CONTACT: clickboom, PM
CURRENT CHARACTERS: N/A
CANON POINT: Endgame
BACKGROUND: Character wikia, game wiki (the character wikia is pretty pitiful, but the game wiki has a full plot writeup)
"The list of things that might kill us keeps getting longer... I hadn't even thought about moonshots. Rakks, skags, bandits, dehydration, heat stroke, regular stroke, stroke stroke... whatever that is, that murder pile. The list just keeps getting longer... I've never felt so alive!"
Yeah, Vaughn's a bit of a weirdo. Virtually no one in Tales from the Borderlands could really pass as normal, but Vaughn's... quirky, to say the least. From getting ridiculously excited about finding an old (pardon me, vintage) watch-calculator, to idly poking a former coworker's dead body with a stick, to sudden outbursts of loudly-proclaimed confidence (as seen in the quote above), he's definitely a lot more than just the nerdy sidekick. The story is primarily about Rhys and Fiona, the two main characters, but it's also very interesting to see Vaughn go from an excitable but panicky and insecure accountant to a leader as he adapts to life on the unforgiving planet Pandora.
The game introduces him as Rhys's best friend, "the money man." He's babbling enthusiastically about the promotion Rhys is about to get (supposedly), how they're moving up in Hyperion's ranks, how he's going to buy a gun—one of the things about Vaughn that you learn early on is that he's very chatty. He talks when he's excited, when he's nervous, when he's totally grossed out, when he's pretty sure he's about to die (which is pretty often in a place like Pandora)... really, it's when he gets quiet that you know something's off. He also has a strange tendency to get really excited when he survives danger: in the scene the above quote comes from, after breathlessly recounting all the crazy things he and the others have lived through since arriving on Pandora, he starts screaming up at Helios (the Hyperion space station he and Rhys live and work on) that he's not afraid... only to be immediately spooked by the sound of Rhys receiving a call. So much for that.
Needless to say, Vaughn's kind of an insecure guy, at least for the first three episodes. You get the feeling that he's fully aware he's a nerd. He's pretty short, made worse by the fact that his posture is usually slouched forward, and yet when he and Rhys get separated from the girls on Pandora he takes his shirt off and ties it around his head, revealing that he's... surprisingly ripped. When questioned, he waves it off that he had an exercise bike put in his office. While it's possible he simply wanted to get in better shape, it also seems likely that his decision to try to bulk up may have been motivated by insecurity. He also tends to point out when he does something even mildly impressive, hoping to be acknowledged ("This is so cool, right? D-did you guys see me? I mean, how cool I was?"). A lot of this comes from comparing himself to Rhys, who's been the Cool Friend at least as far back as college. This isn't to say Rhys isn't himself a giant dork; the difference is that Rhys looks like he might be cool, whereas Vaughn's look pretty much screams "nerd." Back then, Vaughn was often left out of things (like parties) that Rhys had no trouble getting into. At one point in the game he actually approaches Rhys about this, afraid he might end up being left behind:
"Down here on Pandora, I've seen how amazing you are at all this stuff. I mean, hanging out with Vault Hunters, crazy Atlas technology, fighting insane mobsters... and—and you've just been playing it totally cool the whole time. So I—I guess... look... I'm not gonna get left out on the curb again, am I?"
He's a loyal friend, but his loyalty does come into question once early on when it's revealed that he went in on a deal to sell Rhys out. Vaughn vehemently denies that he would have gone through with the deal, claiming it was only to get Vasquez off of them. Whether Rhys believes him (and whether he forgives him) is dependent upon player choice, but it seems likely that he was telling the truth based on his past dedication to helping Rhys achieve his dream of running a company (which apparently involved some unsavory things—he makes an offhand comment about it "haunting his dreams"), and the fact that he doesn't show any sign of disloyalty throughout the rest of the game.
The chaos at the end of episode 3 marks a turning point: he's either absent or mostly absent depending on player choice for episode 4, and that's the last you see of the nervous and insecure Vaughn as he had been. When you meet him again in the final episode he's a new man: the leader of a large group of Hyperion refugees called the Children of Helios. As the only one among them with any actual experience surviving on Pandora, Vaughn quickly assumed the role. Deep down, he's still the chatty, friendly guy he's always been, but he finally seems confident in himself. It's some really satisfying character development, to say the least—a transformation, perhaps, into the kind of person he always wanted to be but was too weighed down by insecurity and a tendency to exist primarily in Rhys's shadow. The faithful number-crunching sidekick finally steps into the spotlight as a capable leader of a group of people who look to him for guidance in their new home in a dangerous land. It's really pretty heartwarming.
"Man, if it wasn't for the smell of this rotting monster carcass, this hug would be perfect."
Also, he really likes hugs.
SUITABILITY: Vaughn has been in the game before! He went from being eager but largely useless in the setting to someone who can handle himself quite a bit better thanks to a key canon update. Even before the update, though, he was thoroughly bored of crunching numbers, so the idea of field work was (and continues to be) very appealing to him. He should have no problem at all settling back in—he's had reservations about ALASTAIR and their operations here and there, but for the most part he goes with the flow.
ABILITIES: He's competent with a gun and he's good at math. That's about it.
INVENTORY: He didn't have a ton of stuff lying around in Oska, so the only things of note would be a pet hermit crab, a sniper rifle, a small light-up drone, a nailgun with stickers on it, and a silver wedding band (all of these things were acquired in-game and/or bought with AC coins).
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