Appearance, supplemental: Runa is a teenage girl, standing about average in height and with a lean, athletic build. She has dark skin, and hair that is a dark red, almost as if it's trying very hard to be black or brown, but can't quite manage, particularly when the light catches it. Her eyes are almost reptilian, with golden irises and vertical slit pupils. While she is asleep or otherwise unconscious, one can occasionally see bones and muscles move beneath her skin in unusual manners. Her hair sometimes moves on its own, particularly the long ahoge, which seems to move around involuntarily in response to her emotional state.
The tentacles and tendrils of flesh she usually creates tend to be a pale pink rather than sharing any of her usual pigmentation. She also often extends any additional limbs from her back, or from her hair, which tends to function as a prehensile limb as-is, often enough. Her armored form, which she often prefers in heavy combat although it likely isn't really much tougher than she otherwise is, tends to look similar to a knight's armor, if it were constructed of flesh and bone, rather than segmented metal. Usually, her living armor is white and red in color.
Personality: Runa grew up in a lab, and as a result is fairly naive and childlike. She simply doesn’t understand too much about how the real world works, and definitely doesn’t understand that everyday citizens may find her abilities disturbing. To her, growing a tentacle or two if you need an extra set of hands, or walking around covered in blood from what would appear to be grievous wounds are perfectly acceptable behaviors. She’s curious about things she doesn’t understand, and has a sort of youthful bravado when it comes to the same, often at least pretending she knows what others are talking about. She is friendly, energetic, and outgoing, and feels that it’s her responsibility to help and protect others. She insists she’s an adult, and tries to do adult-like things. It's pretty easy to bribe or distract her with food, particularly sweets.
Biography: Runa is the result of a black project to create an ultimate living weapon, using advanced biological engineering applications. A number of old, (and possibly now rare) samples of alien genetic material left over from the Alien Wars were used to create her, and are likely responsible for most of her abilities. Her creator is something of a mad scientist who, in the aftermath of the recent events, believes that humanity must adapt itself and take control of its own biological destiny, as a species. While his transhuman intentions are, in a way, good, they are extreme enough to make him a threat. The Final Five eventually had to take him down, only to discover his rather innocent creation. They’ve kept an eye on her ever since, and while her residence has moved, she’s still been rather sheltered.
She tended to get along well with Citadel and particularly Lotte, because they were closest to the same age. Although she interacted more with the FV’s own scientists, in an effort to figure out what makes her tick, Runa did train on occasion with anyone who’d be willing to let her. Her own abilities didin’t quite map to anyone’s, so she had to figure out her own ways to practice, most of the time.
Runa eventually begged her way into active duty, and her abilities have rapidly evolved in response to the pressures of combat. She’s fairly handy in a fight, even if she’s...not as useful elsewhere. She seems to naturally draw in and expend the supernatural “aether” that continues to leak up from below, and which also powers most of her (and other creatures’) monstrous abilities. She also emits some sort of radiation to which Abyssals and her other inhuman relatives are sensitive, which often will draw them towards her, and thus, to Shanhu. While she can be a useful member of the team, it goes without saying that her overtly inhuman nature is likely to make others uneasy, particularly if they have bad memories from the past upheavals.
Her role in the current team is something of a skirmisher. She’s not necessarily the strongest or toughest, but her versatility allows her to take on a variety of opponents or tasks, and she can outlast just about anyone. There are ongoing betting pools within the Final Five’s support network as to whether she or Tian return with the worst injuries after a mission. She goes to a local high school, where she at least pretends to be normal, although she never really established a secret identity, either.
Shapeshifting Horror: Runa has direct (and usually conscious) control over the tissue that makes up her own body. While she does have a rough organization of organs, and some sort of “core” that’s important to keep safe from harm, arguably she’s more just made up of the same bizarre, multi-functional tissue throughout. She can alter her form more or less at will, although she usually does lean more toward the combat applications. Runa’s abilities clearly violate conservation of mass, suggesting a full-on supernatural origin.
Runa can grow claws, teeth, mouths, tentacles, and a variety of other appendages for the purposes of attacking things, getting around, or whatever else. However, this tends not to be pretty. If you’ve seen The Thing, you get the idea.
