ERYNN'S QUICKIE GUIDE TO LONE GUNMEN CANON FOR FANFIC WRITERS
[Original posting, April 18, 2001. Update will be after the season one ender, in May 2001 -- ARCHIVE ANYWHERE]
This started out as a post on one of the LGM fan lists by a new fan who was a fic author in another fandom. She was interested in starting to write the Gunmen, but wanted to know what was Fanon and what was official show Canon. This guide is a response to that question, with the hope that it may help newer Gunmen fanfic authors get their feet wet with these guys. We love them, and when you write them well, we really appreciate it! Attention to
detail is one of the keys to writing the Gunmen in character and writing them well. This guide would have been impossible if not for the fabulously nitpicky assistance of the following wonderful, brilliant, marvelous, extraordinary GunFen: Joelle, Lori, Martha, Thespis, Mel, Sally, Dilby, Anndie, Dark Emerald and Lynne. Love you guys, you're the best!
REGARDING THE LONE GUNMEN'S TIMELINE:
There are some bobbles here and there, but the Lone Gunmen Timeline site is an excellent resource for those of you who want to know what happened when.
OUR BOYS, THEIR FRIENDS AND ENEMIES:
First off, let's start with their names. It's really important to spell them right, because the True GunFen may clip your nads if you spell the name of their favorite Gunman wrong. We're possessive that way. I'm also including
basic biographical information in this section, to make it easier to find. I'm not including the XF series biggies here, Mulder, Scully, Skinner, Krycek and that bunch. You all know who they are.
JOHN FITZGERALD BYERS -- born on November 22, 1963, the day of the Kennedy Assassination (XF Unusual Suspects), John's father's name is Bertram Roosevelt Byers, who worked as a civilian consultant to the Air Force (LGM Pilot). John was almost named Bertram, after his father (XF Unusual Suspects). John Byers grew up in Sterling, Virginia (LGM Like Water for Octane). Until the LGM Pilot episode, Byers had not spoken to his father in 11 years, largely because he quit his job with the FCC and started hanging out with those "hippies," Frohike and Langly, whom his father despises, and because he publishes "bird cage liner," as his father referred to the Gunmen's zine (although he does apparently read it -- he has quite a stack of them). Byers loves Susanne Modeski, whom he met briefly in Baltimore, Maryland in May of 1989 (XF Unusual Suspects) and then again in 1999 in Las Vegas, Nevada (XF Three of a Kind). Although Byers can hack, he is more often seen as their database administration type, the intelligence analyst, the one who synthesizes and compiles information or pulls it from memory. It wouldn't be hard to characterize him as a walking encyclopedia. Byers is the idea man and idealist, and can be seen as the moral and ideological force behind the Gunmen's work -- but Frohike has definitely accused him of sinking into "holier than thou" behavior at least once. John Byers has light blue eyes, neatly clipped brown hair, and a reddish beard with some grey in it. Byers is the middle-sized Gunman, probably about 5'9" or 5'10".
RICHARD 'RINGO' LANGLY -- Ringo was raised on a farm in Saltville, Nebraska (LGM Like Water for Octane) and has a problem with cows. His nickname, Ringo, is derived from a character in a John Wayne movie, not from the name of the Beatle, Ringo Starr (interview with Frank Spotnitz, used for the first time onscreen in LGM Like Water for Octane). Langly was a pirate cable merchant in 1989, and apparently knew Frohike for some time before the two of them met John Byers (XF Unusual Suspects). We learn his first name when Byers introduces him to John Doggett in Mulder's office (XF Via Negativa). Hacker God extraordinaire, Langly is sysop, coder, and breaker into impossible systems. He also does layout and graphics for the paper (LGM Bond, Jimmy Bond). Langly has been known to build his own hardware as well, such as his infamous Loop Line Shunt to keep people from tracing him back to his originating phone number, as in XF Unusual Suspects. Apparently rather more well read that one might expect, Langly cites Voltaire (XF Three of a Kind), shows a familiarity with the book "Old Yeller," and has quoted other literary sources from time to time (LGM series). Langly has been playing D&D for years under the character name Lord Manhammer. Ringo Langly has blue eyes, long blonde hair, and is the tallest of the Gunmen by an inch or so, standing about 5'11" or 6'.
