Tara Chau

Name: Tamara Chau

Alias(es): Tara

Affiliation: Foundation

Role: Foundation chronicler and historian

It turned out that a complete theoretical understanding of time does precisely nothing to stop time travelers from doing silly things like accidentally falling in love with their mothers. It has since been widely acknowledged that it is impossible not to mess up time travel. In response to that revelation, some people fell back to aiming for the next best thing and try to mess up as little as possible. Other people decided to give up and do whatever.

Tara Chau belongs firmly in the first group of people, and the second group of people are the reason her life is miserable.

Played By: halothanehalothane

Phys. Description: Not tall, but in a way that’s not apparent until she’s standing next to someone else who is.

Dark, straight hair, kept trimmed and with the longer bits ending in a blunt fringe halfway down her forehead. The impression that her resting face appears contemptuous is inaccurate: it is just that she actually does spend most of her time either wearing an expression of disapproval or looking utterly terrified.

Quite insistent on choice of clothing: outside of meeting requirements for work attire, she tries to always look at least nice enough to justifiably walk into a fancy coffee shop, and spends an arguably excessive amount of time in her mornings to achieve that. Takes a liking towards long sleeves, polo necks, and high collars, and tends to stay away from saturated colours.

Background: For Tara, perhaps one of the most disappointing thing about her childhood was the fact that she could never come up with a satisfying answer to questions regarding her parents’ jobs. Particularly upsetting was the lack of a satisfying answer as to where her mother went: her suspicions that her father was evading the discussion in hopes of protecting her from some sort of trauma didn’t persist, as she soon learnt that the circumstances of the operation during which the entire MTF went missing in action were never disclosed, and that he literally didn’t know.

Looking back at those times she would draw the conclusion that she tried to make up for the lack of information regarding the people around her - her parents were both Foundation employees and by extension so where most their acquaintances, and she was a single child - by learning as much as she could about everything else. A large collection of books wasn’t something one would associate with a man who retired from heading a tactical response team for a decade, but her father’s study was almost a personal library and tossing books at her proved to be an effective way to have Tara stay quiet when he had work to do.

Towards the content of her reading she didn’t have clear preferences. She showed interest in the sciences, but she was just as enthusiastic about scientific discoveries as she was about remembering the relevant names and dates. In retrospect, “The systematic study of temporal anomalies in the context of history” would sound like a description of the career of her dreams, but by the time she joined the Internal Education Programme, the choice to study chronology was not motivated by personal preference as much as it was due to the fact that she had all the qualities that made someone a natural fit for the discipline: she was intelligent (despite not extraordinarily so), was remarkably diligent even by standards of a student of history, and had an incredible memory.

Following graduation, she worked as a chronicler on-site, spending a little less than two years compiling histories of several relatively benign spatiotemporal anomalies, reconstructing their trajectories from heaps of existing data. After that, she hoped to transfer away from Site 43, perhaps to a site with better established facilities for theoretical work. The time at which she filed that request, however, coincided with a Mobile Task Force seeking to recruit a practical historian. (The Mobile Task Force in question would not be formed until two years later, but the coincidence was nevertheless possible due to the fact that Phi-12 dealt with temporal anomalies - in fact, the reason cited for her recruitment into Phi-12 included references to several important contributions to operations that take place in the future.)

Having been part of MTF Phi-12 for quite a while now, she still finds MTF work much more exhausting than anything else she used to do, and is still sometimes overwhelmed by paperwork that isn’t strictly her responsibility but her compulsive tendencies force her to keep track of anyways. At the very least, though, she’s starting to get used to actually being tossed around between timelines instead of writing about it.

Profile: The personification of the desire to have everything under control, and the perpetual exasperation accompanying the realisation that it is nearly never possible to do so.

The Foundation’s mission to preserve normalcy is amplified in her into an ideological fixation on structure and order: Newton’s clockwork as an analogy for the actual universe might as well be her idea of a perfect one. The fact that not all people share that view is a source of constant irritation for her as she attempts, in futility, to convince everyone else that a stable, predictable world is nicer than one that is full of surprises.

She is not unaware of the hopelessness of her efforts to capture and organise all the information encountered, and to catalogue the timelines she now travels across as part of her job. Yet she doesn’t (at least not yet) consider that a reason to stop filling folders with pages of small but tidy handwriting, or to stop documenting the function and contents of everything with many post-it notes covered in even smaller handwriting. As for the occasional bout of overwhelming despair, she usually manage to conceal well enough by upholding a composed demeanor. Finally, as a gesture of defiance to all the other people who have decided instead to embrace the chaos, she makes a point of keeping her personal items and workspace incredibly tidy and yells at anyone who disrupts her private bubbles of neatness.

In treatment of her own thoughts she aims for objectivity, but is instead usually stuck either being overly self-righteous and judgmental, or overwhelmed by unease as she struggles to find an impartial stance to take on an issue. She isn’t as devoid of feeling as she would like herself to be, and cares about people a bit more than she is willing to admit. Developed to contain emotions is the restraint in expressing them: she smiles to be polite but would hold back laughs if she can remember to, and “amusing” is the most intense positive adjective with which she’d describe things without reluctance. Some of that is an elaborate act, but she does genuinely have trouble sustaining casual talk, and often resorts to yelling at people to steer conversations away from topics she can’t handle comfortably.

Themes:
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Quotes:
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