|Personality||Xiuhcoatl appears happy-go-lucky, bubbly, and a happy soul. She is near always smiling, goofing off, and making light of whatever situation she is in. Hugs and physical contact are also apparently important to her, as she indulges in them often. In reality that is all a show though; Xiuhcoatl is actually a violent sociopath with a complete lack of empathy. She is fully capable of, and in fact does, fake being empathic and caring but in reality doesn't feel any attachment. Everything she does is in some way self serving, no act truly virtuous. She just wants to expand what she sees as her personal measure of success (feathers, classical music recordings) and live for the moment.|
|Reputation||Xiuhcoatl is entirely unknown in the broader public knowledge, and only those from Oceania with a law enforcement background may recognize her as a petty criminal from that selfsame world. Aside from a few small crimes, and being suspect in many others, those major transgressions she has taken part in have been blamed upon others. As such she is lacking in notoriety.|
|Affiliation||Xiuhcoatl affiliated with an Oceanian gang before splitting off from them.|
|Hobbies||Listening to classical music, dancing to aforementioned classical music in silly manners, collecting feathers, and chasing laser pointers.|
|Skills||Xiuhcoatl has the ability to quickly learn many basic, and even some advanced, disciplines thanks to neurological gene-modifications. She can also pass any lie detector tests because she convinces herself everything she says is the truth. A master at hide and seek, Xiuhcoatl is almost innately aware of good hiding spots are. She is a largely incompetent dancer, entirely self-taught and doing what she likes instead of what looks good, often stumbling over her own feet when distracted or if her music jumps.|
|Occupation||Crafting jewelry and small sculptures, often with found or repurposed objects. One person's trash can become another person's treasure… or at least more interesting trash.|
|Residence||Her little berth in the USV Environmentally Unsound Business Model|
Xiuhcoatl was a test-tube child, grown out-of-body and in an experimental vat-growing center for such. Her parents, whomever they were, obviously had some means and she was screened of all genetic disorders and flaws that may have been present. That is to say she was lucky egg #217 and sperm #1,990,167,709. The number was so high due to the number of abortions related to the genetic augmenting that took place, any fused embryonic ‘starter’ cell that rejected the gene-laden virus were flushed after such was discovered a few weeks into development. This all led to the beginning of Xiuhcoatl’s existence, growing in an artificial womb and listening to technicians and the janitorial machines doing their work.
The outlook for Xiuhcoatl, at the time listed as “#154, Samantha Mackenzie”, was pretty swell. She came from corporate aristocracy, was developing well, and was by all rights headed towards the good life. On December 21st 2190 those outlooks took a drastic shift. Being fully developed, ‘Samantha’ was due to be taken out of the vat she had called home for nine months, and her parents, Ronald and Fionola Mackenzie, had arrived to pick her up and take her to what would be her home. However the unaccountable took place in the form of an incendiary device. The Assisted Birth and Pediatrics center was largely destroyed in a mixture of fire and a concussive detonation that instantly killed her parents, a large number of the staff, near all growing embryos. Another device planted above the AI management system burned its way down and destroyed all the records that had been kept by the staff.
Why the building was bombed would be the subject of a large scale investigation, one that drew up suspects from the inheritors of Ronald and Fionola that would have been taken out of the will with the arrival of a child. Little Samantha did survive though, a small ray of light in what many police officials and the media would decry as a nightmare and tragedy respectively, and was taken out of her nearly destroyed vat by emergency responders. With all records destroyed, and the bodies of the Mackenzie couple burnt to lumps of so much carbon, there was no means of connecting the child to her parents. No others of the Mackenzie clan were eager to step forward and legitimize the child, so she was bundled up and sent to the care of the orphanage.
Being a gene-auged individual has many benefits, especially when the augments are those of the brain. However they require an environment that differs from the norm, their learning and mental development accelerated. Samantha, renamed Sally by the social workers due to any records of her original name being lost, did not get that environment. Instead she was raised as a normal child along with the other children, and in the environ of the orphanage not given much in the way of adult contact. The resident AI did its best, but even with a dozen drones it could only be in so many places at once.
At one year of age little Sally was mentally equivalent to a three year old, yet was given the same treatment as a child of her physical age. She was already speaking clearly, sounding out letters and the alphabet, and learning from what was taught to the older children by proximity. The staff assumed that she was just a quick learner. By age three she was capable of reading, basic arithmetic, and had developed a sense of empathy. However she did not learn this thanks to the efforts of the staff, who kept her in the same group lessons as the other toddlers, but from overhearing and watching the older children when they were about. This lack of early childhood development stunted her mental growth to far below her potential, and expected, genius.
All this was exacerbated by visits from potential adoptive parents, interactions with the other children, and disinterested staff. Couples would stop by and interact with the children, but most were ill at ease around the oddly perceptive and eloquent Sally and spent little time with her. Other children, once she was in the age group to freely interact with them, picked on her relentlessly and drove her to tears on many occasions. Going to the staff only worked to make the situation worse, as they did little to improve her situation and her ‘tattling’ only further enticed the other children to tease and abuse her. Her empathy was largely stripped away and replaced with a variety of disorders as she became introverted and retreated into her imagination to get away from her sorry state.
