“Passion is neither good nor bad. Without it, there would be nothing to drive a person to a dream.”
- Talib Al-Jarrah, Part I | 2.6: Jericho Raid
Talib Al-Jarrah was a peacekeeping agent in the General Investigations Department of Ophiuchus. He often took dual missions with Jericho and was Jericho's partner. After falling into the vitae reservoir in Ophiuchus, he becomes the Saint Candidate of Scorpio, the Saint of Passion. He is a Manipulator.
"Talib Al-Jarrah knew he was born with a golden spoon in his mouth—granted, it was quite a bitter spoon. While most children in Scorpio during the war were out learning tactics and gun-play with the threat of an enemy attack over their heads, Talib and his family were pulled away from the war-zone and found haven in a well-furnished shelter with other wealthy families of Signum."
- Talib talking about his childhood, (115) Part III | 18.⭑-2: Saint Candidate, ∞ Schadenfreude
When the Reservoir War broke out in Scorpio, Talib was hastily evacuated to a shelter due to his family. He had a friend, Omar, who was due to depart on a later train that day. However, the train never made it, and Omar perished, leading Talib to blame Omar's death on the Reservoir War. "No matter how hard he tried, [Talib] couldn’t figure out how anyone thought the war was worth the death of so many people—the death of his friend. Just for reservoirs? Really?"
He then started writing letters to Omar like they'd promised before his death, to offset the guilt Talib felt leaving Omar behind.
At the shelter, Talib met Flannery Caertas and Alice Kingsley, his childhood friends. Talib described Flannery as a "tornado of fire, whisking them away on imaginary adventures around every twist and turn." He noted that he "never quite got along with Alice," as Alice preferred to operate on reality, while Talib liked to operate on possibilities.
While an Ophiuchus Peacekeeper
Through his relationship with Flannery, Talib found the role of "the detective." While he was searching for Flannery's handbag - a present from Alice - that he had misplaced, he got Flannery to crack the first smile since her saint candidacy ceremony. Then, it went on to "become a permanent skit" that accompanied him at his job, the schtick earning rewards of smiles and laughs from Talib's co-workers and friends.
Talib joined Ophiuchus as a peacekeeper several years after the war alongside Alice. There he found mentorship under Shion Myosotis. After Shion's staged suicide, he asked for a reinvestigation of the case along with Alice. It was their push and drive that caused Gabrielle to ask them to join her. He accepted her offer and became one of Gabrielle's closest coworkers.
He found a kinship with Jericho, evaluating him as a partner through both of their mutual strangeness.
Nareen, the former Saint Candidate of Scorpio, was said to have handed him a folded lotus flower during an encounter with Talib at the cafeteria.
Pre- and Post-First Vitae Reservoir Fall
After Talib encountered the Saint Candidate of Sagittarius, Ilseong Jin, he fell into a vitae reservoir and completed his candidacy ceremony.
"More than having a full picture of everything from his bathing in the reservoirs, all he had were fragmented pieces—faded memories like photographs ripped straight out of an album, one picture for each page, each page either torn or missing. The feelings were intense—anger, despair, desire, longing—but there was no concrete knowledge to back it up."
- Talib, about bathing in the vitae reservoir
After the ceremony, he was plagued with mirages. "Women dressed in loose, concealing, silken garments [danced] out of the corner of his eye whenever he sank into his cubicle for work," and "hooded caravans and saddled camels [trudged] along the road whenever he glanced out the window on a train ride." Talib had "even seen the sixth ruler of Scorpio kneeling in front of him at one point when he was eating breakfast."
The illusions reached their apex during a mission with a fellow peacekeeper. Talib was sent to investigate a ring of conductor smugglers, and found himself in an alleyway, ambushed by one of said smugglers. Due to the mirages multiplying and causing him to fear for his life, Talib stabbed the smuggler named Nash with Talib's pen-knife conductor, and "entered his vitae." That was the first time he manipulated a person, manipulating Nash into turning himself in, in exchange for Talib taking care of Nash's family.
Talib realized he felt joy in this, as he had helped Nash and his family; and decided to manipulate only to help people.
