Anastasia “Stein” Kalfox | Little Dragon | F | 20 | Seattle
Having been conditioned to be a soldier since she was ten years old and serving on the battlefield since she was eleven, the woman known as Stein exhibits a cold but determined presence. Youthful in appearance, most people make presumptions upon Stein’s abilities especially considering she is not exceptionally tall nor overtly muscular due to her deceptively unassuming physique.
Though what Stein makes up for in appearance she quantifies in atmospheric expressions that could be described as “fire and ice” due to the combination of scowls, grimaces, narrowed brows and cold emotionless eyes. In form of her conventional appearance Stein holds bright blonde hair with pale blue irises; her hair done up in generally a disheveled manner depending on its current length. She has had short hair that runs slightly past her ears, but for some reason when her hair gets long she tends to keep it there in terms of preference; a long hair she draws into rough disheveled ponytails, or pigtails. Whether she considers it a tactic to keep up the façade that she’s a meek little girl or enjoys the look of things is unknown to anyone but Stein.
Anxious Direct Logical Perceptive Pragmatic Repressive Stoic
Effects of Polaris Shift
Stein was enlisted in the Elysium Dream military after she was discovered to be neuro-compatible with the technology of neural combatants at twelve years old. Within a year of her enlistment, she was assigned to a regiment designed to protect the greater Seattle area. Before she was fifteen years old she had her first battlefield encounter and her first “perfect synchronization”. In the seven-or-so years of active duty, Stein has found her mind slowly become influenced by the effects of neural discordance. Among these effects include heightened anxiety distress in social crowds to the point of acute agoraphobia and enochlophobia, vivid mental acuity in relation to her non-machine oriented post-traumatic stress disorder, and virulent mood swings.
Whereas some pilots are only affected by synchronization effects linearly and singularly, Stein has found that the shift attached neurologically in more of a widened spread. A blessing and a curse. Stein has found in addition to medical stimulants to suppress such things, retreating to her NC’s cockpit seems to work as a good “mental reset”. Though, the truth of the matter is it is just a lackadaisical safe space that simply shelves the problem for another day. There is, after all, no cure for issues created from a polaris shift.
Tactical Preferences and Skills
The Little Dragon is a medium sized mecha that was designed by The Volkov Corporation some years ago. Painted in a metallic sheen of crimson with black undertones, the Little Dragon flies the colors of its former corporation though the branding of the company logo has since been removed as well as the paint faded due to its constant battles it has been forced to endure in harsh environments. But despite this wear and tear the Little Dragon is not weak nor is it worse off for it. It has survived at least two lifetimes of pilots before Stein and will continue to do so when it moves hands in the future.
Despite only being fourteen years old, Ryn has had a career over a dozen instances of “perfect synchronization”. As a result her brain signals are extreme damaged through the effects of neural discordance. The most significant of this damage includes a neural functionality issue for recognizing physical pressure and pain. The fourteen-year-old denotes this as an inconsistent “numbness”. Significant consequences and theoretical worsening of the condition are difficult to predict, though it is likely by the age of eighteen she’ll have a complete inability to feel any sort of pain in her body. It is a concern she is aware of and is completely terrified about. However, she’d never tell you that.
Additional effects have yet to appear beyond this neural functionality, but she’s rather young. It is not uncommon for pilots to end up having multiple issues by the end of their piloting careers.
Percy used to be far more of a mess than he is now, but there's things that haven't changed. For example, his light blue eyes contrasted with the dark circles; his often unwashed, unbrushed red hair; slightly unkempt facial hair; fair skin with a smattering of freckles on his face, arms, and shoulders; his schnoz, which Pinocchio would be jealous of; and the ever-present air of constant anxiety. He's a few inches short of 6' (5'8" to be more precise) and he's not really the most fit guy - being a stay-at-home dad does that to you. That's not to say he's all soft, though! Only mostly.
While he's never really been that picky about clothes, his outfits consist mostly of a combination of jackets, single-color shirts, and either jeans or sweatpants, depending on his mood. The most common look he wears is a dark hoodie over a long-sleeved gray shirt paired with slightly torn up blue-gray-ish jeans over long underwear, and taupe brown hiking boots he's worked to the brink. He's also occasionally seen wearing an obnoxiously pink pair of gloves, but it's only because they have pockets for Ana to stick her cold little hands in.. plus they're like, absurdly soft. Also, his ears are pierced. He doesn't usually wear earrings, but when he does it's just a little metal stud - nothing super distracting but they make him feel sexy as fuck.
Adaptable Empathetic Well-intentioned Funny (he thinks he is, anyway)
While Percy's first instance of a Perfect Sync was actually during the attack on Smith's Rest in June, the effects of the Polaris Shift didn't show up in full until after the next time he hits that sweet spot.
In Percy's case, the Polaris Shift is a severe case of personality bleeding, which could be categorized as a case of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). Dissociation, memory lapses, the sudden onset of uncharacteristic behavior, and visual/auditory hallucinations are all symptoms. The visual hallucinations are what scare Percy into trying to get information from whoever's willing to give it.
When Percy is in the dissociated state, he has no doubt in his mind that he's the previous pilot of the Papa Mike - Michael Carpenter. So much so that he takes on Carpenter's mannerisms and even gains his memories until the dissociation stops. When it does, whether it takes a few minutes or a few days, Percy has little to no recollection of what Carpenter may or may not have done. Eventually, he'll end up losing all sense of either identity, becoming an amalgamate of both.
Percy was born and still lives in Smith's Rest, a settlement not unlike the small, quiet country towns of the old world; everyone is at least vaguely aware of everyone else, your drug dealer is probably also your kid's school teacher, and the most fun anyone has is while drunk at the bar that really should've closed down a long, long time ago. Continuing this analogy, Percy is absolutely a white trash guy birthed from white trash parents - while he was ditching school at 10 with his teenager friends, his parents were getting high at home not giving a shit about their son or his whereabouts.
Maybe predictably, his parents died of an overdose when he was 14 (and he could tell you that walking in on such a scene while you yourself are stoned is not a fun time, not one bit), and just before his 23rd birthday, he rushes into a relationship with someone just as much of a disaster as him, just in a different way. It was like putting gasoline in a fire, or a mentos in a pepsi bottle. The explosion is impressive and maybe, just maybe even beautiful, but the mess makes you wonder if it was worth it.. When he finds himself looking back, he wouldn't change a goddamned thing. If he did, he might not have been blessed with his 8 year old daughter, Ana.
With how much he loves his daughter, it makes you wonder why he would chose such a dangerous line of work. The simple answer? He saw the paycheck first and asked questions later. He didn't really know much about NCs other than they were giant robots - and honestly, who the hell would pass up that chance? He got the test, passed it, and slowly was horrified to realize that he made a major fuck up that he now must live with in more ways than one.
Tactical Preferences and Skills
Self-Taught Shooter: Since inheriting his mother's pistol at 14, he's taught himself how to shoot a multitude of guns - at first it was to impress his peers, but after an accidental misfire that could have just as easily been a lethal one, he became a lot more trigger-disciplined. He's not better than a properly trained soldier, and he absolutely would be no good in a real firefight, but he could keep up in the firing range.
Jack-of-all-Trades: Because of how many jobs he's held (and lost) in the past, he's picked up a multitude of random skills, none of which are mastered - just a few of them are wood-working, sewing, teaching, engineering, carpentry, hunting, locksmithing, welding... Some may say that having so many skills is a waste, but you never know when that kind of stuff comes in handy.
