Alessandra
Alessandra.jpg
Name Alessandra Pernice
AKA Aless, Alice
Nationality Albania
Metatype Human
Archetype Samurai
Birthdate 7 November 2052
Hair Black
Eye Black
Height 5'2"
Blood Type A-
rating: 0+x

"It is my purpose."

Appearance

Small, whippet-built, and calm, Aless is innocuous-looking in a way that only comes about with years of training for that specific effect. A plain blue headband keeps shoulder-length black hair out of her face. A white medical patch over her right eye stands in stark contrast with the darkness of her left. Her Illyrian features are gently bent into a polite, interested, and faint smile. She wears no makeup on her pale, featureless skin, conceding only with threading her brow.

Her knee-length, pleated skirt and her blazer are the same shade of dark blue. Her collared dress-shirt and tights are the same shade of white. Her nondescript brown leather flats still leaves footprints more akin to cross-country running shoes than officewear. For particular occasions, she wears a pair of tan, calfskin gloves. The one splash of color is the brilliant red ribbon bow-tied at her throat.

She moves with languid grace, like a robot, running on 'slow,' that has conquered the jerkiness of early models but has not acquired the imprecision or tremor of fleshly metahumans.

Aura

The blackness of augmentation are everywhere: throughout the skull, the right eye, every single muscle of the body, every bone of the skeleton, and flowing through all the vessels. Beneath it all, a warm, sunny glow crackling and enrounded with sharp, gray lines of the purest silence. There is a palpable wall, like invisible oobleck, dividing the soul-light from the world without. It is like the sun, generous and caressing, caged but unconquered in a prison of stillness and voids.

Distinguishing Features

A right-side cybereye with synthetic sclera. Violet antiglare coating as primary iris color.
In the nape of the neck, underneath overhanging hair: three chip slots and a datajack port.
Mid-Atlantic English accent. Macedonian Greek accent. Kyushu Japanese accent.

Mannerisms and Habits

Alessandra dealt with the conflict between being both a kind soul and a violent agent by using duty, purpose, and necessity as means to cease internal examination. She is new to shadowrunning and to being in the outside world in general. As such, she expresses astounding naivete and is dangerously trusting of many things. She is not good at contributing her opinion and rapidly backs down in the face of other's ideas. She does not have practice with the ideas of good or evil because other people have been deciding for her most of this time.

Likes

Ancient music, especially pensive string impromptus
Good food, particular pastries, peaches, and candy
Having a clearly-defined world and knowing her place in it
Light novels and easily digested literature
Tea, Darjeeling
Well-made, functional firearms

Dislikes

Gross incompetence or things not done well and neatly
People who are overly emotional, especially for trivial reasons
Gaudiness and decorations that become more important than function
Impoliteness
Being identified by her cyberware/implants
No cake?!

Associations

Argos & Alyse - They're nice and help taking care of me. Doc Alyse said that she'll help look at me for maintenance when I need it, but can I trust her with my owner's manual?
Naomi - I'm helping out at Jaya's to keep the place tidy. I like helping, and Naomi's promised to do my hair and makeup for me anytime that I liked.
Wanton - Big-sis Wanton is very nice and she's really good at petting!
Mora & Aiko - Mora gave me a recommendation to audition at the opera house and then I got the job! And she's famous, too. @_@ I have to thank her properly.
Tamara - [Registered] Mistress Tamara but she's given me clear directions and purpose in life, which is really comforting. I have to work hard hard at keeping her following the rules, because she's tricksy. I'm thankful that she's taught me more about the world.
Kalli - [Registered] Mistress Kalli has a lot of rules, but they're all for our own good. I hope to be as good as she is at taking care of everyone. [PW: watchdog]
Conchita - NO! It's not true! I'm going to get back to Tacit Ivy! They promised. I… I don't know how to be 'independent'. T_T
Victoria - She's promised to teach me how to dance like those at the Fallen Angel. They're popular and I want to be popular, too!
Izzie - Kittykittykittykitty O_O

Capabilities

Passable firearms expertise with some martial arts training. Modest ability to pass off innocuously.
Good cook and violin player.