MELVIN FROHIKE -- Oldest of the Gunmen by at least 10 years, Frohike was a man of action from the start, in school in Pontiac, Michigan (LGM Like Water for Octane) in 1967 -- was this college? The football player he was intimidating certainly looked like a college student. He hung with Ken Kesey on The Merry Pranksters' bus, Further -- he claims in 1964 -- and was at the infamous Altamont concert with the Rolling Stones (XF Via Negativa). In 1962, Melvin and his father met an inventor who had produced a water-powered engine, which was installed in a 1959 seafoam green Studebaker Lark. Frohike and his father went for a ride in this car (LGM Like Water for Octane). When we met him in 1989, he was a pirate cable dealer, and accused Langly of
making shoddy material that would "short out and burn your house down" (XF Unusual Suspects). He has referred to himself as Melvin (XF Unusual Suspects) but apparently doesn't like other people calling him that (XF
Dreamland 2 , where he snaps at Morris Fletcher, and LGM Pilot, where he similarly snipes at Yves Harlow). Frohike's infatuation with Scully is legendary (starting in XF EBE, the Gunmen's first appearance, where he
utters the immortal words "she's hot."). Frohike is the hardware, graphics and surveillance man of the group, working with light tables, cameras, and all kinds of other equipment. He also writes a regular front page column for The Lone Gunman entitled Straight From the Man (LGM Maximum Byers). Melvin Frohike has dark blue-grey eyes, graying/balding dark brown hair often pulled back in a short tail, and is about 5'3".
YVES ADELE HARLOW -- No one knows her real name, although Frohike apparently knows who she really is (LGM Pilot). She's beautiful, brainy, and downright dangerous, acting mostly as a mercenary who frequently uses the Gunmen to find information or help her with a case so that she can disappear with the money. Her name is an anagram for Lee Harvey Oswald. She has also used the anagram Leroy W. DeShavela (LGM Like Water for Octane) and other anagrammatic names. Thief (LGM Pilot), master of disguise (LGM Pilot and Eine Kleine Frohike) and hacker (LGM Bond, Jimmy Bond), Yves plays both ends against the middle, acting in a more or less amoral manner, fulfilling an almost Krycekian function for the Gunmen as both rival and informant. Yves
has brown eyes and dark brown, almost black hair and favors Ferrari-red lipstick, according to Langly (LGM Like Water for Octane). She's short but wears tall heels, not unlike Dana Scully, and probably is about as tall as
Frohike without those heels, maybe 5'5".
JAMES BOND aka JIMMY BOND -- Young, puppyish, and not particularly bright, Jimmy is an idealist with a lot of money (LGM Bond, Jimmy Bond). He does display a certain amount of good sense and a bit of intelligence from time to time, although his innocence and hero worship frequently get in his way. Jimmy loves the Lone Gunmen dearly and considers them his personal heroes (LGM Like Water for Octane), financing the Gunmen's publishing operations from his life's savings (LGM Bond, Jimmy Bond). Jimmy Bond has blue eyes, short spiky dark blonde hair, and is the tallest of the group, probably about 6'3".
SUSANNE MODESKI -- No, it's not spelled with a Z. Susanne met John Byers at an electronics convention in 1989, in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a scientist fleeing government agents that were attempting to return her to
her covert black ops project in Whitestone, New Mexico. A brilliant organic chemist, Susanne has developed two different chemicals intended for use against a civilian population: Ergotamine-Histamine, a gas that produces
profound paranoia in its subjects (XF Unusual Suspects), and Anoetic-Histamine, an injectible chemical used for mind control (XF Three of a Kind). Although she has used Byers in the past, her private behavior suggests that she genuinely does love him, or at least care about him, and she as much as told him that Grant Ellis, her finacee, was nothing but a substitute for him during the years they were apart. Susanne is a slender woman with blue eyes and short, blonde hair, and looks to be of about average height, somewhere around 5'5".
GRANT ELLIS -- Susanne Modeski's false fiancée, who tricked her into loving him so that the black ops project he was in charge of could manipulate her into producing the Anoetic-Histamine mind-control chemical. Grant was
considered "some shadow government poo-bah" working at Whitestone New Mexico and driving a car registered to the base there, by Langly and Frohike (XF Three of a Kind). He was ultimately killed by Timothy Landau just before Landau attempted to kill Susanne and the Gunmen. An observant man, Ellis nailed Byers as an infiltrator at the DefCon 99 conference during their poker game. Ellis was a very tall man, perhaps 6'3" or 6'4", with light brown hair.