Fighting Dirty: It's pretty self-explanatory - he'll do whatever it takes to make the fight end quickly, and with him on top - he'll use every single advantage he's aware of in the hopes it makes him the victor of whatever scuffle he's in. It usually doesn't end well for him, but at least the other guy is hurting just as bad as he is.
Being on the smaller end of the Medium category and having few, unspecialized weapons, its nowhere near the tank it was before, and the old squad would be infuriated to learn the callsign has been sullied by what they consider to be a coward.
Having a beige undercoat detailed with a darker shade of brown and the rare flourish of green, it would a very bland mech in comparison to the more flashy colored ones beside it, if not for the unique touches that only a squad using what they have to repair a mech can do - the trained eye can see the shade variations in the paint, the oxidation, how some pieces of the armor don't quite fit correctly - along with many other small things that give the Papa Mike character.
When the Papa Mike was first located, that wasn't even what it was called. The original call-sign, as designated by the computer, was Bullfrog. An odd name, but it was likely due to its coloring and general stature - bullfrogs are known for eating basically everything that comes at it, and the Bullfrog NC looked like it could eat anything that came its way, with all its missiles and armor. When a member of the motley quartet of aspiring mercs that called themselves the Dissidents found it just sitting in a locked up warehouse around the same time a fresh new pilot had joined their ranks, they declared it destined to be. They gave Michael Carpenter the NC and the callsign associated with it.
As Carpenter integrated himself into the Dissidents, he found himself taking a faux-paternal role to the group. He was the eldest member by a week at most, so eventually one of the other four jokingly called him "Papa Mike," probably in some attempt to get him to lay off the pep talks and moral support. The name stuck though, and the callsign was formally changed. Carpenter wore it like a badge of honor the four years he was with the group.
But then disaster struck.
The mission was just to help defend a settlement from some raiders, it shouldn't have gone as downhill as it did. By the time the quintet got to the settlement, it was already obliterated, and they only had a few seconds to understand that they were surrounded by raiders. The last thing Carpenter remembers is holding his ground while his team scattered to the winds.
After the (metaphorical) dust settled, the team all came back to the battlezone to bury Carpenter and retrieve the mech - which was shockingly untouched aside from the obvious battle damage. Why the raiders did that, they don't know and they don't care - in fact, it's a blessing that they left it alone so it could be taken back and fixed. After fixing it, they basically sit on that mech for two years - aside from selling the weapons to other mercenary pilots to maintain their hangar, anyway. They discussed selling the mech, but "to who" was always the question. They didn't want to end up selling it to someone who would misuse it, or someone that would dirty the call sign.. That's when a certain Sophia Torres came to them, offering both the money and the solace they needed to finally let go of the machine - and by extension, Michael Carpenter.
Weapons and Armaments
• Stock neural computer > determined to call Percy "Michael" for reasons not known to Percy > customized colors - from green to orange; took Percy far longer to do than he'd like to admit > occasionally gli͢t̶c͡hes͝ out; usually not too much of a bother
• Above-average thrusters > specifically designed for short bursts of speed > best used for dodging maneuvers
• Slightly above average generator > to support the thrusters enhancements more than anything
• Surprisingly sturdy armor > surprising only because of the mech's size - usually larger mechs would have this sort of armor > if not for the updated thrusters and generator, it would more or less be a sitting duck for the enemy
• Auto rifle > 35 rounds, mid-to-long range, can switch between full auto and single > right hand > average power
• Laser sword > standard white in color, no special effects > left hand > average power; due to Percy not being fluent in swordsmanship, the effectiveness is... less.
• Missile launcher > 3 missile burst, long-range, semi-homing > left shoulder > average power
Life as a mercenary has turned a once thin, lanky young Alan into the gnarled man that now pilots the Wild Wolf. His face still denotes some tinge of handsomeness under the usual gleam of oil and dirt, but time and stress have caused early wrinkled to appear on Alan’s forehead. He also has tinges of gray appearing in his dark brown hair now. He stands at an average height of 5’10, and his arms and legs are quite muscular due to the labor that comes with self-maintenance on a NC.
Alan’s usual facial demeanor among strangers is a lackadaisical and goofy attitude. A half-cocked smile, a wry grin, and a gentle chuckle are commonplace for Alan in a canteen or in a meeting room. It’s when he gets to know someone or when things get serious that his demeanor changes into a cold stare; revealing his dark green eyes. He usually has bags under his eyes, both in part to a lack of good rest and due to the mental strain, the Polaris shift has done to his brain. His dark, spotty beard is usually unkempt but thin, and his hair is kept in a messy cut, never long, but always disheveled.
Alan was tested at the age of fifteen in his community of Dead Springs, and while he held a solid synchronization level during his first years as a community pilot in the Atlanta area, it wasn’t until his entire squad and home were destroyed that he experienced his first perfect synchronization, which is partially in line with the fact that he survived such an experience. In the six years since he has undergone perfect synchronization a handful of times, but in recent years he has been suffering from “memory bleeding.” In a sense, he is undergoing extreme mental dementia, where he experiences the memories of someone else. Memories include a pre-war forest in the morning, a sunrise, and snowfall. If left untreated, Alan can become lost in the memories, and become confused and upset when he is brought back to “reality.” He takes a low-dose prescription for now, but it only helps treat the symptoms, as his steady mental degradation is irreversible.
Alan grew up in Dead Springs, near the Atlanta Megacity in Fairbanks. Small ruins and tons of junk, it became a frontier trading post between the larger megacities in lower Fairbanks. Still, living in the frontier comes with danger: raiders especially. The test came to Alan’s town later in his life, when he was fifteen. Thinking of a chance to provide for his family and give them a better life than living in a junkyard town, he took his chance with the surgery. Still, a town needs money to pay its pilots. And Dead Springs was no megacity. But when you’re in a junkyard, you can find many wondrous things: including the frame of the Wild Wolf. Found nestled away in a collapsed compound in the ruins, the frame had been stripped of armor and a core, leaving only the skeleton remaining: a remnant of what it could be. But a frame would work: with money raised for a core, and what armor and armaments the money could afford; the WW was rebuilt piecemeal. But it worked.
Alan took up sorties with local combatants, as well as defense jobs in the area; providing for both his home and his family; allowing them more luxuries than a Junker’s life can provide. But more than that, he fought to bring them some semblance of peace. However, a roughshod mech is only as good as its parts and pilot allow; and it was on these sorties that Alan met real terror. A team of outdated and hand-built mechs doesn’t usually fare well against well trained and well-equipped soldiers; especially deserters from Atlanta. Outmatched and outgunned, Alan’s compatriots were slaughtered, and he was left broken and left for dead; a heavy grinder blade digging into his cockpit and tearing the metal apart, giving him his facial scar as a reminder. Alan's final memory of that day was a large custom NC with golden plating, inspecting Alan's damaged frame and simply walking away.
The deserters didn’t simply wipe out the defense party; they came to Dead Springs. The town and its people burned. By the time Alan had made his way to his hometown, he was too late. The sight of his family and friends slaughtered awoke something inside of him: a beast; a wild, rabid dog that fed on all of Alan’s negativity towards his weakness came to life. It consumed him and drove him to fight. He survived, and he kept the Wild Wolf alive using the parts he could salvage from his fallen comrades. Metal scavenged from the destroyed ruins of his town strengthened his armor-and he went hunting.
