Player Information ;
Your Nickname: Dalrint
OOC Journal: <lj user=dalrint>
Under 18? Oh yeah, totally. I'm four. Wait, that's not right...
Character Information ;
Name: Maria 'Concerto' Mcflannery.
Name of Canon: Original
Canon/AU/Other Game CR: N/A
Canon Point: Still none!
Maria was an accident.
Not in the classical sense, there was no fumbling in the dark, no night of passion-filled sex that usually brought accidental children into the world. Instead there were test tubes, beakers, and an absolutely bonkers scientist named Joseph Mcflannery. Due to a rather outlandish experiment he had attempted during grad school, Joseph had become convinced that he had discovered the gene capable of unlocking 'extrasensory' abilities in humans. Telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, and anything else under the sun. He was certain that the ability was there. He just had to find a way to crack it.
Usually these dreams went where most went, no where, but Joseph happened to be lucky enough to be one of 'those' McFlannery's, owners of one of the largest privately held conglomerates left in the world. They specialized in gene-altering of children and animals, a market they had cornered shortly after 2035 when genetic alteration had finally been declared a 'Human Right' by the Unified National Alliance, and made legal across the globe. Their company, GeninTech, had hinged everything on this legislation passing...if it hadn't, they'd have disappeared. But it did.
Twenty five years later, they were a household name. A child that hadn't been altered was rare, and 85% of all alterations were patented by Genintech. And the company only had one heir, who had dreams to chase. He created a subsidiary corporation, a big one, called Marvels, with one goal. Create a telepath. A stable telepath of moderate power that they could use as a template for altering children to have the same abilities. The company was based out of Hong Kong, famous for its lack of commercial regulations since the collapse of the PRC and the establishment of the demilitarized zone between China and Australia. Do whatever it took, he said, just pull it off.
It took them another fifteen years to even come close, but in 2075, shortly before Christmas, the first successful batch of 'special' children were born. As far as they could tell, the sections of the brain that Joseph's 'gene' activated were all functioning exactly as they had predicted. Of the initial twelve children, seven of them survived the first four months, and three of them were still alive at the end of the year. Unfortunately, as testing and experimentation went on, only two of the children actually displayed the desired telepathic responses. The third, the only girl, failed every test that would have indicated mind-reading ability. In fact, she appeared to be completely normal.
They named her Maria, and she remained with the other two test subjects as she they grew up, subjected to the same tests they were and failing each one accordingly. However, she also continued to display the same mental 'development' that the two successful children did. The parts of her brain that appeared to activate telepathy flared at all the right moments, and were active almost constantly, even moreso than her two brothers. Something was obviously going on in there, but no one had a clue what it was.
It wasn't until she was four that one of the scientists had a brainstorm, and instead of poking and prodding and testing, he just asked her if she was doing anything her brothers weren't. She said she spent most of her time talking to 'Candy,' which didn't make any sense because there wasn't anyone in the building named Candy. It took almost a week to figure out what she meant. The Computerized Artificial Nano-organizing Display was a minor artifical intelligence that ran most of the background processes for their entire building. 'CAND'y was not a very complicated AI, and was generally ignored by the staff, who worked with the two research AI's that actually ran their experiments and machines.
As they went back and looked at their records, Maria's brainwaves indicated she had been talking to 'Candy' for years, almost since she was capable of spatial reasoning.
Maria was immediately moved into her own lab, where they began determining exactly what it was she was capable of. Any machine that had even rudimentary programming, Maria could communicate with it mentally. Basic software she could simply over-ride and control, like electronic locks or the software that made most vehicles function. More complicated programming she could actually talk to, and even befriend.
As time went on, it became obvious she could hold more than one of these 'conversations' at a time without any significant increase in effort. She was seven the first time she managed to control an entire room of machinery, consisting of half a dozen small appliances and machines...which she made dance.
Everyone was pretty much astounded, and when someone described it like she was an instrument leading the rest of an orchestra, Maria earned her nickname, and the eventual label of her project itself. 'Concerto.' It was an instrumental piece where one instrument played 'primary' to the rest of the orchestra, leading them through the song.
While her abilities were amazing, and there were hundreds of uses for ways to use them, they were stuck on the fact that Maria was still basically human. Unlike her telepathic brothers, she couldn't interfere with the minds of normal people. So if she was infiltrating a building to take something from the mainframe, and someone caught her, they could just shoot her. So, at the age of nine she they began training her to fight. She was decent enough at it, she learned fast, but she was never going to be anything amazing. She could defend herself, if necessary. But she was going to need a weapon, something no one would suspect.
It took another year for them to come up with the nano-machine colony. Nanites had been fairly standard in medical and small construction work for nearly three decades, but any attempts at military applications for them were considered too dangerous, for fear that weaponized eating machines capable of self-replication might very well destroy the world. But a small colony or two, three million machines at any given time and programmed exclusively to do what Maria ordered, those would be safe. They hoped.