Background

Early Age

She was a happy accident, really. Iliya and I, we were young and enjoying our honeymoon. At least, that's when I think it happened. We couldn't go far on the wedding donations, just a few days at Boge. It wasn't as if the machine shop was going to let me take many more days off. So I guess it's lucky that Iliya had her when she did. Her birthday's November 7 — a day later than the doctors said she'd be born. I heard Aless before I saw her, you know. Loud and lusty and daring the world to wrong her. Beautiful dark eyes.

God knows I didn't see her enough; the machine shop kept you from dawn to dusk and if you didn't want to do that, out you go. Aless didn't care, she was always just behind the door, waiting for me. Always. About once a month, I would find her curled up on the floor with Mila. She loved that doll and they would have the most serious discussions together — about trees, people on the street outside, pots, anything, really.

As soon as Aless was old enough to say a few words — did I mention her first word was 'Abba'? She learned to imitate the doorbell first but that's not words. — she went with all her cousins together to the family daycare. Maybe you're not familiar with the practice: the aunts and grandparents, even some good friends of the family, they come together and go to different houses on different days, and all the very young who do not yet have school, they go together. Everyone takes care of everyone.

The others, they liked her. She was big-hearted as a saint and didn't make a fuss. The grandparents tried to spoil her, they really did. It didn't work. If you gave Aless ten pieces of candy, in the blink of an eye there would be ten pieces in ten different hands and it's a throw-up whether one of those hands was hers. Oh, but they were unhappy to see school age catch up, but at least her little sister Vesela had come along by then for a substitute.

School didn't agree with Aless. Maybe we had raised her wrong; she just wasn't interested in the work. Understanding things needed only a little bit of help: Iliya did most of that. She'll go through all the homework if reminded every day. Aless would much rather be playing with her friends or doodling - not truancy! Never truancy. Aless was a good girl.

She was a good girl.

Accident

It was the third lead that I had that month, this one in Albania. Bloody flight was delayed, then canceled, so I ended up booking it to Sofia then hopping a regional down to Durres. It was 0340h when I finally got into the place. Ugly little wart on the coast and not nearly enough lights on to look civilized. Was wabbit, but got a rental and headed over to the hospital anyway. Mail said 'Urgent.'

Mail also said it was a recent, maybe a day old, but definitely confirmed for compatibility. Got the full story after slipping a fifty to the nurse on duty. Acute radiation poisoning after falling in in the big blue pool at a nearby nuke plant. On a school field trip, no less. Who the hell takes kids to an operating nuke plant?

Met the parents Iliya and Hristo Pernice. Distraught like the other parents on all the other cases were (Except for one. I decked that guy.), but they haven't yet seen the doc's report I snuck a look through. Girl's got maybe 30 hours left to live; docs are just keeping her drugged up to her ears to keep the pain down. Sure, a couple of some big bloody surgeries and she might pull through, but the hospital wasn't even going to tell the parents about it.

See, those Pernices weren't profitable. No insurance. Pitiful bank balance.

So I go up and I flash them the report. The real one. Father gets all upset and I had to gently bounce him off the wall till he calmed down a bit. I offer them the same deal I've been offering everyone else: They can watch their kid die painfully, or they can let me take her to a real nice clinic. Promise she'll live, but they ain't gonna see her again. Half the time this doesn't work. Act all nice and trustworthy, assure them the kid'll be in good hands, and they still won't do it. This got a little different.

I've seen plenty of crazy things, in my business. Parents were going to make calls and get what sounded like half of town to chip in for the surgeries. The kid - she's still drugged most of the way to Sunday - goes and tells them to not do it. Says it'll make life hard for all the aunties and gramps and uncles and friends. Still loves mum and da, even if she's somewhere else. I had to go sit down and stare at a wall for a bit later.

Lots of tears. Paperwork gets turned around because everything's already filled out (did I mention that I've been at this a while?) and I've got a flight to Berlin in no time. A candidate gets a charter.