Surprise attacks. Traps. Decoys and delays. Alan learned to fight his new enemies with his mind to make up for his glaring technological weaknesses and his own lack of combat skills. And when it came to combat, the harder he fought, the higher his synchronization grew with the Wild Wolf. Between perfect synchronization in battle and the tactical advantages Alan created in combat, he’d gotten his revenge at the cost of serious damage to his NC. But the leader, the Golden NC, was nowhere to be found during this time. When Alan returned to the Atlanta burrow with news of the attack and these deserters, he was blacklisted from the job board, removed from the local registry and told that it was simply a raider attack and nothing more. A week later, towns near Dead Springs claimed allegiance to the Atlanta Burrow and most residents were relocated.
The official story was very sanitized, censored and lacked anything about Alan. Alan's own interpretations have been classified or simply ignored by Fairbanks staff at the Atlanta Burrow. With that, Alan left the Atlanta area and made his way across the continent, working for various settlements and cities. Alan began to make a name for himself over six years as an honest mercenary who got jobs done in a professional manner. He grew his own network of other mercenary pilots in the Fairbanks, DV and other areas.
During his tenure working as a mercenary, Alan upgraded the Wild Wolf’s systems and learned how to survive in the harsh wastelands by himself or with a squad. Still, Alan’s travels were always influenced by his one true goal: to find the Golden NC and finish what was started so many years ago. It’s this reason above all for Alan’s journey to New Anchorage.
Tactical Preferences and Skills
Junkyard Mechanic: Unlike his counterparts who had access to proper materials during their combat stays, Alan grew up in the frontier where clean, shiny new supplies were few and far between. This meant that he had to scrounge and repurpose outdated, damaged or scavenged parts to keep his unit in workable condition. While he has to leave it to the professionals for proper upkeep of the WW, Alan can perform emergency repairs in the field if push comes to shove, and that ingenuity comes in handy when things go to shit.
Unshakable Will: In serious situations, the average pilot would lose their cool and give in to negative emotions, shaking them and breaking their morale. Alan, due to both his insane drive for destruction when fully “in the zone” as well as his own nature of do-or-die, is not easily shaken in combat. It would take extreme duress to make him break his usual façade; though a break would be disastrous.
Adaptive: Alan’s past has forced him to make do with supplies and weapons he could scrounge either in the junkyard, the frontier or after the battle. Alan lacks any sheer expertise with weapons, but he makes up for that in his ability to pick up and use a weapon with gradual skill. If he can find a half-working FMR or a Powered Spike, Alan can find a way to perform maximum damage with it.
Well-Read: If Alan has one indulgence it's literature. At a young age, collecting bits of archaic literature became a past time for Alan, especially exploring the databanks of ruined libraries. Alan's datapad has to date over 800 novels, short stories and poetry ranging from the seventeenth century to the twenty-third century. Alan prefers the classics over the later literature, enjoying chivalric romances, gothic horror, and transcendental poetry. Alan's favorite stories include Le Morte d'Arthur, The Once and Future King, Frankenstein, T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland, and The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Tactical Awareness: Alan’s greatest strength is using the environment and information to his advantage against his enemies. He’s used dust storms for cover, set off explosions to avoid thermal detection and isn’t afraid to attack from behind if it increases his chance at victory.
Alan’s facade may appear to be two-faced, but in actuality, Alan keeps his comrades at an arm’s length as a defense mechanism. His fears of growing close to others have led to issues with other pilots in his past, notably Ryn.
At first some believe the Wild Wolf to be a raider’s mech due to its patchwork customization and scrap aesthetic. But Alan’s fine-tuning over the years has allowed him to make Wolf’s awkward platform work for him, and he has made the Wild Wolf into a dangerous machine. Areas around important joints are more thickly armored, and other areas have been stripped to the bare necessities, allowing for maximum maneuverability and mech survivability. The colors are a mix of rust-browns and dark greens over the mech, and where a corporation logo would go, Alan has his own custom stencil of Wolf’s head.
Weapons and Armaments
Leg and Lower Back Thrusters These give strong bursts of speed and sustained air boosts for a limited time for extra mobility
Heavily Used LFR (Light Frame Rifle) 30 round magazine rifle with anti-armor ordinance, short-to-mid range.
Underbarrel HFG Launcher A 3 round grenade launcher attached to the LFR. Equipped with standard fragmentary grenades.
Scavenged Light Grinder Blade A heavy blade meant to pierce and then tear pieces of a mech apart.
Electrical Discharge Cannon Emits high powered electrical bursts at close range. Can temporarily disable an unshielded NC or cause damage to the pilot in the cockpit.
Grapple Tether Arm mounted grapple launcher with an industrial NC winch system. An odd armament for a combat NC, but it’s varied uses have saved Alan multiple times in the past.
Demetrius is rather plain and unassuming by all accounts. He's short in stature for someone his age at only 5'6, and he tries his best to hide his wiry frame; partially out of insecurity and partially because it keeps attention off of him. Demi does this by wearing baggy clothing like oversized shirts, jackets and work jumpsuits- one of the many signs that he doesn't care much about maintaining his appearance. Other signs include his unkempt and shaggy mane of hair, tendency to hunch his shoulders and slouch every time he sits, and the uninterrupted presence of dark bags under his eyes.
Rational Honest Disciplined Reflective
Nihilistic Cynical Anxious Suspicious Obsessive
Psychological Effects of Polaris Shift
Ever since he first achieved Perfect Synchronization, Demetrius has suffered regularly from mood swings, bouts of anxiety, and depression. He regularly takes medication in an attempt to stem these, but finds that the side effects of mental sluggishness and physical fatigue impair his abilities as an engineer and a pilot. This leads to stretches of time where he'll ignore his prescription so he can stay 'sharp,' only to end up spiraling into nihilistic despair until someone shoves a pill down his throat.
Demetrius and Mara were born to be mercenaries, literally. Their parents were members of a defense contracting company called the 'Black Steel Battalion.' The outfit, while technically independent, worked exclusively for Paragon and its subsidiary companies, breaking legs and intimidating smaller settlements into accepting the generous contracts they were being offered by the megacorporation but were refusing to sign. It was bloody business, and both Demi and Mara were stooped in it from the start. Both of them pulled their weight around camp from the moment they could walk, and while Mara was more interested in combat roles like their father, Demetrius took to engineering like a moth to the flame.
He spent practically every moment of his early life watching the mechanics take apart and repair mechs, bombarding them with questions with every breath and volunteering for any kind of work that got him close to those titanic war machines. It seemed to be the only thing he was interested in- the only thing that made him genuinely happy. And he was good at it, too; his intense fascination and willingness to learn allowed him to excel in a difficult field where many others had failed.
He was more than a little conflicted when he found out that he tested positive for Neural Combatant compatibility and was told he'd be fighting on the front lines in his own mech. It gave him a newfound appreciation for the machines he'd been working on for his early life, of course, but it also meant he'd be spending more time fighting in NCs than fixing them.
The next several years of Demi's life were exceedingly frustrating for him. He got very little satisfaction out of the act of piloting, but the battalion required that he do it- he had better sync rates with the Reichsritter than anyone else in the outfit, God knows why, and they believed he was far more useful here than in the gear pits. To make matters even worse, he achieved Perfect Synchronization during this time, and ended up developing several disorders that would follow him for the rest of his life. He felt trapped by the demands of those around him- trapped by the constant pressure to do what was best for the company, for the family, to ignore his own needs and wants.
So when Mara came to him and poured out her own issues and suggested that they leave, Demetrius was more than happy to oblige. The two of them spent nearly a month combing through their contracts with Black Steel until they found a clause that they could use to make it void without sacrificing their most important assets: their NCs. After managing to secure their independence, the duo began their year-long journey from central Europe over to Mara's chosen destination: New Anchorage.
