Camden Kolt is a wizard red fox Artifical Anthro-feralis, and an agent of the United Liberators Coalition assigned as member of Liberators-830B. He works as a Mechanical Engineer, and is found frequently on Ekhota Base and as support for the field operations team.
His parents worked in the planning and works department for the Pittsburgh Maglev committee, and worked to actively bridge Washington, DC and Chicago with a high-speed rail line that would run through the Pittsburgh area. It was from his parents that Camden gained a lifelong appreciation for the art of engineering.
Even at a young age, Camden tinkered with various outdated electronics his parents left laying around. In third grade, he was suspended for a week for inventing an automated rubber band turret that used an old camera's facial recognition software to detect his teacher's face. His parents, opting to embrace this creativity, took him out for ice cream and bought him a number of engineering and computer science texts, some meant for students at college age. He took to them immediately; however, his intense interest in 'grown-up' subjects left him with little in the way of friends.
His childhood was otherwise very typical for American suburbanite, apart from the frequent visits he paid to his two surviving grandparents in Fox Chapel, Nana and Pops Bessemer. While his parents would take trips to all points along the proposed Chicago-Washington DC Maglev Corridor, he would spend time building things in his grandfather's garage, which as he grew would become his workshop.
During a field trip to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in May of 2010, Camden was exposed to Red Matter for the first time in his life; his entire class was shocked to find that the sample kept at the "Are You a Wizard?" display reacted to his presence, glowing brightly. Around this time the director of the museum, Dr. Hamlin Coates, took notice of the young Camden and extended the generous offer of tuition at the magically-inclined Shadyside Academy to his family. Unable to accept Dr. Coates' offer due to their living situation (the school was too far away to be practical), the director kept the offer waiting in the wings, should the Kolts' housing situation ever change. This did not dampen Camden's enthusiasm, as he began dreaming of one day becoming a great technomancer for the ULC. His parents, supportive as always, opted to provide him with plenty of reading material and resources.
In June of the following year, Ethan and Ellie Kolt were called away for a maglev conference in Chicago. On their way home, they happened to be aboard the ill-fated Amtrak 608B, in which 76 people, Ethan and Ellie Kolt included, were killed in what is considered to be one of the worst rail disasters in modern American history.
Camden, who had been staying with his grandparents during the accident, was crushed by the news. His grandparents stepped up and did everything they could to replace the parents he'd lost, though there was only so much they could do. Young Camden was forced to box his old life up, and move it all to his grandparents' house. Some weeks later, while going through the collection of items from his lost family, he stumbled across something his parents had seemed to be working on obtaining for him. In an old wooden box labeled "EK", Camden found the skeletal frame of his father's custom-built wand, forged from raw steel; he had never finished working on it. When Camden asked about the wand, he learned that his father had also been a Type-II, but had never been able to afford the components or the education to be able to complete the wand when he was younger. Camden knew that it was now up to him, and he became more determined than ever.
Camden's grandparents, now saddled with the responsibility of ensuring their grandson got a good education and at the behest of Camden himself, decided to follow up with the offer Dr. Coates had made to the Kolt family a year prior; enrollment at Shadyside Academy. Camden was quickly accepted into the school at the behest of Dr. Coates, where he was introduced properly to the concepts of magic, with a focus on technomancy.
After eight long years of rigorous study, having touched lightly upon most of the schools of magic as part of Shadyside Academy's curriculum, Camden graduated with distinguished honors in June of 2019 and was presented with a variety of scholarships, allowing him to immediately apply for enrollment to Carnegie Mellon University.
At CMU, Camden majored in Red Matter-Applied Engineering (RME), with a minor in robotics and computer science, all of which he displayed an unusual aptitude in, earning high marks from his professors. While housed in the university's dormitory block in Oakland, Camden decided it best to find a job working at a local bakery, Oakland Fresh.
Thanks to the extensive resources at Carnegie Mellon University, at this point Camden was finally able to obtain the pure sample of Areum needed for the completion of his father's wand. Without hesitation, to be in compliance with the law he registered his wand to the Department of Magical Affairs, and was allowed to continue using the wand for the duration of his studies at CMU.
After eight years of study at Carnegie Mellon University, by May of 2027 Camden was deemed finished with his studies, and was expected to be ready to write his dissertation. By this point, he decided to move to a location in Oakland closer to the Natural History Museum, to be able to continue his studies on Areum-enhanced engineering with his benefactor, Dr. Coates, who could provide him the necessary connections and resources to continue his studies.
