Keller shrugged. Physically drained from a workload so poorly split, the mechanic was barely paying any attention to his coworker at that point. His back had been arguing that he wasn't built for manual labor for the past three hours, and yet Liphman somehow retained his position positioning the objects Keller had unloaded from the truck.
"I swear to God, it's Micheal or Keller. Nothing in between."
"Yeesh." Liphman gave him a moment as he looked back at the stage himself. Knightwear had spent a fortune procuring the biggest stage the Past The Future exhibition had to offer, so he had to make sure everything on it looked perfect. Keller still had a dozen or so boxes to unload, but aside from assembling the weapons rack, high-tech variations of medieval arms cluttered in pile at the platform's edge, the stage was done. Probably? Liphman returned his gaze to their main attraction, reflection of the rising sun shooting straight into his eye the moment they landed on the armor. "Shit!"
Keller grunted, evidence of amusement cracking at the edge of his mouth for only a moment before he forced it away. "Glad to see how much you learned in college." Catching his breath in the shade, he didn't quite have the same issue his partner did. Beneath the banner proudly declaring "Armor made Weightless" rested years worth of work. A mirror-like alloy was using sunlight like a weapon as it danced off the scaled lining of the slender, masculine frame, standing heroically with its hands on its hips. Only bits of leather could be seen where the metal was spread furthest at the open palms, but it otherwise looked more like the chainmail that went under the armor rather than the armor itself. Keller forgot who got to shoot it to disprove the perception, but he was envious of them. Not because of how frustrated the past few hours had gotten him, but because the cost to make, and sell one made him sick. Being composed of 'smart scales', as his boss had coined, a small country couldn't buy one if they pooled all their money together. Maybe they could make one, but they'd still have to cut some costs.
Thousands of circuits had gone into the suit to replicate a body's motor system, and fortunes that would pale even the worst robber barons were sunk into the scanner inside the helmet. Being made of the scales as well, the entire thing looked more like a metal ninja gi than a knight's armor, but when it was in action, the mechanics doubted people would care. It would only feel like wearing a tee shirt, if that. The scanner would tell the scales how to move, and they would move with their wearer independently. The suit would even expand to give its occupant space, putting them in a shell they only touched with the base of their feet. The only thing that was awkward was entry. Whenever it was powered down, the back opened, starting at the legs and traversing up to the back, before splitting between the head and across the arms. Stepping out of it was easy enough, but getting in typically required waddling. Even posed properly, it still looked a little stupid opened up.
Shaking his head, Keller bent down to reach into the cooler at his feet. If he brought more mater bottles, he would've dumped one on his head, but with scarce supplies, it went down the gullet. Within two swallows, however, he heard a familiar grinding sound as the condensed scales at the sides of the mini mech suit closed. Sighing, he wiped his lip. "You're going to get us fired, Liphman."
Keller paused a moment. His associate's voice wasn't coming from the stage... Glancing over his shoulder confirmed Liphman wasn't a secret ventriloquist, but when he turned from the podium he was constructing, the men froze again. Metal clanks echoed across the stage as their suit moved, sans either of them before stopping at its edge. Liphman looked first, Keller's denial too strong to entertain reality.
"Did... did we give it an AI?"
"No?" Finally caving, the younger mechanic turned as well, his body growing cold when he saw the scaled armor hunched over the weapons before deciding on the concussive bow, grasping the sleek metal in its hand before noticing it was being stared at. For a brief moment, it too froze, both men looking wide eyed through the glass visor and at the white cloth lining at the back of the head, or rather, lack thereof. Awkwardly, the machine's fingers drummed on the stage for a moment before settling on a sheepish wave. Liphman mimicked it, but Keller was still paralized.
It was good enough for the machine, however, who after collapsing both sides of the modernized weapon into a soft, six inch curve, gingerly hopped off the stage. With a bow and final wave, it made its way past the men, who could do nothing more than watch.
It wasn't until it got ten feet that Liphman snapped back to himself. "Kelly!"
"Shit!" The mechanic went from stand-still to sprinting in a heartbeat, water bottle dropping to the ground and draining by the time he reached Liphman. Snatching his wrist, he dragged him into the chase, four feet pounding after a metal pair, dashing for the sunset.
