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Bits of story from Stormwalker's characters...


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So, this thread is just a place for me to post bits of story that I've written about my characters.  Feedback is welcome.


Some of these bits are very old ("The Girl in the Picture" dates back to Issue 2 or 3, I think, whenever I first created Kitten America) and may seem a bit dated.  But they're part of the character histories nonetheless.


I have quite a few of these, but rather than posting them all at once I'll just post a bit at a time. 

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The Girl in the Picture

(featuring: Serina Willmore, a.k.a "Kitten America")



     The laminated paper card felt impossibly flimsy in her hand.  It was hard to believe, she thought, that it had survived the incident at all, much less come through it completely undamaged.  Even so, there it was, the same as it had been before... when everything around her had changed.  To look at it was almost to turn back time, to a more innocent day.


     The dark-haired girl in the picture smiled back in the face of her stare, cheerfully oblivious to the chaos which had overtaken the world around her.  There were times when Kitten almost envied that naivete, when she missed being able to look at the world without seeing the evil that lurked around every corner.  Perhaps, as some said, ignorance truly was bliss.


     No, she told herself.  Ignorance is merely ignorance... and naivete was a dangerous characteristic in Paragon City.  Still, there was a certain innocence about the girl in that picture that she wished she could have back.


     Her gaze shifted to the writing beneath the picture.  "Serina Willmore", it read, identifying that face to any who might gaze upon it.  It had been her name before.  Legally, it was still hers, and she still used it sometimes... but it felt almost alien to her now.  Distant, as though it rightly belonged to another person.


     In a way, that was because it did.  Unlike her pefectly preserved SERAPH ID badge, Serina herself had not gone through the incident unchanged.  When her experiment exploded, hundreds of glass shards had ripped through clothing and skin, and each fragment had been coated with small  amounts of altered genetic material.  SERAPH had wanted to know what Council super-solider serum would do to hero DNA; by the time they pulled her out of the rubble of the lab, she was a walking case study.


     Since then, it didn't seem right to call herself Serina anymore.  Serina was the girl in the picture; fair skin, dark hair, that irrepressible cheerful smile.  Serina didn't have a cat's ears, or claws, or fangs, or a tail, and she definitely didn't have white fur and bright red tiger stripes from head to toe.  Serina might have liked those things; she'd always loved heroes, after all, even the slightly strange ones.  It was why she'd been studying metahuman biology.  It was why she had been a lab assistant at SERAPH.


     Ultimately, it was how she'd become someone else.


     It wasn't just the body... her mind was different, too.  She thought a little more quickly, acted more on instinct, chased down hunches as though they were fleeing prey.  
     That was an apt comparison, she thought, as she did THAT, too.  There was no mistaking the predatory instinct; she loved the hunt, and relished the fight.  Hero work came naturally to her, as though she were born to it.  She ran and jumped and felt the wind ripple through her fur, and she reveled in the sheer exhiliration of it all.


     Serina hadn't been like that.  Oh, she'd been friendly, bubbly even.  She'd loved life with a passion, every bit as much as Kitten did now.  She'd never been violent, though, and never much of a thrill-seeker.  Serina was a girl that was afraid of roller-coasters, and would never have dreamed of jumping off a twenty-story building, or walking through the alleys of the Row at night.


     No, she could hardly call herself Serina at all, no matter how much people told her the name suited her.  It just wasn't her anymore.


     She walked to the window, casting open the curtains to let the sun's brilliant light spill into her darkened apartment.  That was something else she'd gained... an appreciation for certain small pleasures, be it a good stretch, a scratch behind the ears, or even just a warm sunbeam.  She always insisted to anyone else that she was more girl than cat.  To herself, privately, sometimes she wondered.


     From the window, even with it closed, she could hear the sounds of mayhem.  Back Yard Football, she'd heard they called it.  She'd asked the Rambler about that once, since he'd lived in the Row all his life, and it seemed to be a local tradition; he'd just shaken his head and smiled.  Still, it looked like they were having fun, and what was wrong with that?  If a few Skulls got mauled along the way, they probably deserved it.


     She could hear other sounds, too... downstairs, in the training room, Nanodrive was sparring with someone.  Empty Sky, probably, but it was hard to tell.  The Row's old buildings were heavily built, and Ember had chosen the strongest one they could find to convert into a base.  That she could hear anything happening two floors down at all was an artifact of her enhanced senses.  It sounded like they were enjoying themselves, too.  It was almost a surprise... when she'd first joined the group, she hadn't thought Angela was capable of fun at all.  Maybe she was learning to lighten up a little.


