R E N, O K O N A
D O B: 0 1 1 3 A. D. (After Descent)
H O M E W O R L D : E A R T H N U - p s i a r e s s y s t e m
R A C E: T R A N S H U M A N
H E I G H T: 5 ' 1 1 "
W E I G H T: 1 7 5 lbs (+42 lbs worth of cybernetic add-ons)
"There is nothing out there, Okona. Just the black, and death. Do you understand? If you leave this station, everything I-you've gone through will be for nothing. You'll die."
The good Doctor Autonomelius was probably right, Okona had thought at the time. And he considered remaining behind and leaving the exploration of the stars to other men- for a brief minute. One look into the vast, empty wastes and the stars waving at him in the distance like an invitation and he knew he was bound for them. I hate this fucking place.
Nothing fills him with as much wonder and awe as the endless black of space. Even when he was young- planetside with his parents, always within view of the sheer awesomeness of ODIN Station hanging in orbit like a gods palace. Even as he helped colonized a hostile world- he couldn't shake his want, his need, for something more. Something beyond the twin suns of Earth Nu and the growing divide.
When the suns set, he would spend hours straining his neck as he gazed into the night sky, counting the stars and making up his own names for them. No one else seemed any interested in doing it--so it became his personal mission. Or at least, it kept him from going insane with longing to be up there with them.
He's wasn't the only one with his head in the stars, though-- just the most romantic.
And maybe the loudest.
When word reached the colony planetside that the Initiative was finally kicking into gear- he boarded the first transport he could and left his life behind. He was only fourteen years old, then, and in another year he would have been counted as a man, expected to start shooting kids into a mate-- or mates. It was expected of all of them. After all, the Science Division could only do so much with a bunch of frozen embryos.
He considers himself lucky that he was able to avoid becoming breeding stock- by a mere hair.
Of the 543 souls aboard ODIN station, fifty were drafted into a piloting program that was designed to prepare them for the black. Not only were they taught to actually fly the ships--The VALKYRIE's, high-tech, high-powered, and as fast as demons--most, if not every single one of them volunteered, or were likewise coerced into the combat level surgical enhancements that were normally unavaible to civs-- for good reason.
Okona saw an influx of cyberoptics and winking brain-ports and some of the more horryfing advancements of his life. Why anyone would tear-off their lower half and agree to have their spine-reconnected on a walking turret with the skittering, knobby kneed legs of a spider-- he'll never understand. He certainly didn't at the time.
Hell, he would have given anything to get his real arm back. And his heart, and his lungs, and whatever else Dr. Auto had scooped out of him while he lay dying in Med Bay after a lovely explosion. Besides, after two years of working side by side with the others-- and competing with them, it was pretty obvious that the enhancements didn't make the pilot. It gave them a hell of an edge, sure. An advantage in a dog-fight- but they were still human. They were afraid and they made errors, and really, none of them wanted to leave in the first place. It was as if they thought the add-on's would make the black less likely to take them. But Okona didn't fear death, and he didn't compare the two- although he knew it was a dangerous place and so capable of dealing a swift death he wouldn't have time to whisper a prayer (not that he would rely on something he considers so archaic.)
He was the best- at least, he thought he was the best. Turned out he was riding second place to Lieutenant Commander Quest Madn. One of the ten veteran pilots that were stepping in to split the fifty of them up into squads of five-- six, including themselves.
Much to his horror and interest, Okona was Quest Madn's first choice. Claimed before the other veterans had a chance to even glance at the scores.
The Titan Ex Squadron
The 'Ex' in Titan Ex is for exploration- which is Okona's dream come true. If he'd become a junker towing debris or a scout nosing at the skirts of mysteries but never allowed to take a bite, he probably would have gone mad. But they were being launched into deep-space with nothing but dead reckoning to guide them, and Quest Madn, of course.
He was the face of the entire mission-- at least as far as Okona was concerned. The others must have felt it too-- because they were all afraid, every single one of them. But on their last day aboard ODIN they all held their heads high, their full attention on Quest Madn as he spoke grandly of the possibilities and wonders they were heading into. Yes, he said, it'll be dangerous. And then he smiled, showing all his teeth. But isn't that a little exciting?
Okona couldn't tell whether the murmur of laughter and agreement from the drafts was forced or merely bravado, but personally he couldn't wait to get into his own VALKYRIE and get the hell off the Station.
In the end, each and every one of them -- Okona included -- marched like they were real soldiers all the way to the launching bay. Not a whisper passing between them. All their eyes should have been on their Squad Leaders--but they were all watching Quest at the head of the pride, laughing with the Commander. They wondered how the hell he was so care free given they were all about to plunge into the black, but all Okona merely hoped they had a few minutes to play around in the lower atmosphere before departing.
