Zev Bellringer of B3K

Zev has had the sort of life I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. (Well, maybe not on my second worst enemy....)

No wonder she's bitter. Her whole life has been a series of rejections. Rejected by her parents as a child (it's difficult to say at what age that happened. She was obviously old enough to be able to understand and remember what they said - "sometimes children just don't turn out the way you expect..." "It's nothing personal..." Somewhere between three and five years old, perhaps?), dumped into the holocare home because she didn't 'meet the standard', abandoned to the marriage bank (a form of lottery?) at an early age (if we are to go by her voice), and then to find herself rejected yet again by her very young husband.....

I can't help but wonder - WHY is her intended husband so young? Is it customary on her homeworld for the males to be married at such an age? Is this some kind of patriarchal society where obnoxious brats such as him can demand to be given all the servant-like qualities of a traditional Japanese wife? Is it standard practise to marry off the males before they reach their prime - and before their wives reach theirs - to ensure a fruitful union? Or did his parents simply find him such a little prat that they wanted to get rid of him as quickly as possible....? (Personally I'd opt for the latter, but that might just be wishful thinking on my part.)

But Zev is not the sort of person to take this kind of affront lying down (and I use the term advisedly!). First she punches out the little brat, then states she'd rather volunteer for the protein bank than allow herself to be used as a love slave.

There is something horribly disturbing about the whole idea of transforming a woman, against her will, into a sex-slave. To have no choice in the matter, but to be aware of what is being done to you.... The fact that after the transformation you will be entirely at the mercy of enhanced and exaggerated physical urges.... The whole idea is repulsive. To me, anyway. And I would believe to most women. And, I would like to think, to all real men. (Although there I'm prepared to be bitterly disappointed.....)

And Zev has enough dignity and courage (or maybe is simply too dispirited and desperate) to prefer death to slavery. But there seems to be no escape for her - except to have Cluster Lizard DNA incorporated into her body during her transformation in a manner reminiscent of The Fly (the Cronenberg version with Jeff Goldblum, of course.)

It gives her unusual strength (no-one else has proved capable of breaking free from the prisoner harness by themselves). It gives her carnivorous tendencies (assuming she didn't have them before her transformation, of course). It gives her the ability to communicate with Cluster Lizards (and they obey her, as well. Are we to infer that Cluster Lizards have some sort of matriarchal, Queen-dominated social order?) And it may well enhance her natural intelligence - she is aware, immediately after her transformation, that her mind is about to transformed as well, and shoves 790's head under the machine. I feel sure that the original Zev would have been quite capable of doing so (after all, her 'programming' has been less than perfectly effective!), but she would also have been in a state of shock and probably incapable of thinking sufficiently clearly to take advantage of the few seconds afforded her....

So - obese and unattractive Zev (and oh, the admiration I have for the actress who played her!) is changed by a machine into 'the ultimate female form'. Suddenly she has a power she has never even dreamed of. She is beautiful. Really beautiful. (And as far as I'm concerned, Eva Habermann is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. A Cleopatra amongst boring, characterless, morphing supermodels.) She can even distract Thodin from his hatred of Stan the Arch-Traitor. Not bad going, eh?

And it leaves her horribly uncertain and confused! "Life is not fair - something I know well...": "Everybody always leaves me...". Her life - not to mention her body and her personality - have suddenly changed almost beyond recognition. It doesn't help that to a large extent she is fighting against her earlier programming. (It shows in oddly poignant ways. When replying to the guard on the prisoner transport, she tells him, in effect, that his opinion means nothing to her - but still HAS to add the epithet 'handsome'... He isn't - but would Zev actually know that? She has spent most of her life in a box. But she has had it drilled into her that the male of the species is to be obeyed and deferred to (I refuse to say worshipped!) regardless of how they look or behave.... Of course, as we've already seen in her behaviour in the temple, the programming was never that effective on the first place!)

Stan and Kai are 'the first real people [she has] ever met.' She is drawn to Stan, initially - until she meets Kai. Afterwards she finds Stan 'unattractive', and is 'in love' with the last of the Brunnen-G. ('Sensible woman', most people would say....) This is obviously not the place to become involved in a debate on what defines attractiveness or beauty - and it's all very subjective anyway - but it's still interesting to speculate on exactly what Zev bases her definitions.......

Poor mixed-up Zev - literally. Fighting the changes that have been made to her libido, caught up in a situation well beyond her experience...... She is nevertheless the strongest character in the crew. Both Stan and Kai defer to her (Stan does as she orders, Kai looks to her for confirmation of anything he may suggest). Sometimes tough, sometimes tender, a real chameleon of femininity at its most interesting, Zev is wonderful.

I shall miss her......

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