"For a while, Harrigan just had himself to do, uh...'advanced questioning' on anyone 'privileged' enough to be captured by the Control Corps. Of course, intimidating as all hell he may be, Harrigan has the strength of a hundred normal men and the temper of a feral ghoul three-weeks starved; not very good traits for an interrogator, since, you know...more often or not you'll just accidentally kill the poor bastard before they have a chance to talk. Harrigan isn't dumb; he knows this. I imagine that's why he picked up that little thing from the Exclusion Zone...and boy, if my intel's right...that little thing sure does the job..."
-Emperor Derrick Zane, discussing The Tickler in a secret conference with the Whips, c. 2145
The Tickler is a "specialist officer" of the 50th Vanguard Control Battalion, and one of the most infamous individuals in the Imperial hierarchy due to her status as Colonel Fred Harrigan's personal interrogator. An African from the savage Exclusion Zone, her pre-Dragoon background is a complete mystery, as she never speaks to anyone but Harrigan (and even then, only when asked first).
Despite her crude upbringing, she is shown to be an extremely formidable torturer, and is the only known person to have ever broken a Chthonian's brainwashing. Although it took several years of hard work, she managed to successfully shatter the once-thought unbreakable "Song of Experience" on her prized subject.
Nothing is known of her background before Harrigan discovered her during one of his raids into the Exclusion Zone while he was stationed in South Africa. This discovery took place in September of 2131, after his scouts had tracked a slaving party several miles up the Congo River. He and his troops eventually caught up with the raiders in a desolated tribal village. However, by the time they arrived, nearly all of the dozen or so slavers were dead, their corpses mutilated and strung up for any passersby to see. Most of the locals seemed petrified even before Harrigan and his soldiers arrived, and when Harrigan or any of his men tried to question them, most merely replied that "No! She's summoned demons!" after getting a look at the Dragoons' Tigress power-armor. Harrigan ignored them, and searched the village for answers or any surviving raiders. Hearing a distant scream, Harrigan and a small detachment of his Vanguards made their way to a hut on the outskirts. When entering, they were greeted by a disturbing sight; a young girl in her early teens using her long fingernails to rip out the slaver chieftain's eyeball.
Noting Harrigan's presence, the girl merely stared him down. The Vanguards at his side suggesting killing the girl, out of the assumption that she "went feral" due to radiation poisoning, but Harrigan ignored their requests as he approached her, kneeling down to get a good look at her. After deducing that she had been raped and mutilated by the slavers at some point, he congratulated her for "making an example" out of those who perceived her as weak. Although unsure of just how a young girl managed to kill an entire war party of heavily armed raiders (unarmed, at that, as further investigation revealed that none of them suffered gunshot wounds), Harrigan saw great potential in her, and extended his hand in a symbolic gesture. She accepted it with a cruel smile, leading her to her current life as one of the world's most feared individuals.
After training under the Empire's top interrogators, she soon strayed (though didn't completely abandon) from her animalistic, barbaric methods, instead preferring subtle, more "exotic" solutions (her favorite being utilization of lobotomy on subjects). Though physical torture had been mostly forsaken and ruled "obsolete" by most Imperial interrogators (with more "humane, but efficient" methods, such as using the aid of a telepathic psyker or heavy doses of mind-numbing Soma, being preferred), The Tickler seemed to bring a different sort of "effectiveness" to it, and Harrigan would often deploy her as a terror weapon more often than an actual interrogator.
Personality and Traits
Referenced to as a "robot" by the other Dragoons, she seems to have no personal interests, no quirks, and seemingly no other purpose than to maim and scar. She almost never speaks unless spoken to first (and even then only if it's Harrigan). However, to those unfortunate enough to witness her at work, they often remark that she's a "completely different person" while at work, often humming and smiling. Many question how someone like The Tickler can come to be, though most disregard it, stating that "she comes from the Exclusion Zone; everyone there's like her". Considering her mysterious background likely involving neglect and abuse, it may not be too hard to come to a similar conclusion. It has also been theorized that she may be a psyker, explaining her slaughter of the slavers when Harrigan discovered her and her ease of interrogating even the toughest of subjects.
- In a way of further referencing Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane from A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones to Harrigan, both have personal torturers called "The Tickler" in their armies, and both are known for exceptional cruelty and effectiveness.