The Brakko Incident
While Camden had busied himself with his studies, trouble was brewing in Oakland. On the night of July 30th 2027, a Walgreens drug store reported theft of cigarettes by an anthro-feralis teenager "big cat with spots". The salesclerk did not know the difference between jaguars, leopards, cheetahs, or panthers. A young jaguar-form anthro-feralis teenager by the name of Brak "Brakko" Oliver happened to be walking near the drug store, smoking cigarettes, and was apprehended by a lone police officer on beat, Keith Grecco. Due to the prevailing notion of anthro-feralis as being dangerous to apprehend, the officer drew his pistol and demanded compliance from the youth, which was met with hostility at what he felt was racial profiling. Feeling threatened, Officer Grecco discharged two rounds into the youth's shoulder. A second officer making his way to the scene, officer Brad Shelling, heard the gunshots and immediately reacted by drawing his pistol, firing a single shot into Brak Oliver's skull, killing him. The incident would spark outrage on both sides of the anthro-feralis rights issue.
Several days later on August 4th, an early-morning statement by Pittsburgh chief of police David McCullough garnered a firestorm of national attention when he deemed the two officers involved in Brak Oliver's shooting to be "in compliance with law and protocol", and that both officers would merely see a two-month paid suspension from duty as punishment. Almost immediately, protests broke out in cities across the nation, both pro and anti anthro-feralis. Some of the heaviest protesting was focused in Oakland, where the shooting took place.
On that day, Camden was walking home from lunch at the "Dirty O", having just that day signed up for ULC service at the Pittsburgh Liberators-152 chapter offices in Oakland, when he heard commotion coming from the grounds of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. As he arrived, he found anthro-feralis protesters all over the memorial hall's front lawn, some of them protesting against the shooting of Brakko, many others having come in droves from across the nation to support somewhat recent initiatives in preventing anthro-feralis people from entering the United States at all, or called for the purging of all current nonhuman residents.
Unbeknownst to the protesters this event, having gotten national attention, was being scouted by a contingent of CLAW. Using a variety of methods, a group of five protesters were drugged and kidnapped from the premises, including Camden.
Several days later, police were drawn to the St. Peter and Paul Church in the Pittsburgh suburb of East Liberty, after a video had appeared on Facebook Live depicting a decrepit locked door, with a letter nailed to the door. The letter read as follows.
“There was no justice for Brakko. This is how intolerance will be repaid; let it be known. We are CLAW.”
Behind the door, Pittsburgh police were shocked to find the five missing protesters (later identified as Moira Hudson, Jacob Hasselbeck, prominent social media personality Cody “Fuzzbash” Tyrone, and Camden Kolt) each having been transformed into a different subset of anthro-feralis by CLAW. In the corner of the room were three body-bagged corpses, immediately identified as Officers Keith Grecco and Brad Shelling, and Chief of Police David McCullough. The five victims were brought into hospitalized police custody and interrogated. As a result, it is believed the CLAW agent foremost responsible for the incident is the dark biomancer "Balangurrk", whose whereabouts remain unknown. The story becomes a national headline, sparking yet more protesting.
During the next week, the five victims are shielded from national attention given to the Brakko shooting and its repercussions, and are given the standard-issue therapy issued to survivors of a CLAW transformation ritual; a battery of medical tests, therapies, and identity reconfigurations designed to allow them to return to their lives. After one week, all five are discharged. Camden, now in the form of a red fox anthro-feralis, is confined to a wheelchair as a result of an imperfect transformation. During the ritual, Balangurrk did not complete the musculature in his now-digitigrade legs, preventing him from bipedal locomotion.
Almost immediately, Camden was fired from his job at Oakland Fresh, the otherwise-sympathetic owner citing health concerns, as the prevailing notion is that anthro-feralis are not trusted in the food service industry. On his way home from being fired, Camden was held at gunpoint and robbed by an opportunistic thief. His wallet and wand were then stolen, and he was forcibly moved onto the ground, his wheelchair kicked into oncoming traffic. Upon arrival at his apartment, he was greeted with an eviction notice; his landlord simply did not want the attention Camden's story was attracting, nor did he want to tolerate an anthro-feralis living in his complex. The next day, he moved back in with his grandparents in Fox Chapel, retreating into his old workshop as a way to cope with his life falling apart.
Shortly after his 27th birthday, the Bessemer home was visited by an emissary from the local chapter of the ULC, with news that his application for training with the Liberators had been accepted. As a bonus, the emissary revealed that the local Liberators chapter, in conjunction with USDOMA, had managed to track down and recover Camden's wand. Camden eagerly accepted.
A week later, he would be brought into the Liberators-152 facilities for training, and was transferred to the United Liberators Operations Academy in San Francisco to undergo further technical training. After a year had passed, he would be assigned to Liberators-830B in Union City, WY. He reported to the Phoenix Complex in early January 2029.