     She looked down at the badge again, turning it over and over in her hand.  She wasn't sure why she had pulled it out of the drawer.  Part of her wasn't sure why she had kept it at all.  Maybe it was like that ex-boxer from the Rogue Isles had told her when they'd talked in the D.  "You have to remember where you came from," he'd said.  There was truth in it.  She worried, sometimes, about what she was becoming.  Her feral side was enticing, and when it came fully to the surface, the results could be frightening.  It had saved her life just the other day, and psosibly some of her teammates' lives as well... but the level of violence she'd found herself capable of was more than a little bit scary.


     Somehow, she didn't think Serina would have approved.


     Walking over to her dresser, she stuck the badge up in the corner of the mirror.  There, she'd have to face herself every day.  Her old self, and her new self, too.  Maybe she could find a balance there.  She couldn't go back to being Serina again... and she didn't really want to.  But she owed it to the girl in the picture to be someone that girl could be proud of.  To be the hero she had always wanted to be.


     She smiled.  It was a cause she could live for.  And to that end, there was work to be done.  She looked across the room at the window again, and that smile grew into a fanged grin.  It was a beautiful day... and the city was calling.

[Author's note: "Back Yard Football" is a reference to the writings of another player/author on the original CoH forums whose stories were largely centered in Kings Row; I included it as a nod to their worldbuilding efforts.  Sadly, I don't remember their name now to credit them properly for it.]

Kitten Reference.png

Edited by Stormwalker
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The Girl in the Picture - Addendum: Hero of the City

(featuring Serina Willmore, a.k.a. Kitten America)


     She stared down at the medal in her hand with a certain sense of disbelief.  It seemed it had been only yesterday that she'd been just another SERAPH lab assistant, watching the heroes come and go with a certain sense of awe and no small amount of envy.  Everything that had happened since seemed almost unreal, like a waking dream.


     She reflected on the adventures that had passed since that fateful day when she had been so changed.  She'd hardly known what she was doing at all when she started.  Her first costume, with the open vest, had been a mistake; sure, it had *felt* nice over her fur, but she'd quickly learned better than to wear clothing that wouldn't stay in place during a backflip.  The claws had at least been a better purchase.  She didn't use those so much anymore, not since she'd gotten the Vanguard energy blades, but they'd served her well in many battles.


     She remembered the first time those claws had cut flesh, the first time she'd drawn blood in battle.  She remembered the mixed sense of revulsion and elation as her predatory instincts kicked in.  She remembered her first encounter with a gun, and the terrible rush of fear and excitement as she found herself having to dodge bullets--and found herself able to do so.  So many things had been so frightening then, and seemed so minor now.  A Hellion punk with a handgun, a Vahzilok zombie, the crowd of Skulls on a street corner just within sight of her bedroom window... all these things had been grave threats once, and only the feral surge that came with using her powers had kept her from fleeing in terror from those early battles.


     Now, she knew she was made of stronger stuff.  She'd fought Council stormtroopers, and sinister corporate agents.  She'd earned countless honors in battle against the Rikti invaders, and she'd put down the vile schemes of the mighty Nemesis.  She'd faced off against the shadowy Malta group, and done battle with evil mystics deep beneath the Earth.  She'd even fought Lord Recluse himself, and somehow won the day.  And while she might not have ended any of those threats, she'd held them in check, and kept the city safe time and again.


     She remembered looking at heroes, admiring them, wondering what it must be like to live as they did, free to soar the skies or leap from building to building.  She remembered trying to comprehend the courage it took to face down the great evils that plagued Paragon City.  She smiled, remembering her innocence, her naivete about what it really meant to be a hero.


     She'd had some things right, even then.  It took courage, and determination.   More than that, it took faith... faith in the ideas of justice and freedom.  It took sacrifice to protect those ideas from those who would trample them underfoot.  It took love... love of life, and love for the city she stood and guarded.


     And it took a city, a City of Heroes, that stood behind its defenders and refused to cower before evil's fury.


     She was proud to serve that city, and proud of the honor it had bestowed on her.
     Even more than that, though, she finally felt confident that the old Serina, the smiling girl in the picture on that old SERAPH ID badge, would have approved of her deeds.


