegro” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

This has always been a song that represents loss to me, maybe because of how it features in “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen”, the finale of M*A*S*H. This song also has a double meaning because Ainsley took to music as a skill and as an escape from the dreary nature of her life. Whenever she would need to calm down or meditate in a way, this would be the piece she would prefer.

“Razorblade” by Blue October

In contrast, this is more indicative of Ainsley’s day-to-day. Not quite as blatantly abusive, but the feeling of being shaped in the wrong way beyond your control was still quite prevalent. Due to the condition of society to rebuild, and the influx of orphaned children, Ainsley was not well-looked after, and her physical state suffered.

“Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling

Eventually, Ainsley couldn’t take being the docile sort, even if it cost her adoptions and privileges within the orphanage. Being made to keep everything in was taking a toll.

“real Emotion” by Kumi Koda

Once Ainsley hit puberty, her Talent emerged. Whether through upbringing or genetics, or some unknown other thing, she was “lucky” enough to be one of those do develop powers. These started as simple abilities to sense emotional states in others.

“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Working on her Talent, eventually Ainsley began to develop the ability to control emotions in others. She used this to offset her weakness by using her powers to make others happier around her with her music, and more willing to do things for her. Once she was old enough to be legally emancipated, she took the name “Sonata” as a stage name, and performed for a living, supplementing her meager earnings by convincing people to not exactly commit crimes, but definitely things they wouldn’t do otherwise. Which of course attracted the eyes of the TI.

“She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel

Getting what she wanted all the time was not good for Sonata’s self-control, which led to her becoming more obvious with the risks she was taking. Before things got too out of hand, Sonata was approached by the Initiative, and dealt an ultimatum: Either join with them to try to do good, or go away. Sonata took the choice of freedom.

“Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” by Shania Twain

Despite being part of a governmental service, Sonata’s attitude was forever changed by her years within the foster system. She fought at every turn, knowing that despite their threats, the TI would never follow through.

“The Rising Sun (Shinsuke Nakamura)” by CFO$

Sonata was put into a team of rookies, who were then given an assignment: a public appearance to ease tensions that people with Talents are not to be trusted. This ended up being at WWE’s SummerSlam, or what passed for it in a world of superpowered people. Without knowing this fact, Sonata thought that this would be a good song to make an entrance to, unfortunately getting the crows very hyped up and disappointed. Special shout out to the GM for coming up with the wrestlers, like The Rock (A literal rock golem), Stone Cold Steve Austin (with the powers of ice), The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar (demonic strength and appearance), John Cena (invisible), and others.

“You’re Gonna Pay” by Jim Johnston

Sonata is a very petty person. If you slight her, she will not retaliate with equal response. This song is dedicated to the paramedic who tried to stop Sonata from going past a certain point, and now has a Pavlovian response for anger and lust whenever he sees a fellow team member, leading to the paramedic asking to swap shifts to see the team member more often and sending gifts, or punching.

“Heat Of The Moment” by Asia

A word of admission, it’s been long enough since this game took place, and I’ve put off writing this analysis so long that I can’t put a specific reason to this song’s inclusion, but I’m reasonably sure it is for a similar scenario as the previous entry. Probably topping up the paramedic’s conditioning.

“Driver’s Seat” by Sniff ‘n’ The Tears

The team took an unofficial second mission without orders to investigate a criminal mastermind which ended near disastrously, leading to one team member being in critical condition, and needing to be in the front seat of a car that was going to be held by a flying mech with an addiction to AC/DC (don’t worry about it), despite a healthier person calling shotgun. This was a song request to the mech specifically to spite the healthier person.

“Nearer My God to Thee” by Titanic Orchestra

During the team’s actual second mission, Sonata was critically injured, just barely clinging to life. She recovered, but at the time I joked that this song should be playing as Sonata died, making everyone remember her (hopefully), despite all she’d done. Luckily this was unnecessary, but it still made for a great moment, being unconscious while this song played in the player’s jukebox as another team member called out to hold on and to stay with them.

Good times.

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