A lot of people have asked me where the hell I got a word like Septicor and used it as my user name. Is it a code word? Is it another language? Homage to the number seven? Or homage to a villain from Final Fantasy 7? Or an anagram of my real name? Is it a product for cleaning drains? (get it? septic?) The answer of course is No. To all of them. Including a septic one. Especially the septic one.
Whenever I get asked, I reply with “Do you want to hear the long version, or the short version?” When faced with that, most people will answer with the Short version, to which I reply “It came to me in a dream”. The respondent will reply with wishing to hear the long version, to which I reply “it came to me in a day dream”. And laughing ensues. Well, at least from me.
The truth is the answer given, both long and short, is not that far off the mark. Here’s the story.
About seven or eight years ago, my friends convinced me to getting into City of Heroes, a massively multi-player online role playing game, (Herein known as MMORPG). I decided to give this a try. I tried the character creation on another friends account, and made a bland male character, just to try out the controls and try the game out. I was hooked. I loved the environments, the controls, the powers and the many archetypes you can choose from. But most importantly, and I still say this, with the competition being WWE Smackdown vs Raw games and Saints Row, I think City of Heroes had the best character creation in any video game, ever. You can make any character your mind can come up with, and made so many memorable characters. Maybe later, I’ll showcase some of my old characters. I think I still have the screen shots somewhere.
My first character I made, after purchasing the game, was a female build, set to thin frame, and set the height to make here more than average. The other frames for the women looked a little unrealistic, to my taste. The thin build actually made them look human, and I was aiming for a realistic looking, but athletic and strong. I set the height to just over the default setting, because in my mind, she would have been 6′ 1″. Really tall for an average woman, but still with reasonable range for what I envisioned. I was aiming for the tough girl, intimidation factor. The character was built on a popular server, later to be recreated to what I was told was the unofficial “Role Playing” server, so the idea was to create a character to be “in character” when playing the game. Almost all of my later avatars were on the same role-playing server. Role playing helped get into the individual characters, and adds a bit more fun to the game. It’s how they get you immersed into the world.
She was a Broad Sword wielding, Regeneration secondary, Scrapper class, which meant that she was meant for dealing damage, and soaking damage. The appearance came to me like a muse emerging from the back of my mind. She was a Technology Origin, so I wanted to build a cyborg-like person. She had the robotic half arm, to give her the look that would justify wielding a large sword with perfection. Like I said in my Batman Villains list, I was always a fan of characters that had to deal with a dichotomy issue, like Two-Face, so having a character look human on one side of the body, cybernetic on the other half was a great idea for me. She had a plate on her face that was supposed to look like Phantom of the Opera mask, but I made it gray colour to look like a cyber implant. It was inspired by Kano from Mortal Kombat. The plate attachment was on the same side as the robot arm, so it was fitting to my mold of diametric personality. She had short blond hair, but a darker blond selection, Leather costume, but with no skin exposed, (With the exception of the glove hand on the right side) because in story she was wearing cyberpunk style armour and she was hiding who she was to others, and not meant to be a sex object. When level 20 introduced capes to the costumes, her secondary costume would be identical, just with the cape and an added hood, to make it look like she wore a cloak. And I would switch costumes outside and inside missions, to make it like she was hiding in the city limits, but when she was in caves or buildings, there was no need to protect her self from many judgmental eyes. I also used the story of nanobots to explain the regeneration to the role playing community. If anyone ever see the anime Texhnolyze, you know where some of the other role-playing elements came from.
I was inspired like I have never been before. I have never in my life had a vessel to bring out creativity, and fell in love with the idea of bringing ideas like this to life. I was never good at drawing, and never good at any form of creative writing. City of Heroes gave me a platform to let creativity fly, and for that, the game will always have a place in my heart.
Then, came the name entry.
This is where I got stumped.
Since I made a female character, I decided to make up a person name, as opposed to nicknames or superhero names. First, I needed a first name. That was the easy part. One of my favourite female names is Sara, so that was set. Now, for a last name.
Anybody remember the kids show for the 90’s called Ghost Writer? I don’t remember too much from it, but I remembered at the time the one episode where the kids were playing a game where two players enter one letter at a time, and you lose if you make a valid word. It was a stupid looking game, but it popped in my head for some reason. I decided to use a similar technique to make the last name, whether it was legitimate name or not.
So, I typed in an “S”, then walked away from the computer for about 10 minutes or so. Then I came back and typed an “E”. No reason, just felt like it. This repeated for a while. At this point, I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t playing the game I just paid for, and at the time, I was not even concentrating on anything. I let my mind blank and just put the letter that came to mind, onto screen. I just let the letters fall. It was like when Arthur Dent reached into the scrabble bag to get the question to Life, the Universe and Everything in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.
In the end, I got the word. The word was Septicore. It sounded awesome, it felt like my creation. So at that moment, Sara Septicore was live and slicing up Rikti and Freakshow.
Later, when I started using the user name for other web sites, I discovered that it was used by someone else. There’s also a Spanish online magazine using that exact spelling. Instead of panicking, I just dropped the final E.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
My apologies if you were expecting a story of how I climbed the much fabled mountain to seek the wisest man, or found the lost cave of enlightenment and gold, guarded by Bruce Lee, or it’s a word from a language that hasn’t been spoken for 9000 years. But that’s how it happened.
Throughout my Internet career, I used to use a lot of other user names, but they didn’t feel right, and a lot of them were being used by other Internet patrons. I set my own rules that I shouldn’t use underscores or numbers in my names. I used words and terms from books and mangas that sounded cool, and that a select few would know exactly where it came from.
But in the end, I wanted something unique. I wanted something that was mine. And I think I got it.