1. To all outward appearances, Switzerland is a short young man in his early twenties, with chin-length blond hair and green eyes. His standard uniform consists of a modern Swiss Army uniform or fatigues with specialist officer's insignia, often with a light-coloured beret. In civilian dress, he will usually be wearing a suit and tie, or at the very least a blazer and collared shirt.
2. He is always armed. Always. If he's been supervising reservist training or doing something else military-related, he will have a service pistol and often his service rifle openly visible. (The rifle will not be loaded, but the pistol is.) If he's in civilian clothes, he will still have his service pistol in a shoulder holster or otherwise concealed on his person. In addition to these standard-issue firearms, he always has at least one more weapon (not necessarily a firearm) on his person, concealed and secure. You will not see it unless he intends to use it.
3. Unless otherwise specified, he comes from the present day. Alternate versions are World War II-era Switzerland (twice as paranoid, twice as angry) and the 15th-century Swiss Confederacy (a mercenary with an inferiority complex).
4. If you are from an Earth-based world, he will have a vague sense of which nation you might belong to, whether by birth or adoption. If your character is particularly patriotic or otherwise devoted to the service of his/her land and people -- a politician, for example, or a spy -- this sense will be stronger. The more your Earth-world deviates from his own (e.g., the presence of magic, differences in national borders, various post-apocalyptic scenarios), the more difficult it will be for him to 'place' you. If you are Swiss, though, he will consider you one of his people accordingly, and if your life is ever threatened he will defend you to the last bullet.
5. The 'neighbours' he frequently complains about are France, Germany (and his older brother Prussia), Italy, and Austria. All of them have invaded or attempted to invade Switzerland in his lifetime, and he trusts them only about as far as he can throw them. The only neighbour -- indeed, the only other nation -- whom he truly cares about is his adopted younger sister Liechtenstein (rheintochter). He took her in when she was near death (i.e., being dissolved as a nation) in the 1920s, and she lived with him through the end of World War II. She has her own house now, but she stays over at his place more often than not.
He also considers Germany, Prussia, and Austria to be his and Liechtenstein's cousins -- as descendants of ancient Germania, they share as close a familial relationship as most nations have without being directly related to each other. Liechtenstein, in this sense, is also technically a cousin and not his true sibling. Hungary, as Austria's ex-wife (in a manner of speaking), is more of an in-law than a relation, but he thinks of her as part of his extended family circle.
Additional historical and contemporary background on Switzerland's general character can also be found in the following fics of mine:
- Marignano - The 16th-century Swiss Confederacy loses a massive battle to France, and begins to consider the advantages of neutrality.
- Sans Frontières - Switzerland was neutral during the Great War, but the International Committee of the Red Cross had no such restrictions on his actions.
- Pas d'argent, pas de Suisse - Present-day Switzerland contemplates his interest in finance.
- The (Wrong) Color of Money - Nations can detect counterfeit money by touching it, but as Switzerland notes, it can only work on their own currency.
E-mail: gramarye1971 [at] gmail.com
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