There was a small blessing for her though in the form of a book. A dusty old tome, one that the staff were debating throwing out, fell into her hands on her sixth birthday. It was a textbook and as such had never really been used, the pages were still yellow and crinkly with age though, and she discovered it on the eve of her sixth birthday. History was laden in every part of the book, from the dusty cover to the browned pages and the half-disappeared words upon them. Details of empires and cultures long since gone, the ancient heritage of earth, were at her fingertips. One in particular entangled itself in her imagination, that of the ancient Aztec civilization and their jaguar warriors.
The musty old tome dragged her away from the depressing reality of the orphanage and into lands of ancient warriors, lost kingdoms, and tales of brilliant leaders. It was from this book that she fell in love with the name ‘Xiuhcoatl’, taking it on as a moniker in many of her imaginings where she was a jaguar warrior in one of the old kingdoms going on adventures. She kept the book hidden though, afraid of what the staff and other children would do with it should they discover her one and only precious possession. Every word in it was her one and only precious ray of hope, a near tangible lifeline, and was the only truly erudite piece of writing in the building that tickled her advanced intellect.
After a few years though, growing into a short and entirely odd looking fiery-haired child, she was becoming less imaginative and more despondent. Her mental age far surpassed her peers and in another life she would have been able to verbally spar with professors and other educated individuals, but here she had only been taught basic arithmetic, grammar, along with tidbits of history, social studies, and crafts. She was intellectually malnourished, bored, and physically in ill fair from all the unwanted attention she received from brutish peers. On top of this her stare, rather cold and emotionless at this point, drove away any prospective parents before they even talked to her. She became ever more engrossed in her book.
This came to an abrupt end when, one day, a group of boys happened upon her in her favourite corner with her textbook. Normally they just cast it aside, but on that day they must have put the pieces together and realized how much it meant to her. They took her book and tore it apart as she cried and scratched and begged. It did no good. By the time they were done all that was left was tattered tinder and a broken binding. She cuddled up with it for hours until one of the robotic servitors found her. It had to pry her from it and force her to bed, throwing out the ruined book. She laid there, physically fine but emotionally shattered, and resolved to get her revenge.
Sally didn’t sleep that night, instead stuffing her sheets and sneaking out of her room as she had done many times before. Instead of going to her favourite unmonitored corner and reading as she had done many times before, her book now gone, she used a small bundle of hard fibers she had collected during a session of arts and crafts to tie the handles of several doors shut and made her way to the AI. Once down there the machine began to question her with obvious inquisitions. She broke some emergency glass and grabbed a fire extinguisher, and before the AI could bring drones about to stop her she smashed it again, and again, and again.
Once the machine was all but destroyed, the drones going still, she went back upstairs into the kitchens and turned on all the burners, throwing cloth, paper, and oils over them until they caught alight. Running away she broke a window by throwing a heavy toy ball at it and shimmied out, running around to the front doors and tying those shut as the fire alarms began to blare. Sprinting away, she never stopped for sound of sirens or shocked gasps. Only once she was upon a nearby hill, the flames shimmering in the reflection of her eyes, did she stop. For the first time in a long time, she smiled. Sally died in the fire, and Xiuhcoatl was born.
For a time she lived in the slums, making do with petty thievery and begging while simultaneously avoiding the authorities lest she get sent back to child services. Many days her meals were thin, other times nonexistent, but she scraped on by as she learned more tricks of the gutter. She also took to stealing small items, in particular colourful feathers. She would pluck them from hats, baubles, and other such things and keep them in a small pouch. During one such theft, able to sneak through ducts thanks to her malnourished form, she snuck into a den of ill repute. As she was reaching down to snag a rather illustrious green and blue feather from a hat she was grabbed by the arm and hauled from her hiding place. She was surrounded and introduced to a rather irate gang.
Thankfully they were not so irate as to kill or clobber her, and instead saw a lot of potential in someone that could sneak through an entire building’s ventilation system and nearly very literally steal a hat from atop someone’s head. Instead of being roughed up she was given the opportunity to pay them back for her attempted theft and a place amongst them. The head of the gang, a monitor lizard recom known as Miles, even gave her the feather from his hat.
Xiuhcoatl quickly grew into the life of a lowlife thug, or in her case thief. She aided the gang, the 22nd Street Snakes, in many scams, schemes, and pickpockets over the years. Through many close scrapes she became close to them, getting to know them. In particular she fell in with Miles, the older androgyne recom doting upon her and even teaching her what he knew of chemistry, basic bomb making, and how to improvise weapons. What really drew her to him were three things though, his foppy old tricorn hat he wore for good luck when playing cards, his collection of old classical music recordings from old Earth, and a book on the golden age of piracy.
By the time she was fifteen years old she could recite the book from front to back, and vice versa, and knew every song by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven by heart. More was being expected of her though, and the gang members began to give her certain looks that she did not like. She resolved to leave the gang, maybe make her own, but she would not part without the music or Miles’ hat. So she began work on a scheme, collecting small portions of components for explosive materials and stewing them at night away from the others before storing them. At the same time she kept an ear out for upcoming hits and jobs.