     She placed the medal in its small display, setting it beneath that old ID badge.  It just seemed like the right place for it.  For once, she thought, the words said it all.


     Serina "Kitten America" Willmore
     Hero of the City
     6 December 2008 [This is the date I originally wrote this piece, the date the original Kitten hit SL50]

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So, this next piece is the beginning of a much longer, yet untitled and still unfinished (honestly, I've barely gotten started on it) story involving many of my characters and some of a friend's characters, too, and revolving largely around my energy/energy/force blaster, Skylancer.  Some of my personal headcanon plays pretty largely in this story, one of those bits being that Skylancer is a good deal more powerful than the game actually shows, which I attribute to her holding back a lot (as many of the more powerful comic book heroes do).  This is just a matter of my concept of this particular character being a bit more of a "marquee hero" than CoH really allows us to have.  You'll also find very few references to the Well of the Furies in my work ,because, well... I don't really like it very much, personally.  I tend to conceive my "Incarnate" powers as just being further mastery of the powers the characters already have and/or (especially in the case of Lore pets) equipment they've had made for them by my supergroup's resident tech geniuses.


So, if your view on RP stories (which I tend to kind of think of as more "City of Heroes fanfic" anyway, since I don't really RP much anymore) doesn't allow for taking some liberties with the source material, then you may not like this story, and that's OK, but when giving feedback please understand that the story is what it is and don't harp on that particular aspect of it.  All other feedback, positive or negative (as long as it's constructive) is still entirely welcome.


As I've said before, I'm going to be releasing this slowly over time, partly in the hopes that I can get my writing jump-started (it's been stalled quite a while) by the time the posts get caught up to where I am in the story.

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Katherine Madison, R.N., stood in the doorway, watching the colorfully arrayed youth as she moved through the ward, stopping to spend a little time with each of the patients there.  Most would have considered it a heartwarming sight, she thought.  It was just the sort of thing that was the stuff of TV appearances and charity commercials.  Over the years she'd worked in hospitals, though, it was an event she'd seen repeated dozens of times.  Some movie star, singer, pro athlete--today it was one of Paragon's "heroes"--would come through and make an appearance, looking for a bit of a boost to their public image.

They were so practiced at this sort of thing, she thought, always seeming all concern and good will.  Then, once their little visit was done, they disappeared as quickly as they came, seldom giving anything to the hospital and never appearing again.

She turned her critical eye on the "hero" in question.  "Skylancer", the registry had called her.  She was short for a cape, barely five-foot-two, and very slight of figure.  Probably ninety-five pounds tops.  She needed to eat more, Katherine thought; as she stood, a strong glare from a street punk might break her.

Even so, she didn't seem afraid of advertising her presence.  No, she was quite the flashy one... all dressed in red white and blue, and all of it skintight, with a winged motif on her top and her tights showing a streaked pattern that spoke of energy and blazing speed.  Even her white split cape, adorned with a blue starburst, spoke of someone who accustomed to soaring over the common rabble.  She wore no mask, merely a thin metal headband that kept her flowing blonde hair out of her bright blue eyes.  It seemed she wanted people to recognize her.

She wondered how someone who clearly saw the skies as her playground could relate to these children, most of whom were bedridden or otherwise disabled.  Still, they responded to her with smiles... smiles she so rarely saw, and Katherine's heart softened a bit at that.  Most of these children had precious little joy in their lives, and if one Paragon's high-flying heroes could give them a little of that, it counted for something.

"Skylancer" stopped at one of the beds, clasping the hand of the boy there, just close enough that Katherine could overhear what she said to him.  "Don't give up, okay?" she told him, still with that smile.  It was easy for her to say, Katherine thought, scowling again.  As with so many of the other children in this ward, the boy's condition was degenerative.  The doctors didn't want to say it, but she knew from the looks the doctors shared with each other when they left his bedside that it was likely to be terminal.

"I know it's hard being stuck in that bed," the young woman continued, still holding the child's hand between hers.  "I *know*.  You've got to believe, though.  I'm from Paragon City; I see miracles happen every day."  She winked, and the boy smiled at her.  "Trust me on this."

Platitudes from destiny's chosen, Katherine thought darkly.

"She's amazing, isn't she?" a voice spoke from beside her, and she turned to see Dr. Jemison, one of the senior doctors on the staff, standing next to her, holding a thick medical folder in his hand.  "Look at the way they light up when she talks to them."

