Ashley Sheila Fobel (neé Phillips) is a character in the Ferris Access Channel and Dozerfleet Studios original miniseries Blood Over Water, as well as the 2013 novelization of it. She is portrayed in both the 2009 miniseries and some promo work for the 2013 novel by actress Angelica McClary.
Having the shortest role of anyone involved, Ashley was a newcomer at Sleet Mountain who got pulled into CEO Clyde Spendelworth's corrupt plan. Seduced by greed, she became one of Chris' lackeys; and aided him in plotting Mark's assassination. Shortly thereafter, she was never seen or heard from ever again.
While the novel goes to great lengths to keep most of the characters' backstories consistent with those of their miniseries counterparts, Ashley is the exception. Her entire story was rewritten from the ground up for the novel.
Ashley was born to Eric and Trista Phillips, two well-respected individuals within their church. Little is known about her childhood, but she was raised with two very-loving parents. However, she got in with a wrong crowd in high school, and a boy her age convinced her to give her virginity to him. She was ashamed of herself, thankful that the boy didn't broadcast it any place she'd get in trouble. However, she felt dirty anyway. This led to a self-image problem that haunted her later in life.
Life after high school
After leaving home to begin working at Sleet Mountain, Ashley met five different black men all of a "gangsta" influence, and most of them either from Detroit or Flint. All five of them proved to be using her, and would often break up with her after they got bored from sleeping with her. She thought that this would be the end of her bad decisions. Instead, she got involved in a brief affair at the age of 19 with an older minister named Harry Campelli, who later ditched her and started a megachurch in Iowa. Campelli proved to be a genuine scumbag who was otherwise very unhelpful to Ashley. She decided to keep evidence of her affair, in case it proved important later in a major court case.
As some time went by, Ashley got a promotion at Sleet Mountain's northern Michigan bottling plant as a secondary marketing assistant. She thought she'd moved on in life, but times were tough. The company was losing money. They weren't able to figure out why, but their funds were beginning to dry up. Along came a man at the company that quickly worked his way up the ladder, named Clyde Spendelworth. Clyde quickly got in good with CEO Bob Lusital, and seemed to have a lot of ideas for turning things around. Ashley was unsure what to think of Clyde. Something about him rubbed her the wrong way. However, she chose to ignore it.
Ashley spent a lot of her spare time when not directly busy at work flirting with various coworkers, hoping one of them would take notice of her. One man in particular did - Mark Stefflin. While Mark was very upfront about the fact that he'd slept around quite a bit before meeting her, she quickly assured him that she was not afraid of him cheating on her. The two began to form a relationship slowly.
One summer day, retiring Sleet Mountain CEO Bob Lusital left a party at Mark's cabin - and was never heard from again. Many, including Mark, grew curious as to where Bob had vanished to. No answers seemed to surface. Clyde, next in line, became the new CEO. He gradually lured Mark - and others - into his elaborate plan to defraud the EPA and recycling centers so as to save the company a small fortune in expenses pertaining to cleaning up factory wastes. However, Vance refused to keep quiet. He too vanished. Ashley grew very suspicious about why it was that this happened. She goes to Mark to inquire of it, and Mark informs her to lay low and pretend not to notice anything. However, Vance Lingolin's vanishing convinces Mark that he cannot accept the bribe money nor go along with the cleanup fraud plan. When he is unable to secure the Gleeful-N-Young videos that Clyde keeps a stash of, Mark instead steals a "Confidential" manilla envelope filled with folders full of redacted files. Knowing immediately that this information is about the cleanup fraud scandal, Mark gets a hold on it and hides it in a special spot under the apartment carpet underneath his bed. He tells no one, not even Ashley, where it is. He then goes about pretending to be innocent.
Clyde immediately suspects that Mark is less-than-loyal, and gets wise to the fact that Mark tried to steal something. He sends George Lawence and Kyle Tugrass to break into Ashley's house and find incriminating evidence against her. They manage to find the old paperwork about her and Campelli, then Clyde uses it to blackmail Ashley into going over the Mark's house to persuade him into giving the file back. He tells her to slip something into the drink to knock him out if he won't cooperate. What he doesn't tell her is that the entire thing is a ruse to keep Mark distracted, while Chris was blackmailed into going over there to commit murder.
Ashely heads over to the house to carry out instructions as given, but then finds herself in bed with Mark rather than going through with the plan. Mark suggests they run away together, and Ashley promises to consider it - right after they've finished up. However, Chris sneaks in while they are in the throes of lust, and uses her as a distraction to point a silenced pistol straight at Mark's forehead. Ashley look up just in time to see Chris pull the trigger, and Mark is killed before he has a chance to react. A terrified and confused Ashley is then forced at gunpoint to get dressed and help Chris dispose of the body and any evidence. In emotional agony, she follows through with Chris' plan, holding the shovel that was used to bury Mark.