Seven months later the time came. The Snakes were pulling off their most ambitious heist yet, preparing to waylay an armoured truck. Realizing it was coming up, and that most all of the gang was going to be there, Xiuhcoatl replaced the charges they were going to use to bust the doors with her own concoction. After they had left, letting her remain behind due to her small stature and saying she would ‘just get in the way’ she began to lace their hideout with more explosives while collecting valuables, easily traded goods, and Miles’ hat.
Classical records tucked under one arm, hat on her head, and a literal bag of loot in the other Xiuhcoatl was rather shocked when Miles stumbled back into the hideout bleeding profusely and with a good portion of his skin and tissue missing. He looked shocked too, in his one remaining eye, and managed to mumble a simple question, asking her why. Xiuhcoatl answered with a shrug, a smile, and said that she liked his hat. Then she kicked him over and ran before the timers went off and ended another chapter of her life. And again it ended in flames, screams, and a start of something new.
Having fallen in love with both the pirate and Aztec mystique, Xiuhcoatl took the tricorn hat and stuffed it with her favourite feathers, sowed some new fancy clothes for herself, and set about establishing her own gang with the lofty goal of eventually seizing a spaceship and turning pirate. With her ill gotten goods she was able to ‘offer her services’ to a gang of hoodlums, giving them some firearms, a few fancy baubles, and partaking in their routine of shaking down shop owners and running drugs.
The day after her eighteenth birthday Xiuhcoatl, having wormed her way close to the gang leader through a combination of bubbly charisma and ensuring ‘accidents’ for those that didn’t like her, she took effective control of the gang. Using the leader, a bear recom, as a puppet she expanded their network, crushed and absorbed rival gangs, and managed to her their gang noticed as a major contender in the local criminal underworld. She practically formed the 3rd Avenue Angels, and reaped the benefits in the form of further classical records, magnificent feathers, and a fancy (by her standards) apartment.
This suited her for three years, her trove expanding and her little puppet-string led empire growing. She grew more and more bored though, and her thoughts gradually drifted back to dreams of becoming a pirate and living the life amongst the stars. It was because of this longing that when opportunity came in the form of a visiting merchant ship that she sprung upon it. Convincing the gang leader of the notoriety and wealth that could be garnered from commandeering a ship, Xiuhcoatl took her favourite possession and left with a motley gang to go and stow away aboard the ship.
It all went well, stowing away was a simple matter all things considered and they only had to remove a miniscule portion of the cargo to account for their own weight. They waited the better part of the day, but as the sun set and the crew returned they were taken aloft. Xiuhcoatl was overjoyed, her companions marginally less-so. For a few more hours they waited, only once they felt assured they were far enough away from the world did they strike. Spilling from their hiding spots, the armed thugs managed to surprise and overpower the crew. In the fighting Xiuhcoatl separated from her group, skulked ahead, and took over the bulkhead controls.
There was a certain look of shock on their faces that delighted Xiuhcoatl as she opened the bulkheads around them. As they vented into space she couldn’t help but giggle and titter for a good fifteen minutes, rushing up to the bridge to watch the effects that exposure to vacuum was having on their bodies as well as that of the crew. It was only after a good half hour of mirth and belly laughing that she realize she didn’t know how to pilot the ship. Suddenly dour she closed the bulkheads and reoxygenated the rooms, going to the room of what had been the captain. She had been a tiger woman with an appreciation for fur throws, and Xiuhcoatl threw herself onto an oversized bed to grumble and gripe and cry a little.
For a number of months she stalked the halls, making repairs where she could and learning piecemeal how to maintain a ship. She was just one woman though, and over time she only managed to keep the hydroponics, life supports, and what had become her own quarters in working order. Even the reactor powering the craft quickly became dangerous, and relying intermittently on auxiliary power meant she couldn’t afford to oxygenate all the rooms and halls. So a large portion of her days were spent in exo-suits while in zero gravity, repairing passive wear and tear and dreading having to go and tinker with the reactor. This was her state though, and maddening though it was she kept on, her only reprieve her music and the many feathers she toyed with.
Her salvation came in the form of the USV Environmentally Unsound Business Model captained by Alia Lepesvekt. Having been drifting around space for a while now, none actually expected the ship Xiuhcoatl called home to actually have anyone living aboard any longer. With the reactor recently deceased in a most permanent fashion, and auxiliary power running short, things had been getting cold on the ship. This was probably how the junker captain was able to board unawares of the inhabitant. A sneaky tackle and rough greeting later Xiuhcoatl and Alia were introduced as the jaguar recom pounced on the junker. Given the legal technicalities involved as well as the ability to somehow keep a ship running well beyond its one-crew life expectancy, Xiuhcoatl managed to make arrangements with the captain and picked up everything from her old abode to move into a room on the USV Environmentally Unsound Business Model. Now they both call themselves captain, much to the consternation of the other, and Xiuhcoatl does handy little repairs while letting those with more expertise do the piloting.
That was where her history ended, and her current story began.
Xiuhcoatl (sheewh KOH ahthl), the Turquiose Serpent, was a being in Aztec mythology associated with the god of fire.