When viewing other realities, observation techniques are generally split into "active" and "passive" methods. Active methods create a full gateway between our reality and the target, and are usually used to dangle some sort of probe through. Passive methods create the tiniest pinprick of a connection, usually inside of a sealed, shielded container. Observations are done from our side of the gateway, collecting visible light, sound waves, or whatever else is able to pass through the hole. This method is typically used when first scouting new realities, in the off chance that the gateway between worlds accidentally opens up into the vacuum of space, or a dying star, but is also used when there is significant risk to placing an active probe in the target reality. Passive observation is also significantly less power-intensive, making it preferred for non-critical monitoring.
For all of their safety, lower-powered connections will occasionally "glitch", routing into a reality close to, but not quite, the intended destination. The difference is usually extremely small, sometimes as little as changing what one person had for breakfast that morning, though some could be as wildly different as who won the last major global conflict. Officially classified as Next-Door Observation (NDO) events, their tendency to muddy knowledge of realities under scrutiny has led to some researchers jokingly referring to these as "non-canon" observations.
The reality colloquially known as the Korpsverse, due to its close proximity to our own and its strict "passive-only" observational status, has a disproportionate quantity of NDO events, and requires somewhat more rigor than others to ensure that gathered data can be considered to be reliable.
NDO data still has its uses, of course, especially in merchandising.
If one is ever in doubt that they got the wrong reality, the snow leopard identifying only as Lackey is the clearest possible sign that the viewing lab needs to be shut down and recalibrated. She appears in a number of iterations of the Korps where her pyrokinetic red panda counterpart either never was, or simply went undiscovered. Much like Minion, she was rescued from an awful life by a chance encounter with the Korps, and would throw everything away to pledge herself to the cause. In due time, her cryokinetic powers would manifest, and she'd become something far more dangerous than a cheerleading zealot.
At first blush, the differences seem almost trivial. A swap of species, an inversion of powers. A slightly worse pun. What actually sets Lackey apart was her choice of mentor: while Minion threw aside everything of her old life and self to the service of the Overlord, Lackey found herself drawn towards Civil Control, most especially towards one Balina Dakós.
Like the Counselor, Lackey knows she was brought in as little more than a lump of unformed clay. Through their careful and diligent training, she was shaped, hardened, purified into something beyond what she even knew was possible. Nobody is born perfect; perfection is a process, a lifestyle. Sacrifices must always be made, and only a coward would look away when the methods are obvious and the means are in reach. If the way forward means sloughing off a few inconvenient elements, then their removal is to be celebrated. To do any less is to weaken the whole; a crime beyond comprehension.
The Korps has shown her what the future can hold, and for Lackey the path is clear.
I don't quite remember what possessed me to get this made. I just remember sitting in a Michael's parking lot taking a picture in to be framed when I suddenly had the urge to ask Strype if they'd be willing to work on drawing the humble snow leopard shown two years ago today into someone a bit more substantial. I had, after all, once commissioned Strype to illustrate Minion as a surprise gift, and as Karen and I had been bouncing ideas back and forth involving Lackey and her ice theme being a very moofy idea to begin with, it felt right to have her drawn, too.
To put one final big flashing sign on this, nothing you see in this picture should be considered canon by any stretch whatsoever. The Korps is a sandbox, and sometimes you just want to go build something different for fun. I know that a lot of my pictures end up acting as improvised lore references, but any time you see this snep, or any of the symbols she's wearing, you should be taking anything said with half a shaker of salt. Maybe some lime, too. Throw in some orange and some agave, blend until smooth.
(I am totally keeping the concept of NDOs, though. Check it out, I can make someone's non-canon stuff canon for my characters to know about.)