Velvet looks like a ninja gi coated in reflective scales. It has a sledar form that leans more masculine, and it's head is either shaped like a mask with a visor shaped like a faint 'v', or is more open like a cowl, where it's top would line up with someone's scalp before dropping to the neck like a teardrop. Generally speaking, Velvet likes to keep it open, but will quickly close it if people trying reaching where a face should be. When it transitions, the visor rises behind the scales, but while the visor is active, its color reflects the type of vision being used. Light green for night, red for thermal, or clear, for normal. It can also darken like sunglasses should it get too bright, but no matter the coloring, a keen eye would be able to see the suit is empty through the glass.
Velvet doesn't wear clothing so to speak, but it does have a small red cloth tied to its right wrist, and spiraling until it reaches the upper arm. Tucked inside of this is its collapsible concussive bow. Velvet also has a black handbag draped over its right shoulder, resting around her left hip. Inside, it contains a small notepad, a flip phone, and a wallet with an ID reading V3LV3T KN1GHTW3AR. In the photo, Velvet's face is in its cowl form, and in the edge, it's holding up its three center fingers. Velvet never writes its name with the numbers. In fact, it seems to resent their existence all together.
Metal Velvet's slender frame is compensated by being... metal. It's as strong as a lightweight boxer, but wearing brass knuckles. It's able to absorb a fair amount of punishment, but fairs better against slashing than smashing. Things like blades are able to be blocked, but the impact itself hurts Velvet. It does great against lightweight weapons, but starts running into trouble when they get heavier. Generally speaking, she does well against projectiles as well for the same reason. Small caliber rounds may not even register, but more standard sizes would feel like being shot with a paintball. Armor piercing could cripple it, or even shut it down. The scales are about on par with steel.
Agile Velvet only weighs about 60 pounds, and while it can match pace with a sprinting athlete, the robot shines with its stamina. It takes hours for it to get tired, and enjoys moving at top speed. Which, again, is just a fast person running. It excels in hand to hand combat, with a strong favoring for kicks.
Concussive bow The only weapon Velvet carries is a concussive bow. It collapses like a baton, ending at eight inches, but when it's out, it's a sleek, silver looking longbow. Plucking where it's string should be creates an arrow, one that looks more like a distortion in the air, which still has to be drawn to be fired. There's still a resistance to the arrow being pulled back so that the user knows where it's firing, but rather than stabbing, it bursts on impact. Depending on how drawn back the bow was, it can feel like anything between a weak jab to a baseball bat. Hypothetically, Velvet could also hit people with the bow itself, but would be hesitant to do so against anything that could dent it.
Light Velvet doesn't weigh a lot, and while being made of metal helps it put up a fight, stronger opponents would be able to lob it pretty far, and once she gets caught grappling she'd be at a disadvantage.
Water The robot itself is waterproof, but its not buoyant. Getting it under water could cripple its movement speed, and the only way it would have to resurface is walking to shore.
Overcharging Things like bolts of electricity could trip a failsafe within Velvet, turning it off to keep the circuits from blowing.
Overt Velvet is super shiney. This makes blending in extremely difficult. Even if it dulled the shine with dirt or mud in the night, starlight would still screw her over.
Anything EMP Related It's basically a mech suit.
Hacking Same deal.
Fire While initial tests for the suit determined insulated and highly heat resistant, it seems afraid of burning. It doesn't mind things like campfires, but as soon as the flames are weaponized it acts like it's made of leaves.
For starters, Velvet is mute, doesn't know sign language, isn't fluent in Morse Code, writes slowly, spells terribly, and types slower. It only recognizes the common tongue, but on occasion, can recognize greetings, cursing, or other expressions in other languages, especially Latin or Reverse Common.
Otherwise, Velvet seems to be high energy. It often touches objects it passes and taps things when it's standing still. It prefers running to walking, and does try communicating with others from time to time. More often than not, its through bad charades or pointing, with the gestures being more wild the longer this takes. If this has already happened a few times that day, it'll open with it's notepad and jotting down the thing it wants/needs to express. It has faith in people, for the most part, but doesn't trust authority.
Velvet enjoys being a part of things and is often times in public areas. It enjoys parks and beaches, and works odd jobs, mainly manual labor. Most of the money it spends is on hotel rooms so it has a place to charge.
