Introducing Sebastian “Bash” Banks, One of the Main Characters in Reign: A Game of Power

 

Bash has the fortune aspiration.

Bash’s traits are: Materialistic, Snob, and Ambitious

Sebastian “Bash” Banks.

Bash is an ambitious young software developer for an up and coming firm, Jupiter Works. He graduated from Wharton at the University of Penn and went on to receive his Master of Science Program in Computation for Design and Optimization from MIT.

Bash has always thrived for greatness, as he didn’t want to live the life of his working-class upbringing. He has never held his father, Orvel in good regard. He sees him as an unambitious man who has kept a job in construction for over thirty years; nothing Bash wanted to ever aspire to. He doesn’t just disregard his father, but most in his family who have never strived for the same success as he.

Higher education, multiple degrees, and a large salary equal success and happiness. While the world may look at Bash’s achievements in admiration, the people he most desires acceptance from has never given it to him. Bash is kind of a paradox, in his mind because of their low birth, Bash wants his family to fall at his feet and revere him for all his achievements. At the same time, he has much disdain for them because they always seemed to be forever content with life in a lower working class neighborhood and working low paying blue collar jobs.

The Banks aren’t the only ones that Bash ferociously seeks approval from. All his life, through images in the media and real life encounters, he’s been told as a black man, he was doomed to fail; that his only chance for greatness was to be an athlete or rapper. If he didn’t achieve status through entertainment, he would either face jail through chasing money in a life of crime or end up just like his father, a man who only works six to eight months out of the year in a thankless construction job. Bash wants to be accepted into “The Great Society”. He wants to be on the same level as the controlling elite. To be welcomed into their country clubs, to marry their women, and to command and receive the same respect as the forefathers.

As one of the most talented software developers in his company, Bash has both the education and skills to become a software architect. But after years of being an employee of Jupiter Works, putting in his time and proving his capabilities, Bash has become bitter and resentful as he watched co-worker after co-worker get promoted over him. They didn’t have the education he had and in some cases hadn’t been with the firm as long as he has. The setbacks won’t stop him. He needs to be great, and he needs to be accepted. Whenever one door closes, Bash finds a window. He doesn’t even care how many he has to break, but no one will stop him in his pursuits while he is playing the game of power.

A Game of Power: Power, Politics, and the Pursuit of Privilege

I know it’s been months since I talked about my upcoming story for TS4, Reign: A Game of Power. I’ve suffered from an incredible case of writer’s block, although I already had a few chapters written. I think because I am such a perfectionist and I often fear that one small detail that may be incorrect, people will single it out, and that would be the one thing they would focus on. Maybe it’s because I see some small flaw either in my writing or pictures and I obsess over it until I can get it fixed, get it “right.” In truth, that one thing or maybe two or three aren’t such a big deal, and all the pressure and anxiety I have caused to myself has been self-inflicted.

I obsessed over my writing style, how I would explain things in a way that made sense to the readers, what would the characters’ end goals be? How would I get them there? It wasn’t easy for me to get inside the heads of my characters this time around. In the past, I knew who they were and what they wanted. This time around, it took more time for me to learn their personalities and once I did that,  I faced another roadblock, how could I convey their feelings and motives? What is true for them versus what I wanted?

The common theme in Game of Power is just that: power. What do we do to get it? Do ideals get you the things you want or need? Or does one need to be a ruthless pragmatist to get the job done? You can’t get to the top in this climate by adhering entirely to ideals. Life has taught me that through a means to an end, sometimes have to do the opposite of what we want or what is ideal in order to get what we need. Class, affluent vs. poor, politics, big business, and sacrificing your scruples are all subjects and topics I plan on writing about in this new story. One of the things I think that hits closest to home for me is the topic of mental illness and how it takes over one’s life. I know all about how it feels as I have struggled with depression since I was eleven years old. I want to confront my hypocrisies within myself; how I’ve had to sacrifice my ideology at times to survive. I feel as if I need to write characters dealing with the same struggles as I believe it will be cathartic for me. To be completely honest and raw isn’t always easy.

One of the first storylines for Rico Thomas, probably the most pragmatic of my main characters is his pursuit of a hostile takeover. As Rico is a business consultant, he helps his clients through his mergers and acquisitions expertise among other many talents and services his firm provides. I’ve always been fascinated with stories of corporate power, boardroom politics, and the decisions that go into taking over a company or the reasons behind it. Is it only money? I would venture to say no, but I think power plays a big hand in that. The two are very connected in many ways. You can be rich but have no power, but money can buy influence and in turn power. Later on in the story, Rico will consult on a political campaign, and I think this will start to open up and expose the seedier reprehensible side to politics. Rico is politically neutral; his only interest is in helping his clients, even it means fighting against what some people see as “his own.”  Rico, however, has no shame, he has no use for it, nor does he let his background and ethnicity control his decisions. I look forward to getting to this part of this story and introducing more of the main characters.

A lot of other things made me nervous as well; such as certain “controversial” topics we often don’t want to talk about or explore. It makes us uncomfortable makes us feel less sure of ourselves and the world around us. I have always been interested stories, movies, and books about power and political intrigue; especially in the American political system. As with most things in life, we can find a connection even when it seems to be even closely related. So much of what makes up the fabric of America is race, politics, class, and social systems. They all tie into one another. For me, talking about racial politics isn’t always so comfortable when exploring it with other people; more when I was younger. But as someone in their late 30s, I understand more about the world, how I see myself, how I look at my race in this society and what it all means. I do not have the same struggles as maybe a woman in her early twenties has; dealing with identity issues and their place in the world. I wanted to write about some of the current topics on some of the class and racial politics in the US, but it was never the main thing I wanted to talk about in this story. I didn’t just want to write from one lense either, but to explore what someone else from the other side may think or how they view things through their own eyes. Is it always black and white? Experience and life have taught me that no, it isn’t. There are no heroes and no real villains in this story. I feel like the characters all have their reasons for pursuing what they want and employing the means to get them. I can’t stand in judgment to them. Maybe that thing that makes one uncomfortable needs to exploration to understand it and deal with it head-on.

When it’s all said and done, I hope to make a story that I can be proud of and say fear didn’t stop me from looking at all sides or presenting different arguments in many situations where there is no clear right answer. Very few things in life are black and white for most people. I am ready to get back on this ride and make something that can resonate with my audience. Thanks for coming along with me.

-Camille