Lord Bastrin: "What?! How the hell did you get in here?"
Inquisitor Marco Skoll: "Silva found the door between the dining room and the drawing room."
Lord Bastrin: "There is no such door."
Marco Skoll: "There is now."
Lord Bastrin: "Get OUT! GUARDS!"
Marco Skoll: "Ah yes, she found them too."
- An exchange from the arrest of Lord Bastrin
- Date of Birth: 527970.M41
- Place of Birth: Pexir III
- Gender: Female
- Height: 180 cm / 5' 11"
- Weight: 135 kg/ 298 lbs
Physical appearance: Relatively tall, heavily muscled, and with her entire left arm and shoulder, the majority of her right leg, and parts of the left side of her face replaced by heavily military grade bionics, Silva tends to stand out in a crowd.
The extent of her bionic repairs is not limited to just the visible. Her left lung is a mechanical replacement, and her ribcage and pelvis have been heavily reinforced to survive the strength, weight and power of her bionics. Additionally, several of her senses have been replaced or repaired. Her left eye includes augmentic boosts, a process which has discoloured the iris from its original green to an electric blue; her left ear is a relatively unflattering bionic (and thus usually covered by her auburn hair); and a number of her olfactory receptors have been replaced with bionic versions.
Her considerable weight is approximately a half and half split between her bionics and remaining organic parts. She attributes a lot of her physical strength not only to the mechanical leverage of her bionics, but to their weight and the development of her natural muscle needed to cope with this.
Silva was born in South Hosz (although this is merely wishful wording to get out of admitting to being from the less privileged areas of the hive Hosz), a hive city on the planet Pexir III. Her parents were Raphael Birgen and Lucia Grey (respectively an architect and a medicae), and she is the sister to a 23 month older brother (Marek, a Major in the Pexir 25th), and a year younger sister (Elise, now an aide to the owner of the Vanden corporation in the higher levels of the hive).
Her education was mostly geared towards her becoming part of an educated profession like her parents, but it was soon clear that she wished for a more active lifestyle, something a planet like Pexir was only too able to offer.
Pexir is a planet highly populated by gang culture, and street fights are far from uncommon. Fortunately for the less violent residents of the hive, most of the gangs are too caught up in fighting between one another, so most cautious people can generally avoid "unpleasant encounters" with them. As a solution to the long running issue on the planet, in M.38 Pexir introduced military conscription as the penalty for gang membership - while this exerts some control over the gangs, and puts experienced street fighters into the Imperial Guard, some command difficulties have resulted.
The Cuir subsector's only major external threat is the Scaro Passage leading to Ilithyia, so Pexirian Guard regiments not assigned to the Ilithyian war are generally put to use fighting internal foes - mutant rebellion, mutinous planets, or heretical sects. With their former experience at streefighting Regiments from Pexir are famed for such tasks, given the predisposition of the conscripted gangers for combat in tight streets and cityscapes.
At the age of nineteen, Silva elected to sign on with the Imperial Guard voluntarily, following in the footsteps of her brother. Like many of the other recruits not affiliated with any of the gangs, Silva rose through the ranks reasonably quickly, not being involved in the various rivalries. She learnt a mix of various gang languages during this time, a necessity for the NCOs of the regiment to keep control over new recruits. Each Pexirian regiment tended to develop a combination of these gang languages which saw use as the vox cant. Although Silva still remembers these languages, her current use of them is not particularly subtle, mostly using it to swear colourfully.
Eventually reaching the rank of Platoon Staff Sergeant, she was eventually removed from duty under the authority of Inquisitor Byssus during the regiment's actions on the ice planet of Wymec due to the requests of Marco, who was at that time Byssus' acolyte.
Around two years after Wymec, she was heavily injured on Thrupp V, and was bionically reconstructed as a result. A further year later, during the Eidica incident, where the trio were disarmed as part of a security check before meeting with the (unbeknownst to them) possessed planetary governor, this was the motivation to install concealed weapons within her arm.
During The Succession, Silva's bionic leg was severed during a fight with one of Inquisitor Goddard's aides, Auric Morchai. She understandably harbours considerable resentment.
Silva is a confident, astute and pragmatic person with a sarcastic and cynical sense of humour. Her experience and outlook combine to make her a particularly savvy thinker, with a talent for spotting flawed plans (either those of an ally or an enemy), the out of place or a potential trap. Her outlook on life has become considerably more positive in the years since she met Marco and found a purpose beyond simply dying at the whim of an Imperial commander - as a result, her former deep pessimism has largely become a more grounded viewpoint. Her perceived lack of purpose had cultivated a tendency to be highly reckless (although many mistook it for bravery) which persisted for sometime after leaving the Pexir 26th, eventually culminating in the accident on Thrupp V where she lost her limbs. In recent years her bravery is more genuine - having found things worth fighting for, rather than simply being indifferent about her death. She may still appear impulsive at times, but this is largely learned from over two decades of combat, seizing the opportunity for action when it presents itself. Fortunately, she has a well guided split second instinct, usually taking the right choice. Remnants of her older self persist in a complete lack of patience for anyone who sees her as a resource rather than a person, and a slowness to bond with strangers, outsiders and newcomers.