"Oh, yes, it's great," she mumbled, the words not coming out as sarcastically as she felt them.  She might not care much for the cape, but she was determined not to let her mood dampen the children's happiness in this moment, short-lived though it might be.

"It's always nice to see someone take the time to visit these kids," Dr. Jemison added, smiling.  Then, he spoke up.  "Miss Alexander, we're ready for you now."

                The hero looked up from her conversation with the boy.  "Just give me a moment longer, okay?" she asked, and the doctor nodded.

Katherine blinked.  The hero was young, no doubt, but not quite so young as to be a patient at this facility.  She stole a glance at the folder in the doctor's hands, one that was overstuffed with papers.  It was the sort of file one only found with the most unusual case studies, those where the doctors had tried everything in the desperate search for answers.  On the tab of the folder was the label "C. Alexander".

Did the girl have a relative in this hospital?  Was that what brought her here?  It would explain some things... but Dr. Jemison had spoken as though she was the patient.  She frowned, confused, and then the doctor spoke to her again.

"Miss Alexander is here to give some cell samples and let us take some readings for research, you see," he explained.  "She always insists on visiting with the kids first, though."

Katherine could not quite suppress the look of surprise.  "...but why?  That's not really the sort of work we do here, is it?"  She looked at the folder in his hands again.

"Ah, I should remember, that was before you joined us.  Miss Alexander was one of our first patients here, and her condition was at least as bad as any of our current patients.  Probably worse.  I wish we could say that we cured her, but she was beyond hope; her disease was incurable, degenerative, and would have been terminal.  It took a breakthrough -- someone else's breakthrough -- to save her life; the powers she has now are... a side effect of her treatment."

Suddenly, Katherine understood.  That was *her* file the doctor was holding.  The file of a dying girl who'd somehow *found* one of those miracles she spoke of.  But what sort of treatment gave a sickly girl superpowers?  She shuddered at the thought.

"Lots of people wouldn't give it a second thought," Dr. Jemison added.  "Especially considering that we didn't, and couldn't, save her.  But not little Celeste.  She's determined to try to give something back.  It’s her hope and ours that we can find something in her altered cellular structures that might lead to treatments for other children with similar diseases."  He shook his head.  "It’s a faint hope, but she’s determined to help in any way she can.  She's always been a special one, though, even when she was still our patient.  We should all be proud."

If Katherine were honest with herself, it wasn't pride she was feeling in that moment... but rather shame.  She'd been quick to judge, to assume the worst.  Looking at Skylancer again, she could see the signs.  Her slight, fragile-looking frame was likely the result of growth stunted by her illness.  Her ability to connect with these children, and the infectious joy she spread throughout the ward as she passed, reflected the genuine concern she held for their lives and her personal understanding of their struggles.  Those signs had been there all along, Katherine knew, but she had allowed herself to become too jaded by her past experiences to look for them.

Skylancer stood up from the child's bedside then and walked over to where they were standing.  "All right, I'm ready."  Then, she turned to Katherine and smiled.  "Thank you for taking care of them.  I might wear the costume, but you're the heroes here."

The words stung, coming as they did from the one whom she had misjudged, and yet Katherine felt something else welling up in her heart as well.  Yes, she told herself.  She did take care of them.  And she'd continue to do so.  "I should be thanking you," she finally responded.  "These kids need hope more than anything else."

Skylancer shook her head, still smiling.  "No... if I give them hope, that's good... but you give them something better still.  Faith, hope, and love, after all... and the greatest of these is love."

Katherine turned away, trying to hide the tears in her eyes.  "I... thank you."

"You're welcome." Skylancer--Celeste—responded.  "I remember my time here.  I remember those who took care of me.  Even when they knew I was a lost cause, they still cared for me, and did everything they could do for me.  I won't forget that, ever.  You do the same for these kids, I know.  I can tell."  She stood a little straighter and turned back to Dr. Jemison.  "All right, lead the way."

The doctor nodded, and the two of them walked off down the hall, talking.  Katherine watched them for a long moment, feeling compelled to look on the girl for a little time with more favorable eyes.  Then, she turned back to the ward, and the children there.  Yes, she would give them love... all the love she had to give, and maybe she could find a little hope as well.

Skylancer Reference.png

Edited by Stormwalker
added character reference screenshot
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I wanted to post the previous scene before adding this because of Skylancer's origin reveal in the scene...


