The following is about the Prodigal-Gamer character who is also known as Emily Barnes. For the similarly-named real-life artist, see The Emily Barnes Music Band Facebook Page. For the more common meaning of the term, see Flag semaphore at Wikipedia. For the similarly-named other Dozerfleet Comics protagonist, see Semaphry.
Emily Anya Barnes / Semaphore is a superheroine featuring in Camelorum Adventures. She was created by Chad Patterson, Irina Anghel, Karina MacGill, and the Dozerfleet founder on DeviantArt, and is the single-most-featured and most-popular character in commissioned fanart on that site of any of Chad's creations.
She was originally a worker at a Floyd, Virginia-branch Grillitan Diner; but became a prisoner serving time for playing a role in a drunk driving incident that destroyed a fountain. Over time, however, the bizarre cosmic events surrounding Dromedary Heights in Delaware transform her into a monster-fighting hero with precognitive hair that constantly changes color. She longs to become an entertainer and martial arts trainer upon her release from Camelorum Correctional, and also wants to travel the world.
In addition to her role in Camelorum Adventures, she is xeroxed by the Percolation Wave, allowing her to join much of the greater Dozerfleet Megaverse. This included a sprite proposal for Marvel: Avengers Alliance back when that game was operating on Facebook, the entry featuring on the Avengers Alliance Fanfic Wiki, where suggestions were made for how she could have entered the Marvel Gaming Universe. Her "original" self also teams up with most of the Dozerfleet Megaverse's heroes for the major crossover event "Percolation Warriors."
Powers, weaknesses, and equipment
Emily's hair (and eventually, also her fro wig) are constantly changing color. Without her gloves on, these changes appear to be random and meaningless. With her gloves on, her hair color changes take on significance. She is usually able to control it just enough to make the hair patterns signify something meaningful to those around her, thus earning her the moniker of "Semaphore."
One serious downside to Emily's hair is that without her gloves, she has no control over either the color it becomes nor her ability to interpret its meaning. Changes become random, and often seem to change according to whatever she is most likely to find frustrating in that moment. Her default hair color is blonde, though she will often go brunette when she suspects the chain gang is about to not like what they discover while on the job.
Emily's Semaphore suit is a fairly simple white-and-gray two-piece suit with red gloves and blue boots. Her wig is blue by default, but changes color along with her hair beneath. The sunglasses are purely aesthetic, and she can operate without them. For some unknown reason, red gloves help her control her powers the way yellow gloves help Lemon Witch control hers. The exact way this works is never explained, but is assumed to have something to do with how Xiboruty's species lives and functions.
Arrival at Camelorum
Emily was originally a spoiled-but-sweet, sheltered young woman growing up in Floyd, Virginia, having recently completed her academic freshman year at a community college and yearning to start her sophomore year before transferring to a university. However, she wanted to see the world a little bit more. After quitting her job at the local Grillitan Diner where she was working right as it was about to lay off workers, she decided to use her newfound free time to satisfy some of her growing curiosity about the world. Her friend Justin Apicle informed her of a rumor that his second cousin Keith Witterman was dating a certain Karen Mindoche in Giddewaltz, who had adopted what were being referred to as "the Trapezoid Kids" by locals. Emily's curiosity was piqued, so she took a bus to Giddewaltz to see them in concert in two days. However, Justin tried to call her on the bus to see how things were going, and found himself the latest victim of Tobey the Toilet Monster.
Emily was alone for the first time in her life, and was unaware of all the dangers. She heades to a bar located in the nearby town of Dromedary Heights one night before the big show. That was where she met Jenny Jane and Jenny Kay. The girls were at the bar to celebrate a soccer game, and seemed to be the only two who noticed Emily standing in a corner alone. They invited her to sit and drink with them, and shared life stories. Being always eager to make new friends, the wide-eyed Emily didn't think twice.
The three girls eventually decided as it was getting late in the evening to head back to the hotel together, and prepare for the Trapezoid Kids' concert the following morning. However, they didn't realize that all of them were a tad too drunk. Jenny Jane took the wheel, and the three girls wound up crashing into a fountain. That fountain just so happened to feature a statue of the founder of Dromedary Heights. The girls got out, and Emily accidentally activated a correct sequence to unveil a part of the evil space alien Xiboruty's lair hidden beneath the fountain's platform. She went inside briefly to investigate, and triggered an alarm.