Made it to the clinic with not that much to spare. Things got real ugly towards the end. Seizures, vomiting, that pathetic little gasping they do when they can't get the strength to scream, the whole works. Docs take her gurney in and I go collect my bonus pay at the office.

Earmarked some of it for scotch, of course.

Tacit Ivy Programme

It was one of those cruel little things that hide in the cracks of any big enough security organization. It didn't hide from me, of course. I was the division director and I've been keeping an eye on [REDACTED] for some time. When the Tacit Ivy proposal came up, I struck it down immediately after one read-through.

Then [REDACTED] paid me a visit and 'suggested' that Tacit Ivy be given 'a chance'. You didn't say no to [REDACTED] and survive, not in this place.

I paid them a visit three years after the kickoff meeting. They had themselves a nice little administrative/residence building outside of Fukuoka and a training/medical facility in [REDACTED]. It brought me bitter cheer to see that I was right about [REDACTED] and those PensoDyne people that he had brought along. There were six of them operational. Just six, after almost a dozen failures. I take a little comfort in knowing that every last one of them, even the ones in the little graves out back, had a better shot at life than if Tacit Ivy had not existed. It is only a little comfort, though.

I refused to call them units; [REDACTED] insisted on the term. Some of the handlers treated them humanely, like beloved siblings or offspring; I was very glad to see that. Others were colder, but I was also glad to see that none of them were cruel.

When I was in [REDACTED], I asked several of them what it was like to live there. There were two who answered more than a few short words. Aria said that she was happy here, grateful to the people who saved her life, and especially happy to have a purpose in life with everything defined so clearly. Alessandra, too, said that she was happy to be here and know the shape of her life. She was glad to be able to help her friends and to be with them.

I had wanted to shut the place down as soon as their initial funding approval ran out. I don't know what I was expecting: soulless little cyborg soldiers kept under control by abusive masters, sent callously into combat to die? After I've seen their faces, those honest little smiles, I couldn't quite bring myself to do it. It was their home. Besides, they had effective results.

I would make many more visits. Tacit Ivy might be [REDACTED]'s project, but they were my people.

Programme Dissolution

They always struggle when I show up. It never works. A short job landed on my desk back in spring. This Tacit Ivy business probably botched a big job or just pissed off the wrong director, but they were going down hard. They had a good little run, bit over a decade.

So, I get into their office with a fistful of pink slips and transfer notices. Thought it was bring your daughter to work day or something, thought didn't even register a blip when I was handing those out. I almost got decked by a couple of the guys when they finished reading. Not an unusual reaction in my business; people get violent a lot with downsizers. But this wasn't usual. They weren't pissed at the pink slips nearly as much as at the equipment deposition.

The list gets shoved in my face: six of these units were to be scrapped. Liquidated. Thought they were being weirdos 'till they showed me the units. Allah preserve us all.

So I marked my witness-stamp that the units were scrapped as ordered, then started calling friends. Acquaintances. Tacit Ivy was gonna be broken up and there ain't no way they could take the 'units' along. Likewise, there ain't no way I were jes' gonna throw 'em out on the streets, or my name ain't Mohammed.

Arrival in Denver

Yeah, this black eye's got a funny story. Tell you what, why don't you get me a cold one to hold on it, and I'll tell you a story.

So I was over at the airport garage doin' my thing. You know, the cheap lot where all the cameras are fake? This lil' bird comes along dead o' the night in a sharp getup. Y'know, suit, tie, skirt, big coat, couple of nice bags w' 'er. She's standn' there like she don't know where 'er car is, right, an' so I go up real easy-like an' show 'er the knife. Ain't nowhere to go, all up agains' one o' them big pillars.

Nex' thing I know, I gone and broken my goddamned face all over that pillar. Thought she broke my arm, too. Still hurts. Then I feels my own knife on my own damned neck and a knee in my back. Can't see nothn' with my face in the dirt. Pissed my good thuggn' pants, too.

Then some dude was like, "Yo, Alessandra, don't be killn' that dude." Love that dude, man. See this 'ere? That damn bitch was THIS close to cuttn'. Then they was like, "Ey, welcome to Denver. Wiped your feet? Let's go talk in my car." Didn't even get my knife back. That was a good knife! Ain't cheap.