Dramatis Personae (which is a fancy way of saying "Characters likely to appear in these story bits").


Skylancer (Science-Origin Blaster: Energy Blast/Energy Manipulation/Force Mastery/Flight)

  • Real Name: Celeste Alexander (no secret identity, she was in the news as Celeste before she became a heroine, so there was no real point)
  • Age: 20 (appears perpetually 17 as she has stopped aging)
  • Height: 5'2"
  • Weight: ~100 lb.
  • Birthplace; Paragon City, RI
  • Occupation: Heroine/College Student (Major: Heroic Studies)
  • Known Powers:
    • Absorbs energy directly from her environment to fuel her cellular metabolism; maintains a constant high-energy field in her body.
      • Energy absorption cannot be turned off or suppressed
      • Acts more as a capacitor than a battery, if she doesn't vent energy regularly, she will exceed her storage capacity and "leak" energy as a soft white glow.
      • Can focus and project energy as visible light (white in color) and kinetic force
        • Energy blasts, forcefields, kinetically-enhanced strikes, and thrust generation for flight
        • Channels blasts through her body down her nerve cords.  At high levels of power, this causes nerve damage, but the damage quickly regenerates (see "slow regeneration" below).
      • Completely incapable of stealth, her energy field can be detected 10 miles away at idle, and much farther if she is actively using her powers.
        • In theory it is possible for someone with a strong enough stealth ability to mask her energy field, but she has yet to meet anyone who can.
    • High-energy field is hostile to microorganisms and renders her immune to most diseases. 
      • This also presents reproductive challenges, not that she is in any hurry to address these yet.
    • Slow regeneration. 
      • Can heal any non-fatal wound given time, and it's not clear exactly how much of a wound it would take to be fatal to her.
      • Soft tissue damage heals in minutes to hours, depending on severity.  Bone damage takes hours to days.
      • Nervous tissue regenerates particularly quickly.
      • No longer ages due to regeneration, may be functionally immortal, but it's too soon to tell.
    • Hypersonic flight
      • Buoyancy in air attained by modulating her energy field
      • Thrust generated by kinetic pulse
      • Drag/heat/friction management by shaping her forcefield like a bullet
      • Capable of accelerations in excess of 100g briefly, but at these accelerations she loses all ability to change direction and becomes briefly incorporeal, so it is not useful in combat except as an escape mechanism.
      • Capable of spaceflight
        • Still needs oxygen (less than a normal human because of her greatly modified metabolism.
        • She can carry enough air with her in a bubble forcefield to sustain spaceflight for a couple of hours.  Anything longer than that requires supplemental oxygen.
          • She does not have her own equipment for this, but Vanguard can provide it if needed.
    • Enhanced reflexes
    • Normally has below-average strength for a woman her age, but can briefly overdrive herself in cases of extreme need to attain mildly superhuman strength. 
      • Doing so will almost certainly result in torn muscles and possibly tendons and ligaments as well, but with her regeneration she can recover from these injuries in a matter of hours.
  • Other notes:
    • Cannot be cloned directly
      • More correctly, can be cloned, but the clone will not have her energy field and would quickly "starve" without additional intervention.
        • The clone would have the powers she received by way of genetic modification (regeneration, enhanced reflexes, neural reinforcement) but without the energy field to fuel them, the energy demands of her body would be too much for her crippled metabolism to meet.
      • Copying her powers would require duplicating the energy infusion process that was used on her in the first place.
        • This part of her origin is a carefully guarded secret.  Keeping this secret is helped by the fact that the lab where she was infused was destroyed during the process.
    • Skylancer believes, as does the general public, that her gaining superpowers via the treatments that saved her life was an accident. 
      • She was told that she had a much higher affinity for the energy she was infused with than was expected, and instead of a weak energy field that would sustain her life, she got a powerful one that gave her superpowers.
      • FBSA has reason to believe this is NOT actually true, and that the researchers who performed these treatments fully intended to grant her superhuman powers.
        • Much of the likely evidence was destroyed when the equipment overloaded during Celeste's infusion, destroying the lab, so this cannot be proven one way or the other. 
        • None of the researchers involved (all of whom survived the lab's destruction, though some were injured) has admitted to any such intent.
        • Some of Skylancer's genetic mods strongly suggest the team was aware that she would gain superpowers, whether that was their primary goal or not:
          • Reinforced nervous system enables channeling of high-power blasts
          • Regeneration allows her to repair the damage her own powers do to her when she goes all-out.
          • Enhanced reflexes would be entirely unneeded for a "normal" girl.
          • She appears to have been intentionally wired for sensation-seeking behavior and adrenaline addiction.
        • They have not told Skylancer this since they can't prove it, and no information they have suggests that she was ever aware of the researchers' intentions.
        • FBSA expects the intention was to empower her and then offer her "guidance" in a future career as a hero, for reasons which may or may not have been entirely altrustic.
          • The destruction of the lab set back the project substantially (and called a great deal of scrutiny to it) which appears to have scrubbed any such plans entirely and Skylancer has pursued her hero career independently.