Tactical Preferences and Skills
Prodigious Engineer: Demi has spent his whole life around NCs, and practically grew up with a wrench in his hand. It's one of the few things he's truly passionate about, so it's no wonder that he's dedicated countless hours to mastering his craft. There isn't a problem with his mech, or anyone else's for that matter, that he can't fix on his own provided he has the tools and the time to do so. The only area where he still has some room to grow is in his coding, as he enjoys the act of working with his hands far more than he does the minutia of computer work; still, he can do it, and he can do it quite well.
Competent Pilot: While no master of war by any means, Demetrius still has a good deal of experience operating the Knight in combat situations. He can hold his own in an NC fight, especially when he has a reliable squad that he can depend on to watch his back and cover for the few blindspots in his skill set.
Danger-Close Fire Support: Thanks to the massive size and particular armament of the Reichsritter, Demetrius's role in any given squad is to act as a mobile fire support platform. He aids his squadmates by providing suppressing fire on enemy positions and mechas, forcing them to shift their full attention to Demetrius and his heavy weapon fire while his squadmates rapidly advance and assault the enemy position. He acts in a similar role during defensive operations or retreats, generally trying to slow the enemy down via sustained ordnance and force them to engage him- the Knight's heavily armored body and (optional) combat shield attachment allow it to take several magnitudes more hits than a faster but more lightly armored assault NC.
Demi speaks with a slight German accent and is fluent in three languages: German, his first language, English and French.
Is very protective of his tools. Will only share them with people he really trusts.
Works best when he can block out background noise, usually using heavier rock music for that purpose.
The Reichsritter is a behemoth of a mech at nineteen meters in height and over eighty tons in weight. Packed to the brim with layers of armored plating, the Knight's most notable attribute is it's ability to take an insane amount of punishment and keep going. It rarely wavers under enemy fire, advancing through everything thrown at it to launch back a fierce counteract using the Thermal Rotary Cannon (TRC-11) attached to its right arm. It's left arm remains free to allow for a level of versatility in it's loadout- depending on the situation it can either equip another offensive weapon for maximum damage potential or a defensive tool to make the mecha even tougher than normal.
Originally manufactured by Paragon and purchased by the Black Steel Battalion, the NC was thought to be somewhat sluggish, and it's previous pilot often complained that the TRC-11 chewed through battery packs and heat sinks far too quickly. Demi was able to modify the cannon to be 200% more efficient at the low cost of a slower rate of fire. Other modifications include longer barrels for increased effective range, an 'elbow-locking' function for more stability during sustained fire, and an improved target identification algorithm. It's 'sluggishness' was harder, though, and required that Demetrius remove the shoulder-mounted missile launchers to drop the tonnage on the upper body down to more manageable levels.
Equipment & Armaments
Thermal Rotary Cannon-11: The Reichsritter's primary weapon, the Thermal Rotary Cannon is an arm-mounted, high capacity support weapon. It can put out six hundred rounds of thermal ammunition in a minute at an effective range of fifteen hundred meters. It can generally get around two hundred rounds out of a single battery pack before it has to be replaced; it's advanced heat sinks can handle roughly two minutes of sustained, fully automatic fire before they either need to be swapped out or given a cooldown period of five minutes. It isn't recommended that the TRC-11 be pushed after it reaches it's max heat, unless the pilot wants to risk the weapon cooking its internal systems until they're unsalvageable.
Reinforced Combat Shield: A rather large piece of specially made armor that can cover the main torso, legs and head of the Knight when placed in front of it, the combat shield is an optional piece of equipment that dramatically increases the survivability and toughness of the mecha. Destroying or damaging the shield with small arms fire is nearly impossible, and even heavy ordinance would need to repeatedly bombard a specific piece of it before the armor would crumple. The easiest counter would of course be to target the Reichritter's exposed limbs, or to launch Area of Effect munitions to simply ignore the RCS.
Shoulder-Mounted Hellfire Launchers: Originally standard issue on the Knight, the Hellfire Launchers were a pair of missile racks that jutted out of each of the NC's shoulders. They had two primary modes of use: either as a 'dumb fire' artillery to blanket an area in explosions or in a 'lock-on' state that would track enemy aircraft and mechas after they'd managed to lock on to their target. While both forms were generally useful, Solon had them removed as they made the NC quite top heavy and awkward. He left enough of the system behind in both shoulders that they could potentially be reinstalled with a little bit of time and elbow grease.
Mara spent her whole life as a soldier and that fact is burned into her very identity. Rigorous, daily training has resulted in her developing a fair bit of muscle and an athletic frame- though no amount of hard work can make her grow any taller than 5'7, unfortunately. She's been dragged into more than a few brawls in that time, leaving her with plenty of scars, both big and small. The most visible of these are the cut along her left cheek and the numerous, smaller abrasions that pepper her jawline, neck and upper body.
Her 'style,' if one could call it that, reflects on how military life has shaped her: she continues to wear the same grey Battle Dress Uniform, work boots and the fur-lined aviator's jacket that were all given to her by Black Steel back when she first became one of their pilots. She's since removed all their iconography, of course, and replaced them with an embroidering of Icarus's wings; after all, who would be dumb enough to continue to wear the colors of a group they turned their back on?
Confident Passionate Empathetic Gregarious
Aggressive Impulsive Possessive Dependent
Psychological Effects of Polaris Shift
The Polaris Shift drastically warped Mara's natural aggression and impulsiveness, causing her to develop symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder. This disorder is characterized by frequent outbursts of anger and aggression, almost always disproportionate to the 'slight' that caused it. These outbursts become even worse when Solon is in the cockpit, morphing acts of violence into an almost relieving or intoxicating experience. Her symptoms appear to be worsening with time, and her previous methods of maintaining or seizing control over her emotional state are becoming less and less effective. Worse still, the release and pleasure she feels during these incidents seem to be growing more intense and addicting- and that fact terrifies her.
Mara was always the more combative of the two Solon twins, even from the beginning preferring to solve her problems with her fists than her head. That aggression and bravado made her a shoe-in for soldiering, according to her superiors at Black Steel, and she started her training regime from an extraordinarily young age at the discretion of her father. They instilled within her a discipline and strong sense of duty, and gave the skills she'd need to eventually develop into the excellent pilot that she would one day become.
She was ecstatic when she learned she was NC compatible, and all but leapt into the first mecha they'd let her climb into. Piloting was easily the most thrilling experience she'd ever had, and Mara dedicated herself to being the best in the entire battalion. It was a goal she got closer and closer to as she grew, both as a person and as a pilot, her skill and maturity developing well in tandem with one another. Her fondness for the outfit grew as well- she fell in love with the sense of purpose and comradery that came with her service. She was meant for this; she was meant to be a soldier.
Her first few sorties gave solon a healthy dosage of reality, however, as she was forced to turn her guns on flesh and blood people for the first time. She was able to rationalize it, at first:
The other pilots she fought were out to kill her, too, so why shouldn't she kill them first?
Her outfit wouldn't be targeting them if they didn't have it coming- her commander was a good man.
Mom and dad were encouraging her to fight. That meant it had to be okay, right?