Hey, this bottle's gotten all warm. And empty. Be a pal and get me another one, won't ya?

Appendix A: Tacit Ivy Project Brief

Tacit Ivy's goal is to implement and maintain a group of augmented operatives as hard-force assets in internalized Yamatetsu operations. The non-recurring development costs for this project focus on developing reliable agents to provide effective, repeatable results.

Phase 1 of the project is the identification of individual candidates with affinity to cyberware, bioware, nanoware, and genetic therapy to allow for maximum potential after augmentation. In accordance with prior research, the candidates will be filtered for neurological malleability for better compatibility with psychological and neurological modifications.

Phase 2 of the project is the acquisition of candidates and modifications to meet specifications. After the first proposal review, the project will only target candidates with severe physical disabilities or trauma for which they cannot provide their own medical care. The expected success rate of the modification is 10%, with a goal to improve processes to reach 20% success rate after one iteration.

Phase 3 of the project is an ongoing research effort on successful agents, during both training scenarios and actual deployments, to collect performance data on physiological and psychological modifications in preparation for next-generation processes.

Due to the limitations of present technology, modified agents will be paired with handlers for psychological stabilization, direction, and liason with command and control systems.

Appendix B: Tacit Ivy Technological Brief

The ideal candidate will have genetics tested 95% or higher per PD-166392 Rev. D, scored into Sector 6 of PS-E-1600, and between the ages of 9 and 15. They should not have had major surgery within the last 6 months, to avoid the necessity of additional support equipment to handle system shock and stress.

Cultured bio-modifications enhance speed, reflexes, strength, and durability as part of Tacit Ivy package A, with cybernetic enhancements as a resort if performance is not satisfactory after the 2nd pass. Modifications to eliminate distractions such as pain, hormones, and overt peripheral nerve excitation are incorporated on the 3rd pass. The resulting retardation of physiological maturation was an unexpected bonus side effect, as it elminated the need for re-implantation with growth.

While a complete memetic wipe would be ideal from a control perspective, current procedures are insufficient to prevent destabilizing flashbacks and emotional instability. The chosen approach for Tacit Ivy uses RINC-429-G, category XX3, as recall and emotional suppression. Side effects do not significantly impact performance and stability is much improved.

Plots

Assassination

Alessandra is experienced in assassination missions and shoots whomever her handler tells her to shoot. She specializes in fast kills from ambush at either short or very long range and does not often participate in a drawn-out firefight. She has not done legwork alone before and so cannot be relied upon to track down her target unless she's already sighted it.

Bodyguard

Alessandra protects her handler and throws herself into the way of harm automatically, because other people squishier than she is. If she is told to do so, she can be fairly watchful. She has a tendency to respond to any provocation with immediate and lethal force.

Security Duty

Alessandra was usually employed offensively, but has also done some work as a lookout or sentry. She can stare patiently for a long time, but has trouble dealing with tricksy words or ploys to get past.

Burglary

Alessandra only knows burglary in the sense of "armed robbery."

Courier Run

Alessandra has escorted courier runs before, but nothing really happened during them. All she knows was, "ROAD TRIP! XD"

Distraction

Alessandra would be terrible at actively trying to distract, since she's trained and conditioned to look and be innocuous so as to avoid attention. However, she might be useful in a "throw in the general direction and be adorable" sense.

Destruction

Alessandra destroys whatever her handler tells her to destroy, with no other considerations. She has some demolitions skills.

Enforcement

Alessandra is far too polite and innocuous looking to actually go about demanding things, and she would roll right over if someone just said "No". However, if her handler told her to crack some leg-benders, it would probably be a much better outcome for everyone. Except the leg-bender-owners.

Extraction

Alessandra understands 'extraction' as something like 'kill everyone except that one person'.

Investigation

Alessandra could be trusted to maybe investigate her own cupboard for the missing baker's yeast.

Smuggling Run

Smuggling? What is 'smuggling'?

Location

He didn't leave an address? Then I'm out of ideas.

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