Agent of the ULC
Due to the circumstances surrounding the Voltage Incident of January 2029, Liberators-830 was split into two teams; 830A, and 830B. Camden, presumably due to his "second rate" appearance and skill set, found himself striving to prove he was first-rate material, by immediately setting about turning Ekhota Base (which at the time was a woefully underequipped cold war-era mountain base) into a capable, modern home for he and his fellow Liberators, despite a variety of setbacks involving a lack of resources and funding, and even a stealth-suited intruder at one point.
Despite trying his very hardest to prove himself a valuable part of Liberators-830B, despite not being a field team member, Camden had a difficult time trying to actually make friends. Some of the agents showed disinterest (Alder Thornwick), whereas others (Katyusha) were too difficult to actually relate to. Of all the agents at Ekhota, the one Camden found himself able to relate to and form the strongest bond with was Liberators-830B's captain, Charlie Lang. The red panda Anthro-feralis captain, himself dejected by the apparently throwaway role he was given, was surprised and impressed by the dedication Camden immediately displayed, especially when several of his more able-bodied agents failed to do so.
In March 2029, as a token of their blossoming friendship, Camden Kolt received a copy of Modern Materials Engineering as a gift from Charlie. It was then put to good use in a variety of Camden's newer projects as he steadily transformed an old operations center nestled within Ekhota into an experimental tech lab, bringing in a variety of older equipment coupled with tactically-chosen pieces of high-end equipment supplied thanks to the helping hand of Tyler Cheng, the captain of the much more well-equipped Liberators-830A.
Camden would continue to supply Liberators-830B with as much tech as his funding allowed him to, his many projects including the RM-L4NC3, a set of specialized smart goggles for Tobias Maki, a wand-amplification rifle called the RM-MANA, a pair of stabilized diamond-tungsten alloy gauntlets created for Siegfried Peters called the ST-FIST05, and a tactical grapple-gauntlet custom-built for Roie Allius, dubbed the ST-1NGR.
A Downward Spiral
In May of 2029, an attack on the Union Falls Metro System conducted by CLAW put the 830-B team to its first major test since its inception. After the attack was thwarted by 830-B's field team, a collection of confiscated technology fell within the purview of Camden. He was tasked with delving into the technology, along with other records obtained from Liberators 830-A (thanks to its captain, Tyler Cheng), to digitally investigate what increasingly seemed to be a mole within the ULC itself, feeding technology and information directly to CLAW operatives. This operation was carried out in the utmost secrecy, Camden not even allowing any of the information to be used on any of his personal terminals unless they were, at the deepest levels, disconnected from any kind of external network.
In the meantime, Camden continued to work on a variety of projects, the first of which being a prototype waist-down exosuit unit designed to allow the crippled fox-man to walk again. The device worked for all of ten seconds as a number of mechanical and logistics failures cascaded together, forcing Camden to the floor; the malfunctioning prototype would have snapped his legs backwards were it not for Charlie's quick-minded intervention. In the aftermath, Camden lamented being unable to develop any kind of suitable exosuit unit due to 830-B's paltry funding and resources, especially in light of the chaos the second Korean War had wrought in nearby Montana. When word of this got around to Dr. Prilv, he offered to use his wealthy family's connections with the tech giant AtlasTech and its CEO Jack Harper, to perhaps land Camden some kind of deal to gain him the resources the ULC couldn't spare.
Several days later, Camden and several 830-B personnel were flown to AtlasTech's facilities in Washington State, to meet with Harper and experience a Willy Wonka-esque tour of his facilities, culminating in an offer Camden found impossible to refuse. In exchange for the resources he'd need to continue work on a proper exosuit, Camden and the men and women of Ekhota Base would participate in a pet project Harper had hoped to get off the ground; a pro-Anthro documentary highlighting the lives of 830-B's Anthro team members, in an effort to show them in as positive a light as possible. With Captain Lang's blessing, Camden accepted the terms, and the documentary began filming shortly thereafter.
Despite Camden's eagerness to get to work with the newly-acquired resources he desperately needed to be able to build the exosuit and walk again, there was much more important work to be done, despite the cameras roving around. Even as cameras captured candid and interview footage of many of Ekhota's crew, Camden had uncovered enough evidence to prove that CLAW was indeed working from within the ULC, perhaps even within Ekhota itself. The team would need some kind of ace in the hole to defend itself, something CLAW could not possibly be aware of...and that took precedence over Camden's need for bipedal mobility. So, even as the cameras continued rolling (much to the chagrin of some staffers and agents), Camden worked behind the scenes to create the world's very first, stable, matter-compression magitech device.
