|Barsala Zharliska Sonari|
Meet the Iconics
|“|| The daughter of a renowned biotechnician and a respected priest of Talavet, Barsala Zharliska Sonari of House Ulanda grew up in Trillidiem, the arcology of bubble-shaped domes that floats above Bretheda's northern pole. Her parents maintained a household in which discussion and debate were encouraged, with most dinnertime talks focused around the dichotomy between faith and science. Even at a young age, Barsala was included, her questions and opinions treated with respect. As a result, she found herself drawn to studying scientific disciplines, but focused on how they could help her neighbors and her community. Barsala witnessed the power of community early in her life when she lost her lowleft hand due to severe nerve damage sustained in a nasty fall and many of her family’s neighbors came together to help her get used to her new cybernetic prosthesis.
Years later, Barsala earned her doctorate from the prestigious Sui Saolus Academy and landed a job as a junior research assistant at Iratha Incorporated, a biotech firm in Trillidiem founded by a lashunta and a kasatha. Despite barathus nearly dominating the biotech field, Iratha Incorporated is a successful corporation, focusing exclusively on augmentations for humanoids. Barsala was happy with her job, but after several months, she began to worry that her research—though pivotal for reducing implant rejection rates among other things—was far too niche. She wondered if there was something else she could do to aid the community at large.
Explaining her dilemma to a friend, Barsala hit on an idea that sparked her interest: she would start a regular holovid stream in which she would explain the basic concepts of science to viewers in a way that was fun and engaging. Branding herself as "Dr. B," she rented a small studio, set up a simple lab, donned a white lab coat, and began broadcasting in her off hours. Dr. B's first holovids featured very basic principles—gravity, magnetism, and the like—and her production values were rough around the edges, but Barsala's enthusiasm and easy-to-understand explanations quickly gained her a wide audience on Bretheda's infosphere and beyond.
However, her program didn't reach the same popularity as reality shows and sporting events until it caught the attention of Thalus Enthremian Damru, the kasatha co-founder of Iratha Incorporated. He saw the show's potential as a marketing tool but also respected Barsala's commitment to education. One day, Thalus approached Barsala in her Iratha lab to offer her holovid stream an official sponsorship, which would include a new studio, as well as a small staff to ensure that everything looked and sounded professional. Her new role as "scientific ambassador" was added to her job description, and she soon became the holovid icon she is today.
"Dr. B’s Science Jubilee" is popular with young sentients throughout the Pact Worlds and most of Near Space, thanks to Barsala's engaging personality and flashy experiments. With Iratha Incorporated's funding, Barsala has been able to travel across the galaxy to showcase interesting scientific phenomena first-hand, including such topics as the life cycles of unusual flora and fauna, the formation of bizarre minerals and crystals, and the odd interactions between certain fundamental forces of physics. Some of the program's most shared episodes feature Barsala being introduced to a new species of alien animal (often with hilarious results) and the kasatha putting a scientific myth to the test (usually accompanied by explosions).
Between these on-location shoots, Barsala continues her research on biotech augmentations, and occasionally, topics on her show have led her to small breakthroughs in her work and research. While these advancements have garnered some praise in the scientific community, most people only recognize the kasatha through her holovid work, with some people even believing that the "Doctor" part of "Dr. B" is merely an affectation. Nevertheless, Barsala presses on with both aspects of her job, hoping she can positively impact the lives of people in one way or the other.