KENNETH SOONA aka THE THINKER -- was the Fourth Lone Gunman, and the guys referred to him as a hacking genius. He found medical information for them on branched DNA when Scully had cancer (XF One Breath), and hacked into the MJ-12 files, only to be killed for them by government assassins in the XF Anasazi trilogy. Kenneth was a short man (though not as short as Frohike) with shoulder length blonde hair.
ESTHER NAIRN aka INVISIGOTH -- is a legendary game coder, who created the "most gnarliest autonomous bots" in the world for the game Ninjutsu Princess, and compatriot of Donald Gelman, a silicon valley software pioneer who has been missing since 1979, and was one of the founders of the Internet, writing software for which he was never credited -- he hung out with the Home Brew Club in the early 1970s. He was also responsible for
writing some of the first viruses. Gelman, Esther, and her boyfriend David Markham were involved in a project to create an Artificial Intelligence, which was then released onto the net to grow and develop on its own. During
the course of an attempt to stop and/or destroy this AI, Esther uploaded her consciousness to the net. She is medium tall at 5'5" or 5'6", with black hair, dark eyes, and a very gothy sense of fashion
JAMES BELMONT aka JIMMY -- a friend of the Gunmen's, and fellow hacker, Jimmy was killed in Las Vegas in 1999 after he was injected with the AH chemical developed by Susanne Modeski. His suspicions of new assassination technology were revealed to be true when he infiltrated the Saguaro Room at the Monte Carlo hotel, only to find his companion and fellow hacker, Timmy, was actually a covert CIA agent who had been assigned to test the chemical. Jimmy, once injected, was instructed to kill himself, and threw himself under an oncoming bus. He has an identical twin, Kimmy (LGM Pilot rumor, not in the script). Jimmy was medium tall, with short brown hair, blue eyes, and glasses. (XF Three of a Kind)
ELRON THE DRUID -- We don't know his real name, but Elron was one of Langly's gaming buddies, and probably a fellow hacker, back in 1989 in Baltimore. He was willing to bet $50 on a die roll against Lord Manhammer just as Byers and Frohike entered the room. Elron is a medium tall, thin, pasty guy with long, dark hair, a mustache, and glasses.
KIMMY BELMONT -- Timmy's identical twin brother is a friend of Langly's, a fellow hacker, and a gun nut, but doesn't appear to be very interested in
the conspiracy theories expounded by the Gunmen or his now-deceased brother. He hangs out at firing ranges, shooting at virtual Vikings. Kimmy knows Yves
Harlow to some degree, and is extremely competent with DOD hacks. Kimmy is medium tall, with short brown hair, blue eyes, and glasses (LGM Pilot).
TOSHIRO -- a young Japanese or Japanese American man who helped the Gunmen trick a Japanese businessman into giving up information about an illegal whaling fleet. Toshiro apparently has some martial arts skills, and speaks Japanese, appearing in the teaser for LGM Bond, Jimmy Bond.
TIMOTHY LANDAU aka TIMMY -- a CIA plant who had been keeping tabs on the Gunmen and their friends, apparently for years. His assignment at Def Con 1999 was to arrange the assassination of Susanne Modeski and her fiancée, Grant Ellis. After murdering Ellis in front of Susanne, he brought her to the Gunmen's room, intending to kill all four of them. He was foiled by Byers, who charged him rather than allow him to shoot Susanne, and then
injected Timmy with the brain washing AH chemical he had used on Jimmy and Langly. After this injection, he confessed to the murders of Ellis and Modeski. (XF Three of a Kind) Timothy is a short, balding man with short
dark hair and glasses.
MORRIS FLETCHER -- An official at Area 51, Morris is a fan of the Gunmen's, and claims that they are spreading the disinformation that he originates (XF Dreamland 2). Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether the Gunmen remember meeting him, as the Dreamland episodes hit the re-set button for most things when the time continuum snapped back together, and Fletcher had been in Mulder's body at the time. Since Scully still has the penny/dime from this episode, and Mulder still had the waterbed, it is possible the Gunmen still have the black box information from the UFO (or experimental plane) in their computer hard drive somewhere. Frohike saw Morris again at Def Con '99 in Las Vegas, making a pass at Agent Scully, but would not have recognized him
(XF Three of a Kind). Morris is a tall, bulky guy with thinning light brown hair, and I'm guessing he's about 6'3" or so.