After several long weeks of rigorous testing and a great number of sleepless nights (in part fueled by Camden's need to escape his own mounting personal problems), a working model of the matter-compression technology was ready to be tested on living subjects; three robo hamsters named Domo, Arigato, and Mr. Roboto. The actual procedure to shrink the hamsters went perfectly fine, but during the regrowing process, Mr. Roboto escaped his cage and ran; the magitech process that would have halted the regrowing process never took place, and so Mr. Roboto grew to the size of a large dog, scurried out of the tech lab, collided with a wall, and exploded. Camden, in a frenzy to figure out why this had happened so that his research could get back on track, had quickly determined that the shrinking process had also shrunk all air molecules within the hamsters' cage; once the tiny air molecules had dispersed, it left the hamsters panicking in what was essentially a vacuum. One of them escaped the cage in a panic, and since there was nothing to stop the regrowth process, the hamster continued to grow until all molecular bonds within its body tore apart.
The fact that Camden had managed to understand just went wrong, and took steps to ensure it would never happen again, did not seem to matter much to those in power, however. After agent Caoimhe wandered into the lab and opined that perhaps Camden's matter-compression array had become a danger to Ekhota Base itself via unknown and exotic radiation that could have contaminated the lab and the staff, things quickly fell apart for Camden. The tech lab was shuttered while Camden was put on leave (even as all computers in the base were to be upgraded with the new LUOS operating system), cut off completely from his work. Several days after Camden was ordered to stop all work in the tech lab, the ULC's regional overseer, Lucius Mallory, stepped in to handle the situation. Despite an informed and impassioned plea to allow his work to continue, Camden was fired from the ULC.
From the Ashes
Deeply emotionally wounded from the past several weeks at Ekhota, Camden had called in a U-HAUL truck to Ekhota Base and quickly moved his things out, without speaking a word to anyone, in the middle of the night. He directed the U-HAUL truck to a quiet, run-down motel in Moran where he would attempt to plot a course through what remained of his shattered career. Before he was even able to settle in, he was visited by Jack Harper and Tanwyn Angharad, both of whom had been tracking Camden, both aware of the intensifying efforts CLAW had been making to dismantle the ULC from within, especially since the announcement Russia had made involving a cure for those transformed into Anthro-feralis some time prior. Harper, in particular, had a plan to help Camden and the loyal elements of the ULC to fight back...as was sure to come. He led Camden and Tanwyn both back into Union Falls' Muirgarn District, where he had secured a facility meant to act as a last resort against CLAW in the event they actually attempted to try anything; it was called the "Ember Protocol".
Within the Ember Protocol facility, 830-B's decommissioned (and therefore unknown to CLAW) Phoenix aircraft sat, awaiting retrofits and undergoing repairs; it would be a weapon to use against CLAW, in case of dire emergency. Camden quickly determined how to get to work retrofitting it with his newly-discovered matter-compression tech, as the ace in the hole it was always intended to be. It was here, after working tireless nights isolated from every friend he'd made over the past year, that Camden tearfully watched AtlasTech's pro-Anthro documentary on PBS. Every other waking minute of time was spent outfitting the Phoenix with the improved, finalized version of his matter-compression tech, along with two pair of winged jetpack suits he dubbed "RedHawks", inspired by tech he'd seen during his tour of AtlasTech some time prior. When CLAW made their move, Camden would ensure that the Liberators would be prepared.
After several weeks of work, the Phoenix and RedHawk systems were fully ready just as CLAW made their move; a multi-pronged attack on the ULC and AtlasTech that involved a full takeover of the freshly-implemented LUOS operating system, the ousting of all 830-B personnel that were not loyal to CLAW (and branding them traitors to the ULC), a full coup of 830-A's Atlantes Center and the appropriation of their Generation-III Citadel, the Golden Eagle, and an assault on AtlasTech's CEO, Jack Harper. It is thanks to Camden's work, alongside that of the remaining 830-B and 597 personnel, that CLAW's planned assault on the ULC Headquarters in San Francisco was thwarted. Afterwards, Camden and his compatriots were given a lengthy, well-deserved vacation while the ULC sorted out the aftermath.
When all was said and done, Camden would be reinstated as the lead engineer and tech in the freshly-reformed Liberators-830N, given a quarters and position on the newly-repaired Golden Eagle, and would be stationed, along with the remnants of 830-A and 830-B, at Atlantes Center.
