[sticky entry] Sticky: Navigation

Jan. 21st, 2013 02:33 am
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At-a-glance info for people interacting with her for the first time.
An IC Contact post.
Her UG@ application, for details.
Her upgrade, for updated details.
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This post is to allow anonymous feedback and constructive criticism of my portrayal of Laura. Being none of: female, gay, poly, living in a postapocalypse, subjectively time-displaced, recently severely traumatized, frequently in combat, capable of altering the fundamental nature of reality, or British, any notice that I'm conspicuously messing up my presentation of any of those issues is especially welcome.

I've got anonymous commenting without IP-logging enabled. You're still more than welcome to comment with a journal I'll recognize, of course, or to look me up on AIM.

You can also use this to contact me if you can't get me on AIM, or to put a request on the record if there's anything you want me to do or not do with or around your characters.

IC Contact

Apr. 6th, 2013 11:01 pm
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If you want a thread with Laura that doesn't merit a game post, start one below! Just don't forget to set the scene - and indicate whether or not it's meant to be in continuity.


Jan. 21st, 2013 02:33 am
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Laura is a 21-year-old woman. She's a little below average height, fairly slight of build, but curvaceous and busty. She has a young-looking face, pale skin, brown eyes, and shoulder-length red hair. She wears makeup, but not a lot. Most of the time she dresses quite femininely, in dresses or skirts, with her hair down or braided. If she's working, she'll be dressed practically, generally in a jumpsuit or overalls with her hair tied up or in a ponytail. She's very much conventionally attractive on the cute side, though she doesn't usually emphasize the fact in how she presents herself. It wouldn't be unfair to describe her as a moeblob, looks-wise, though she doesn't act helpless.

In mannerisms, she's friendly and pleasant but also shy and somewhat self-effacing. She's soft-spoken with a London (not Cockney) accent. She is in fact stronger than she looks, though that's still not very strong. She's a competent fighter, enough to defend herself against someone with minimal training, but not to fight evenly against a soldier or specialist without using her powers. She works as an apprentice mechanic, and also helps out in the kitchen and to a lesser extent the medbay and arboretum, so she knows a little about all of those roles from a ground level view.

At virtually all times she wears a device like a bulky, robust wristwatch on her left wrist. This is her amplifier, which enables her Shifter powers. The short version is that given a couple of seconds to transform, she becomes armoured, superhumanly strong and tough, environmentally self-contained, capable of flight and able to summon objects such as blades and shields. Even when not transformed she has accelerated healing. This is noticeable in that she has no scars or calluses.

If you have a nodding acquaintance with Laura or have heard other people talking about her, you probably know that she's generally well-liked, trains with the Britannian 501st Strike Witches and Clan Wolf, and is gay, being involved with Lily Rain.
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General background:

The year is unspecified. It's at least a hundred years in the future. Earth was united under the government of the Federation, which extended to most of the space colonies in the Earth Sphere, and colonization extended to Mars and Jupiter as well.

All sorts of mecha have become prominent and ubiquitous. Gundams abound.

The watershed event is Second Impact, 15 years before game start. Some disasters and threats occurred or began before it, some after it, but many coincided with it.

Festum had been attacking Japan for years before Impact.
The Getter team had been fighting the Dinosaur Empire.
In the run up to Second Impact, war breaks out between the Federation and the colonies threatened by the steps it's taking to prepare. This war causes considerable destruction.

Second Impact itself devastates the world, especially Asia. America is also hard hit, and much of the Antarctic ice sheet melts. Earth's orbit becomes choked with debris and meteorite impacts become a hazard.

Post-Impact, an Irgelion fleet attempts to invade the outer colonies but Earth itself doesn't pay much attention.
Tthe One Year War causes devastation.
Neuroi appear and start trying to eat places.

State of affairs:

Europe and Africa are the least hard-hit by the disasters. Much of Europe is under the control of Britannia, which also has a corporate empire including much of what's left of Japan. The rest of Europe and most of Africa is Federation territory. The Japanese Disaspora has created the nation of Fuso around the Pacific Rim, especially on the west coast of North America.

North America contains mobile cities roaming the wasteland.

Much of East and Southeast Asia was united under Gucun post-Impact, and since that nation's collapse is in chaos.

Northeast Asia is the land of the Domeopolii and the Siberian Railway.

Australia and South America are largely blank slates.

Global communication and commerce are in shambles. Standards of living are reasonably high in Britannia and the Federation but outside their territories networks are local and trade relies on barter or intrinsically valuable goods.

Travel to and from space is difficult due to the debris field and requires either motherships or exceptional mechs.