Kitten America (Science-Origin Scrapper - Claws/Super Reflexes/Body Mastery/Super Jump)

  • Real Name: Serina Willmore (no secret identity, she's far too distinctive)
  • Age: 22
  • Height: 5'6"
  • Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Birthplace: Paragon City, RI
  • Occupation: Full-time Heroine
  • Known Powers:
    • Transformed into a catgirl
      • Vastly accelerated reflexes
      • Superhuman strength, dexterity, and agility
      • Nearly perfect balance and body control
      • Combat and hunting instincts
      • Greatly enhanced senses of hearing and smell, and somewhat enhanced vision.
      • Retractable claws (she does not use her own claws in combat, however, she uses equipped claws)
      • Fast healing, but not true regeneration
      • Powerful, wiry musculature means she runs well but leaps and pounces even more dramatically.
        • Can leap small buildings in a single bound.
  • Other notes:
    • Gained superpowers via a lab accident
      • SERAPH is still not entirely certain this was an accident and not sabotage by a Council agent
        • Serina was known to be a very careful worker
        • It seems odd for an experiment like hers to explode to begin with..
      • Experiment involved studying the effects of Council super-soldier serum on hero cell samples
        • Intent was to learn how to treat heroes who might have ill effects from being exposed to the serum during anti-Council operations.
      • Explosion in the lab caused Serina's body to be riddled with glass shards coated in altered genetic material.
    • Personality changes
      • Serina:
        • was a shy, cautious girl, not quite a wallflower but definitely introverted. 
        • was cheerful and friendly but a little quiet.
        • had no violent tendencies and was the sort to flee if threatened.
        • was patient and methodical in her work.
      • Kitten:
        • is rambunctious, mischievous, energetic, and outgoing.
        • exhibits numerous obviously feline traits, including a degree of capriciousness (though not in times of great need, where Kitten becomes very reliable).
        • relishes both the chase and the fight, and can become somewhat feral when pressed.
        • is impulsive and thinks quickly on her feet, can seem reckless to those who don't share her insights (and tends to not explain herself), but there is much more of Serina's methodical thinking behind her actions than most would realize.
      • While the outward changes are dramatic, there is much more of Serina's careful, thoughtful mind remaining underneath than even Kitten herself realizes.  Most of the changes to her personality are changes of demeanor rather than nature.


Nanodrive (Technology Scrapper - Street Justice/Willpower/Body/Super Speed)

  • Real Name; Angela Black (definite secret identity here, for reasons)
  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5'8"
  • Weight: 145 lbs.
  • Birthplace: Tyler, TX
  • Occupation: Hero / Martial Arts Instructor
  • Known Powers:
    • Prototype combat nanoregenerators in her bloodstream provide the following:
      • Rapid Regeneration
        • Can heal any non-instantly-fatal wound in seconds to minutes
      • Super Speed
        • Can run over 200mph and make combat maneuvers at those speeds
        • All the rest of her movements can be similarly accelerated
        • Acceleration is available in steps, so she can be as fast as she needs to be up to her limit.
      • Enhanced Reflexes
        • Always somewhat enhanced, and steps up to match her speed as she boosts it upwards
      • Tactical Analysis
        • Essentially has an onboard tactical computer which helps maintain her situational awareness and advise her on optimal tactics
        • This mostly works for herself individually rather than on a team level, but it does provide some squad-level analysis.
    • Multi-disciplinary Martial Arts Training
      • Not a master of any one art, but has incorporated multiple modern martial arts into her style
      • Style is focused more on practical combat and quickly disabling opponents than any particular philosophy.
      • Not at all afraid to fight dirty
  • Other Notes:
    • Was the head of security at Emerging Dynamics, a small company which was attempting to compete in nanotechnology and cellular regeneration with Crey.
      • Company scored a major defense contract
      • Crey tried to buy the company, and when they refused, resorted to forceful tactics
      • Crey raided the ED labs to try to steal the nanoregenerator prototypes.
        • Angela was critically injured during the fighting.
        • To save her life, the lead researcher injected Angela with the prototype nanoregenerators.
        • Nanoregenerators instantly healed her wounds and she drove off the attackers
      • With the prototypes lost (nobody but the head researcher and Angela know what happened to them) and the labs wrecked, ED's board of directors sold out to Crey.
      • Crey is still trying to figure out where the prototypes went.  If they find out Angela has them, they will certainly want to capture her and "study" her to not only obtain the prototypes but analyze a live human test subject.
        • THIS is why Angela has a secret identity.  If they figured out that Nanodrive was Angela Black, they'd know immediately where those regenerators went!
          • "Yeah, naming myself 'Nanodrive' was probably not very smart in retrospect, but it was all I could think of, and it's not like those are the ONLY nanomachines running around in Paragon City."