A burst of light came out from beneath and hit the Jens and Emily. The three of them were stunned, allowing Xiboruty to escape and vow revenge. When they overcame their initial shock, the two Jens began rambling about numerous secrets of Xomian alien culture. They yearned for a chance to study more alien activity up close. Emily noticed her hair randomly changing various colors. This caused her to panic, and she fled the scene. The two Jens remained, studying the area and almost completely forgetting they had crashed a car. Police arrived and arrested them on the spot. A drunken Jenny Kay, however, inadvertently revealed that Emily was part of the troupe.
Emily hid in a ditch for some time, then made her way to a bus station the following day to return to Floyd. She tried to tell her family about Xiboruty and the Jens, but they didn't believe her. Upon going to the bank to check on her balance in her savings account, a news cast came on to Henhouse News Channel stating that authorities were looking for a fugitive with hair of multiple colors. Officers at the bank noticed Emily's hair suddenly rapidly changing colors right in front of them. She tried scolding her hair, but that only resulted in the color changes forming an arrow marquee pointing toward her forehead. She was apprehended rather quickly, and without struggle. An officer named Zoe Watt tried to ask her what was going on, but Emily had difficulty answering.
Initially booked and kept at the Floyd County Jail, she was transferred to Camelorum Correctional upon realization that her case involved some paranormal weirdness. To make matters worse, her hair color kept changing in ways that appeared to mock the judge, resulting in a contempt of court charge along with a year for her role in wrecking the fountain. They also discovered that as a college freshman, she had purchased some marijuana from a really nasty local dealer. The total sentence came to three years, with Emily also expected to help the Camelorum Chain Gang on occasion with carrying out odd jobs around the town. These odd jobs included investigation of the town's growing paranormal activity. She eventually found herself in a holding cell along with Carly, Candace, and a variety of other odd entries to Camelorum.
Life at Camelorum
Emily wound up sharing a cell with Carly Rancine. The two of them would often be on separate chain gangs, or else they'd try to help each other understand their own paranormality. Wacky hijinks often ensued whenever Emily got herself involved in anything - or was volunteered for anything. The Jens decided to make it up to her for getting her in trouble by teaching her martial arts. She also worked with them on studying Xomian culture, in the hopes of understanding how she got her color-changing hair - and what to do about it. She was also the first to discover that Tobey the Toilet Monster hates paprika, as well as the first to say something that Calvin the Iguana wouldn't question.
Other details of her life vary according to whichever artist has been rendering the panels. In Emily Meets Emily, a Percolated clone of Emily Cormier holds a brief conversation with her during an awkward elevator ride. They discuss how both SCALLOP Women's Containment Center and Camelorum are strange in their own special ways. After the ride, Emily Cormier vanishes, leaving Emily Barnes royally confused and with suddenly-green hair. This wouldn't be her last encounter with a Percolation.
Emily is also among those who agree to help out the crew of Grillitan Diner any way they can in making sure that Wes' father and grandfather are safe until Wes can clear their names, as Jenny Kay develops a crush rather quickly on Reggie Schmelding.
Abducted by Xiboruty
Xiboruty finally decides to launch his master plan - before Luin Kim or the Spatula can launch theirs. However, the battery he needs is hidden inside of Carly. He resolves this by attacking Camelorum Correctional and abducting Carly, Emily, the Jens, June, Calvin, Zwingli, Wycliffe, Huss, and Shrapnel. The Camelorum staff is outraged by this, until Lightning Hobo arrives with Laney the Laughable and suggests borrowing three of the strangest prisoners remaining to form a team of heroes that can fight back against Xiboruty - who is wreaking havoc. Meanwhile, Xiboruty sabotages the Kitchenodrome to ensure that Heron and Spatula can't compete with him.
Stan Woudean finally allows Luin, furious that her refrigerator was destroyed by Xiboruty, to make some upgrades and augmentations to "the Camelry." Lightning Hobo, Laney the Laughable, Ion Boy, the Glob, and Lemon Witch set out to stop Xiboruty. Xiboruty taunts Emily that he's going to use her for engine fuel, joking that she should be grateful he at least isn't as tasteless as Planned Parenthood - which he claims would kill her and sell her organs.