Extreme Omnivore - Runa is capable of deriving sustenance from just about anything organic. While she prefers actual food (notably chocolate, cup ramen, and popsicles), she can eat practically anything. Cafeteria food, fuzzy blue-green meat, and even Gigakill’s cooking won’t harm her, although she may not enjoy them, either.
Runa’s alien physiology makes her extremely adaptive and hardy in most any environment. She is unbothered by extremes of pressure and temperature, doesn’t need to breathe, and is immune to poisons and diseases unless they were specifically tailored to affect her. It’s possible she doesn’t need to eat, either, instead deriving sustenance from ambient energy fields, but that doesn’t seem to stop her enormous appetite.
Runa heals extremely quickly, recovering from injuries in seconds to minutes. Tian-Gui is an impenetrable wall, Runa instead relies upon healing faster than she can be damaged.
Star Jelly - Runa can use her own body to make food that tastes good and provides for all of one’s dietary needs. She’s pretty shy about it, though, and tries to make sure nobody knows what she’s doing or where anything she “finds” in a survival situation comes from.
Cosmetic Shapeshifting - Runa can change her appearance to some extent, just to alter what she looks like. She has a “default” form that she tends to stay in, and a specific armored form she often uses on official hero duty. While she can alter her body proportions and shape, she’s only really able to perfectly disguise herself as someone else if she has a sample of their genetic material to work from. Given that this tends to mean eating little bits of them, attempts to do so are frowned upon.
Universal Donor - Runa can use her own tissue to heal others, by altering it into a perfect genetic match on the fly and filling in injuries. The equivalent losses do cause her to suffer roughly the same damage as she heals herself (although not necessarily in the same form). Good thing she heals quickly.
Gravity Manipulation: Runa’s ability to manipulate and alter gravity developed some time after she started her active hero duty. Some of the scientists working with (or on) her suspect it’s a further evolution or awakening of her abilities. While used primarily for flight, Runa also uses her powers to generate blasts of gravitons as a ranged attack. Most uses of her powers tend to be accompanied by bursts of multicolored light.
Flight - Runa flies by generating a localized gravity well to pick her up. Usually it’s above her head, and surrounded by a ring of multicolored light, with additional rings forming and dissipating behind her when she accelerates or puts on a quick burst of speed. The gravity well also tends to pick up small objects and drag them along within it.
Gravity Blast - Runa’s usual ranged attacks fire bolts of energy.
Gravity Field - Runa can alter the local gravity in an area, either increasing it to pin down foes, or reversing it to send them flying.
Giga Graviton - An extremely powerful attack launching a black hole -like anomaly. While good at taking down tough targets, it’s also very good at putting a cylindrical hole through the scenery and causing plenty of collateral damage. Runa can’t fire this off too often without taking a rest, as she pushes herself every time she uses it.
A mage created to infiltrate another civilization as part of an invasion rose to great power, but could not escape her fate, and fell to servitude of the emperor of darkness. Now she can follow the path she missed in another life, and fight as an agent of balance within the multiverse.
Summary: Mana is a mage with a habit of betraying everyone she works with simply because her true allegiance belongs to the greatest evil in her home universe. She also seems to desperately search for a way out of this arrangement, even if it is by her own death. Her primary goal in this search are the twelve spheres, powerful relics left behind by an ancient, advanced civilization that destroyed itself.
She’s a dangerous and powerful fighter, and while she seems to have a soft spot for anyone she could consider a friend if not for their circumstances (or, whoever might be able to defeat her and her master), she’s generally not a very nice person. Betrayal, trickery, murder, emotional manipulation, she’ll do whatever she thinks she needs to.
Mana hails from a world where magic and technology have grown hand in hand, and now magitech is more or less the gold standard. Magic is a powerful weapon, and has some very solid advantages over conventional “physical” weapons: it can be, invariably, non-lethal, depending on the will of the user. Modern mages use a variety of Intelligent Devices to channel their magical powers and offset a lot of the calculations for their spells. These devices have their own personalities and can speak, occasionally offering advice for their owners or even acting on their own if the situation demands it. In this world, there are two major spacefaring civilizations.
Mana Septima is a mage and soldier for the theocratic Balmar Empire. As a member of their original expeditionary force attacking the La Gias Federation, she infiltrated their own military, joining their knights order and eventually landing on a task force focused on the collection and research of ancient Relics from past civilizations, to better understand their lost magic and technology.