Ember Soulfire (Mutation Blaster - Fire Blast/Fire Manipulation/Fire Mastery/Flight)

  • Real Name: Ember Soulfire (her original legal identity is not known, so FBSA arranged for a new one and this is the name she picked)
  • Age: Unknown, estimated 24 years
  • Height: 5'8"
  • Weight: 130 lbs.
  • Birthplace: Unknown
  • Occupation: Full-Time Hero, Super Group Leader (Trouble Incorporated)
  • Known Powers:
    • Fire.  Everything fire.  For all intents and purposes, Ember's connection to the element of Fire is so deep and strong that she is Fire.  Hence the name.
      • Yes, this does mean she feels a degree of compulsion to burn and consume everything around her.
        • She has in fact done this before, and destroyed her own life to the point that even she doesn't know who she was before it happened.
        • She has learned, through years of training with numerous professional psychiatrists and psionicists who specialize in helping mutants manage out-of-control powers, to keep a lid on it.
          • "That doesn't mean I don't still feel it.  It just means I can say no."
      • There was considerable argument at FBSA whether she should be considered a Mutant with a flame power, or a Fire Elemental made flesh.  She chose to go to GIFT because some of the MAGI people creeped her out with the way they talked about her.
      • She can create hot enough flames that the primary effective limit on her power is her desire to avoid collateral damage.
        • "I burned my life beyond recognition once.  I don't want to do it again."
    • Flight by managing convection currents in the air.
      • Don't get too close to her while she's flying unless you want to get singed.
      • Tops out at about 100 mph.
    • Effectively immortal.  You can defeat her by exhausting her to the point of collapse, but you can't actually KILL her.
      • Total oxygen and heat deprivation might kill her, but that's hard to accomplish when she can casually melt most any vacuum apparatus one could construct.  Ejecting her into deep space would probably work, but she's not going to space if she has any choice in the matter.
        • "Putting me on a spacehship/space station is probably a bad idea anyway."
  • Other Notes:
    • After her rehabilitation, formed Trouble Incorporated to give other would-be heroes with troubled pasts a place to go and a support structure. 
      • This also serves to help remind her where she has been and why she doesn't want to go back to that place.
      • SG gets extra scrutiny from the city and the FBSA because of Ember's past and those of some of the team members.
        • This frustrates her, but she accepts it as the price of her own past and of trying to help others.
      • Not everyone in TI meets these criteria; some of them are people who she became friends with as a hero, or who she thinks will make a good example to the ones she is trying to help.
      • "Troubled pasts" doesn't just mean "used to be a criminal".  Examples:
        • She took Nanodrive in because she's a fugitive from Crey.
        • She took Kitten in while Kitten was trying to sort out her new identity.  Kitten stayed after she GOT sorted out because of friendship and gratitude.
        • She took Kyriea in because Kyriea looks to everyone like an enormous and terrifying demon, when Ky is actually a mutant girl whose power absorbed a bunch of demonic energy and made her look like that.
      • On the other hand, sometimes it does mean that:
        • Shadow Ruby is a reformed archvillainess, who is actually kind of a kindred soul to Ember because her magical artifact tries to compel her to do evil and Ruby has subjugated it only by force of will and is forcing IT to do good as penance.
    • Ember is not naturally a patient person.  She has quite a temper.  Being a leader is forcing her to manage it better, which is a good thing for her even if it's a great struggle sometimes.

