Background: Ted King grew up in Redfern, one of the inner suburbs of Sydney, though nobody calls it a ghetto. His family wasn't as bad off as some of the other Blackfellas -- but things were still pretty bad. It was Ted and three sisters, their mother Alice who seemed an empty woman somehow, and their father Pete who taught them to be as proud as they could be. It was nothing much -- no stealing, no drugs, don't give in to bullies -- but it seemed to be everything. When Ted talked to an elder from the Dätiwuy clan, the day after his twenty-fifth birthday and his superhero suit freshly woven, he wept. The Dätiwuy (pronounced Rdaartiwuy) lived at the topmost point of the Northern Territory, thousands of kilometres away from his home. Their ancestors would have had little in common but a love for their own land, and Kankatha had been flown there for a publicity tour. Things were pretty bad there too, actually, but he wept for all they had that he had not: a clan, a language, a code more profound than 'thou shalt not'. The elder had laughed, as kindly as an old man can, and the translator said that he thinks you have more than you know. The next day he was flown to Western Australia, and he handled himself better.
But all that was later. Growing up was hard, schooling was sporadic (it was his eldest sister that taught him to read and write) and employment more so. He worked as a labourer when he could. He was a strong man and had enough initiative to get himself noticed, earning himself a pretty good reputation on certain sites, though it never seemed to help anywhere else. Drinks twice a week, a few girls over the years (nothing you would call a relationship), and little else.
Over this time, Alice King's health deteriorated, one thing or another but always a cough in her throat, and some time before Ted's twenty fourth birthday she coughed herself to death. Throat cancer, somebody said. The funeral was not where Ted was expecting it to be, but in an old cemetery on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, and his father said she had family here. That didn't make much sense, it was a Whitefella's cemetery after all, and long disused. The ceremony was simple, under a tree slightly away from the rows of weathered stones, and as it finished the storm that had hovered around them struck with a fury.
Both wind and rain lashed at them, but the tree gave them shelter and seemed to glow with a fire of its own, and when the storm had blown itself out a rainbow appeared above them, startlingly beautiful against the lightly clouded sky. But to Ted King, the storm did not stop, he felt it within him still.
It took a few weeks to get used to the sensation, to control the storm and let it out a little at a time. His body was also adapting, his already strong frame becoming more powerful, more resistant. A few accidents happened, though nothing serious. A few of his friends didn't want to see him again. His father didn't seem to know much about what was happening either, said that his mother had been a strange woman, and fiery before Redfern sank through her. In the end Ted turned to the Whitefellas themselves for guidance. He talked to a woman called Lucy Lorenz who said that he had a gift, and that he could use it as he wished, and she would be pleased to help him if she could. He said he would think about it. Four months later he became one of the founding members of Phalanx, with Lucy and Sheona Chappell.
Kankatha is an Aboriginal word meaning cyclone (or willy-willy, as the inland twisters are called), but it also means rainbow. It is not from the language of the Sydney tribe -- a language that only now exists in the scribbled and fragmentary notes of white settlers -- but Ted likes it regardless. The storm within him is not a destructive force, it is an agent for change, and the rainbow is the promise of the future as well as the past.
Quote: "Come get some, ya mongrel!"
Personality: As Kankatha, Ted is one of the more approachable members of the Phalanx team, and has been happily involved in much of the publicity and charity work that seems to go along with crimefighting these days. In person he is friendly and is on particularly good terms with Lucy and Bob (with much good-natured sniping between them). Dylan he has not got to know very well, and he actively disapproves of Sheona's attitude to the calling. Though he would do his best not to let it get in the way of working together, he still sees it as a responsibility to demonstrate that such an intensity is not required to get the job done. He also tends to be a little impatient of Lucy's meticulous planning (face it, even this new brand of 'supervillain' just isn't that smart), but again he defers to the group.
He has another, potentially more serious conflict with Lucy as well. Growing up where he did, he saw an awful lot of misuse of power, right up to actual police brutality. He does not believe police officers are automatically corrupt -- or he wouldn't be in the team -- but he does believe that their power structure and inherent prejudices can be powerful obstacles to true justice.
Powers/Tactics: Kankatha likes to be in the midst of battle, swinging fists, cheerfully calling out his usual battle cry (as above), and using his manipulation of the winds as required. To unleash the full force of the cyclone is both draining and takes some time to get going, so is generally used as a defensive tactic, allowing the group to fall back within the calm and rally their strength [while he generally cuts down his Speed to maintain it as required]. Although it does make for an impressive entrance in the right situation.
Appearance: A large and stocky man, Ted is 6'2" and very well-built, usually with a grin on his face. Kankatha's costume is red below the chest and black above it, with a three centimetre wide strip of vertical rainbow colors separating the two.
©2011 Go to top