Slowly but surely she came to the realization that these were little more than excuses. The guilt she felt every time she watched another mecha fall continued to build and build until it was so heavy that Mara could no longer bear the weight. It forced her to start asking questions. It compelled her to confront the worst parts about herself, about the work she did for Black Steel, and whether or not she would be able to continue to serve under such conditions. These weren't questions that came to her easily or in a short amount of time, but rather had to be teased out, long term, all while she busied herself acting as little more than a glorified leg breaker for a monolithic, uncaring megacorporation for nothing more than a simple paycheck.
She attempted to bring these worries before her family, she tried to get them to understand why she was hesitant to fight for them, but all it resulted in were dozens of fights and arguments with her parents about what was really important in the world. They argued- vehemently- that all that really mattered was that they do what they needed to help each other, that they needed to be loyal to the battalion; the company had given them so much, and it was only right that they give back as much as they could. Mara wrestled with that idea for quite a long time before she was able to reject it completely.
From there she decided that she could no longer continue to work for Black Steel in good conscience, or any corporation for that matter. She wasn't sure where she could go to avoid the massive shadow they cast over the world, but she'd become convinced of the fact that working for such organizations was wrong, and that it was a great disservice to waste her skill on a cause she didn't believe in; that left her with the 'simple' task of finding a cause she could believe in.
Enter a recruitment ad she found for New Anchorage.
Tactical Preferences and Skills
Trained Professional: For all of it's faults, the Black Steel Battalion knew how to turn boys and girls into hardened soldiers. She developed a wide breadth of skills both during the initial training process as well as during her active service, including but not limited to: operating a firearm, basic CQC and hand to hand, survival in extreme environments, field medicine and equipment maintenance. All of this was packaged along with a healthy sense of discipline and the resolve to see the day through, regardless of the personal cost or difficulty involved.
Excellent Marksman: The primary area of expertise, the skill Mara has spent her entire life honing, is her marksmanship. She has an intuitive sense of range, projectile drop, standard deviation and how weather affects specific types of projectiles. Even without the assistance of her targeting computer, Mara's aim is impeccable, bordering on prodigious. This skill doesn't translate as well outside of the cockpit, since shooting a hand-held weapon and aiming the Icarus's gun are such diametrically different things, but she's practiced enough in gunplay to operate normal firearms at a competitive level.
Precision, Speed, Reconnaissance: Mara Solon's role in an engagement is to act as a forward operative with the goal of gathering strategic intel on enemy numbers, armament and movement while also engaging them from a safe distance. Icarus's highly mobile yet lightly armored frame requires that she be constantly vigilante in how she's positioned; if she stops moving for more than a few minutes she's liable to catch a bullet. Knowing the composition and capability of enemy combatants is vital for her success as a scout and as a marksman- the vulnerability of her particular machine means that she doesn't have the luxury of missteps.
Mara, like her brother, speaks with an accent, but unlike Demetrius it gets significantly thicker when she begins to lose her cool- at her angriest she has a habit of switching back to her native German without fully realizing it. She also never learned French.
Keeps a strict schedule to keep herself sane and in control, including daily meditation and long exercise regimes.
Icarus is a Paragon manufactured, lightly armored NC designed specialized for the task of battlefield reconnaissance and eliminating high value/vulnerable targets from extended range. Standing at only seven meters tall and twenty five tons in weight, Icarus is one of the smallest and lightest NCs in its class. It's frame is streamlined to minimize drag and stripped of all but the lightest armored plating for maximum potential mobility. Originally Icarus featured a black and gunmetal grey paint-job to match the aesthetic of the rest of the Black Steel Battalion, but since leaving Mara has swapped it for a softer white and blue palette.
Equipment & Armaments
Light Beam Rifle (LBR): The Light Battery Rifle is Icarus's weapon of choice for engaging in long range engagements while still remaining consistently mobile. It uses a specialized system of mirrors to fire a powerful beam capable of piercing through thick armored plating to burn internal systems. A great degree of precision is required for it to actually be effective- each shot won't do much unless it's able to pass through something important, otherwise it's essentially just poking holes in a metal can. The LBR is a recoil-less, rapid fire style rifle that can fire off continuous bursts of energy beams for several minutes before the battery has to be replaced.
Plasma Knife: Close quarters is the last place Icarus wants to be, but there are times where Mara doesn't have any choice in the matter- in those moments she's always glad to have a secondary weapon on hand to defend herself with.
Directional Rockets and Jump Pack: The main source of Icarus's mobility are the jump pack and directional rockets installed on the NC's back and limbs, respectively. Its jump pack allows the NC to reach otherwise inaccessible strategic positions, while the directional rockets focus more on improving strafing and letting Icarus run circles around enemy mechs.
Advanced Sensor Suite: Icarus possesses a wide array of electronic detection equipment including Radar, LiDAR, and thermal imaging. On top of these reconnaissance tools it has an entire electronic warfare suite for the purpose of disrupting enemy communication and obscuring their ability to track Icarus's squadron mates. These systems are constantly being tweaked and upgraded personally by Mara's twin, Demetrius, keeping their tech one step ahead of rival organizations.
Tahlia is the daughter of an Asian father and an Australian mother, a result of Red Star's continual expansion in controlling the southern sunburnt country. Her hair is sandy brown hair, her skin pale like the seaside sand, and her eyes are brown and slim — all of which are traits visually present in those from the far east collective.
As unusual as it may seem the former leader dresses with an appearance of brand loyalty to the fierce Red Star Corporation, even throughout her attempts casualising her attire. The most notable garment of these would be the dusty leather branded jacket that sponsors a visible eyesore of a Red Star emblem stitched into the back. Sometimes it just cannot be helped that the best piece of clothing she so happens to own in counteracting the cold climate of Alaska would be a piece issued out by Red Star themselves.
Tahlia can unintentionally come across as an aggressive, abrupt individual who will rub many the wrong way upon first impressions. It does not help that her Australian, outback ocker will shine through in her mannerisms as the clear-cut lack of control in her swearing continually escapes her lips; lips which never seem to let go of a lit cigarette.
Beneath this veil of harsh leadership Tahlia does have good intentions, even if they may be clouded by her superiority presence. She has both every intention in following the orders given to her by a higher ranking member, as well as defending the difficult actions of which her team may be faced by. A difficult position to be in which has created many challenges and hard choices.
Commander Styles, more commonly known as Miss Tahlia Styles, was born within the remote settlement of Broken Hill. As the daughter of a Red Star engineer, Jin Styles, she began her indoctrination into the NC Program during her early teens, entering into her first NC battle in her mid teens.
Her transition to both recognition and leadership was a path that she held no control over as the region fell under attack by a group of raiders, all looking to plunder the settlement for its valuable resources. It was through the death of her current commander that the young woman was given the reluctant choice of taking control of the Spyder in order to fight back. It was a David and Goliath battle, a battle that she barely won, but it became the only known record of her military service that was released to the world by Red Star.
The leaked document proved to be effective as word of the Miss Styles spread far and wide, acting a deterrent for many with those that took the chances of trying to outsmart the young commander meeting their demise with walls of flames and fury.
A decade later and it is not clearly known how the once prominent commander managed to separate herself from the corporation of the far east, however a single note within her file hints of one possible reason: Known Relations - Oakley Styles (MIA)
Tactical Preferences and Skills
Former Commander: Tahlia was once the commander of a small Red Star force, a rank which over time hardened her into a woman of authority and status. Pilots who have worked with her have spoken of how she expects a high level of precision and efficiency from her team, noting how she has been known to reprimand those who step out of line.
Calculated: Tahlia is analytical and observant with years of standing guard over her hometown, picking off targets from just beyond the horizon have allowed her to learn that upfront combat should be avoided wherever possible.