Silva also has a fairly strong prejudice against mutants following the attack that cost her her limbs, and is still occasionally somewhat edgy around even those she knows well.
By way of a pastime, Silva is a reasonably accomplished guitarist, having been playing since her youth. Still a left-handed player even after her arm's replacement, her preferred instrument is a seven steel-stringed guitar which she acquired around 004.M42 Understandably, given her extensive bionics and her relationship to the mechanically minded Inquisitor Skoll, she has developed some interest in the workings of machinery (if only modest skill). Her natural accent is fairly distinctive (although far from unintelligible). Normally, she makes efforts to try and hide it - although when under stress or pressure, her accent tends to revert even if she is otherwise acting fairly calmly or rationally. Given her normal confidence, it is therefore not overly surprising that people who know her well find her using her natural accent somewhat unsettling.
Silva is convinced the Imperium's methods will be its end, attempting to solve problems through massed man-power rather than through intelligence and efficiency. While she utterly believes in the God-Emperor, she believes vast parts of the Imperium as is to be a complete corruption of His will. She perceives herself as a warrior for the Emperor and humanity, rather than a soldier of the Imperium.
Silva is highly decisive and mentally swift, and is probably even more clear-thinking under pressure than her partner. Although still highly useful today, these traits were a boon to her promotions within the Pexir 26th. One of Silva's main strengths is sheer physical fitness. Aside from the strength of her bionics, she is otherwise very muscular, and knows how to use her weight in combat. Combined with her study of two martial arts to a high level, she is highly formidable in hand to hand combat. However, her potential to be dangerous at range should not be disregarded, as she has extensive experience with most Imperial light weapons. In extreme cases, her raw physical strength makes her capable of single handedly using even heavier Imperial weaponry with ease. Although she knows how to use it to her advantage, Silva's weight has its downsides - she can no longer naturally float, and her attempts to swim are therefore slowed by the effort needed to remain above water. Similarly, the loss of two limbs has dramatically reduced her natural body weight, affecting her tolerance to drugs and toxins fairly heavily. Her natural affinity for working with her partner Marco makes her the other half of an effective combat team, able to work reliably and efficiently when called for.
Her bionics are all high quality models, powered by a bio-electrical exchange and with enhanced neural interfaces. Her arm houses several concealed weapons (a compact flamer, las-emitter and a set of fighting claws) and is fitted with armoured vambraces.
Silva's primary ranged weapon is a pump-action 12 gauge shotgun, laid out in a reasonably short configuration. The functionality and versatility offered by it was something she learnt to favour in the violent city fighting for which the Pexirian regiments are famed for. It is not, however, the shotgun which she carried in the 26th, as that original was considerably damaged by the same blast that took her limbs. Although it could be relatively easily fixed, she prefers to keep it in its battered form, as a reminder of her recklessness. She does still carry the combat knife from her service years - around two feet in total length from tip to pommel, and with a regularly sharpened edge. Until the events of The Succession, she was known for wielding this blade in her off-hand, a compliment to the weapons integral to her bionic arm. Since this time, she has largely wielded a Tigguo Cobauc commissariat issue chain shortsword in its place.
Silva is on good terms with most of Inquisitor Skoll's associates. Her prejudice against mutants means that even after several years, she is still edgy around the mutant Jax Lynn, although the two are largely friendly around each other, both sharing a number of beliefs and interests.
- One of the few people in Marco's entourage to refer to Giovanna Ciris by the diminutive Gianna rather than Gio.
- Known to go off on wild rants when hungry.
- Favours strong ales. Quite a heavy drinker - gets drunk relatively fast as a result of her body mass.
- Her split second reactions are not always a boon. The majority of people around her have learnt the hard way why it's a bad idea to startle her.
"Oh come on, with all this cliché around, you'll hurt yourself." - Silva to the Head Magus of a Chaos cult
"I haven't seen this much crap since Sgt. Burns gave his horse too much laxative." - Silva at the trial of Governor Yeios
"What do you know? You've never been shipped to some forsaken world your commander can't even name so that the enemy have something to shoot at. You can't even pretend to know who I am." - Silva to Inquisitor Lofaire
"To do list - Make sarcastic quip, Shoot bad guy, Eat lunch, Save the world." - Silva while reloading during a firefight
"Lieutenant, would you please take all your overgrown infants away somewhere?" - Silva to Lieuteant Jefaes at the siege of Lsesi
Ure'kal: "Skoll! You belong to me!"
Silva Birgen: "Actually, he's mine. And I don't share." - At the ambush in the Eidica governor's palace
"I need a drink." - Silva, repeatedly
"Oh, HELL NO!" - Silva, repeatedly
"Woman, you are completely off your nut." - Inquisitor Marco Skoll to Silva Birgen