Thoughts of Truth
A Swift Jack Who Exists Partially Out Of Phase
Basically the coolest.
So, basically, when she was ~6, she was deceived by her father. Can’t decide between sold off or just taken by her father (like, he was a scientist. I dunno yet). Bunch of rogue scientists did some gnarly shit on her for 12 years.
As they tampered with her brain, her memories were warped and distorted except for her former name. To them, she was Test Subject 9, but she held onto the name Doe throughout the years. She screamed for the first three months of her imprisonment, but she can no longer speak after they replaced her vocal cords with a variety of experimental machinery. To this day, she has never removed them for it may mean her own demise. What else are they connected to? What purpose does this stuff serve? Why her?
There were 4 groups and two dedicated scientists who would venture out, find Numenera, come back, and test them on random people. Doe was simply a new test subject after another one died. The ninth, she surmised. She was implanted, drugged, irradiated, psychic’d, mentally shredded, horrifically abused, you get the idea. One particular experiment involved mind control. That wasn’t fun.
How did she escape? Why, with a lovely piece of Numenera, of course. She was implanted with a nanotech unit, which she still doesn’t fully understand. This arrogance would be her captors downfall. Using her newfound influence, she managed to get some nanobots to unlock her bindings. When the first scientist came to examine her, Doe bit off half of his face. The taste of blood was nothing to her now, and she killed the scientist without mercy. The other scientist didn’t escape, though, as Doe’s adrenaline took over and beat him to death. Even after he was dead, Doe couldn’t stop. She broke her hand in the rage pounding into his skull. It wasn’t until one of the groups of Numenera hunters came back to find a mangled humanoid thing ravaging a corpse that Doe relented.
The group put the facility on lockdown, trapping Doe inside with them. Doe quickly realised that she had started shifting in and out of phase. No wonder her punches had occasionally missed, although it did help with keeping her angry. Something had triggered inside her; she couldn’t know what for sure, but the cathartic rage had awakened it. Unable to scream, she attacked the group. They had no idea whether to attack or subdue her, leading to their deaths. All Doe could do was pant furiously with a slight mechanical fuzz.
Unfamiliar with the construction of the base and blinded by rage, Doe scrambled for an exit. Naked, afraid and dangerous to anyone who got in her way, Doe ran into another testing room. Inside it was Test Subject 2, but he looked… Immaculate. His body was perfectly intact, not like Doe’s (at least what she could see without a mirror), and his form resembled a paragon of aesthetic design. The thoughts of destruction quickly faded as pity took over. Was this what it had all been for? To craft this… Being? All that it had to identify itself was a tatoo on it’s chest: R. Knowing not what else to call him, Doe settled on Roe.
Still far from calm, Doe began to unbind his shackles, but the aid was mistaken for aggression. He batted her away and grabbed her by the throat. “I shall not stand for this!” he cried. It was only up this close to him as his features wrinkled that Doe could make out the true extent of Roe’s augmentation. Without instigation, Doe phased out again, falling through Roe’s hand. He backed away with a mix of disgust and fear in his eyes before running off to find an exit. Doe followed, incapable of explaining her and his situation to him.
Roe’s trail of destruction was plain to see. The screams of the other Numenera hunters resounded throughout the complex, leading Doe closer to him. She didn’t have a plan, but she hoped that the near-perfect beast would empathise with her. Eventually, Roe found an exit to the blinding sunlight of a forest. Doe followed, but Roe’s athleticism was too great for her to pursue him any further. She watched as he departed without another word. Neither knew that the implant in his brain would draw him back to Doe time and time again.
The sun burned on Doe’s skin, quickly learning the necessity of clothing. Strange images popped into her vision analysing incoming perceptions. Data and information bombarded her senses, but all Doe could do was stumble back into a cadaver and break down into tears. Curled up in a ball, naked and vulnerable, Doe almost wished to be placed back into the testing chamber. There was a purpose for her there, at least, a reason to be. The nanobots formed a hand on her shoulder. She wept softly for some time before taking a poncho from one of the Numenera hunters, and that’s when she saw her reflection for the first time.
A mirror on the wall revealed her haunting appearance. One of her eyes was wholly mechanical, scars and implants mangled her features, and even her hairline wasn’t free from the merciless hands of her torturers. The rest of her body was even worse, but the incoming graphs and recommendations assured her that she was operating nominally. This is what they’ve reduced me to, she thought, a hunk of metal and bone, twisted into this aberration of self?