Once she’d gotten all the information she could on her erstwhile ally aces, and found what she was looking for among the Relics she helped to collect and protect, she betrayed them. Stealing some choice complete relics and destroying an entire base to cover her tracks, Mana revealed that she had developed a new intelligent device of incredible power using both the Federation’s own technology and the stolen relics. She disappeared after trouncing her former friends in battle.
She clashed with the heroines multiple times since, often in conflicts over who can get to a Relic first, or as a leader of her own invading forces. With the power of the Relics she’d stolen and her own unusual style of magic, Mana was one of the greater threats to the Federation’s forces.
Mana disappeared after the final battle with the Balmar 7th Expeditionary Fleet and defeat of her commander, much to the chagrin of the girls she’d betrayed who hoped she might finally be coming around. She resurfaced on occasion afterward, appearing sometimes as an ally and others as an enemy, and still searching for the twelve spheres, a set of powerful relics rumored to grant incredible powers if brought together.
Mana eventually revealed herself as a subordinate of Kaiser Ephes, the Emperor of Darkness and power behind the imperial throne. All her efforts were furthering the goals of the dark forces, and she continued to fight, now in a much more direct fashion. She routed armies and destroyed cities, yet always seemed to spare her rivals...while sparing no effort to crush their spirits.
In the final battle against the emperor himself, Mana faced down against her old friends one last time, and as her dark lord dissipated into nothingness, his grasp on the damned souls he had claimed weakened, and Mana died with a smile on her face.
Personality: Mana is a girl with sad eyes. Haunted by an unforgivable sin in her own past and a cursed fate, she desperately seeks a way to escape her fate and finally die. She is also terribly lonely, and fears that loneliness most of all. Even on the occasions she does win friends, she knows it’s only temporary and she’ll eventually need to stab them in the back. She’ll do whatever she needs in pursuit of her goals, from being friendly to going out of her way to make people suffer and outright sadism. She tends to be calm, wise, and cold-hearted.
She hates herself for her role as a servant to the ultimate evil, but there’s no turning back for her, beyond whatever slim chances she can find. She also seeks the approval, if not affection, of her dark masters. She enjoys fighting quite a bit, and never seems to balk at an opportunity to go against a worthy opponent.
Pretty much all of her spells are called out by name either by herself or her device. Mana often appends some key command phrases to her own attacks as well, such as “dead end shoot (or slash)” for firing her stronger ranged and melee spells, respectively. Signature Ability:
Ancient Balmar Style (Corrupted) - Mana’s primary magical style, developed from a combination of her study of ancient relics, and adapting several spells and tricks stolen from her time in the Federation military. Her spells are also clearly corrupted by the powers of Darkness she serves.
Embrace the Inferno - Mana releases a burst of dark power in a sphere, damaging anything around her.
Axion Buster - Mana creates a magic circle in front of her and a sphere of dark energy forms at its center. When she strikes it with her sword, it fires off as a long-range beam of energy.
Genosic Nova - “So, have a taste. My past! My sins! My fate! And, my despair!” Mana creates a large magic circle and charges through it, fusing the spell onto her body (seen as glowing runes and symbols covering her). She charges at her chosen target and strikes, trapping the both of them in an egg-shaped cocoon of dark magic. Her victim is tormented by strange visions of Mana’s past sins, as Mana is free to attack them while the two are trapped within the spell. Mana then bursts out of the cocoon, shattering it and causing it to explode.
High Familiar - Mana launches bird-like projectiles that home in on the enemy relentlessly. Essentially her basic ranged attack. She typically fires four at a time, but she can scale the technique up to much larger scales for area saturation.
Rumbling Discalibur - Magically-enhanced swordplay. A basic technique charging her device with magical energy to enhance physical strikes, allowing her to break weak barriers and similar defenses. Mana can even knock projectiles out of the sky with her sword.
Abilities: Flight: Mana is a skilled aerial combat mage. (Or, put another way, magical girls can fly.)
Intelligent Device- Discalibur: An intelligent device in the shape of a sword, Excalibur represents a combination of ancient relics, Federation technology, and Balmarian zehirut crystals, a sort of nanotech-like magically-active crystal capable of self-repair and limited shape-changing. A powerful weapon in and of itself, Discalibur also enhances the strength of Mana’s magic considerably, and has a system to load cartridges charged with concentrated magical energy for an extra burst.