Jill of most Trades Some of Tahlia's less noticeable skills include her complete understanding of firearms, basic mechanical and engineering knowledge, as well as the odd skills in drinking, and poker. Alone they aren't anything special, but together it's what makes her unique.
With a large portion of her life spent within her NC, Tahlia has lost a stable connection with both reality and her own memories. She has on the rare occasion been seen confused and unable to recognise the individuals who she has known for many years; a familiar face that slowly fades into obscurity.
Spyder is a unique design that incorporates a harmonious blend of Volkov and Red Star technology into a terrifying beast of immense power, an artillery NC that relies more on long range combat than the more up close and personal style that many other pilots are used to.
Much of the NC is covered in the painted shades of black and dark brown — colours that aid in its ability to blend in with the dying landscape — with trimmings of red and scattered battle wounds from its long-standing service. The interior is a sleek design with keys and warning labels written in a mixture of Japanese and English, along with a screen that provides a wide viewing angle to the outside world.
Equipment & Armaments
Meteor Ordnance Cannon (M.O.C.): The M.O.C. is a highly advanced, torso mounted weapon capable of firing a ballistic shell through the use of Mag-Rail technology. Each shell — also known as a Meteor — is built as a unique explosive that encompasses both incendiary properties and cluster bomb attributes; a design choice which allows the fired Meteor to scatter mid-flight and pellet the target with multiple projectiles. Upon firing the intense heat produced by the projectile will leave a distinct light trail that can be traced back to the M.O.C., giving the impression that the weapon is firing a laser instead of a physical shell.
The M.O.C. range is unfortunately limited to line of sight and so higher ground is usually preferred when operating the weapon. The cannon is as well an extremely power hungry unit and thus a delay time has been incorporated in-between shots to allow for the weapon to be fired sequentially without damaging the NC.
Trakdar: Trakdar is a speciality built Long Range scanner and observation system that utilises a 3D mapping technology in order to give detailed views of the environment around the NC. This map is additionally enhanced by an aerial drone bot that can be launched from the Spyder in order to give details on areas that can't be fully scanned by the NC itself. Each target that is discovered is painted with a marking which allows proper calculations to be make for the Meteor Ordnance Cannon.
Twin MIRV Launchers: Upon Spyder's shoulders are a set of pods which house a collection of Radar Guided MIRV missile. These fast firing missiles can be used in quick succession for any medium range targets, but have the unfortunate trait of overshooting their targets when firing within close proximity of the NC.
Dual Slug Cannons: These fist mounted Slug Cannons are used to easily take out any smaller targets that are within the NC's close combat range. Whilst in Artillery Mode however they are rendered innactive as the NC will hunker down to improve stability and thus limiting any available aiming capabilities.
Madison Cole | Mad-Cat | F | 19 | Smith's Rest ♫ ♫ ♫
Madison is a young woman in her late teen's with a petite appearance of humble innocence and a deeply bottled attitude of something much more wilder, fiery and adventurous. Her distinct taste for oversized clothes, such as her favourite, fluffy hoodie and a pair of rugged boots — footwear that truly must be lined with lead soles — have most definitely been noticed throughout the settlement of Smith's Rest and the homebase of the NC crew. It is only after you hear the kid coming that you may spot a flash of her long pink hair flowing past.
Madi would never tell you but her little secret is that she is natural blonde, and while the colour of the dye may hide this obvious truth, the dipsy nature still occasionally shows itself.
Madison was once described in one simple, four letter word... Loud.
The young girl has a vibrant personality with a matching taste for music. Most of the time when she is in her NC the sounds of a hard hitting bassline can be heard from either her hanger or her personal quarters. It has been known to rub some of the personnel the wrong way with the occasional complaint about the time at which she wishes to turn up the volume.
This reckless attitude comes as a serious double edge sword since she lives off pure adrenaline. Madison has been known to run her ammo supplies completely dry, take on NCs far stronger than what she is trained for, and will even risk her own life in order to make a final blow.
However being loud doesn't mean that she is open as she will rarely talk about her past, leaving the discussion of her parents for Duncan to talk about.
Madison was born in a small community but raised in a foster home when her entire settlement was wiped out by a raiding force. She was only a little girl at the time and her survival was made when a rescue teams eventually showed up, offering whatever help they could in such a lost situation. To this day she doesn't have any memories of her parents, or her younger life for that matter, but she admits that her best times in life began when she met Duncan.
With Duncan she grew up in the megacities, travelled to the outskirts, and eventually they found their way to a settlement by the name of Smith's Rest. It was a couple years later she would be accepted into the NC program, a dream she wanted for so long, and she became a part of the New Anchorage crew.
Tactical Preferences and Skills
Music Lover: Most of the people on base already know that Madison has an annoying love for music to the point where it can become distracting. What many of them don't know is that she is quite gifted when it comes to her own vocals and will sing to herself if she is alone and unable to hear a beat.
Nimble: This hyperactive girl has way too much energy to store up and not use. Unlike others that are skilled at fighting Madison's strength comes in her speed and agility, a trait that can be seen on the battlefield.
Bonkers!!!!: Probably less of a skill than anything else, but at her peak Madison is quite the insane individual. She has very little natural fear, and if something doesn't work... Just grab a bigger hammer!
With Madison spending more time within her NC she runs the very real risk that she will start to obtain a variety of side effects. It is unknown what they may be, but her last lot of health checks have noticed a fluctuations in both her hormonal stats and her reaction times. Nothing can be pinned down at this moment but the results have been monitored.
The Mad-Cat is a relative small NC designed to operate as a fast incursion unit to try and break enemy formations and scout out ahead of the squad. Its sky blue design was chosen perfectly for the Alaskan winters, allowing the NC to blend into the surrounding landscape, minimising the potential dangers of being so close to the enemy.
Equipment & Armaments
Hydraulic Legs: A heavy emphasis in reducing weight within the unit's legs have allowed the NC to be used for more tactical and forceful advances. The hydraulic legs can be used in order to leap towards an opponent, drastically reducing the distance to meters.
Rendering Claws: Each arm has been equipped with a set of rendering claws. Rather than just being of a simple metal design these claws are edged with plasma jets, giving the appearance that the edge of the blades are on fire. Not only is this an advantage for tearing apart unlucky NC units but at night it can create an impressive light show.
Damage Awareness System: Due to how the NC will be more of an up close and personal unit, several safety measures have been put into place for the protection of the unit and pilot. The First is a Damage Awareness System which will take note of any components that aren't working correctly and will re-route power, plasma, and movement through various other pathways; essentially creating a unit that can take a variety of hits and yet still perform in battle.
Duncan is a tall, slender male with a rugged, ungroomed appearance. His face is angular and defined, bordered with a chinstrap beard that is lightly trimmed into shape, backed by a head of hair that is rarely cut above his shoulders. Occasionally it will be tied back out of the way so that it doesn't bother him but as of late he has been letting it loose.
While Duncan does like to keep his clothes tidy and clean, the line of work that he specialises in often throws that desire out of the window. It's not unusual to see the man wearing an article of clothing that's torn, covered in grease, or stained with a coffee mark. Due to this he chooses to wear attire that's more natural in colour in an attempt to hide these fabric blemishes.
Duncan is one cool cat. He's the type of person that will rarely get angered, a man who act as a mediator between disputing parties, and has a way with words that can calm even the most upset of individuals. He has excelled in these skills with many thanks to Madison's involvement in his life as she was one loose cannon who he needed to find a way to defuse on quite the regular basis.