Of course, Maria never had any say over any of this. Her entire life consisted of the four floors that Project Concerto took up. She had a real bedroom there, the only place she was ever truly 'alone', and spent the time she was not learning or training she spent much of her time staring out the window, or on what limited access her terminals gave her to the internet. Despite raising her, the scientists working on her project kept themselves distant, making sure they never became 'parent'. She could never call them anything but their titles, they never fratranized with her outside of the experiments. The only 'friends' she had were building security personel, and even they were more like acquaintances than anything else.
It wasn't a bad life, she got whatever she asked for, as long as it didn't involve leaving the building or something that could be used to escape. Her access to information outside of the building was restricted, and the AI's in the building had been programmed to ignore any requests she made for assistance escaping from the building. She read constantly, and watched whatever television they allowed her to (mainly educational things).
While she dreamed of seeing the outside world, the concept of 'escape' didn't really occur to her until she was thirteen. One of the scientists brought her daughter, a fourteen year old girl, into the building. This wasn't unusual, except that a glitch (or at least...they could only ever prove it was a glitch) dumped the child out of the elevator on the wrong floor, and right smack outside of Maria's room.
It was four hours before building security figured out what happened, during which Maria actually made a friend. The poor girl answered a million of Maria's questions, and Maria showed off some tricks with her nano-machines. When security finally took the girl back to where she was supposed to be, Maria was honestly heartbroken. She now had a picture of the world, through someone her own age, that wasn't filtered by censored internet or seen from the birds eye view of her windows. Something real.
She made her first attempt to get out of the building three weeks later, and it was a complete failure. She didn't get fifteen feet into the lobby before one of the security guards promptly ushered her right back up to her floor. After three more just as unsuccessful attempts over the next few months, all of which pretty much involved her never getting through any of the building lobbies, Maria started thinking of the long game. If she was going to get out of there, she was going to have to plan it.
And she was lucky in one very important respect. There was no one like her in the world, no one that her talents could be compared to, to see if she was developing as rapidly as she was supposed to be. Simply by existing, Maria was creating an entirely new set of benchmarks, which meant she could fake them if she really wanted to.
Which she did.
Maria had been advancing in leaps and bounces over the last few years, but now she started...fudging things. Just a little. When the 'range' of her talent hit seventy-five feet, she acted like it was still around fifty. When it was at a hundred, she acted like it was at sixty-five. Her 'limit' on how many conversations she could keep up in her head was documented at eleven...when it was probably closer to twenty. She still practiced all the training they gave her, she was still learning everything they wanted, she was just better at it than anyone was realizing.
The actual planning took years. The hardest part was getting around the blocks the buildings AI's had on listening to anything she talked about having to do with escape. She even made several more 'false' escape attempts that were half-hearted but decent tries that she knew would fail. She managed to turn the idea of her 'escaping' into something of a joke with building security.
Three days before her seventeenth birthday, Maria put her real plan into motion. At exactly 7:30 in the evening, all three Artificial Intelligences in the building shut down every automatic and manual-command process for the entire structure. Electronic doors sealed themselves, all outside communications shut down, and most importantly, the security grid turned off. While the guards themselves were still functioning (trapped within their offices).
And Maria just walked out. The elevators responded only to her, the doors opened only for her. She even waved at a few of the employees who were trapped. The only obstacle she hadn't found a way to remove pre-escape were the two security guards who were always stationed at every exit from the building. It was her first real combat.
Of course, the guards knew they weren't actually allowed to hurt her. She was potentially worth billions of dollars. But they still had to stop her. The fight was over surprisingly fast, though, and Maria promptly disappeared into the thirty-four million people that made up the city of Hong Kong.
Surviving wasn't difficult, she could ask ATM's to give her money, ensure that security cameras just didn't notice that she was around, but adapting was a slow process. Maria went from a life of dozens of a life of millions. It didn't take her long to create a false identity for herself, using the AI at the Canadian embassy to create a false passport and paper trail, but she made one mistake. She kept her name.
It took less than a week for the corporations hunter team to locate her. She had settled in at a decent enough hotel while she figured out what her next move would be. The only reason she survived was the building AI warned her when the men entered. In the ensuing fight, she wound up killing two of the people attacking her before she managed to escape. But she learned. She forged new ID's, creating a new identity with a different first name. It took her a few weeks to decide on it, but finally she went with 'Connie.'
She went underground. Crappy hotels, paying for things only with cash, convincing AI's and computer systems to pretend she was never there. Hong Kong had a very active youth underground, and Maria began watching it, learning it, and after a few months, she started to try and blend in. It wasn't as difficult as she had expected, although she never picked up the casual way of speaking that everyone else had.
It wasn't a bad life. She liked the music and the clothing, and it was very easy to disappear into a crowd. She made a few friends, and tried to settle into a normal life. After several years though, after she accidentally appeared on a video being taken of a crowd at a concert she was at, Connie fled the mainland entirely, heading to Japan for a year and then making her way around the world.