The Camelry appears weak at first, given that Xiboruty is resistant to Candace's power. However, the tide turns when Jenny Jane realizes that one of her restraints is broken. She frees herself and Jenny Kay, and they find some clothes and equipment that Xiboruty had lying around. They christen themselves the "Jen in Black," and decide to use Xiboruty's own weapons and gadgets against him. They discover and free June and the Judo Iguanas. With help from the Judo Iguanas and Jen in Black, the Camelry is finally able to stop Xiboruty. However, Xiboruty's cousin Xironooti observes from a distance and vows revenge for Xiboruty's death. Carly and Emily are finally rescued, only to find themselves sent back to Camelorum for more wacky misadventures. Seeing Candace near-die in battle, however, convinces Carly and Emily that they should physically train so that they too can join the Camelry. Bonny Boggidy, inspired by this newfound enthusiasm, also decides to train for it.
Xironooti's first attempt to get revenge involved trying to possess and take control over Candace Mason and Melinda Rotinda. He only managed to make Candace laugh uncontrollably, though he did convince Melinda and Katrina to fight each other. During these events, however, Emily tried to get her hair to color-change in a meaningful and helpful way. Her hair turned blue for no reason during Katrina and Melinda's fight. However, Shrapnel gets the idea to have Carly and Emily try on different-colored gloves to see if this will help them the way it helped Candace. The girls are surprised to learn that with Carly wearing black gloves, she has a little more control over her own randomness. Emily discovers that with red gloves one, she knows what her hair color transformations mean - and has limited control over them. When wearing a wig, the wig changes color with her hair beneath. She can use a fro wig to send messages to any teammates able to interpret the signals.
Luin jokes that this makes Emily a walking "semaphore," and then has to explain to the others what a semaphore is. Emily, liking the name, adopts it.
Rampage of Utkitroll
Xironooti decides that he needs to remain hidden after the Jen in Black break his control over Melinda. He instead decides to send a humanoid duck cyborg monster to finish what Xiboruty started. He dubs the creature "The Grand Duck Troll of Doom." But developing a Russian accent, the monster decides to rename itself "Utkitroll." The damage Utkitroll begins inflicting on Dromedary Heights escalates after he traps the Judo Iguanas, their allies, and their enemies in the other dimension known as Pocket 5. Frustrated officials decide to re-assemble the Camelry. Laney prepares Emily to become an official member of the Camelry, in the hopes of the former retiring to become an ordinary circus clown. Semaphore proves very useful to he Camelry in taking down Utkitroll.
The town of Dromedary Heights suddenly begins fully embracing the Camelry as their heroes. Lemon Witch and Ion Boy in particular are asked about toy deals. The townsfolk start a petition to move the Camelry into the new Camelorum Halfway House, so they need not remain in Camelorum Correctional with the more-serious paranormal criminals. After two years, Emily need no longer do menial chain gang work. However, she is expected to become Semaphore again at a moment's notice.
Rita Rigatoni escapes from Camelorum Correctional, and goes on a rampage of causing random mischief all over town. Emily is sent to investigate on her own, and discovers a frightened Bonny still trying to avoid capture. Rita, now dressed like a rigatoni noodle, attacks both girls as "Twisted Noodle." Semaphore teaches Gummibabe how to be a hero, and the two take down Bonny's insane friend. Bonny finally agrees to return to Camelorum Correctional, while Rita is sent to Alpacalorum Mental Hospital.
Emily's already-adventure-filled life gets even more adventure-filled when Xironooti sends Shakesbear to destroy the schools in Dromedary Heights. Semaphore and the Camelry assemble yet again to take him down. Around this same time, Emily is given permission to visit her sick sister Marta Barnes in the Floyd County Hospital.
When the Spatula gets free from Pocket 5 and forges an alliance with Tobey, Rita, and Xironooti, the Camelry is split into two different strike teams so that they can deal with the resulting fallout. Lightning Hobo, Lemon Witch, Jenny Kay, Cherry Babe, Huss, and a few others head out to destroy Xironooti's European fortress and lobby for a homeless shelter to be built; while Ion Boy, Maddening Rod, Mauve Puma, Androida, Belf, and others confront Tobey back in Dromedary Heights while lobbying for a zoo to be built. Gummibabe, in spite sympathizing with Team Lightning Hobo, stays behind to reduce civilian casualties while Team Ion Boy takes out Tobey and Spatula's cabal with help from the remaining Judo Iguanas.
