Silhouette
Silhouette.jpg
Name Lerato Conteh
AKA Silhouette, Jane Dorothy Smith
Nationality African
Metatype Human
Archetype Samurai
Birthdate Feb 1, 2054
rating: 0+x

"The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more. No less."

Appearance

Standing at just over six foot, Silhouette is tall for a (human) woman, though she's mostly skin and bones. It does make meeting her eye somewhat difficult for a lot of people, though.

She is lightly muscled, though what there is looks whipcord tight underneath dark chocolate skin. She's of African descent, and her body bears the scars of a life hard lived, making it hard to place her age- though she is probably somewhere between her late twenties and mid thirties. Her hair is kept short cropped to her skull, a military style that only adds to the generally severe air her features exude.

Her eyes are a deep brown, but, if one is particularly sharp, or stares into them for a very long time, they are likely to notice a tiny red dot in the very center of each eye (TN 11 perception test) which marks her as having … upgraded them, somewhat. Similarly, a very thin silver line is drawn around the inside of her ear (TN 11 perception test again).

She is wearing her work gear today, which is urban camo gear and a lot of attitude. She's thin, maybe even weedy if one was particularly unkind, and the gear does nothing to flatter what few curves she has. The hunting rifle over her shoulder might indicate that pointing this out is not a clever move, though.

Distinguishing Features

Silhouette uses a variety of weapons, but she always carries an ivory-handled survival knife of surprising sharpness somewhere on her person. It is her good luck charm.

Mannerisms and Habits

Silhouette has a disconcerting habit of picking her teeth with said survival knife. She rarely is without something to fiddle with. Though she picks her words carefully, she does not understand slang, and she dislikes talking to people, so she does her best not to do so.

Associations

Rumors persist that Silhouette was on retainer with Saeder Krupp Prime, and that she still has friends in high places in the Corporation. As she is a new arrival in Denver, however, this has not been conclusively proven and she has no known local contacts.

Capabilities

Sneaking around.
Shooting people.
Stabbing people.
Getting into places that she shouldn't get into.
Blowing places up that shouldn't be blown up.
Wilderness survival, especially jungle terrains.
Taxidermy.

Code of Honour

What is a Samurai without a code of honour? Silhouette's is still evolving, but she has selected five principles which she seeks to uphold before everything else.

  1. Be Worth The Pay - Whilst Silhouette likes getting paid (who doesn't?!), she does not do the work for the money. She does the work because it gives her value. She sees herself as a Hunter, not as a hired gun. If the job turns out to be too easy, she is likely to turn over her part of the pay to the rest of the team. Or, if the team has done something to disgust her, give it over to the Johnson instead.
  2. Your Word Is Your Bond - Silhouette does not lie, ever. If she enters into an agreement to do a job, she will commit herself wholeheartedly to the job at hand, and will not back down from it so long as the fundamentals of the job do not change. However, this goes hand in hand with a level of trust from the Johnson. If she finds that she has been lied to, and this changes the fundamental nature of the job, she is likely to back out if possible. If not possible, at the very least, that Johnson will not be employing her again. And they had better hope that they do not meet again. It should also be noted that just because Silhouette doesn't lie, that doesn't mean she is always being straightforward. The words which come out of her mouth are absolutely true and what she means. But she is frighteningly intelligent, and there's often a second layer beneath them.
  3. Never Work For Free… But It Pays To Advertise - Silhouette has come to understand that if something is worth doing, it is worth being paid for. She is extremely reluctant to commit to anything that does not involve some sort of payment. However, she is more than willing to work purely to uphold her (currently non-existent) reputation among the Shadows if the mood takes her. Which is to say, employers who are not Corporations or similar entities may be able to take her services by playing to her desire to be known.
  4. Geek The Mage - Silhouette has great respect for the talents of mages and shamans. Her father was a Shaman, and she has seen first hand the results of blood magic and other powerful magical threats. Unfortunately for these individuals, that means that she firmly subscribes to the school of thought which says you need to get rid of them quickly.
  5. Watch Your Mage - When teamed up with a mage or shaman, however, they will find a disturbingly committed bodyguard in Silhouette. This is at least partly because she expects them to be able to get her out of practically any scrap. Isn't that what magic is for?

Background

The jungle heat is oppressive. The rains fell not long ago and the cacophany of the jungle is rising all around. A young girl, native, grips the rifle in her hands as she slides through the brush as silently as she is able. This is her test. It was rare for a girl to be given the chance to prove herself a worthy hunter for her people, but her Father is the shaman, and now she has to honor him.

She has worked harder than any man for this moment. The village she is serving is one of the very few to have the force to remain peaceful in this section of Africa. They didn't pretend to have allegiance to the country; they only had allegiance to themselves. The armed men who sometimes came through with menacing looks and automatic weapons mockingly called it the Village of Nobodies. But they didn't dare to raise their guns to the villagers. Her Father and the hunters of the village made sure of that.