Chris promises her that Clyde means to help her escape somewhere where she won't be able to testify, but won't have to worry about other concerns. However, Chris doesn't know that Clyde intends to have her abducted and sent to a brothel owned by Clyde's Gleeful-N-Young company. After being deceived, Chris begins plotting to switch sides. Ashley spends several weeks as a prisoner at Gleeful-N-Young, often being raped repeatedly and forced into making videos. She is shocked and confused yet again when it is Chris who comes to her rescue. Shortly after being freed by Chris, she makes her way to Aaron and Meredith. The three of them agree to testify together to bring down Clyde, Sleet Mountain, and Gleeful-N-Young.
Main article: Sodality (series)
During the ordeal to go to Washington and bring down a hard hammer on Clyde, Ashley met FBI agent Wally Fobel. The two quickly hooked up during the fight to bring down Clyde and Sleet Mountain forever. After the ordeal, they remained friends for several months. Wally was able to get transferred to a post in upper Michigan near the city of Evart, allowing him to move close to Ashley as she looked for other work in order to keep her house. Within three years, they were married. The Fobels fled to Toklisana in 2018; being among the fortunate to flee in time, along with Matt and Marina Baret.
According to the miniseries
Ashley is depicted in the miniseries to be very passive, and effective at faking a charming persona. Little else is known about her; save for the fact that she shows very little emotion when Mark is killed.
According to the novel
Her personality is nearly completely reversed in the novel. There, Ashley is depicted as very charming, sweet, slightly gullible, and very sensual. She means no harm to anyone, but seems to have terrible luck with men. She is shown to be genuinely disgusted at the thought of having been used by Clyde and Chris as a tool for Mark's murder. However, her inner rage to destroy Sleet Mountain doesn't come out until after she finds Aaron and Meredith. She is fearful of her past coming back to haunt her, and also afraid to trust her own family with the truth about her own struggles.
While she means to do well and be a moral and upright woman, she will readily surrender her body to any man willing to give his heart to her. However, she isn't completely promiscuous. If she doesn't sense that the man is truly interested in her, then she will turn down a one night stand offer. She had two boyfriends in high school, then met Harry Camprelli. She was less than amused to learn that he was a married man. She was even less amused when he became the minister at a megachurch. She maintained a small amount of contact with him after the affair ended, in the event that it should come back to bite either of them. Her efforts to run away with Mark proved fruitless, as she underestimated Chris' greed and Clyde's determination to see Mark dead. When she feels the need to confess to her parents about the way she'd lived her life, she lets Wally Fobel do the talking. She can't bear to face them with the shame of what was done to her at Gleeful-N-Young.
She is described in The Sims 3 as being Flirty, Charismatic, a Great Kisser, and Friendly. She also has effective sales technique, which comes in handy when she is trying to do her job at Sleet Mountain. However, she learns that her best sales pitch is ineffective against a monster like Clyde. She tends to like Rockabilly, as well as dim sun soup. Her favorite color is lavender purple. She has a pet rat named Rouenski.
Ashley entered the story briefly, as a sidekick for Chris when the two of them were sent to murder Mark. It made more sense to the production team that Chris lure Mark into a trap using a distraction, someone whom Mark would not know very well. It was also a chance for Angelica to have a very brief acting cameo. To lure Mark into the death trap, Ashley has to pretend to be lost and wanting directions to someone's apartment. Originally, the character was to be named "Sheila Shones," but she protested that name. She is identified by first-name only in the end credits of the first Dozerfleet Recut; and is never once mentioned by name in her brief cameo in Part 5. She is identified in the end credits of the approved-for-cable version with her Phillips surname restored.
The novel saw Ashley, who is pivotal in being Mark's downfall, as having a lot more potential than what the miniseries was willing to explore. However, she became the most-revised character in order to do that. Her personality and personal values were almost completely reversed for this telling of events. She goes from a willing conspirator in the plot to fool Mark to being an unwitting pawn in his destruction. Her weakness, lack of self-control, and fear of being exposed become her downfall as well. Her physical appearance, however, is the least altered aspect about her. The sculpts and concept art for Ashley still somewhat resemble the actress who portrayed her in the miniseries. However, the sculpts were tweaked to make her a less obvious double. This was so that the original actress would not be crucial in the future.
Outside of the events in Blood Over Water, Ashley herself has little bearing on any significant events to Gerosha mythos. However, she has a cousin named Janet Phillips who is in the Society of the Icy Finger. Janet doesn't come into play until 2012 - long after the events of Blood Over Water allegedly take place. The Marlquaan Storm Event turns her into one of the Microwave Mouths. While main continuity has Janet spend most of her time as a scientist for the Icy Finger, working at an Antarctic base, the non-canon Earth-G7.2.1 spin-off of the Gerosha Gaming Universe has her as an Icy Finger thug supervillain attacking Boston. Its story Percolation is a crossover fanfic with Playdom's Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
Earth-G7.0 Janet eventually falls to Extirpon some time during the post-Sodality timeline. However, Earth-G7.2.1 Janet is portrayed as being killed by Ghost Rider, with the Gray Champion arriving on the scene shortly thereafter. Development-wise, this makes Ashley's cousin the second supervillain in Gerosha mythos to be associated with the moniker of Microwave Mouth. The first Microwave Mouth to be identified was Christina Wade, a follow of Scott Morrisson who appears briefly in Pilltar 3.