Velvet was under construction for five years as the prototype for Knightwears' Weightless Armor before it spontaneously gained sentience and walked away from the exhibition it was meant to be revealed at. It was lightly discussed on late night talk shows, but Smartscale, as it was being called at the time, wouldn't make international headlines until the company tried to reclaim its prototype.
What followed was a handful of small scale lawyers banding together to fight for its citizenship (and be seen on TV leading a pivotal case) before it was picked up by some larger, more experienced firms. Knightwears' unrelenting attitude for the repossession of their greatest creation put them in a PR Hell, and the company went bankrupt before the case ended in their opposition's favor. They were never able to recreate what they made with Smartscale, who, throughout the process, had tried getting its name changed. Smartscale, Curtain, Silk, and Velvet were all listed as the defendant at one point or another in the legal documents. It didn't, however, think it had to specify spelling, and was wildly frustrated when it saw numbers in its entirely capitalized name, and that it was given the surname Knightwear.
Life was good the following year, however. Velvet had become a local celebrity in the metropolis she was made in, and grew accustomed to getting things for free. It has a permanent room in a luxury hotel, but an orphaned child sparked her curious mind. Instead of stepping into an elevator, Velvet boarded a train heading East, speeding for Saranac.
"Ave to you too!" The ghost flashed a broad smile to her companion, long strands of cyan hair seeming to float as she turned her head, taking its time to drift back down. "Wait, shit, that isn't Blue, is it?"
"Non 'Rubicundus' nunc!"
"I -barely- know 'ave'."
"I said you aren't 'Red' anymore!"
The phantom scoffed. Technically, that was accurate. She'd always liked flashing colors when she was alive, but after she died, a soft blue composed her entire body. Eyes, hair, and even clothes included. She used to joke that she looked like an unpainted marble statue, but she eventually ran out of people to tell it to. She also got sick of being told that marble, both: isn't blue, and doesn't glow. A severely limited social circle crippled the sentiment as well. With very few exceptions, only demons or other ghosts could see her, which arguably wasn't all bad. The horrible burns from dying in a fire had followed her to her adjacent-life. There were a few dots on the back of her hands that were melted down to the bone, but raw muscle could be seen crawling up a few inches to her forearms before fading to what she'd come to consider her flesh. If she wasn't able to trade her burnt rags for the shirt and slacks of someone who'd decided to Pass On, her legs would've revealed to be just as bad as her arms, while the back of her neck was usually shielded by her hair. The times she decided to part it over her shoulder would show it partially melted though as well, the burn arcing along her shoulders, but only dropping a few inches into her back. Whatever wasn't bound by layers of rope at the time was in bad shape.
But she was in better shape than some spirits she knew.
"I had a horse named Blue, I can't be Blue too!"
"Hence Cymatilis." Anastasia grinned back before setting her head on the table in front of Red before her body left the room. She was like a rat in a maze when it came to layouts. Whenever she came to a new place, she took a full tour and counted the steps to the important rooms. At least that's what she told Cyma. The ghost couldn't prove it, but she was pretty sure that the moment the demon's body was out of sight, Anastasia turned around and used her tail to navigate. It was a lot to get used to at first, but two years into their relationship the headlessness, tail, and even the pair of long horns protruding above her brow were as normal as the sunset. The important thing was that they were both dead. The demon just happened to be scarlett where Cymatilis was blue. "Any plans for the night?"
"The Sentinels are playing The Astronauts."
"Still with the curse?"
Cymatilis shrugged. "I don't like fire, and last time The Astronauts brought home a championship, the town rioted."
"Have they even won a game this season?"
"Oh an' eight."
Anastasia scoffed. "I'll have to find the channel after you leave, then. Might borrow the suit, too."
"I just miss being seen." Anastasia gave a meek smile before breaking off eye contact.
"I see you." Cyma leaned forward, trying to draw the demon's gaze back, "And I'll see you again tonight. 'Till then, have some fun, alright? Maybe pet a dog." The ghost grinned, but it broadened when Anastasia looked back. She basked in the moment for a time before her face turned more mischievous. "You're too far away."
They took a beat.
"I -just- laid down."
Anastasia rolled her eyes.
The ghost tapped her fingers against the table.
"Hang on, I'm coming, I'm coming."
