Barby Koala was a prominent member of the Downunda Freedom Fighters. Originally an orphan who became a mercenary, she joined the group during their first attack on one of Crocbot's facilities. Since then she has operated with the team to combat Crocbot and later the forces of the Eggman Empire.
As a child, Barby was part of a group of orphans that also included Duck "Bill" Platypus and Vector the Crocodile, who were all raised by an individual they thought of as their father. Eventually, however, Vector left his "siblings" and Downunda behind, something that Barby and Bill came to resent him for. (SU: #11, #12, CSE)
Battles with Crocbot
After becoming a mercenary and serving in that capacity for an unknown length of time, Barby joined Bill, Guru Emu, Walt Wallabee and Wombat Stu to form the Downunda Freedom Fighters during their plans to destroy one of Crocbot's fortresses. Barby and her teammates fought against Crocbot and managed to defeat him, chasing him off and destroying his fortress. (StH: #103, CSE)
After this early victory, Barby and her teammates fought against Crocbot, now receiving support from Dr. Ivo Robotnik, an unknown number of times before Tails of the Knothole Freedom Fighters first arrived in Downunda. The group arrived just in time to save the battered Fox from a patrol of Crocbot's Wing Dingoes, only to lose teammate Wombat Stu to the Alpha Wing Dingo. Whilst team leader Walt Wallabee left to take Tails to see Athair in the Great Crater of Downunda, Barby led the rest of the team in a rescue mission to save Stu. They were then forced to deal with the impending threat of a blimp loaded with supplies for Crocbot, materials that would allow him to cement Robotnik's hold on Downunda once and for all. (TMS: #2)
Unfortunately, Crocbot's CD-ROM Ram pushed them back, even knocking Barby into the Great Crater, where she was caught by a recovered Tails. After briefing Tails on the situation and asking for his help, Barby joined him in returning to the battle, though not before they discussed the unsettling disappearance of Athair, whom Barby had met before. The two then flew into Crocbot's fortress, landing a surprise blow on Crocbot before freeing Wombat Stu. Crocbot managed to elude them, however, furious over the destruction of the blimp upon which rested his plans to overthrow Robotnik. He then attacked using his Mega Mecha Tank, a nuclear powered vehicle that blew through the Downunda Freedom Fighters but was luckily defeated and knocked into the Great Crater. Barby then joined the other Downunda Freedom Fighters in offering Tails a position with their team, to which he replied that he was flattered, but that he wished to return to Knothole instead. As Tails boarded his Sea Fox submarine, Barby and the others bid him a tearful farewell. (TMS: #3)
During the final conflict between the Freedom Fighters and Dr. Ivo Robotnik, Bunnie Rabbot and Antoine D'Coolette were captured and sent to Downunda, where the miraculously surviving Crocbot had established a prison in the Great Crater with an army of Combots. One of his acts had been capturing the Downunda Freedom Fighters, and a badly beaten and tortured Barby and Walt were in the same cell that Bunnie and Antoine were thrown into upon their arrival. After Crocbot gloated over his captives, Barby comforted Walt in his despair over the possible demise of their comrades. Luckily, Bunnie found a flaw in her restraints, which paid special attention specifically to her robotic limbs rather than her organic arm, allowing her to slip free. Barby then helped them remove Antoine's bomb-rigged collar, and they easily tricked a Combot into entering the cell. Not only escaping, but learning that their comrades were still alive, Barby and her friends broke Stu, Guru Emu, and Duck "Bill" Platypus out of Crocbot's other holding cells. The Downunda Freedom Fighters then engaged Crocbot and his minions, claiming that Antoine and Bunnie were dead in order to distract the robots from the escape of the other Freedom Fighters. The resulting uprising worked, allowing the Knothole duo to slip aboard the blimp Crocbot was sending to Robotnik with ore for the Ultimate Annihilator. Having told the story of their escape to their fellow Freedom Fighters, Bunnie and Antoine, uncertain of their allies' fate, received a postcard from the Downunda Freedom Fighters informing them that they were all right and had defeated Crocbot. (StH: #49, SSS: #4, #6)
Barby was soon reunited with Tails and met Sonic the Hedgehog for the first time when they worked together to rescue Wombat Stu and Guru Emu from a brainwashed Platypus army. After defeating the enemy forces, they brought Sonic and Tails up to speed on how they had begun cleanup of Downunda following Crocbot's defeat in the crater, only for Duck Bill Platypus to go renegade. He soon began leading the other Duckbills in raids on the cleanup sights, capturing components and driving off the Downunda Freedom Fighters' volunteers. Stu and Emu had been captured during a trap disguised as a negotiation, only for Sonic and Tails to arrive shortly afterwards. Barby greeted Tails with a kiss, and then accompanied him, Sonic, and Walt to free their captured teammates. As the group then set out to confront Duck Bill, Barby was forced to be the voice of reason as Walt clashed with Sonic over who was in charge. They reached Bill's hideout, only to discover him talking to himself-or so they thought until he collapsed and they discovered Crocbot's still active head and torso beneath his headquarters. Crocbot revealed that he had been controlling Bill all along, and warned them that their efforts to stop him were futile, for they would all be destroyed by the Bunyip. Sonic then deactivated Crocbot, much to Walt's anger, but Barby convinced him to back down, reminding him that as Freedom Fighters they deferred to the king. The Downunda Freedom Fighters bid their friends farewell, with Barby kissing Tails farewell. (StH: #61)
Enemies Ancient and Alien