The nanobots pushed at her hand, beckoning her to action, but Doe couldn’t. For six hours, she stood there, unwavering, gazing back at herself with feelings she’d never experienced overwhelming her. She was only 18, as indicated by her eye’s ever-changing data stream, but all she saw was an ageless monstrosity. There was no indication to her biological self anymore, just this scar of a person to behold.
Slowly, acceptance bled into her psyche, and bitterness morphed into resolve. She had to move on, make do, take the next step. She would be the last of her kind, save for the man who got away. Her body awoke from its slumber, as did the nanobots, and she donned clothing for the first time in over a decade. The sick irony, she thought, of clothing feeling so unnatural against her cybernetics. She almost chuckled.
And so, Doe set forth. She’s been wandering around for a year now with nanobots as her only companion. She learned quickly thanks to her eye and became capable to survive independently. The nanobots were helpful too, and they were thankful for being rescued. They are capable of morphing into a variety of shapes no bigger than a fat chicken, but that’s about it. They can certainly assist in some menial tasks, but for the most part, they can’t aid in combat or anything. They can assist in communication. Ish. They don’t really, but you know, they’re there.
There are two key events that define Doe.
In the first few months of her exploration of the world, she ran into a travelling merchant. The merchant stopped her on the path and beckoned her near. She sized Doe up and down, with some wary nanobots doing the same. The merchant smiled and nodded. She went to her cart and pulled a Dragonfly Mirror out and gave it to Doe. “You look like someone who needs to watch their back,” the merchant said.
Doe didn’t take well to a fucking mirror, but she knew it came from a good place. When she used it, she realised that it just showed her a 3rd-person view of her back. She looked back at the merchant who smiled. Doe then realised she was blind. It would appear that the cruelty of the world befell even the kindest among us. Yet, her generosity rang through. This in turn kinda gives her a bit more faith in the rest of humanity, as well as a dope item.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t thank her because she was mute. So, she hugged her very awkwardly. The merchant responded, “Still got it”. They laughed – well the merchant did, at least. Doe just kinda silently huffed – and then never saw each other again.
Two months before meeting the group, Roe found Doe. He was less than chivalrous. To put it bluntly, there’s an implant in his head to make him want her. You know. WANT her. Unfortunately, he despises her because he thinks that she’s had something to do with his mental and physical state. Thus, he thinks the way to fix this is either through killing himself or killing her, and believe it or not, he’s into self-preservation. A dead-man’s switch would trigger or SOMETHING, right? He’d been mulling over this for, like, 9 months, so, he’s pretty set on getting rid of her to stop the thoughts. Cabin fever’s set in, basically.
Anyway, she was camped out on a cliff to enjoy the view. She was toasting up some nice insects (which were surprisingly rich in vitamins!) as the nanobots buzzed about. As she looked out over the valley, she heard the screams of a madman in the distance. She glanced back and saw a pale, oddly familiar silhouette running towards her. A quick nibble of the insects later, the man became a lot more recognisable.
Naturally, Doe freaked out a little. She can’t talk, and he didn’t look to be in the mood for frank discussion. Time to run, she thought, but Roe proved that he could run a hell of a lot faster than Doe once before. Okay, then we jump off the cliff. Nope, don’t do that. Stay and fight. Naturally, the thought wasn’t as heroic as she’d pictured it in her head.
Roe charged at her, so Doe side-stepped at just the right time for Roe to jump off the cliff. She waited for anything else to happen. Instead of checking if he was okay, she just legged it. She sprinted for an hour and a half, THEN looked back. There was a piece of her that thinks Roe survived, but she felt like a monster more than ever. She just let him fall off from the cliff and then, well, eff it. Such little remorse for something so monstrous, like her. This regret drives her to never let those around her suffer or die, even if it means her own safety is at risk. After all she could have done SOMETHING to stop him.
… Oh, but he lived. Oh ho ho, how he lived… It’s amazing how much weight errant roots can support on the side of a cliff.
One day, she encounters the others and helps them out in a tricky situation against her better judgement. After being tortured for 12 years, you don’t tend to do those sorts of things. Et voila, all caught up.