Paper texture from ~bashcorpo
Reinald Todorov [link]Chosen by:
The Function Illuminate, bestowed upon Anna's cigarette lighter. It can be used to shed light on things, both physically and metaphorically.Appearance
Anna has been a soldier for over a decade and it shows, both in the lines of her body and the set of her jaw. She is in excellent shape for a woman approaching middle age, solidly built, her posture just short of military and her walk one of perhaps unwarranted confidence. She is not conventionally attractive by any stretch of the imagination; her features are harsh, with high cheekbones and a broken nose, and a thin scar runs from the right side of her jaw to just under her right eye. Her hair is brown with a dusting of grey, kept shoulder-length and tied back tightly.
She dresses simply, with a short jacket over a black tank top, combat pants, and solid boots. She smokes like a chimney, much to the chagrin of her partner.Personality
The most important thing to know about Anna is that she is a fundamentally selfish person. This doesn't necessarily mean that she's constantly standoffish or rude; after all, it isn't usually beneficial for her to act that way, and she doesn't tend to do things that don't benefit her. Quite the opposite. She can be talkative if she wishes and she has no objections to forming alliances that might almost seem like friendship to the untrained eye. It's simply that at the end of the day, Anna wants to be the one holding all the cards. Her loyalty is first and foremost to herself, and virtually all of the major decisions she makes are made in a way that will leave her king (or queen, if you prefer) of the hill. The survival of Anna Smith matters to her a great deal more than the survival of her country as a whole.
This is precisely why she does what she does, and explains why she switches sides shortly after the war starts up again. She is practical to a fault and very cynical, occasionally displaying signs of paranoia (though given her lifestyle this is, perhaps, not unwarranted). She's prone to keeping people at arm's length; even as a child, she had very few friends, and now her job doesn't exactly allow her to get attached to anyone. She's well aware that the decision she made all those years ago was an unpopular one, but she feels it was the only one she could have made to secure anything resembling a guarantee of safety in a contested territory where humans had the upper hand.
She has very few regrets and dislikes dwelling on the past, preferring to focus on the present. Others might consider her a coward for what she's done, but frankly she could care less. As long as she has cash in her pocket and her employers consider her more of an asset than a threat, she considers herself happy enough.AbilitiesShifting
Shapeshifters in Anna's world are capable of taking on the forms of two extant animal species. This is a physically and mentally taxing transformation which requires some time, and the shifter is left vulnerable during the shifting process. Half-shifting is possible, but only by extremely talented shifters, and the outcome is less than pleasant should the shifter fail.
Anna is a below-average shifter; while changing into her primary form does not take more physical or mental effort than the average shifter, it takes her significantly longer. Nevertheless, she is a better shifter than Reinald, and she has no problems with shifting into her primary form in order to do a little reconnaissance.
Primary form: Rook (shift time: 10 sec)
Secondary form: Wedge-tailed eagle (30 sec)Whitezone manipulation
Shifters have access to an extradimensional pocket of space, into which their clothes and other items disappear when they shift into an animal form. Talented manipulators can also consciously control what items go in and out of the whitezone at will. Anna can do so only with some effort, and her whitezone pocket is about the size of a small handbag.
Currently, Anna's whitezone holds a FN Five-seveN pistol with twenty rounds, a switchblade, a lighter, and a pack of cigarettes. She cannot fit anything else into the whitezone at this point in time.UPDATE (9/6/2011):
After Round Two, Anna has sixteen rounds remaining.UPDATe (4/22/2012):
After Rounds Four and Five, Anna has three rounds remaining.Combat
Anna has had extensive military training and is experienced with firearms. She is also proficient in multiple forms of hand-to-hand combat, including Krav Maga. At her age, she prefers to keep a distance--especially since most of her opponents will be younger and stronger than she is--but she can still hold her own in a knife fight.History
Anna Smith is not technically Anna Smith. It's an assumed name, a generic one fabricated years ago to throw some fellow bounty hunter off the scent. But it's one she's grown used to, so she uses it for now.
Anna was the daughter of a diplomat, born in the disputed territory between two warring countries--one consisting primarily of shapeshifters, and one of humans. The war was one that had gone on so long that virtually no-one remembered why it was happening, and fewer cared. Years of peace could pass before fighting broke out again for some trivial reason.
When the war showed signs of starting up again, Anna Smith was a cynical, discontent twenty-three years old. Her parents had been dead for two years, and her mother's post as diplomat sat empty. Anna wanted no part of peace talks she was sure would never last. Becoming a diplomat would be tantamount to climbing onto the altar herself.
The unease between the humans and the shifters came as no surprise to her. It was only a question of when the tension would escalate into war. By then, Anna had relocated to the slums, where she was making a living doing odd jobs. Her only concern by now was keeping a low profile; she was sure the prominent shifters would be the first to die. When war came at last, she enlisted--in the human army.
It was clear to her from the start who would win the war. The shifters were outnumbered and outgunned, their fangs and claws no match for plasma rifles and well-timed rockets. She simply chose the winning side, and the outrage from those shifters who found out irritated her. As far as she was concerned, resistance would only lead to death or imprisonment. Best to offer her resources to the army she knew would triumph.
Everything went according to plan. The shifters she knew were soon gone, either dead or run to ground. Anna soon became a vital, if unrespected, human contact. Few humans knew the streets like she did, and her shifter status granted her access into places humans wouldn't normally dare to venture.
When the cease-fire came, Anna continued her work for the humans as a mercenary, taking up everything from assassination to petty theft. Life was, as far as she was concerned, pretty good. It was about this time that she was contacted by Reinald Todorov, then vice president of a prominent technology corporation. After assisting in the convenient elimination of the resident CEO, Anna was offered further jobs--this time as a saboteur. It turned out Reinald was a shifter who had managed to infiltrate the upper echelons of human society, and he sought to take out the invading humans from the inside.
For Anna, switching sides again was a matter of a generous paycheck, and she did it without much remorse. She and Reinald developed a sort of mutual understanding--she wouldn't rat him out if he didn't tell the human government that their prized mercenary was working behind their backs--and she was happy to keep it that way.
However, there have been rumors of unrest in the contested territories, and it seems that the war is well on its way to starting up again. It's during this time that the Book of Stories begins to fall apart, and any ideas Anna might have of how to rearrange her allegiances are quickly swept aside in the ensuing uproar...