(many more to come, will add screenshots for Nanodrive and Ember later)

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  • 3 weeks later

I had been holding off on releasing the next scene until I got more written, trying to maintain some kind of buffer, but I've been way too busy to write and don't want to let this languish, so... here's a little more.


                Celeste stifled a yawn and propped her chin on her hand as she listened to the professor's monotone.  This was a sucker class, she thought.  Indeed, it was a trap worthy of Nemesis himself.  Anyone would think that a class on "Heroic Literature" would be interesting and exciting, wouldn't they?  Here she sat, though, trying desperately to stay awake as Professor McDougal droned on through his lectures. Truly, "Prof McDull" had earned his nickname, and she wished she'd heard about it BEFORE she signed up for his class.

The fact that she'd been up almost 'til dawn breaking up a gang war between the Freakshow and the Warriors didn't help.  That the Warriors were better at reciting ancient heroic stories than her professor, though, made it almost painful.  She found herself wondering if she could have gotten a better lesson by visiting some of the previous night's arrests in the Zig than by sitting in this class.  She was sure at least two or three of them could tell her everything she needed to know about Jason, and they'd probably have been much more engaged by the topic.

She pushed down such uncharitable thoughts and tried to focus on what the professor was in fact trying to teach her.  It wasn't *his* fault she hadn't gotten any sleep, after all.  Besides, she was pretty sure a couple of her classmates had been at the same throwdown the night before, and they might be asking her for her notes later.  Even more importantly, it would look really bad if she fell asleep in class.

Even so, it seemed as though it might be a losing battle.  Her eyelids got heavier and heavier, and the thought of putting her head down on the desk for a minute grew more tempting with each word the professor spoke.  She'd read the story before, after all... she knew what it was about, didn't she?

Her rationalization was abruptly cut off by a shrill whistle from her pocket.  She sat bolt upright, startled by the sound, and it was only when she saw everyone-- including the professor--staring at her that she realized it was coming from her cell phone.

She winced at that.  She was certain she'd set it for silent mode, and that meant the call couldn't be anything good.  Like many of the ruggedized models built specifically for heroes, her phone had an override for emergency calls.

Fishing the phone out of her pocket, she checked the number.  It wasn't one she recognized offhand, which was in some ways good.  It wasn't her parents, and it wasn't one of her teammates from from TI... that eliminated most of the worst possibilities.  On the other hand, it also wasn't one of her regular contacts, which worried her.  She flipped the phone open, still acutely aware of the eyes of the entire class on her as she did so.  "Hello?"

"Miss Alexander?"  The voice on the other end of the line was shaky, as though he was nervous.  He might be in trouble, she thought... but there was no way some random citizen could get her phone number.  "I'm... I'm afraid I have some bad news."

She really didn't like the sound of that.  Images of potential disasters swirled through her mind.  *Was* it her parents, or one of her friends, in some kind of trouble?  It had to be something personal; who else would have her phone number?  She shook herself, throwing off the panic before it could take hold.  "Ah... I'm in class.  Give me a minute."  she looked up then, holding her hand over the phone's pickup.  "I'm sorry,"  she said to the room in general.  "I've got an emergency, I've got to go."

The professor nodded understandingly to her, and she felt a little relief over that.  He must have been able to see how disturbed she was by the call.  As she stood up and slipped her way past other students to the end of the row, she heard a couple of whispered encouragements.  "Good luck," one said.  "Be careful out there," was another.  She'd long suspected there were other heroes in her class, given the subject matter... from the tone of those quiet words, she became certain of it.

Once she had made her way out the back doors of the lecture hall, she took her hand off the phone.  "All right, what's going on?"

"Ah, yes..." the voice hesitated again.  "This is Dr. Harold, from Rhode Island Childrens' Hospital."

She froze in mid-step.  That was the hospital she'd visited so many times as a child... the one in which she'd lived at times, and the one in which she'd believed for so long that she would die, before the miracle that had given her life back.  It was the same hospital she'd been visiting of late, donating cell samples in hopes that her transformation might yield data that could help other terribly ill children as well.

Why would they be calling her?  What could it be, that would merit such urgency? Had they found something wrong with her again?

The voice continued.  "Miss Alexander, about the cell samples you donated..."

"Yes, what is it?" she pressed, his hesitation only driving her worries.

"Well, Miss... I'm afraid... they've been stolen."

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