Despite living a difficult life, Camden can be described as an optimistic man, friendly yet reserved. He frequently finds himself preoccupied with his research and studies. His oftentimes flippant attitude results in many "I was bored" projects such as his luggage, Suity and Casey.
Despite his generally easygoing attitude, there remains the taint of hardship in his personality, the result of all that has befallen him. He tends to find it easiest to relate to other Anthro-feralis by virtue of shared experience, since merely being Anthro-feralis in this world is to be made a target by a large segment of Earth's population. Because of this, he can sometimes be timid in regards to going out in public, or when it comes to making waves of any sort; he would generally prefer to stay inside and work on his many projects.
This withdrawal into his shell has been exacerbated lately due to multiple incidents of human-on-anthro racism he has endured since his arrival in Union Falls, namely the police brutality incident (in which Camden was mistakenly identified as a criminal and shot while on patrol) and the supermarket incident (in which Camden was forcefully removed from a supermarket simply for being what he is; his patrol car was defaced as well). Camden simply does not know how to properly handle racism, having not been affected by it for most of his life, and now suddenly thrust into the thick of it he feels as though he has little right to comment on it.
Camden has also shown a sharp discomfort with dark and forbidden magic, especially the kind that would violate the flesh taboo. During a visit to the forbidden magic archives of the Woolsworth Public Library, Camden showed a severe amount of discomfort with the books and artifacts held therein, likely due to the high probability of one of those books being capable of training a mage to create more artificial Anthro-feralis beings like himself.
Despite all of the hardships that have befallen him, Camden strives his very hardest to prove that he is capable and will often refuse help or assistance, especially if it involves his mobility or physical capabilities. Being a downtrodden Anthro-feralis shunted into what he views as a second-rate situation likely due to his physical disabilities, he finds himself needing to try three times as hard for half the recognition of anyone else that might be in his situation, and this overcompensation takes its toll on him physically and mentally.
Powers and Abilities
- Wizardry: As a Type-II he is capable of utilizing magic, which he often uses to create magi-tec equipment for himself and his team.
- Alchemy: The magical study of manipulating one form of matter into another, via magical means. It involves a very detailed understanding of the structure of matter, and how to convert samples of one material into something else. Camden is skilled at alchemy, but is by no means a master of the practice.
- Elemental manipulation: Another of Camden's skills, he is able to harness the various elements of the periodic table to perform as he wishes them to; raising the melting point of steel so that the steel can endure far higher degrees of heat than normally possible, for instance. This helps him to create technology not possible via conventional means.
- Transfiguration: The physical manipulation of matter, to shape it and force it into a variety of shapes; Camden uses this school of magic to quickly work with and shape the materials he uses to do his work.
- Expert engineer: If there is need for an item to be constructed, Camden is capable of building it. A tinkerer at heart, Camden is able to scrounge together workable military-grade magi-tec from the scarcest of resources, as he has demonstrated repeatedly during his time at Liberators 830B.
- Technical skills: Camden is well-versed in what makes technology, both magical and standard, tick. He's able to deconstruct, analyze, and break through a wide spectrum of technology, and can reconstitute it for his and his team's needs, using magic as a means to perform his duties quickly and efficiently.
- Aptitude and quick learning: Fully accepting that there is always something new to learn, Camden is very open to new ideas and concepts that can help him push his skills to the next level. This helps keep him on the bleeding edge of the technological world. However, his continual lack of resources does tend to hold him back in what he can actually do.
- Wheelchair: Camden uses a Karma Active Manual Wheelchair, yellow and black in color. He has a variety of holsters and bags suspended from the wheelchair, where he keeps tools, his wand, his pistol, and other personal effects.
- Wand: Camden's channeling device is based around a solid raw steel grip (originally crafted by his father), with a hollowed-out citrine crystal melded into the steel of the handle, that serves as the wand's red matter core. This wand is just as capable as any other wand, but is geared primarily toward material manipulation; Camden frequently uses the wand as a kind of omnitool, capable of performing as everything from a nail driver to a welding machine. He has also taken the time to imbue the wand with a number of defensive measures that can protect him in the event of an attack.
- Smith and Wesson M&P: Standard semi-automatic pistol sidearm of ULC agents with a magazine capacity of 15 rounds.
- RM-L4NC3: A tactical magi-tec pistol capable of using a malleable metal core to perform a variety of functions, from grappling hook to explosive projectile weapon.
- Ellie Kolt † (mother)
- Ethan Kolt † (father)
- James Kolt † (paternal grandfather)
- Lisa Kolt † (paternal grandmother)
- Henry "Pops" Bessemer (maternal grandfather)
- Aveline "Nana" Bessemer (maternal grandmother)
- United Liberators Coalition