For the 'standard list' of personality traits, Maria is quiet, paranoid, exceptionally curious, determined, patient and very, very smart.
She learns rapidly, partly due to years of having to learn and adapt to the training she was put through and partly because of the way her mind has adapted to dealing with artificial intelligences. She's adapted some of the ways they 'think', without even realizing it, and it taught her to adapt and manipulate information a bit more clearly than most. She's good at memorization especially, a side effect of learning to use the Nano-machine colonies. She had to memorize the things she wanted them to build, even down to schematics, so that the machines would be able to construct them when she wanted them to. The machines themselves have a limited memory space, so most of their building instruction comes from her. She doesn't have any exceptional learning abilities, she's just good at it. Especially data-based information...names, dates, music.
Maria absolutely adores music. The way she sees it, music combines the solid, steady, basic concepts that define almost every programming method with the random, chaotic nature of people. She's not the best singer in the world but she sings to herself all the time, and she never leaves home without her music player. And she always has the very latest and greatest one. Yes, she has learned the irony of a girl called 'Project Concerto' loving music. It makes her smile.
She's better with machines than people, and unless she's asking a question about something she never makes the first move in a conversation. She will watch people endlessly without working up the courage to talk to them, and if they talk to her before she's 'braced' herself for it, she tends to stutter and be rather uncertain about the whole thing.
Despite the fact that Maria has spent the last several years 'out in the world', she has never been able to shake the fact that she spent all of her formative years sequestered in a lab. She laughs at things that are funny even if it's rude, she is absolutely fascinated by new things even if it makes her look like a naive tourist, and she's not above talking to complete strangers just because she's curious about something.
But her time on the run has left its marks on her. She's very paranoid, not of people but of situations. In a world where computers are responsible for nearly everything, it's almost impossible for a single person to be dangerous to her. She's constantly surrounded by 'allies', of a sort. But an unexpected situation...walking into a building where the AI is down for repairs, driving home and discovering a sudden detour in the road, or a police stop where there wasn't one yesterday. She tends to over-analyze these types of thinks, sometimes moreso than is healthy or rational. Jumping at shadows, as it were.
To everyone she meets now, she is 'Connie', and she would only reveal her real name to someone she trusted absolutely...and there really hasn't been anyone she's met that she does. She doesn't mean to distrust people, she just can't help it. She even thinks of herself as Connie half the time.
Abilities, Weaknesses, and Power Limitation Suggestions:
Technopathy and Cyberpathy: She can communication with machines and computers with her mind, and is capable of over-riding basic command programming and getting them to do what she wants. The more complex the machine the more difficult it is for her to force it, but Maria doesn't usually have to. Machines like her. She's chatty. She will go on for hours about this and that until a machine, even a basic machine, will pretty much do what she asks.
She can communicate with any machines within a hundred feet of herself, though if she strains she can reach out a bit further for short periods of time.
Nano-machine Colonies: Maria carries two nano-machine colonies with her, which she has named Hansel and Gretal. They generally exist wrapped around her arms just above her wrists, for all appearances as two silver bracelets about eight inches long each. Each colony is made up of approximately three million nano-machines that function as a single mechanical organism and respond to Maria's direct mental commands. When the machines are 'out', they appear as a swarming cloud of grey insects.
The machines are capable of self-replication, though they only do so to keep their numbers at three million. They will cannibalize themselves to create small objects very rapidly, such as a sheet of steel to stop a bullet or a piece of jewelry or handheld weapon. When materials are available though they will utilize nearby materials to create larger objects over slightly longer periods of time. In half a minute they might turn a pile of junk into a metal chair, or a pile of fabric and plastic into an umbrella.
They are also capable of dissembling things at the cellular level, generally for reconstruction into another thing but they can just leave something as a pile of crap too. Including people.
They are shielded from Electro-magnetic pulses, but are incapable of dealing with the initial electronic shock and will shut down temporarily. After several minutes they 'reboot' back to their normal functioning. If they are in the process of creating something, whatever they've made will remain but typically fall apart due to lack of stability.
Maria has all the weaknesses of a normal human.
She can speak English, Japanese, Cantonese Chinese and Mandarin Chinese.
Hansel and Gretal - Two nano-machine colonies comprised of 3 million individual microscopic robots each.
A 3 Terabyte portable digital media player w/ classic headphones.
Maria is a fairly typical looking young woman of European decent. She has thick brown hair that she keeps about shoulder length, pale skin and bright brown eyes. She dresses in clothes from the Hong Kong underground mostly, especially baggy pants and tight shirts, with a lot of extra necklaces and jewelery, but never any bracelets beyond her 'tools.'
She has several scars from old experiments (she wasn't tortured, she things do go wrong in training sometimes). Two on her left leg and two on her side, but she keeps them hidden under her clothing. She never got into the peircing concept, though she has her ears pierced several times to make sure she 'blended in.'