Expert swordsman: Mana is a very dangerous close-quarters combatant.
Telepathy: A common mage trick, mana can use magic to communicate telepathically over a distance, rather than rely on radio or similar communications.
Barrier: A magical shield, usually taking the form of a magic circle projected from the hand. Can be used to stop some attacks, or at least take the edge off.
Background: 16, Female, Balmarian, Balmarian Mage
Summary: After her initial surprise at not being dead, Mana adjusted pretty well to things. In her own words, she’s supposed to be an agent of balance, but she made some mistakes along the way and couldn’t really escape except by dying, apparently. Except, you know, there’s an evil version of her running around with all of her most powerful stuff.
Unfortunately for the Redeemer Corps, she seems more snagged from her earlier days with La Gias, and isn’t quite the powerhouse of her opposite number, notably as she’d need to build herself a new and better intelligent device to really keep up.
She didn’t take much convincing to help out, although she does have an agenda of things she’d like to do or collect if she wants to have a good chance of competing with an evil version of herself. She’s spent most of her time since recruitment either training or trying to develop better spells.
Personality: With friends and emotional support, Mana’s much less gloomy and tends to work well with others. Presumably without intent of stabbing them in the back as soon as it’s convenient. She still enjoys a good fight a little too much, and some of her attitudes toward danger are a bit too irreverent at times.
As one might expect from her willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals, she is very determined and is the sort to never give up even when against superior odds or stronger opponents. She has no intention of dying or giving up until she’s set things right, and she has a lot of things to answer for.
Signature Ability: Modern Balmar Style - Mana’s original magical fighting style. It focuses a little more on close-range combat than her modified counterpart, but is still quite powerful.
Akashic Buster: Mana’s long-range bombardment spell works the same way. She gathers a sphere of magical energy in front of her, and strikes it with her sword to fire it off in a big beam.
Silver Flash: Magically-enhanced swordplay. Mana channels magic into her armed device sword, allowing her to strike with greater power, potentially breaking weak magical barriers and defenses.
Caloric Missile: Mana’s bread and butter ranged attack launches a few homing bolts of magic at her target.
Stardust Tears: Mana creates many swords of energy which rain down on an area, damaging anything in it. Primarily useful against groups of enemies, rather than a single target. With a command, she can cause the magical energy blades to detonate, dealing additional damage.
Mirage Sign: Mana uses a large magic circle to create several illusory duplicates of herself, and they all attack in concert, striking from multiple directions.
Redeemed Abilities: Intelligent Device - Mysteltainn: Mana’s old intelligent device, before it was replaced with Discalibur. She’s added a cartridge system to it, but it is otherwise of typical La Gias construction. It serves the same purpose as any device, it’s just not the one Mana wielded at the height of her power.
Flight: Mana can still fly, although she may not be as fast or as adept an aerial combat mage anymore.
Swordsman: While less the combatant she was, Mana is still competent with a sword.
Telepathy: Pretty much unchanged, given it’s such a basic trick for a mage. It may not be too useful, given it is intended to use magic to communicate between others who can also use magic.
Barrier: Some of the symbols in the magical circle are different, with her different style, but mana can still create a directional shield. It’s not as strong, of course.
Homura nodded to Karine and returned her greeting. "Evening." At least she wasn't also greeted with the familiar shiver down her spine that sometimes accompanied her half-yokai friend. "I usually use my phone for things, but I do still wear a watch." She fiddled a bit with her left sleeve to reveal a sporty little digital watch that's definitely seen better days from some of the wear on it. "You want me to start training with you or something?"
She does eventually decide on a drink, at least. "Can you make a Shirley Temple," Homura asked Gotou. "I don't really know about many non-alcoholic things, but I might as well get fancier than cola."
She nodded to Sakura. "Oh, it's not really a matter of trying to hide her or anything, it's just what else should I do? Just put the sword on the bar counter? I don't want her getting in the way."
"That does sound like a nice mission," Homura answered the offer from Sakura, leaning forward a bit to get a better look at the posting. "I'm sure we're up to the task to giving an oni and any cronies a good spanking. They particularly dangerous, or just the usual sort of troublemakers?"
She turned to Karine. "What do you think? Sound like a fun girls' night out?"