The man is also a bit of a comedian, and an intelligent individual on top of that. He won't hesitate in throwing out a line that may embarrass a fellow worker, or start up a joyful bit of banter. The more people that can laugh in the workplace, the happier he is, and he knows that his input has helped bring many together as good friends.
The unfortunate part about Duncan is that he has always been a bit of a loner ranger. Many of his relationships with other significant others have fallen through, leaving Madison as the only female who has stayed with him for more than a six months period. Occasionally she will joke with the man about who his next squeeze may be, unaware that his care and love for her is a trait that he doesn't know how to apply effectively to another woman.
Duncan was born within the heart of Denver-Vegas, a clever and calm child who fell in love with the NC world, all the while allowing a growing passion for collecting and trading to brew and mature. Being from a mechanically minded family and figuring that he could turn his handy skills into a small business, Duncan became quite efficient at repairing and repurposing any damaged equipment in order to trade off and sell to whoever was willing to pay his price.
His introduction to Madison would come several years later during a trade deal for an NC core where he so happened to obtain a little bit more than he bargained for; an NC which was once piloted by the pink haired girl's father and a preliminary test result which showed she would be a compatible candidate.
From that day on he took young Madison under her wing, raising her as both a de-facto daughter and close friend. They moved around for several years before eventually landing in Smith's Rest, a settlement that seemed less treacherous than the megacities they once resided in.
Gearhead: If a doctor is a trained professional on a human anatomy, than Duncan is a that but on a mechanical level. His toolbox is deeper than an arms reach and his knowledge and problem solving skills are second to none, making him the go-to man for when something goes wrong with your artillery shooting coffee maker.
Vocabulary over Violence: With the world as violent and dangerous as it is there are still a few people out there who prefer to settle disputes with a correct choice of soothing words. Duncan is one of those peacemakers and you will often see him with other pilots and workers, enquiring as to what's causing them distress.
Red Eyes for Red Star: The one corporation that Duncan has a dislike for is the Asian company of Red Star. The Andreas Dispute War between Red Star and Denver-Vegas hit very close to home with family and friends perishing during the crossfire. He doesn't trust their corporation, their shady ways, and—least of all—their pilots.
Five Cups a Day, Minimum: Some people smoke while others get on the booze, Duncan however is a coffee addict. There is not one day that goes by without the man sipping a cup of the muddy, brown elixir; caring not whether it is a long black, a cappuccino or even a watered down lungo. His interesting addiction has presented itself with an unusual side effect, allowing everyone to know when he is nearby simply from the warm aromas that waft through the facility. This makes it utterly impossible for the man to sneak around or catch anyone by surprise.
Duncan has a professional background in Mechanics and Utility Trading. He has obtained several contacts over the years, and made several enemies, but his desision to join the New Anchorage team is in the hopes of making some lasting impact on the world.
Elizabeth “Eli” Jackspar | Blur | F | 21 | Smith’s Rest
In a lot of ways, Eli resembles her mother. Spirely, with strict and rigid posture and a demeanor that might generally be considered as “harsh.” Physically she’s a bit lanky, and if observed in her rare, relaxed moments, one might remark that she seems ill-fitted to herself. Her hair falls long and flat, and is a shade of off-white that makes her otherwise porcelain skin appear thin and pallid. The sunkeness of her eyes is off-put by their brightness: a deep, bright blue like the depth beneath a sheet of ice.
She tends to dress conservatively, and her wardrobe is slim. An assortment of long shirts and pants, pull-overs and thick boots. The one constant is the plain, sky-blue scarf she wears as often as she’s allowed—which, considering the lax dress code in the facility, especially among pilots, is nearly always. Beneath it all though is her pilot suit, donned first-thing, so that she can be ready for anything that might come New Anchorage’s way.
Fiercely Loyal Direct Obsessive Instinctual Distrusting Perceptive Cold
Effects of Polaris Shift
Eli may be newer to piloting, but she’s been given no breaks for it. The nature of her combat role, as well as Blur’s reliance on the physical and mental reflexes of its pilot necessitate both high and consistent rates of synchronization. Due to a crisis of identity brought on as a result of her mother’s psychological conditioning, Eli has little to no trouble assimilating herself into Blur and achieving these synch rates, and it’s here that her Polaris Shift finds its roots.
Eli is slowly losing herself to her NC. The more benign effects of this Shift include things like adherence to patterns and routines, acute awareness, and the occasional need to remind herself to blink. In more serious instances, or flares, Eli ceases to think of herself as a human being, but rather a part of the machine. She may neglect sleeping and eating, disregard pain and harm herself as a result, or simply “shut down,” which could more accurately be described as an immobilizing episode of dissociation.
She’s found some success in repressing these effects through medication. Alternatively, the commands of her mother, or the consolation of her sister, have also shown to be able to “snap her out of it.” But as with all Polaris Shifts, there is no long-term cure.
Eli was five when she learned that her name was short for “Elizabeth.” Her mother used it the first time she’d cried during one of their conditioning sessions.
“Elizabeth,” she’d said. “Never cry in front of me again.”
For most of her life, Eli rarely left the ramshackle library the Jackspars called home. She spent her days studying, practicing, and doing what her mother commanded, when she commanded. At night, she would listen to Vera talk about her day; where she went, what she did, who she met. Second-handedly she developed a sense of community, which mingled nicely with her burgeoning desire to protect Smith’s Rest.
As her mother began to take a more active role in the Smith’s Rest community, Eli was subjected to fewer conditioning sessions, and the two were around each other less often. She spent more time with Vera, who coaxed out of her an almost human affection, which blossomed into a genuine, if repressed, personality. She grew to be more than just a prospective tool, she became a sister and a friend. She became “Lizzy.”
When the day finally came that Smith’s Rest acquired its Neural Combatants, Eli was there fresh and early. She hadn’t considered that she might fail her compatibility test, her mother had never even mentioned it. It was as if the woman knew, somehow, that her daughter would pass. Eli considered it a sort of destiny. Of course she would defend Smith’s Rest, what else was there?
The cockpit fit her like a glove. Blur was her second skin, her body-away-from-her-body. Never before had she felt so certain of who she was, never had she dreamt of what fulfilling her purpose might feel like. Together with her team, under the command of Sophia Torres, Eli finally saw what Smith’s Rest could be.
Then, Sophia vanished.
Smith’s Rest, now expanded into the Free State of New Anchorage, went on without her. The NC program went on without her. It seemed like everyone was willing to move forward without batting an eye at the fact that their head of defense had disappeared overnight. Eli, however, was not. Her sharpening image of New Anchorage could not accommodate deserters, or traitors, or those whose intentions were too selfish to put the good of the people before themselves. When Raschke brought on Michael Graham, and he proposed to flood their ranks with mercenaries, Eli was…less than confident in his choices. She was, admittedly, less than confident in him.
Now, with her sister’s imminent career as a pilot, and her mother’s growing popularity among the people of New Anchorage, Eli feels stuck between her obligation towards her home, and her own distrust of the strangers inhabiting it.
Tactical Preferences and Skills
Up Close and Personal: Eli isn’t a good shot. One could justifiably say that Eli is in fact a bad shot. Thankfully, swordplay and fist-fighting require grace and power over accuracy, and utilize a different sort of hand-eye coordination, which Eli excels in. Quick, agile, and ambidextrous from years of self-teaching, Eli would like to say she makes up for her shortcomings in long-range combat with her prowess in CQC, but she still has to reach her target first.