Many space colonies are self-sufficient enough to feel less hardship from Impact, but are in a political tight spot caught between the Titans and Axis.

Canon-specific contributions to the setting )
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Player: Kamikasei
Character: Laura Ericks
Canon: Still Not Safe (OC)


Changes to how Shifter powers work after the conclusion of SNS canon mean that Laura can no longer Shift or use her most powerful attack, but can now conjure weapons, barriers and other objects from Sophium and gains physical enhancements in armour to boost her combat ability.

She retains her base powers beyond Shifting itself: armour (which no longer tires her so quickly - she can maintain it more or less indefinitely with no noticeable strain), a mild healing factor while in armour (and to a lesser extent out of it), environmental protection, and flight. She can no longer pass through solid objects. When her armour's freshly summoned, she's surrounded by a cloud of Sophium nanomachines that fuel her other powers. Parts of this cloud may be formed in to solid objects to serve as weapons, usually molecule-sharp blades which may be held or fired off at range, or as shields and barriers. Parts may be used to weaken enemies or boost or heal allies, as before, though more reliably and without a per-use stamina cost. Weapons persist indefinitely and may be returned to the cloud to be reused for other powers, but defensive uses generally deplete the cloud. Once the cloud is entirely used up, Laura must fall back on her armour itself, her flight and improved strength and speed. The cloud regenerates itself during rest periods when she's out of armour, as the dispersed nanomachines return to her control. Thus, Laura has a visible "power gauge" that can be seen to run down during combat and leaves her still able to contribute when empty, instead of vaguely-defined and all-or-nothing abilities based around insubstantiality and fatigue.

That's the summary. The tl;dr full detail workup follows. Trust me, unless you're genuinely curious or want to check precise limits in unusual situations, you can spare yourself the read - the above covers 95% of the mechanically relevant stuff.

Details )

Terrain Stats:
Land: A
Air: A
Sea: B
Space: A
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Player Name: kamikasei
Personal LJ: emorangerpink
AIM Contact: kamikasei
Character Name: Laura Ericks
Source Canon: Still Not Safe (OC)
Community Tag: laura ericks

Notes: Much setting and background info for this canon can be found under Devon's application.

Laura Ericks had as close to a normal childhood as anyone gets these days. Born in -5 AI, growing up in Britain, her family were insulated from the worst effects of Second Impact and the wars leading up to and following on from it. She suffered no notable tragedies. A plain, unremarkable girl, slightly overweight and without any particular academic or athletic aptitude, her worst complaints were indifferent parents, bullying at school, and a self-consciousness and lack of self-confidence which came from the combination.

She was fifteen years old when the strange monsters called Shifting Entities appeared and began attacking sites in what was left of the Earth Federation, passing unconcerned through all opposition to detonate and disintegrate all life - and only life - in their blast zones. She had just turned sixteen when SECT, the organization formed to combat the SEs, recruited her as one of the rare teens able to fight the creatures on their own level. Laura was given a crystal of the strange material Sophium which had been found to be linked to the SEs, and became a Shifter, the youngest of a team of seven who gained the ability to transform into physics-defying suits of power armour and Shift onto the SE's own plane of existence to battle them with weird and varied powers.

Laura was still shy and awkward, but now she had a purpose and, more importantly, friends. Her new teammates adopted her as a little sister. Her powers, hard to understand and harder to control, gave her a support role within the team and a certain protectiveness came naturally to those around her. As far as anyone could determine, her powers were able to somehow alter reality itself, and so from having been totally unremarkable all her life Laura now had a potential that defied belief - except for how difficult she found it to use her powers effectively. But that was okay, her teammates told her and she believed. She would learn. They'd help her. They had time.

Unfortunately that feeling proved overly optimistic. The fights against the SEs were hard, but the team learned quickly and bonded well despite their different personalities and powers. However, alien creatures were not the only enemies SECT faced, nor the worst. Human fanatics who had come to regard the SEs as deliverers or avatars of judgement acquired Shifter powers of their own and began to sabotage SECT's efforts. Having signed on to save the world from giant monsters, Laura found herself having to fight - and kill - fellow human beings, members of Thoughts of Ascension, who claimed that those disintegrated by the SEs were delivered to paradise and that SECT's Shifter team were the vilest of heretics, who faced God's messengers and fought and murdered them to prevent their good work.

