The Management originally posted on this on October 3, 2010. I think it’s worth repeating.
You hear a lot about the people who join our ranks who, from the beginning, knew they were somehow different. The ones who wanted to kick the kitten rather than snuggle it, or who went out of their way to ruin people’s lives, or who practiced random acts of cruelty even before they really understood what cruelty was. Whose mad science encompassed anything with a pulse whether it was interested or not, who tested their skills on the weak around them, who grew mustaches just so they could twirl them…. you get the idea. So of course, there are those among us who expect that only one of such people would do a good job at our roles, or would be recruitable.
But does that mean that they really are the best, and even the only, ones for the job? No. They’re just the ones who are particularly likely to end up in it, since they already know it’s an option for them. Really, almost anyone could learn to be one of us; it just takes the right sort of impetus.
Consider those who are just… unremarkable. Normal. Harmless-looking. It wouldn’t occur to them on their own that they could be a powerful force of much of any sort. But that’s the best part, now, isn’t it? Just because they don’t know they can doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily want to be Something, Somehow. And if the good side’s busy valuing Bloodlines and Really Royalty and Special Powers and so on and so forth, they’re not preventing us from quietly sidling up to that fellow with the cabbage cart and saying, “Hey, you ever want to do something about these people who keep spilling your wares on the street every time something happens to them?” Be careful, though; sure, they may not be raised to think that All Bosses/Mentors Are There To Be Betrayed, but if you’ve just given them the power to Show Them All, what makes you think they aren’t going to try to show you next?
We all know about the ones who are currently employed in absurdly good standing by the light side. Sure, ninety percent of them end up running back to their old masters the moment someone so much as thinks “Power of Love and Friendship”. But those few we get to keep—they’re often at least as dedicated as they were when they were light-siders, they’re competent, and some of them reach points that scare even us so very easily. They believed in the light, after all, these people. Possibly to the point of fanaticism. Then we came in like literary critics on the favored fluff-novels of their teenage years. Pointed out this flaw, and that little inconsistency, and look what they’re doing over here, and maybe manufactured a situation or two in which it looked like their side were the unjustified aggressors. After all, it’s easy to be apathetic about something that never mattered to you. But when something you devoted your life to disappoints? You get hatred like that.
And then there are the ones you just wouldn’t expect it of. It’s not because they seem unremarkable and of limited power; sure, they might, but that’s beside the point. The normality isn’t what makes us skip them over. It’s just that they’re so unlikely to work on our side—they’re not devoted enough to being good to disillusion in the same way, they might be the kinds of people who seem like they’d pity broken plants or help random strangers on the street or in general just be the kinds of things we trip over every now and then on our way to work. And certainly, it wouldn’t occur to them that there might be more to them than that. But then you realize they have a flair for punishments that fit the crime. That they may not have the stomach for what we do—yet—but they know how it works well enough to write a manual (and you just have to get them past the first or second time, normalize it a little, so now they’re engaging in our sorts of tactics but still being, well, themselves). You have to stay well within the lines on whatever code you follow in front of them, sure, but on the plus side, they make excellent moles because the good side doesn’t see them coming either.
There are more personality types with potential to work well with the Dark; these are but a few.