• Full Name: Ardette Bombaerts
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: Mind your own business. 
  • Faction: Square


Ardette came as part of the last wave of subjects to enter Step City before it was cut off from the rest of the world (X083-84). It was a confluence of brilliant minds and an opportunity to get away from her family, and she wanted in. Ardette was a precocious teenager who was too mature, too self-confident, obnoxiously bright, and utterly alone, which made it easy to lie about her age. If anybody knew she was barely 17, they didn't care. The handsome young Scientist who got her a boarding pass and a room in the Research District certainly didn't seem to mind.

The Research District turned out to be an excellent place for a student abroad with a developing knack for languages, and her time spent there was mostly academic. She eventually legitimized herself as something of an off-duty interpreter for the STEP Project's international faculty. Ardette was never allowed to be privy to any of the actual Research aspects of the STEP Project, and most of the Research Tower was off limits to someone who was nothing more than a civilian kid, but eventually her presence in Research stopped raising eyebrows... Even when she started living with her Scientist Friend in the Pavilion. For a while she was genuinely happy, and satisfied with her decision to move there. She couldn't have known that this would put her within critical range of the V-Day events.

V-Day (X086) - Ardette was nearly killed in the blast and the tremors that followed. Her Friend - miraculously unscathed, and untouched by the Vibe - found her in the rubble and nursed her back to health. Ardette spent several months in what was left of the medical ward, and in her weakened state, it took a long time for her Vibe to present itself. When it finally did, it took longer still to learn how to control it.

Even with the relative isolation of the Research Pavillion, and the Scientists' continued secrecy around civilians, Ardette could see the swift degeneration of Step City as she knew it. (X087) Despite her slowly blossoming Vibe and often overwhelming desire to dance, her Friend convinced her to stay with him in Grey. It was unsafe out there, he said. They'll come for us and end all this, he said. On good days, Ardette told herself he wanted her to stay because he loved her. The rest of the time - most of the time - she knew it was because he wanted to study her. She let him, until X089.

Ardette's history is a little hazy around the time of the Scientists' Rebellion (X089). Her Friend and two of his colleagues in the Pavilion - all jamdeaf and allegedly co-conspirators in the crippling of the city, though this can't be proved - were all found dead, due to complications of massive epileptic seizures. Ardette had disappeared, and she was presumed dead. 

She went anonymous, under the radar, which was easy, given the chaos. The years that followed were spent exploring and then perfecting her vibe. The occasional abandoned building that got trashed, or run-ins with would-be assailants that ended gruesomely, were filed under the general violence of the city post-Rebellion and went largely uninvestigated. Ardette eventually made an abandoned warehouse her home base and spent much of her time alone, until the mass exodus of exiles to the Grey District in X093.

Ardette used her vibe to aid in the clean-up of the Research District, making the area somewhat habitable for her fellow Squares. But for the first time, she found herself surrounded by a population abuzz with Vibe, and that's when she discovered a side-effect of the Vibe she couldn't have during her isolation. It appeared that dance was another language she had acquired. Her knack for language and interpretation had translated to an ability to read dance in other people, to form "sentences" and the most volatile combinations of steps to manipulate vibe. What was once part of her own training and survival now became an extremely marketable service that she could provide a population that was weak and disenfranchised. 

The more clients she took on - in exchange for food or manual labor on what would become her studio - the more attention she got. Soon, her clients were the powerful and influential, and cred started coming in. Thus were the humble begins of Le Conservatoire de STEP . Many of the steppers she trained, on both sides, killed and were killed in the War of '99, right on her doorstep. 

The War of '99 is a touchy subject. 

Ardette, to this day, stubbornly refuses to pick a side. Perhaps this is because of her early connection to the Research District pre-V-Day. Maybe it's because she doesn't want to jeapordize the protection that her neutral status and studio offers to her. It could be because she's seen true ugliness on both sides. All there is to say is, good luck trying to recruit her.


More on this later.