In the end it was Thoughts of Ascension who started SECT's downfall - and Laura who blamed herself for it. The boost to her confidence which her role on the team had given her let her pluck up the courage to confess her feelings for one of her teammates, the Russian Yelena Yashinova. When the two were out at dinner and Laura was steeling her nerve, Ascenders saw the divided team as vulnerable and attacked. Yelena was killed - arguably, because she fought as much to protect the shocked and frightened Laura as herself. And Laura, trying desperately to heal and revive her friend, pushed her powers so far past their limit as to not merely exhaust herself, but put herself in to a coma.

Four years passed. Not long after the attack, the remaining members of the team figured out how to stop the SEs from appearing, permanently - by sacrificing their own lives to seal them away. Four did so. One abstained. The SE attacks stopped, and Thoughts of Ascension faded away with the disappearance of their saviours. SECT disbanded once it became clear their purpose had been served. And Laura slept.

The threat posed by the powers of the SEs and Shifters had not vanished, though, and other agendas drove other plans. Soon after SECT's disbanding, Laura disappeared, her location unknown to the remnants of the organziation or to the other surviving Shifter, Devon. In fact she was in the care of Roger Dantoinne, CEO of Blackstone Arts, a wealthy man who had been one of SECT's financial backers and who had a use for her now as leverage against her former teammate.

A few weeks ago, Laura awoke from her coma. The time since has been confused and indistinct for her, as she's recovered and been treated. Her memories only clearly begin a week before she joins the game. For her, Yelena's death is still fresh and her teammates' sacrifice a further crushing blow she awoke to. Mr. Dantoinne has been very supportive, and gently suggested that she can still honour her teammates' memories by continuing what's left the fight they tried to end - by joining the crew of the White Chalice to defend humanity against the remnants of Thoughts of Ascension, and support Devon, who he fears is becoming increasingly unstable.

The two big factors in Laura's personality are a certainty that she's capable of a great deal, and a crushing guilt that she fails to achieve it. Since a young age teachers have been saying she has potential, but the girl has so little faith in herself it's always seemed pointless to her to try, as the smallest setback was taken as a validation of any bullying and self-doubt and proof that she was doomed to fail anyway. When she joined SECT this swung the other way - her powers seemed to offer limitless possibility, and her teammates, though protective and indulgent, genuinely believed that she would become able to use them well in time. Laura started to believe it herself.

Yelena's death was a crushing blow, not just for the loss of her first love but for the certain knowledge that if Laura had just tried harder, had just done better, then Yelena wouldn't have had to risk herself to defend her; wouldn't have had to fight at all; wouldn't have had to die, could have been brought back even then, if Laura had just been good enough. Learning of the deaths of the rest of her teammates only worsened it - not only does Laura feel their sacrifice would have been unnecessary if she had developed her powers better and sooner, but she suspects their decision was partly based on her absence, that they felt driven to desperate measures because she was no longer there to put their hope in.

In a way this guilt is almost liberating. It's there ready to utterly smother her if she lets it, but now with no one to look out for her Laura knows she has to step up and she only has two things left to lose. One is the memory of her friends - she can't afford to fail after they sacrificed everything for her sake. And one is Devon - she knows the older Shifter has been operating on her own during the time she spent comatose, and has become more isolated and extreme, which Laura is certain is her own reaction to having to shoulder the team's burdens on her own. She's determined to show that Devon doesn't have to fight alone any more - that she can be someone to rely on instead of just someone to protect.

In fact Laura is less incapable than she imagines - she's just so down on herself that she's usually unwilling to try at anything for long. With the encouragement of her doctors and Mr. Dantoinne, though, and her own newfound determination, she's decided she's going to stick it out this time - training back up for her physical recovery, doing what she can to develop her Shifter powers, and acquiring whatever useful skills she can so as to contribute on board the Chalice. She's determined to stand on her own feet this time, and not let herself be a burden for those around her. As such she'll be looking for ways she can help out about ship, spending her time recovering from physical and Shifter training on study and skills acquisition, acting as a gofer and assistant wherever her limited knowledge isn't a hindrance.

Her traumas are fresh and still healing. Fighting giant monsters and terrorist enemies was scary, but her teammates' support meant she handled that side of her time with SECT well enough. The attack that killed Yelena, though, was an ambush and firefight in the middle of dinner on what was to have been a coming out for Laura in more ways than one, as it represented her standing up for her own desires and goals for the first time in her life. With that disaster the last clear memory she has from before she properly woke up a week before joining the crew, she's still extremely nervous around crowds and at risk of flashbacks and breakdowns. Her memory of the few weeks since she started to recover from her coma is vague and indistinct, so she remembers being told about her teammates' deaths and the events since as if it happened in a dream or at some long-ago time, leaving her emotionally off-balance and prone to disturbed sleep and depressive episodes.