The six members of Titan Ex didn't have anything in common except their bionic enhancements and their homes and the ships they sailed; at least at their base, and their bones. They didn't even really like each-other all that much-- but the first five months alone in space together changed all that. They learned to rely on one another almost as much as their own ships-
Their ships, the VALKYRIE's. They are as black and striking as Okona's prosthetic arm, with long wings extending out by their sides, curved like that of a birds and ending it points. Their noses end in sharp, curved points-- and to make it even more obvious that they were modeled after actual birds, the plates were tapered like feathers along the wings.
They have the capability to switch between kinetic armaments and high-speed bursts of laser fire, but they're not meant for prolonged combat- hit and runs, maybe. When they deem a situation too dangerous they can fall back on their stealth-fields and engange their built in hyper-drive engines, if jumping blind is worth the risk.
They have long range scanners, mid range comms, and a highly customizeable assistive interface they can plug right into their brain, but only three of the six members in Titan Ex have the necessary installments- the neural jacks; Sammy Vagh, Irbahim Hajar, and Okona Ren. It allows them to literally become one with their ships. But it's as dangerous a mode as it is advantageous- a simple hesitation, or even a minor miscalculation could end in their death. Not only that, but they ran the danger of a feedback overload.
Last but not least, they are blessed with a bathroom, a few horrible songs, and stores of data on the old world to dive into.
As it is, they've toured two alien worlds inhabited with life and their own flourishing cultures and have pushed past the boundaries of their solar system, onto the next cluster.
Tin heart, steel spine.
Okona was never too fascinated by the idea of sticking a bunch of metal inside his body- but he didn't really have a choice in the matter when it came to his replacements. He was sort of a unique case, at least as far as his age. He was only fourteen years old.
It was a rare thing for someone to be limited based on their age-- matter of fact, anyone over thiry was sort of a rarity. You were an adult when you reached sixteen years old, and before then you were learning what exactly that entailed. A young person had as many rights as someone twice his age, if not more. In reality, the older a person became, the more supplies and resources were wasted on sustaining them, when someone half their age required less and could offer way more in return, as far as physical labour and population growth, anyway.
When it comes to a biomechanichal enhancement, however, only so much can be done. Although Dr. Autonomelius is certainly working hard to change it-- they don't have technology that can grow. Not like a human body. A developing one, at that, which went through drastic changes and growths by the day.
Okona might have never gone under the knife if it wasn't for the explosion he can barely remember; tore his left arm clean off and opened a gaping hole in his chest, his innards turned to soup.
He's not entirely sure why Dr. Autonomelius decided to keep him alive and put him through the hell of being opened up again and again and again, and again for adjustments, like some kind of toy soldier. He wouldn't say he's grateful, either. But he is alive.
With actuators to mimic finer muscle movement, reflexes, and coordination--and a sleek black frame--it was a marvel at the time of it's creation. Before Okona's left arm, the prosthetics were clunky and slow, relying soley on pistons and girders. They were severely limited in their range and capabilities.
Now? It's probably out of date, in just a few years there have been leagues of advancements. But one of a kind and first of an era has to count for something, or so he tells himself.
He can't say whether it's the sensors or his head, but on ocassion he'll have ghosts of sensation- a tickle on the back of his hand, or a spasm in his arm, an ache in his shoulder that just won't go away. It's not something he's open to sharing, but it's becoming such a frequent occurence that he's convinced it's some kind of glitch. Faulty wiring. Does this thing even have wires?
The prosthetic is made from a titanium-pallidium alloy to be both flexible and durable, and considered combat-ready. He was told he can lift around if not exceeding half a tonne, but he's never been in a situation to try. And he's a little iffy about it considering his grandfather had ended up tearing his own prosthetic right out of his shoulder.
Unlike his grandfather, however, Okona has all the secondary add-ons that are supposed to keep that from happening. Enhancements all the way down his spine, and interwoven into all the connective muscles in his shoulders, back, chest, and abdomen.
At the same time he was getting all these enhancements, he was getting the replacements he needed to survive- cyberorgans. Heart, lungs, liver, a chunk of his intestines and stomach.
Okona couldn't tell you why he has a neural jack- maybe the good Doctor got confused, or maybe he just got carried away or forgot to tell him he had brain damage;
The older models were ugly ports on the back of the neck, but Okona was lucky to get one of the newer versions; even if it's just as noticeable. Built-in on the right side of his head just above his temple, his neural jack is triangular, normally glowing blue.
He can't say it hasn't been useful carrying around a brain-computer interface that allows him to process information at an alarming rate, or that it hasn't been a wild ride synching his thoughts with his VALKYRIE and gaining the ability to fly in a way he expects only a bird would experience.. but he really could do without the migraines and the constant head-aches and the static in his ear.
He's been told the neural jack has extensive offensive capabilites- at least in cyberwarfare. Your thoughts become literal weapons- creating viruses and firewalls to defend at a moments notice.
The risk, of course, is as great as the advantage.
Have some music in the mean-time.