One thing both teams find interesting is the fact that Emily is missing for the duration of the event. It turns out that Stan sent her out on special assignment to convince her wealthy family to help Stan fund both projects, so that it'd be possible to complete them at the same time - rendering the competition pointless and defeating the mayor's plot to divide the Camelry against itself.
Emily is finally permitted to return home to her family in Floyd. However, becoming Semaphore has changed her to the point that she can't adjust to her regular old life anymore. Her rich family decides to set up a fund to help her build a base for the Camelry to operate from. This way, she and her friends can finally have a real home. Lightning Hobo gladly accepts, getting tired of life on the streets. The only one to not join is Laney, who was content to remain with the circus.
There is little consensus regarding Emily's exact personal character. However, the Dozerfleet version depicts her as being filled with curiosity and driven to explore due to her over-sheltered life. She believes at first upon being sent to Camelorum that her adventuring days are over. She is shocked to learn that this is far from the truth.
As her adventure arc leads to her going from the weak and scared young thing she begins as, to becoming Semaphore; she gains a more mature understanding of her place in the universe. She never loses the desire to explore; yet she gains a concept of how to do so with a greater grasp of responsibility and street smarts. The Jens become so fascinated with their new purpose of exploring alien tech, they forget all about drinking and partying. They begin to view themselves has having "evolved beyond that." This attitude likewise reflects in Emily.
According to Chad, Emily was "[most likely] a college sophomore and employed at a trendy, casual cafe/restaurant at the time of her arrest." She is described as someone who "likes hanging out, listening to live music, and engaging in deep conversation with her friends." He went on to state:
"She is not particularly athletic, but likes outdoor activities - like hiking and kayaking. She loves dogs. She [at one point] probably smoked marijuana more than she should [have]."
This is reflected in the fact that she is portrayed as clumsy and not all that muscular in early Camelorum artwork; yet gains extra muscle and tone by "Rampage of Utkitroll": being around the Jens and seeing what Xironooti can do convinces Emily to get in shape. She is further motivated by witnessing that even Candace keeps herself in shape, in spite Candace being a blaster with no real power outside of chloropoeia.
The concept for Emily as a character began some time shortly after Chad had a strange dream that inspired him, in which his wife Jen crashed a car into a fountain. From there; the mythos of Jenny Jane, Jenny Kay, and Emily Barnes took form. Samantha Garner's mythos was developed by Chad around the same time, as a college-age gal who ran into some complications and had to drop out of school. Her parents abandoned her, forcing her to take a job at a tropical resort to survive.
Emily was either involved in an identical incident to the Jens or was a passenger in the same incident that destroyed the fountain. She was sent to the Floyd County Jail for one year, forced to do hard labor because the fountain had a statue in it of the judge's great-grandfather. She is sometimes shown with the Jens and sometimes not. The Tale of Emily Barnes and the Two Jens took form soon afterward. Emily Barnes' name and appearance were originally a composite of the real-life musical artist Emily Barnes and Hempworx saleswoman Emily Jane Branham, whom Chad knew from the Lizzie B's Cafe. Over time, the character's appearance was modified to more closely resemble Kristen of the Kisses1991 account on DeviantArt.
When Dozerfleet picked up the story, there was some confusion as to which character Emily was. Various artists interpreted her with either blonde or brown hair, and not all of them made it very clear if she were at the Floyd County Jail or some other facility. It didn't help that there was a Floyd County in both Virginia and Ketucky. The ambiguity resulted in what may have been Emily being reinterpreted in several panels to create Gwen Indot, Carly Rancine, and Annie Tudinous. Likewise, a rare male prisoner seen with the others was frequently interpreted differently; leading to Barry Navoz, Phil Funzel, and Joe Hammerstein.
Since it was decided that the Dozerfleet takes would be a cartoonish slapstick comedy / satire, Emily's story was moved to the zany world of the Trapezoid Kids - who oddly would make very few guest appearances. This moved the setting from Floyd County in Kentucky to Floyd, Virginia - and later to the fictional Camelorum Correctional in the fictional city of Dromedary Heights in Delaware. To justify sending Emily there, her exposure to Xiboruty became a cause for her receiving additional time beyond what she got at Floyd County.