She's physically weak and easily tired due to her long time spent bedridden - less so than might be expected, thanks to the genuinely excellent care provided by Blackstone Arts - and though she's working hard to remedy that, it adds up to a fragility that requires her to carefully monitor her own limits and keep to herself at times when things get too overwhelming. At the same time, she knows that she's in danger of spiraling down in to herself if she spends too long alone, so she's looking to reach out to trustworthy new friends and sources of support. At the same time too she wants to reach out to Devon, while knowing that the other girl will probably try to push her away - and that she's well practiced at doing so.

Laura has no particular talents either physical or mental, but she's reasonably bright and a quick learner when she puts her mind to it and doesn't convince herself of her own uselessness. She's uncoordinated, but not so clumsy as to trip over her own feet or be prone to injury - she's just not much good with fine motor skills or close combat, and if you want to suggest a sport to play with her it's best if it doesn't involve high-speed projectiles. Although she had a relatively sheltered upbringing, it was in the sense of not being exposed to much tragedy or destruction when growing up, rather than being insulated from knowledge of their existence. Laura knows a lot of the world has it a lot worse than her, and though she may not be fully able to relate to those who have suffered more hardship she's not insensitive or indifferent about it.

Appearance is a somewhat sensitive topic for Laura. Growing up feeling - and being teased and bullied as - unattractive, an early experiment with her powers was to use them on herself. The effort knocked her out and the effect left her ill for days, but now Laura's a petite, pretty, buxom girl who well matches what she herself considers beautiful (though leaning more towards "cute" than "sexy" by most standards) - yet sometimes feels uncomfortable in her own skin as a result, and ill at ease with any compliments or attention based on the looks she's given herself.

Age is the other big oddity for her, as in her mind she's still sixteen years old, and the missing years are something she's having difficulty adjusting to - she looks younger than she is but older than she feels, and wobbles between trying to act up to her apparent age in order to minimize any little-sister effect she's prone to having on others, and discovering she lacks the walk to match that talk and seeming even younger than she inwardly remains. She did have the luxury of considering herself and her teammates young for the work they were asked to do in SECT, which means she's probably in for a shock at the demographics of some of the fighters aboard the Chalice.

Capabilities and Resources: Laura is, on the inside, a sheltered sixteen-year-old girl with little self-confidence who's been completely out of contact with the world for four years. She'd be on good terms with any surviving SECT personnel - if she knew how to contact them. Outside of her Shifter abilities and her determination to make a difference this time, her only resource is the financial and moral support of Roger Dantoinne, CEO of Blackstone Arts.

Robot Name: Sophium Armour - The Great Pretender
Robot Description: The Great Pretender is a summoned suit of armour which Laura activates using a Sophium crystal held in a sturdy wristwatch-like device, her amplifier, which doubles as a radio. In appearance it's a distinctively feminine, ornamental-looking suit of silver plate. The helmet covers Laura's eyes completely, but leaves her lower face - nose to jaw - exposed, and lets her hair loose at the back. When summoned, metal plates seem to materialize out of nowhere, assembling into the full suit in just two or three seconds.

Despite its appearance the suit provides sturdy protection and full environmental control - yes, Laura can breathe in space, or underwater for that matter. It allows Laura to fly at the speed of standard mech, and indeed once summoned she will generally fly or float rather than walk or stand for as long as she uses it. Its protection is enough to render any normal handheld weapon harmless, though exotic or mecha-scale armaments are still a threat and must be dodged or defended against with the suit's other powers. The suit also speeds and strengthens the healing process, though enough damage will overwhelm it, and limbs or appendages lost will not regrow. Although Laura's reactions and ability to dodge are improved by her armour, her physical abilities are otherwise unchanged - she's not any stronger or more nimble than her normal self, which is to say, not very.

The Great Pretender's two chief active powers are Shifting and reality alteration. Shifting works the same way as for Devon, their old teammates, and their enemies among Thoughts of Ascension. When Shifted, Laura exists on another plane of reality slightly out of phase with normal matter. She can see and be seen, but passes through solid objects effortlessly, with two exceptions: the Earth itself (but not artifical ground-level construction) and Sophium-based matter, including Sophium crystals, plates of Sophium-laced alloy, and other Shifted beings. This means that when Shifted Laura can move freely through any terrain and even along the ocean floor, and resist normal attacks from non-Shifters. Sophium weapons are a threat whether wielded by a Shifter or not, and of course a surprise attack won't give Laura a chance to Shift if she isn't already.