She did not have the gift. She could not follow in her Father's footsteps, as he had wanted, but she would not disappoint him by failing to grasp this title instead. She would not be like her mother, she would be a great asset to the village. A proud warrior!

And then she sees it.

The antelope herd ahead of her is beautiful, and she raises her rifle. In the older days, her ancestors would have used a bow, but then, in the older days, she would never have gotten this chance at all. The kick of the weapon practically throws her off her feet. But her aim is true, and as the antelope falls, her heart rises in her breast. She is Lerato Conteh, and she is a hunter!

Time passes, as time is wont to do. The girl grows into a woman, and a fine shot. One of the smartest hunters in the village, although she is also one of the physically weakest. There are rumblings among the men, the older hunters, but her Father is the Shaman, and that buys her much respect. She wishes dearly that he wasn't. She wants to prove herself on her own terms, but no matter how many successful hunts she is a part of, and no matter how often her actions bring food where there would otherwise be hunger, she is never really accepted.

Then the white man came.

Nobody was certain how Mr. Jack arrived in the village. One morning they awoke, and he was there, in his sharp white suit, discussing with the Shaman in a foreign language that nobody knew the Shaman could speak. How he maintained such gleaming fabric in the middle of the jungle was almost as mysterious, not to mention the fact that the heat did not seem to bother him.

Lerato's sharp eyes also told her that the newcomer was not alone. But he wished people to think that he was. Around the edge of the village she had spotted broken twigs and, yes, tracks. A dozen men, if she was any judge, and they had surrounded her home. This set her on edge, and she fetched her gun and her knife. The weapons set her at ease, but as she emerged from her hut, she was confronted by the strange foreigner.

"You are Lerato?" He asked, in perfect, though very quiet, Afrikaans. She simply nodded in return, which drew a thin smile on his face. "Good. Your father says you are the finest hunter in the village. You will help guide me and my people."

The surprise on Lerato's face could not have been more obvious. "Where?" She asked, astounded at the complement that her father had paid her, even if it was through this strange man. All that excitement fell away at the answer, though. The words, softly spoken, had the weight of death behind them.

"To the cave at the foot of the mountain."

The cave was somewhere that the hunters never went. It was the private dwelling of the Shaman, and, when the time came, the Shaman's apprentice. That was how it had been for hundreds of years, even before magic had truly come back into the world. Lerato knew where it was, of course. Everyone knew. But nobody dared to venture there. It was where the Shaman went to perform his most secret and sacred duties.

At first, Lerato had been angry. She had spoken with her Father about it, and he explained that he could not go with her. The man had been very precise about that; he wanted to be led to the cave by a Hunter, not by the Shaman himself. There are hot words exchanged in the Shaman's hut for the first time in years. The other Hunters would see this as a betrayal if she went through with it! But the alternative was to disobey her father.

In the end, she had to accept his decision. But he would not tell her who it was she was leading, or why. She was simply to do it.

What surprised her, when she emerged from the hut, was the breadth of people that the white man had brought with him. There were three women among the soldiers (one of them was an elf!) And one huge Troll. The children were all so excited. They had all only heard about metahumans, they'd never seen one. The village was very small, and there had never been any true evidence of the existence of these strange beings until now.

Lerato still did not trust the strangers, but she knew the jungle like she knew her own body. Leading a large group of people was bound to be difficult, but they were all surprisingly competent when it came to keeping quiet. They didn't say a word to their guide, and they were obviously protecting Mr. Jack, the enigmatic man arrived at the mouth of the cave with only a tiny smattering of dirt across his shoes. It was… surreal. Lerato half expected to wake up at any moment.

The cave at the foot of the mountain was reached with a minimum of fuss. They were fortunate enough to pass unhindered by any of the dangerous predators. But the cave itself loomed like the most disturbing predator of them all. A demon of black shadow and hard rock that seemed to swallow all light. Lerato had never been inside before, and she had no intention of breaking that habit. So she remained outside, to guide the others back. She did not know what to do when she heard the sound of gunfire. Nor when she heard the elf's voice raised in an echoing chant, and some kind of horrendous *ROAR* swept through the cave.

Then there was the sound of digging.

When the group emerged again, the troll was badly wounded. He was missing a large lump from his side, and one of the others was trying to patch him up, but the blood was flowing too swiftly. Irritated at the ineptitude of the man trying to help him, Lerato moved him out of the way, and cut the armor around the wound with her knife, giving the area time to breathe. She applied pressure, and used the herbs her father had given her to numb the pain. Then she stitched him closed. It was not perfect, but it would do until they could get him to the Shaman.

Covered in troll blood, Lerato felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up into the eyes of Mr. Jack, who seemed, just a little paler than before. There was no arguing with him as he led her into the cave. But, in truth, she wanted to see what her father had kept in there that had caused the group such trouble. Because, there was no mistaking what she had seen when patching up the troll. Those wounds were teeth marks.

The cave stank of blood and death, but there was no body. What there was, was an altar, slick with blood. And the earth by the foot of the altar had been dug up. What had been revealed turned Lerato's stomach. She felt vomit rise in the back of her throat, and she rushed outside again to try and recover her composure.