He didn’t do it too often—mostly on cases that he was on with Gabrielle in order to boost her record. After all, he didn’t want to draw suspicion, and he didn’t want to be dragged into a promotion position just yet. Gabrielle never suspected a thing.
- Talib, about his initial bouts of manipulation
He thought that, although living manipulation was outlawed, his efforts were different as it came from an altruistic source.
On a routine checkup of Taurus' main generator conductors, Talib entered a local bartender named Fekete Evelin's vitae after noticing bruises on her neck, out of worry. He discovered that she was being abused by her husband and manipulated her into leaving, telling her that she could be free. However, the manipulation backfired - Fekete stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife, excusing with the action that she felt that was true freedom.
It was then that Talib realized the impacts of his actions, and agonized over both Nash and Fekete. After deciding that he needed help, he went once again the reservoirs, standing on the platform bridges above the Prognoikos Aurora Reservoirs; which was where he encountered Leona.
Pre- and Post-Second Vitae Reservoir Fall
"'This time, yes,' Leona said. 'In the very beginning, there was always a choice with the ceremony and potential candidates, you know? In fact, it was viewed as an honor to accept the role, and everyone did so knowing the responsibility they were taking on. If you step off now, you will just follow in the footsteps of so many before you.'"
- Leona to Talib, about his choice to accept the candidacy
After calling Leona and the rest of the Saint Candidates monsters for their skewed view on morality, Talib encountered yet another mysterious figure, who shoved him into the reservoir a second time.
Memories of revolutions, assassinations, war, peace flooded him as did the experiences of the countless people he had turned into his mediums and spores in previous iterations of himself. All of their actions—despite the different times, the different situations, the different personalities—ended up being exactly the same. Those who tried to change died. Those who embraced themselves lived gloriously until the end. The very beginning of Signum, ELPIS, and himself eclipsed his mind as did the path sauntering downwards. The ending was clear.
- Talib, about the fall
It was then that he truly became Scorpio.
He was a rather jolly, but strange Ophiuchus peacekeeper who often played the role of detective and went on spiels about a mysterious group called "the Organization," who he thought pulled all the strings behind Signum's stage. He enjoyed conspiracy theories such as bubble blowers being diabolical and radio waves controlling people's thoughts. He held a lot of respect for Wtorek Izsak and Gabrielle Law and never appeared to be phased by insults.
That’s what happens to people who care that much. Haven’t you noticed that the ones who desire the most change are the ones who are crushed under the weight of their ideals?
- Scorpio, about change
As Scorpio, he became a self-righteous person bent on making people see the inevitably of succumbing to their true desires, holding anger towards the other Saint Candidates for inaction. Scorpio shows contempt for those who believe that true change is possible, looking down while simultaneously being enamored by people who deceive themselves, such as in the case of manipulating Werner. He seems to have a fascination with finding out the base desires of humans that intrigue him, holding no consideration for the humans in question.
Scorpio finds pushing humans' limits and playing around with them fun, treating them as a game. He also does not seem to accept that his actions are his, saying on multiple occasions that they were just pulled in by their own passions, and that he has never - save for a few instances - taken full control of anyone. He pushes the acceptance of the inevitability of passion, blaming the manipulated people's actions on their base desires instead of recognizing that he was the one who pressured the people into accepting them.
- The fandom usually affectionately refers to him as simply "Scorp," "blue text bastard™"(as coined by soulstar177) and "Edge Lord" (as coined by Saddy Storm)
- If Talib were in our world, he would like any music with reeds and sounds "mystery-y," listening to both acapella and opera as well.
- If he existed in modern times, Talib would frequently watch Ancient Aliens and ID Murder Investigation.
- If he were in a modern high school setting, he would be everyone's favorite quirky teacher, fresh out of college and who always gets off-topic in his classes. There would be life lessons taught in his classes, and he would run the newspaper club, although he would get frequently bullied by his students.
- His name is of Arabic origin. "Talib" means "knowledge seeker" in reference to his pursuit of knowledge and the truth, while "Al-Jarrah" refers to "vessel" as his condition as a saint candidate.