Dance \ Vibe styleEdit

Ardette's personal style is classical and contemporary ballet, and classical jazz (think Fosse, Tharp, and the like). She's also developed an appreciation for the barefoot styles of modern and contemporary, since she's had to put away her pointe shoes for the sake of devoting all of her time to her studio. But sometimes, when she's alone, she'll put the pointes back on and go through the paces, just in case just to see.

As a student of style, and the owner of a studio that can only function on neutrality, Ardette is willing to study and appreciate the nuances of other dance styles, in order to expand her client base and inspire her choreography. As a gesture of good will to the Mafia, whose patronage is how she got her big break, Ardette learned a few ballroom styles. But this is more of a formality, and ballroom doesn't excite her much... except for the tango. 

Her biggest guilty pleasure and indulgence is a good tango. She does not tango often.

Ardette's vibe allows her to manipulate the organization of the matter around her. Her natural inclination is to create order where there is none, but with focus, she can push her vibe in the other direction, to create a temporary disorder. But again, the effects of this disorganization are temporary, and Ardette does hate making messes...

Casually, Ardette can affect solid objects in her immediate vicinity. This includes but is not limited to furniture, books, the physical location of people immediately around her... she's even been able to use her vibe to unlock locks that she's familiar with (only her own). With concentration, Ardette can manipulate matter down to the atomic level, but this saps her vibe levels fairly quickly and so she doesn't do it often. One of her favorite stupid Vibetricks is to line up the molecules in a glass of water and turn it to ice. But again, stupid trick, doesn't do it often. 

Basically, the larger and simpler the object, the easier it is for her to manipulate. 

Ardette uses her vibe mostly defensively. She can use it to deflect and refocus beams of energy or projectiles, or dissolve illusions. If she's being pursued, that brick wall you're about to run by may suddenly crumble in front of you. Wait long enough, however, and the wall will make itself intact again, but Ardette will be long gone. The offensive uses of her vibe are varied and creative, but she won't be starting any fights any time soon - not if it will jeapordize her studio. 

Only very, very, very rarely will Ardette ever use her vibe to directly affect the human body, internally. She vehementally avoids any of the more gruesome applications of her vibe, because they remind her of the early days, the many things she did in dire situations out of pure desperation, or were pure accident. She may make threats to keep her students in line, but they're nothing Ardette ever wants to have to do again.

Character RelationshipsEdit

Funk Mafia

In terms of style, both dance and otherwise, Ardette easily aligns best with the Funk Mafia. She feels comfortable in their clubs and in their company. She respects their formidible skill and appreciation of structure. But there is an underlying bitterness there, for their systematic oppression of the Squares and how comfortable they are in the knowledge of that power. Ardette manages to keep that bitterness suppressed, most of the time - she's aware that her nice little corner of the Grey District only exists because they let it exist - but sometimes... Let's just say she isn't the most docile of subjects.

  • Frankie Valentine - Ardette finds him charming, talented, savvy, and above all else, a professional. He's therefore easy to like, which works out well for Ardette because, in her business, you don't want to be on any Boss' bad side. Frankie's always welcome in her studio (in no small part because of the cred and credibility he brings with him). She just wishes he'd leave his goddamned goons in Purple. They're bad for business...
  • William Cross - So, one day, a man named Cross shows up at Ardette's studio very Purple, very sober, and very much a... father? Ardette is not pleased to see him. She and Cross know each other from his Square days, and it seems to be a source of great resentment for her. Were they relatives? Allies? Enemies? Friends? Something more? Who the fuck knows. But there's definitely a familiarity there, in her particular brand of dislike for him.
  • Yulia Malitowski - Ardette considers Dustin's mother a friend, or at least a friendly acquaintance, and she looks up to her as a businesswoman and fellow studio director. The constant nudges towards Mafiadom are getting old, though, and a little condescending, but Ardette knows Yulia has her best interests at heart.