The journey back to the village was populated only by the groans of the injured troll. Her head was spinning, but it all felt like a nightmare. A bad dream. Along the entire journey, Mr. Jack was trying to speak to her. He showed her a blood red ruby he had uncovered, and explained that they had come from a far away company that wanted to try and help the village after they had heard of the Shaman's practices. He was ignorant of Lerato's connection to the man, but she understood now why her Father had asked her to lead them there. She was many things, but she was no fool. She was not the best hunter in the village. She was supposed to be the most loyal. She was supposed to keep the horror of that cave a secret.

The reason why the village had never seen another race was now very, very plain to her.

She could not hide her Father's sins. The elf had brought the evidence back with her. Tiny bones rotting away with the dirt of ages. Lerato did not know why her father had done such awful things, but he had to answer for them. She had never felt so cold in the jungle heat.

Nightfall brought with it the flickering fire at the center of the village. Shadows danced like her thoughts, and the hunters had arranged themselves before her father. They were angry, and they had their weapons drawn. Her father had called on the spirits of the jungle itself to answer him and his defense, and they supported him too. The elf threw the bag down at the feet of the other hunters, and there was so much shouting and anger.

Lerato could not bring herself to look her father in the eye. She did not raise her gun, indeed, she did not say a single word. What could she say? Her father was the first one to strike a blow, however. Shouting his anger that his people could even consider him to be responsible for such deeds, lightning arced from his fingertips, aiming directly for Mr. Jack.

The elf stepped forwards and turned it aside as though it were the easiest thing in the world. And then the shooting started.

Lerato had never been on an airplane before, and if she had not been recovering from the events in the village she would have savored the experience. The village needed a new leader, and she knew that if she stayed, she would be drawn into the politics. Her father was dead. Killed for his crimes against the village, but she also knew that she was blamed in part for that death. There were people who wanted her to lead, but also people who wanted to see her strung up next to him as a warning to those who turned traitor to the village.

Mr. Jack had been very kind, though. She had probably saved Birmingham's life, he said. That was the troll. If she wanted to come with the team, she had only to ask. And so, she did ask. Twenty one years old, and starting a new life. In Africa, this was unheard of.

The next few years were amazing. Germany is a wonderful place, and Lerato came to learn about Saeder Krupp Prime, the people who had saved her village from the evil which dwelled within. The coldness she had felt in the pit of her stomach never left her, though. The surgeries that the Corporation gifted her with seemed only to reinforce it. They made her strong, though. A better hunter than she could ever have dreamed of being without them. The trouble was… they made her something she wasn't, too. The hardness in her heart was sharpened, like a razor's edge. It hurt to look at her own heart, sometimes.

Nevertheless, she became a great asset to the Corporation. She enjoyed the rewards they gave her, too. The luxuries of western living were so great compared to the modest and simple life she had lived in the jungle village. She rarely thought about where she came from any more. Now, it was important to look at the future, and see the bright rewards that awaited someone who was loyal to the Corporation; after all, they had done so much for her, how could she be anything else?

Loyalty is not always paid back in kind, though.

Lerato no longer got to hunt animals as often as she liked. When she did, she had found a great fondness and skill in turning the prey into trophies, rather than butchering them as she had done in her youth. More often these days she was called on to take care of some thorn in the side of Saeder Krupp. She had killed many people at the behest of Mr. Jack, and she didn't let it worry her too much. They were bad people. Life had become very cheap.

So when one drizzly September morning her crosshairs settled over the heart of a man in a suit in Lisbon, she didn't think twice. Her senses were so sharp now she could pick out the color of a man's eyes from a kilometer away. Her body was one with the gun, attuned to it perfectly. She had learned the craft of the urban hunter well. How to bypass the security systems that others relied on just like she used to pass through the tricky underbrush of her home. How to spot the urban predators in the darker sections of the city. Now, just like before, she squeezed one silent shot from her rifle, and then moved away. Slipping back into the shadows just like she had done a thousand times before.

Except that when she got back to her apartment, the police were waiting for her. Her paranoia kept her from their net, but only barely. She called Mr. Jack. He denied ever having sent her the target … because the target was a local politician of some esteem. One who had been holding talks with Saeder Krupp Prime for some time, to the irritation of Ares.

Mr. Jack believed her when she told him she thought she had been acting under his orders, but the damage had already been done. Her SIN was wanted, Saeder Krupp had passed her details over to the police after the ballistic report came in. She was unemployed. But Mr. Jack was not willing to let his asset go so easily.

Transport was arranged somewhere far away; Denver, the city of so many nations. A place that she could hide. A new SIN was arranged by him for her, too. Lerato could no longer work for Saeder Krupp in an official capacity, she was a wanted murderer. But she could still put her talents to use. She could still be a hunter in this urban jungle.

And if she should just happen to uncover who it was who gave her the order to kill the unfortunate Mr. Obelik, then she would be very happy to claim her revenge…

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