Following Wombat Stu's departure to join the Royal Secret Service under Geoffrey St. John, the other Downunda Freedom Fighers held tryouts in hopes of finding a new member. Lamenting their failure to do so, they turned their attention to dealing with a new nemesis who had been causing problems that they had not yet identified. After learning of an attack by this enemy from one of their would-be members, who also warned them that it had been the Bunyip Crocbot had spoken of, Barby and her teammates set out to challenge the menace. Making their way to a stagnant lake fed by a mysteriously dry river, Barby and the others learned from Guru Emu the legend of the Bunyip, shortly after which Bunyip attacked and seized Barby, which enraged Walt Wallabee. Walt used a Bomberang weapon to free Barby, only to be grabbed himself. Barby attacked the Bunyip, only to be grabbed again and dragged underwater with Walt. Fortunately, Barby could speak Bunyip's primitive tongue, and thus convinced him to take the Downunda Freedom Fighters to an observation chamber underwater where they could breathe. Bunyip then told Barby the story of it's people, and how Crocbot had dammed the river it inhabited, trapping it in the stagnant lake. Left with no other avenue, the Bunyip had been striking at everything in hopes of finding Crocbot and achieving vengeance, but Barby soon convinced him that his quest was pointless, since Crocbot had already been defeated. Working together, the team then destroyed the dam, allowing Bunyip to return to his peaceful lifestyle. The group, pleased with their victory, decided against replacing Wombat Stu and kept the team as it was. (StH: #103, #104, #105)
Barby and the rest of the Downunda Freedom Fighters were eventually rejoined by Wombat Stu, and all were among the recipients of a telepathic message from the alien Xorda, who announced their plans to destroy Mobius for crimes committed by its inhabitants while it was still Earth. They were also among the several Freedom Fighter groups who gathered on Mobius' Southern Tundra in a full scale assault on the Quantum Dial weapon, a battle which ended in Sonic's apparent death. (StH: #124, #125)
The Dark Egg Legion
Barby and her teammates later came to the aid of the Chaotix and their unlikely ally Dr. Finitevus against a swarm of Wing Dingoes who had attacked Angel Island. Following the fight, Barby experienced a tense reunion with Vector, whom she was none too happy to see and who was none too happy to be back in Downunda. After Knuckles the Echidna and his teammates were briefed on their enemies in Downunda—namely, the Dark Egg Legion under former Freedom Fighter Bill Platypus—the two groups set out to free Angel Island from chains holding it above the continent. While sneaking around the Legion's campsite in the basin of the Great Crater, Barby watched the rest of her team get taken out by Finitevus's craftiness in their attempts to permanently remove him. Barby then pinned the Echidna to a wall and was about to finish him off when she was hit by laser fire from behind, rendered unconscious and captured by Finitevus and the Platyus Legion along with her teammates, as well as Knuckles, Vector, and Mighty the Armadillo. (SU: #11)
After awakening and hearing Dr. Finitevus advise Bill to dispose of them, the group were then surprised when Bill released them from their shackles and revealed that the other members of the Legion had pressured him into serving as their leader under Eggman. In order to buy time, he had given in to their views, attempting to mismanage things in order to prevent them from taking over. His old teammates proved sympathetic, though Barby was at first harsh towards him for not informing her of the plan, if no one else. The two groups then joined forces to defeat the Dark Egg Legion and free Angel Island, after which Barby remarked that Vector had performed quite impressively, enough to make "Dad" proud. The Freedom Fighters then returned to their task of protecting Downunda. (SU: #12)
Barby Koala is a fierce fighter, capable of savage action in combat. However, she is also a kind and caring individual, expressing concern for both teammates and allies from other Freedom Fighter groups. She is very intelligent and often serves as a peacemaker between the hotheaded males she works alongside. Barby seems to not hold Thrash in the highest regard based on her comment towards him of "never send a thug to do a mercenary's job". Whether this has to do with his fighting style or some part of his unrevealed past is yet to be determined. She has also expressed similar dislike for Vector due to their shared past.
Barby is a white koala with a tuft of white hair. Her eyelids and front are gray, her ears black. She is typically depicted in tall red boots and red gloves, often with spurs on the knuckles. She usually wears a tan sash over her left shoulder, often belted at the waist. Beginning in the Encyclopedia, the sash became part of an outfit that included a belted skirt of matching color. Her gray front has occasionally been mistakenly depicted as a gray bodysuit. Her later appearance was somewhat streamlined, lacking the tufts of fur at her cheeks.
Barby appeared to have a crush on the young Miles "Tails" Prower, kissing him goodbye once when he left with Sonic. It is unknown if Tails reciprocated these feelings, though when Sonic mentioned to Tails his belief that Barby was attracted to him, he said he "hoped so" and wanted to see her again. (StH: #61)
- With regards to the possibility of Barby and Tails being in a relationship, writer Ian Flynn stated: "There is no Barby/Tails. Barby's affections were entirely one-sided, not to mention extremely creepy. I'll find a way to write that one into the ground to bury and kill it later, but for now, there is no Barby/Tails. And there won't be so long as I'm on the book." (1)
Barby may have feelings for Bill, as she felt he owed her in particular an explanation for his joining the Eggman Empire. Whether or not she holds him in a romantic light or simply regards him as a sibling is unknown. Barby is also the object of Walt Wallabee's affections, though she hasn't been shown to return his feelings. (SU: #12, CSE)
Barby is perhaps the most skilled fighter amongst her teammates, having trained as a mercenary before becoming a Freedom Fighter. In addition to her training, she has natural defenses that aid in her fight: sharp claws on her fingers and retractable spikes on the back of her hands, similar to Jani-Ca. She is also a skilled linguist, shown to be capable of communicating with the ancient Bunyip.