The UG

Ardette sees the UG as a perfectly natural human response - rebellion - to a perfectly natural human impulse - the pursuit of power. And she cannot begrudge them that, so she does harbor a strange respect for the UG. For the most part, she can't relate to their culture, but being a student of style, she likes to look at them with a critical eye and is interested to see a lot of talent there under all those baggy clothes and crude music. Her relationship with the UG is one of live and let live...

  • ...except for that one punk who graffiti'd her wall. They'd better stay anonymous if they don't want their spine permanently stratightened. 


Ardette is cautious around the Banditos. She's well aware that they aren't shy when it comes to criminal activity, and they probably don't see much use in the services her studio provides. Without a discernible hierarchy, there's no one person to be held accountable if any one of them should decide to target her. So, better to not make herself a target at all.

  • Reginald Santiago - Their relationship is one of mutual understanding and acceptance. Ardette understands that Santiago is a dishonest, no-good scoundrel, and she accepts that. But he is, in some capacity, a professional, and he's fun to bicker with, so as long as he doesn't bring his shady business into her studio, she's fine with him. Also, he's kidding himself if he thinks that ring he wears is subtle. 
  • Ink - Ardette is mostly bemused by the tiny Bandito. For all her bark and claim to pickpocketing fame, Ink just seems very candid and, well... weirdly honest. Ardette can't help but wonder what she might find out about Ink if she just let her jabber on at length. All in all, Ardette doesn't feel threatened by her. Also, Inkyung is a lovely name and Ink should use it more often.


Ardette is all business and in it for the cred, but she does have a soft spot in her cold heart for her fellow Squares. Most of them are still familiar faces from the early days of exile, and she's aware that, being one of the few Squares who owns valuable property in the Grey District, this lends her a certain responsibility for them. Her doors are open to Squares, and even if it's with a glare and a sigh, she'll throw a few cred your way if you're looking particularly down on your luck.

  • Alan - Where the hell did this kid come from and why would anybody leave him with Cross? Ardette tends to avoid kids like the plague - they're complicated, unpredictable, and far too dependant - but she feels almost obligated to look out for Alan when he's around... which is annoying, because the strange little boy seems to have taken a shine to the Conservatory. Anyways, her concern for Alan's wellbeing is borne of her principled dislike of Cross; it's not like the poor kid asked to be stuck with him.
  • Claud - Former frequenter of her building's back alley, and now, her newest student, and boy, is he a mess challenge. But Ardette loves a challenge, and she finds Claud's case fascinating. She's determined to help him improve, if not for the sizable amount of cred he's bringing into the Conservatory, then for simple bloody principle. The poor kid needs help, and damn it, Ardette will be damned if she's not the best at her job. 


(This is a hella work in progress and possibly not 100 percent chronologically accurate and totally Mael's fault because Mael's timeline is lovely.)

Miscellaneous InformationEdit

  • Ardette owns a cheap cell phone, but she rarely ever uses it, and she doesn't give her number out. She hates being beholden to anybody and doesn't like the idea of anybody being able to contact her at any time. Her phone usually stays unplugged, uncharged, on her bedside table.
  • Since virtually every dime Ardette makes goes back into her studio, Ardette keeps herself going on the free water and rations the Vendys provide. Years of poverty and lots of practice have helped her learn to choke them down. She can afford to pay for real food, but being as stingy as she is, why waste the cred when there's an endless resource available? But because of this, Ardette simply can't turn down a free meal, if it means eating something real. Except for Cross: any free food Cross brings her goes straight to Toots.
  • Ardette has a secret cache of items she salvaged from years living in the Research District - equipment, hard drives, documents of little importance that survived, old newspapers from before the city was cut off, even some weapons. She keeps them in part because they might have some value someday, but mostly because she has no idea what the hell else to do with them. You will never find this cache.
  • Ardette still bears some visible scars from the V-Day events. She's incredibly vain about them and keeps them hidden. 
  • She loves sweets and good coffee. 
  • No, she's not a natural blonde. No, you pervert, look at her goddamned eyebrows if you want proof.

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