BERTRAM ROOSEVELT BYERS -- The father of John Fitzgerald Byers, Bertram is a conservative man, who was idealistic in his youth. He had not spoken to his son in 11 years (LGM Pilot) when he saw him again after his own alleged death. Angry and bitter, Bertram is sorely disappointed in his son, knowing that John is following in his footsteps and may be doomed to himself become a bitter, defeated old man. While it is apparent that there is still some love between them, it is unlikely that either of them will ever be able to mend the breach unless Bertram has a change of heart. Byers Senior has no great love for John's friends, nor any respect for the work he does, despite the fact that he does read and collect his son's "bird cage liner" of a tabloid. We do not know if John's mother is still alive, although it seems unlikely, since there was no mention of her, and we didn't see John standing
with anyone who might have been family at his father's funeral.
RAY HELM aka OVERLORD -- A friend of Bertram Byers, he met John Byers when John was just a child. John Byers did in fact remember him when Helm introduced himself at Bertram's funeral. While overtly friendly, he was in fact the man in charge of the covert DoD project that Bertram Byers attempted to expose (LGM Pilot). Knowing that John would find his father if he was still alive, Helm put the Gunmen on the trail and followed them as they worked out the facts of the case. As Overlord, Ray Helm is apparently in charge of a number of Air Force covert projects and works closely with electronic and online espionage, personally supervising certain projects. Helm apparently considers both Bertram Byers and his son to be "problems" that need "taking care of." Have we seen the last of Overlord? Only time and fanfic will tell. Ray Helm is an older man, probably in his mid-60s, with graying hair, a distinguished bureaucratic wardrobe, and somewhere over 6' tall.
FAN CANON NOTES:
* Ringo Langly is often called Ree in GunFic. This was started by Gizzie, Goddess of Gunmen, in her Messenger series.
* Frohike as a Viet Nam vet seems to have been started by Dierdre, and by Joyce McKibben, which was then picked up by Martha and Gizzie in their interlinked universe, the Time/Tercet/Messenger series. This theme has been continued by a large number of other Gunfic authors and would explain a lot about his attitude. He's often seen as a friend of AD Skinner's, being a fellow Nam vet.
* Ringo Langly as an alcoholic or former junkie was also started in the Martha and Gizzie universe. This is also often used by other GunFic authors. Considering his background from the LGM series, this is actually fairly
* In Sally's massive Gunmen saga, Byers is closet chocoholic. This has been hinted at in other authors' GunFics as well.
* Sally also raised the possibility that Frohike was married before and has kids, and this, once again, is used by other GunFic authors. Tom Braidwood, in an interview, suggested it would be interesting to learn that Frohike has
* In several stories by different authors, the Gunmen know Max Fenig. Max was the UFO chasing member of NICAP from XF Fallen Angel, and may have been an early attempt to introduce a Gunmen-like character.
* Fan canon includes three basic explanations for why Byers wore a wedding ring for so many years (between 1993 and 1998 or early 1999). Some suggest that he married Susanne after XF Unusual Suspects, but this theory was blown later, when we see in XF Three of a Kind that Byers hadn't seen Susanne again until he met her in 1999 in Las Vegas. Others suggest that Byers had a wife but (a) she's dead or (b) he's divorced. A third, less common explanation is that he wears it as part of his paranoid 'cover' so people won't know everything about him. Bruce Harwood's explanation is that Byers had married after Susanne disappeared, but his wife left him because he spent too much time hanging out with his friends.
* Byers the redhead is Fan canon, but not reflective of real life. The lighting in the XF series usually was just the right color to bring out a bunch of red highlights. In person, Bruce has a chestnut (red/brown) beard with some grey, but his hair is medium brown. In natural light, he doesn't look at all like a redhead.
SLASH CANON: NOTHING GRAPHIC HERE, JUST SOME NOTES
Slash 'canon' is all over the map. Everybody seems to universally agree that Byers is the total slashboy of the bunch, and he's usually paired up with Langly. In most L/B slash, Byers was the one who has the least experience
with guys, and often tends to be the recipient of Langly's affections. Byers also tends not to be the one who initiates the relationship or the encounter, although that varies from author to author. I think it's just that Byers tends to be seen as the most emotionally sensitive of the three. Pet names like "Hairboy" for Langly, or "Suitboy" or "Princess" for Byers show up now and again in L/B slash (apparently from Dawn Pares and Te's slash GunFic). Frohike tends to be the least slashed of the three, primarily, I suppose, because everyone knows how much he lusts after Scully, and his involvement with such fine literature as 'Celebrity Skin'. Slash has long speculated that Frohike was the little furry bear of the bunch, since borne out in LGM Eine Kleine Frohike -- definitely a little fuzzball.
(continued in part 2)