Issues arose quickly about who had the correct interpretation of her hair. Some artists made her blonde, though Chad initially envisioned her as brunette. (Oddly enough, the real-life Emily's hair color was also in a constant state of flux!) However, when the Dozerfleet panels for Camelorum Adventures first arose being made in The Sims 4, making Emily brunette made it harder to tell her apart from Carly. It was decided that Emily would be a blonde by default, but that her hair magically changed color from time to time - meaning no artist could ever truly have the wrong answer.
In spite Emily's status as one of the most popular of Chad's creations on DeviantArt, her role in Camelorum Adventures was initially frequently downplayed. Much more attention was diverted to another character: Candace Mason. Candace's character arc into Lemon Witch stemmed from a joke started on a panel created by Shases, and got carried on until it reached its logical conclusion with her becoming a full-blown superhero in "Camelry, Assemble!" It's possible that Shases' original sketch of Candace was supposed to be one of Emily.
A few months later, however, it was deemed entirely possible that Emily could get a similar treatment to Candace. Since she had no control over her color-changing hair, giving her gloves gave her some small level of control. This mirrored Candace getting gloves and learning to control her power. The choice to give Emily for "Rampage of Utkitroll" the alias of "Semaphore" came from the fact that it sounded similar to Semaphry, the alter-ego of Volkonir's girlfriend Kayla Tarington (who also had a criminal record at one point.)
The Grillitan that Emily worked at before her arrest was not Wes Sankey's from Grillitan Diner, but a much more upscale one. Chad has stated that his biggest inspiration for Emily's former workplace was the Lizzie B's Cafe and Bakery in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Emily is a composite of Lizzie B's waitress Emily Branham with a woman named Kisha - who also became the inspiration behind Kisha Lowpound. Before this, the Dozerfleet founder speculated that a Denny's might be a good way to scale up Emily's Grillitan from the Wes Sankey version; the latter of which combines a Dairy Queen Brazier with the What's the Scoop in Wyoming (which in the Dozerfleet founder's childhood, was known as the Burlingame Dairy Dip.)
In the original interpretation, Emily had a simple orange shirt with a white shirt underneath. Her pants were white with orange horizontal stripes. She would often have to go barefoot. The design of Emily's Camelorum prison uniform was simplified considerably, doing away with the stripe designs from most commissioned art to make a version that could be easily re-created in The Sims 4: Get to Work. This version also allowed her to wear shoes - albeit, cheap sneakers that resembled bowling shoes. This is based on the belief by Camelorum's warden that forcing prisoners to go barefoot is cruel; an echo shared by Lex Philippine in Sodality and the reason that in the Vindication arc, Candi and her friends are also allowed to wear shoes when they are essentially placed in an internment camp.
The Semaphore costume was designed with the idea in mind that Emily would want to learn to use her new hair powers as a flag system to communicate messages to her friends that would be hard to communicate via regular words. Therefore, she needed to look like a living, changing message flag. Emily's Semaphore outfit was later re-interpreted with little difficulty for Sims 3, to have her feature in a calendar contest at Mod The Sims.
Most depictions of Emily are 2D-toons in nature, ranging from realistic to chibi in style. The most common look for her, however, is her look in panels by Irina Anghel. Only in Dozerfleet panels is she regularly interpreted as a character in a Sims game. She was replicated in Sims 4 first, as an attempt to test the capabilities of that game engine. She was later back-translated for Sims 3 to allow her to perform acts and poses not possible in Sims 4. The most common deviation is in what her "at rest" hair color is - brunette in most of Irina's shots, and blonde in most Dozerfleet shots.
Appearances in other media
Emily has appeared in a variety of different media and art styles since she was first featured. Her Dozerfleet debut was as a Sims 4 Sim, created from the same template that was used for making Carly and Candace. For action shots, she was back-translated into The Sims 3.
A shot of her in Sims 3 was then transposed against a black background to make an extraction sprite, which was then retooled with Photoshop into a mock-sprite for Marvel: Avengers Alliance. This led to her featuring in her Rampage of Utkitroll Semaphore uniform at the MAA Fanfic Universe Wiki.
Emily has been made available for download for The Sims 4, both on DeviantArt and on Mod The Sims. As of the end of March of 2016, she's been viewed on MTS almost 1,000 times and received over 40 downloads.
- Semaphore Sims 4 sprite at DeviantArt
- Semaphore, made in Sims 3 imitating MAA style, at the MAA Fanfic Universe Wiki
- Semaphore for download for The Sims 4 at Mod The Sims.