And in a few more seconds, she was there, wordlessly grabbing both sides of her head, moving two feet, and setting it down right in front of Cymatilis, who pecked her cheek before scampering off.
"See you tonight!"
Unless, of course, you can see ghosts. In which case:
Cymatilis looks like she was set on fire. Her worst burns are on her hands, feet, and upper back, reaching her neck, where skin was burned through exposing bone, but she's able to conceal most of the damage with a tee shirt and slacks. Most of what remains is on her hands, which crawl up her forearms before fading around her upper arms and her neck when her hair moves, which descends under her collar. A few of the burns did reach around to her throat, but the skin there wasn't nearly as melted.
She has the appearance of a woman in her early twenties with hair down to her shoulders, assuming she's standing still long enough for it to fall. Due to being extremely light, even a gentle breeze will cause it to flow like it's being hit with gusts. She has a heart shaped face and is generally amused with herself.
In addition to this, Cymatilis' entire being is composed of a soft blue color, hair, clothes, eyes and all. There is also a faint glow that radiates from her body. If, again, you can see ghosts.
Covert For the vast majority of people, Cymatilis is invisible at all times. Even the grass barely moves beneath her feet, which also makes her incredibly quiet.
Cold Cymatilis is physically cold. If she were to reach out and touch you, you'd be like, "Huh. My arm feels cold." Same goes for walking into her, but she'd try to avoid that because it'd feel like she was hit by a car.
Agile In life, Cymatilis was always nimble and quick, but now that she's extremely lightweight, her maneuverability has amplified. She's a fast climber, and doesn't have to worry about things shifting or breaking under her weight.
Ethereal Interception Any skills that would rely on putting a part of yourself on a ghostly plain would put you on equal footing with Cymatilis, where she'd be able to land blows like she was alive, and her broken arrow would be able to do real damage.
Broken Arrow Like the burnt rags she traded, the arrow that killed Cymatilis followed her into The Adjacentlife, but so using it doesn't slice her hands, she broke it into several pieces to create a guard six inches behind the arrowhead, and a much smaller one four inches past that, and reattached the fletching where the pommel would be. It's great at killing evil spirits, but feels like a fingernail to living people.
Light Not as in rays of sunshine, but Cymatilis weighs about a pound, which makes her extremely weak. She can't throw a knife at you, but she can knock one off the edge of a table and flicker the lights. On the opposite side of things, a blind swing that barely grazes her could lob her dozens of feet in the air.
Wind Again. Super light.
Pain While piercing attacks would go straight through her body, like a plain through a cloud, she still feels it. A stray punch would feel like a sledgehammer, a small caliber bullet would be a point blank shotgun. Too much pain, especially to her head, would put her into shock and she'd lose consciousness.
Holy/Void Spells Any skills that specifically hurt supernatural forces do drastically more damage to her.
Overt If you can see ghosts, Cymatilis is blue everywhere and glows. If you have thermal vision, a camera, or a cell phone app, she's... still blue, actually. But darker.
When she isn't driven by a specific task, Cymatilis enjoys causing harmless chaos. She gets a kick scaring people who are doing things that they shouldn't, but has always had intense feelings about abuse of power, especially supernatural power. If she sees a way to even the odds in an underdog's favor, she'd do it, and a life of crime has made her sympathetic to it. If she sees something as harmless, like stealing food, she'd often let the perpetrator get away with, provided she even sees a way to interfere.
She has a mischievous nature, but she does ultimately want the world to be a good, safe place. Cymatilis doesn't believe in karma, but she'll enforce it.
Cymatilis has pyrophobia. The seed for this was planted when she almost burned to death investigating a friend's murder, but it didn't fully bloom until she died in an entirely different fire. For the most part, however, the fear is dependent on being threatened. She's fine, albeit uneasy, with campfires, but if you wave a torch at her she'd keep her distance.
A more common worry she has is someone stealing her suit, or potentially worse, someone realizing Velvet was stolen by a ghost, and did not, in fact, gain sentience. This is for a variety of reasons, including another ghost could steal it from her, it could be repossessed, she would lose her primary source of communication with the world, and most of the good faith she had acquired with it would burn to ash when it was discovered it grew from a field of lies. Because of this, she operates in a similar way a superhero would protect their alter ego. While Velvet may 'appear' in an area Cymatilis had been haunting, things would have to be dire for Velvet to open up in front of someone so Cymatilis could wreak havoc as a specter.