"Reality alteration" is the umbrella term used back in SECT for the suite of hard-to-quantify powers unique to Laura. These have limited use in direct offense, but are quite powerful in defense and support, albeit unreliable. All applications require mental focus and effort of will, more so the greater the effect, and are quite draining to Laura whether she succeeds with them or not. From weakest and most reliable to strongest and least reliable, this power can:
- directly attack an enemy, attempting to weaken and hinder them. The enemy becomes less accurate and damaging in its attacks, and is more vulnerable to attack itself. This attack can deal a very little outright damage, but is much more effective when used to set up an ally's attack.
- "boost" an ally, strengthening some tendency it already possesses. Maneuverable units move faster and dodge better. Tough units shrug off more damage. Attacks are more likely to succeed and hit harder or in just the right place. The ally cannot do anything it couldn't do before, but can do all it can better.
- negate an attack, seemingly literally rewinding a moment of time so that an event suddenly didn't happen. This can mean that a punch goes wide or a projectile misses or disappears in mid-flight, or even that an enemy suddenly looks confused after winding up for an attack they just... don't make. The bigger or more powerful the attack or the more targets Laura must defend, the more likely the negation will be incomplete.
- heal an ally, repairing minor damage or injury or dispelling negative effects of some powers - causing binds to drop away, or allowing psychic attacks to be shrugged off. In principle, there's no set limit on the use of this ability. In practice, anything more than reviving someone knocked unconscious just a moment before is beyond Laura. Serious injury, loss of limbs, and death will cause her to black out attempting to fix them, to no effect. Furthermore, the more serious an injury, the less time she has in which to act to reverse it.
- unmake an enemy. Laura attempts to outright deny her target's existence, as dark bubbles form around her enemy and leave nothing behind when they vanish. This attack is extremely draining for Laura and can be used at most a handful of times before she's entirely exhausted and unable to maintain her armour.

All uses of her reality alteration power(s) are accompanied by a strange mist about both Laura and the target, which seems to glow in many colours as if lit from within, though no light sources are visible.

Just how Shifter powers work was an open question at SECT, with several competing theories which were never finally decided between. The variety of powers displayed by different Shifters, their relationship to the psyches of the users, and the impermeability of the Earth on the Shifted plane all created a lot of confusion. Some theorized that Sophium opened up a metaphysical realm where will becomes reality. A few suggested that Shifters could access the level of Plato's Forms, and that the Earth was so robust a Form that it possessed a special resilience there. Most agreed that the crystals probably represented some advanced technology - but advanced enough that its functioning was all but impossible to distinguish from more mystical explanations. Whatever the mechanism, its use clearly depends on the mental state of the Shifter, none more so than Laura's powers.

((In fact, Shifter powers in general and Laura's in particular are the products of a highly advanced nanotechnology, in turn capable of feats of alien science defying modern Earth physics. Nanites in the Sophium of her crystal form the armour and mist Laura uses, obeying subconscious commands. As well as allowing Laura to phase between normal and Shifted planes of reality, her particular powers go further as the nanotech clouds actually alter probability and causality within their area of effect, literally substituting a new version of objects and events for what's already present. This requires a form of doublethink on Laura's part - she must simultaneously know how things are, to know she wants to change them, and hold with total conviction a belief of how she wants them to be, to prompt the nanites to match her subconscious commands. The degree of concentration and alien mode of thought required is the most immediate limit on the extent and reliability of Laura's powers. Furthermore, reality itself tends to resist being altered, as things strongly accepted by others have enough inertia that Laura cannot simply impose her own will to overwrite events in which others have a stake - a direct attack on a person or their equipment, or an attempt to revert an action strongly willed, turns in to a contest of will, albeit without the full conscious awareness of the participants.))

Even without Shifting or using powers, maintaining her armour is physically draining for Laura. In SECT, her limit was about ninety minutes of continuous activation. As it appears to be based on her actual physical stamina, her current convalescence has left it lower, though it's increasing as she improves her conditioning. She hopes to exceed her old limits before long. Going all the way to the limit leaves Laura completely exhausted and likely to collapse on the spot, and recovery takes at least five times as long as the period of use.

Terrain Stats:
Land: B
Air: A
Sea: B
Space: B

Upgrades: Laura will train to improve the time she can spend in armour and the frequency with which she can use her powers before reaching exhaustion, and to improve her concentration and willpower to handle more and/or larger targets, but these are small incremental improvements and she has no major upgrades or new abilities in the works.

Job: However she can be useful!

Suggested Event List: As Devon's, with certain secret complications.

Sample Post: http://testrun-box.livejournal.com/303493.html


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