Unwavering Loyalty: Alternatively: “goal-oriented,” “single-minded,” and “unhealthily skeptical.” With Eli, the mission always comes first, because to her, the mission is always in the interest of New Anchorage. Instilled within her is an almost fanatical loyalty to her home, desire to protect its people, and see it prosper. To her, any pilot who fights for them should be willing to lay down their lives for the good of New Anchorage. This has led her to hold a distaste for newcomers, especially mercenaries, or former mega corporation pilots. Consequently however, her trust, once gained, is absolute to a gullible fault.
Reliable: Eli is, if nothing else, a phenomenal solider. She gets things done. She follows directions and fulfils her tasks with speed and proficiency, never questioning—out loud, at least—the orders of a superior. For everyone else, especially her equals, she rarely keeps her doubts to herself, and as standoffish as that may sometimes be, one can at least rely on her to be honest and direct.
Blur is a light-weight, medium-sized Neural Combatant designed to embody the “high-risk, high-reward” philosophy. Likely created by Red Star, it was recovered from a glacial wall. Its sleekly humanoid, aerodynamic frame and snow-white exterior help it live up to its name amidst the Alaskan wasteland, and especially during blizzards. The array of propulsion engines affixed to its back expand and shift during use not unlike spines, or sharp wings.
Weapons and Armaments
Omni-Propulsion System: Integral to Blur’s design philosophy is its array of engines, which help it to achieve the ludicrous speed required of a melee-oriented NC. When coupled with Eli’s quick reflexes and intuition, they also provide Blur with a surprising degree of maneuverability, necessary for avoiding the front and backline fire it tends to draw.
Bladed Weaponry: Blur’s weapons reflect its orient towards melee-combat. A beam-sword of standard design, an energy-projected, wrist-mounted shorter blade, and sharp, retractable claw-tips for its fingers complete its standard arsenal. The only deviance in the design of her weapons is that they’ve been fitted to work with Blur’s Energy Relay System.
Energy Relay System: What the Omni-Propulsion system does to initiate combat, the ERS does to finish it. Considering the prioritization of agility over distance-closing speed in close-quarters, the ERS seeks to make sure that the engines’ massive energy output isn’t put to waste once Blur has actually reached its target. It allows Eli to pump extra power to her sword, or her gauntlet-blade, or even the sharp-tipped fingers, which can come in handy when cutting apart NCs and holding against other melee weapons.
Flare Cache: When fancy-feet and speed just aren’t enough, or as a proactive-countermeasure to cover its approach, Blur is equipped with multiple rounds of flares with which to throw off heat-seeking ballistics. They don’t always count for much, and they’re no replacement for covering fire, but in a pinch Eli has found them useful.
Agatha Smith | Herakles| F | 58 | Fuller's Gulley, USA
Standing at 5’6”, Agatha has sharp features and a smile that could cut an NC to ribbons. Hair once flaxen has long since gone gray, which is pulled into a loose bun. Deep set green eyes and a pointed nose. Some people have told her she has the face of a 1st grade Math teacher who takes joy in assigning homework over the weekend. While not a weightlifter, she has a solid frame from years of hard work on the surface. Tends to wear a faded burgundy vest over an oil stained grey jumpsuit.
Steadfast Maternal Good Humored Stubborn Guilt Ridden Reckless
Effects of Polaris Shift
Perfect Synchronization yet to be achieved.
Born and raised on the surface, Agatha always knew she was a special snowflake. At the bizarrely typical age of 14, she was found compatible to pilot an NC. Like so many before her she was drawn into piloting a bipedal weapon of mass destruction and had many mercantile adventures as an independent NC operator that aren’t worth recollection. The kinds of adventures that blur together but can often be summed up as, ‘Go to exotic locations, meet interesting people, and kill them’.
Throughout her ventures she had a loyal mechanic who would have followed her to hell and back by the name of Albert Smith. He wasn’t particularly handsome or clever, but he was loyal, sweet, and won over her affections through his perseverance. At 27 Agatha was married, by 28 she had a daughter and another on the way. Finding their means of employment too dangerous to foster a family, they decided it was prudent for Agatha to set aside the adventuring for a more sedentary lifestyle. Investing their considerable saving towards setting up shop in a scrapyard, Agatha began a new life as a mother and family woman.
For years, that was good enough. All the effort she had put forth piloting her NC was directed towards running the scrapyard and raising her kids. There wasn’t the same rush that came with piloting a multi-ton automaton, but she was satisfied for a time.
Then the children grew up, and left the nest to find out their own destinies. To be the special snowflakes that have fantastical opportunities all lined up for the taking if they only go out and claim them. Her husband of 29 years had grown ill and passed peacefully in his sleep.
That left Agatha, with a job she didn’t care for and no one relying upon her. Most would have considered this time to retire, settle down and indulge herself before the inevitable end, but she couldn’t. Even with the best years of her life in the past, she knew she had more to give. Firing up the old NC, which had been used as a makeshift crane for the scrapyard, she went out to recapture her lost glory, but found there wasn’t any demand for someone so long out of the game. The only ones as desperate as she was where the good folks down at New Anchorage, and they just so happened to be looking for any pilot that would come their way.
Tactical Preferences and Skills
Spatial Awareness: Between years of combat and decades of navigating shifting heaps of torn metal and forgotten scrap, Agatha has an excellent sense for the environment around her and any shifts within her proximity. Her youngest child joked she had a had a sixth sense for falling debris, but Agatha insisted she was just more willing to listen to all her sense then most.
Confrontational: There's no horsing around when the call to action arises. Up front and to the point, she'll tackle a problem head on even if it's not the most tactful or polite. It caused her no ends of trouble but she'd argue it's saved her life just as often.
Strong Constitution: Retirement didn't dull Agatha's drive to stay in top shape as much as she could. Finding healthy food wasn't the easiest thing away from the cities, but she maintained a routine workout regiment and abstained from the typical vices of alcohol and tobacco. Chocolate was a rarity saved for her daughter's birthdays, and the only coffee she drank was decaf. A commitment made all the more trying by the other member's of her family having no such compunctions, but it is a trial she has endured with good cheer and will power.
A medium sized mech balancing armor and speed, differentiated from most bipedal NCs by it's emphasis on hands-free integrated weaponry and a reliance on laser weaponry. A lack of an expansive radiator system keeps the use of its laser weapons to short instances with longer cooldowns between engagements, prompting a reliance on close quarters combat and use of auxiliary missile launchers.
Weapons and Armaments
Dual Oscillating Laser Armatures: Each of Herakles' arms features two light laser batteries, firing in a three ray burst before alternating barrels to fire from, mitigating the heat build up somewhat while keeping the fire rate low enough there can be some semblance of accuracy. Due to the NC's arms being designed around the weapon's integration, it's firing angle in no way inhibits the free articulation of Herakles' hands.
Chassis Mounted Medium Laser: A heavier laser then the arm integrated variants effective at medium range, meant to hammer targets at a safer distance. Has greater penetrating power at the expense of being wildly inaccurate while moving unless at extreme close range, as well as limited rate of fire.
Four Quintuple Missile Arrays: Fitted to the shoulders with deployable armored canopy for added protection. Payload constitutes 10 airburst flechette missiles programmed to arch upwards and detonate at a designated range above ground for maximum dispersal. The remaining 10 missiles are willy pete obscure visuals and thermals on top of their intended purpose.
Reinforced Fists: Self evident in their purpose, but sporting added armor along the finger exteriors in order to improve striking power and protection from impact. Precludes the use of any delicate small arms by NC scales, though heavier armaments are feasible.