Cymatilis intends to find out why a child from Center Stage was being hunted by an adult man.
Cymatilis is a relatively young ghost, whose favorite tale from her "Adjacentlife" is how she accidentally became "The Goddess of Luck". Having looked over a dear friend in a war, her invisible intervention made the soldier appear to be uncannily lucky, in a way that followed throughout all her espionage missions. A statue was made in her honor, and after Cymatilis lost track of her friend to investigate a rumor, she returned to the marble in her friend's likeness, expecting her to visit as well.
The veteran never did, but several citizens came to pay respects to the woman who played such a part in their freedom, often mentioning the matters that they too, needed luck in. With nothing better to do, Cymatilis would look into the situation, and if the people seemed good, or at least better than an opposing party, she'd try lending her hand. For the first few months, the acts were seen as coincidence, but as the years passed, people began to think that a goddess had walked among them, and brought gifts of tribute with their requests, which, in turn, made Cymatilis feel more obligated to help.
It wasn't until 20 years of this that she decided to explore some more. By then, she'd met a handful of other ghosts seeking purpose, so she felt that both the temple, and her friend's name were in good hands. It wasn't her first vacation, so to speak, but it was her first that was longer than a week, and also the one that saw her step through the fog. Having been used to bows, swords, horseback and farms, Azalia was an intense culture shock for the first few months. She eventually learned to navigate the new world, but with so much more to explore, she didn't stay in any city for long. This was especially true when a relationship with another ghost ended badly.
After a couple years of aimless wandering, she found a quaint nation of Celestairah, and made a home in an old, abandoned mannequin factory. Haunting it made her so happy, until she caught wind of a weightless metal suit in the works. In a brazen act of thievery that would've never worked when she was alive, she strode on stage when a showcase for the armor was being prepared, and walked away wearing it in the sunlight. Much to her surprise, it didn't end up being something she had to hide. Many locals jumped to the defense of what they perceived to be a sentient robot when men came to take it back, and even offered her legal council to obtain citizenship.
It was when her duel life began, and she loved both sides of it, and soon fell in love again when a demon's spirit caught her eye. Wide eye, specifically, and after asking dozens of questions to the headless woman before her, Cymatilis grew to like her company and personality. Anastasia became her first stable relationship in...
Became her first stable relationship.
She lived in bliss for two years, until trouble showed up on her girlfriend's doorstep.
Selfless is probably not the right word to describe Stepan's attitude, but hey, I don't even know it in greek, so it's the best I've got; perhaps indifferent, not egotistical? I don't know.
The fact that I didn't write a bigger/better demo is completely unrelated to the character. I just have been drained from studying 2 months in the summer and now I finally have time to cool down before the hardest year awaiting me in school(exams that determine what university you can enter and all). Stepan is a character I created on the spot because I really liked the ability I came up with. It is definitely my most preferable from anything else I got. I assure you when it comes to an Exploit, I'll give it my all. Stepan is someone I think will work well with the ability, especially if I alter his personality a little bit.
Heh, uh, I wouldn't discribe it as selfless if you're immediately peacing out from someone who's probably pretty traumatized.
I don't have an issue with luck as a power, but your explanation to Guy kinda feels like a red flag. If you don't have the energy to edit the demo, discribe the demo as whatever, and the power is hard to show, are you sure this is something you want to run with? In my opinion, writing a demo is just as much showing what they can do as it is finding out if you like writing the character. Do you like Stepan?
Thanks Crank. First of all, I would like to say that you actually did a pretty decent job at portraying Fiona. Other than what I mentioned which honestly is perfectly explainable in most circumstances, you more or less nailed her character. And if we ever collaborate again, I promise to communicate more.
Thanks for the feedback, Pen! I'll try toning down a bit. I had a kinda hard time staying true to the characters in all honesty. It wouldn't make sense for Lena to fight Fiona herself, which is why I saw the chase as necessary, but it was also hard to keep someone who'd rather be unseen in such a spotlight. I tried positioning my endings as 'this is her goal' but I fear they were missinterpereted as 'this is what happens next'. Communication was rough on my end as well, essentially.
But, I can communicate this, at least. Congrats, Guy!