((Hey, I'm back. I've seen that a few people have been retiring characters recently and replacing them, and after the results of the park altercation, I've realized it would be best if I did the same. Without drastically changing her personality, I could never realistically see Summer engaging in guerilla warfare against the government. She just doesn't have a motive. This new character who I've brainstormed, on the other hand, has plenty of motive. I hope she'll be considered for acceptance.))
Name: Ashley Newman
Gender: Female by birth and association (affected by mutation)
Appearance: This is affected by her mutation, and varies according to it. However, the appearance she will have at the beginning of her time in the roleplay, and the one to which she may often return, is as follows:
Ashley’s hair is a light, elven blonde which, in some places, appears almost white; it is only in its volume that it gains its darker, richer hues. She keeps her hair in a bun so it is never interfering with her activities. Moving to her face, Ashley has what some might refer to as an owl’s face - it is relatively flat, round, and pale, with large, round eyes of a light brown colouring. Her ears are always free of jewelry, as are her wrists and neck, because in the event of an accidental changing, she has no interest in potentially losing any more items of value than she normally would. Ashley is around 1.8 meters tall, and in the healthy, athletic range for weight and muscle. After all, she could have chosen any body, so she put some careful consideration of all factors into her decision to have this one. She had chosen subdued, unconventional beauty so that she never stood out, and she had chosen a form which would not be useless in a fight - a fight which, considering her status as a registered mutant, she considered very likely to emerge at any moment. Finally, she chose the body of a twenty-five year old. Why not?
Clothing: There is not much which can be said in terms of the specifics of Ashley’s appearance. Like any stereotypical teenage girl, she had tastes for the latest trends, and for variety, though her lack of financial resources had hindered this desire considerably. For a period of her life she had resorted to theft to get what she needed from the world, and that would still have been her course of action if access to her mutation was currently possible. So, her outfits were what she could afford. Simple, long-sleeved tops, generally in black or white, and long pants to match. Even her shoes were no more extraordinary than a seagull. The only pieces of clothing which would ever gain close scrutiny from a casual onlooker were her gloves, which she never removed. There were in fact two pairs of gloves which she alternated between, for she allowed herself this much extravagant vanity - one pair was black, the other, shockingly, white. With these gloves, every inch of her skin was covered save for her neck and face - this was intentional, and you will understand why once you read the details of her mutation and its effects. Finally, and perhaps most strangely, was a small electronic device fastened around her ankle.
Ashley Newman should never have been born. It would have been the preferred situation for everyone who has been involved in her life up to this point. Her parents, already into their forties at the time of her birth, never wanted a third child, but raised her with care all the same. Her siblings, a brother and a sister, older by thirteen and eleven years respectively, had very little to do with her, though it could never be said that they were mean to her - they simply were not a huge part of her life. Though this pertains very little to Ashley’s course in life, the doctor who delivered her would much rather have been on vacation with her wife than at work helping a new human into the world. The world as a whole was very stressed about mutants during the time of Ashley’s birth, and her mutation could not have shown itself at a worse time than during the war between mutants and humans. The Mutant Control Division found her to be among the most dangerous and concerning mutants they had catalogued. Simply put, Ashley Newman should never have been born, and yet she was, much to her own distress and disappointment.
It was at the age of three, one might argue, when Ashley’s luck turned sour. Others may suggest this moment of change in her life’s course to have been the day she was born, but this, as a fact, would seem purely comedic. So it is that we consider the death of Ashley’s father to be the first truly unfortunate event in her life. He was hit by a car, of course. Few other deaths could be considered as unfortunate as that, especially in this age of impeccably safe self-operating automobiles. “It was a fluke accident,” was the best apology Ashley’s mother could ever get from anyone. How the car malfunctioned was never discovered, or at least never released publicly.
Of course, this was not enough of an explanation for Ashley’s poor mother, now left to raise her child alone. “Depression’s nearly inevitable,” said many who knew her, and were shocked when she showed no signs of this “inevitable” outcome. In this way, only Ashley, barely able to understand the world at her age, was privy to the change in her mother. The sadness, the reservedness, the onset of despair and disappearance. Ashley knew her father was dead by the age of four. She knew that people had to be blamed by the age of five. Her mother taught her these things.
Six. If her father’s death was when her life turned sour, then it was at the age of six that her life became so acidic as to burn itself away completely. There was no one to blame for this. No one but humanity itself, and its horrible tendency to succumb to fears, prejudices, and a need for a villain. Humans always need a villain. Ashley was no different, except in her case, she had solid reasons to consider the recipient of her hate as a villain rather than an annoyance.
It happened on a day when storm clouds covered the sky, but rain had yet to fall. It was one of her mother’s better days. Ashley was in the backyard of her family’s residence; her mother was inside. If she had been outside, perhaps things might have turned out differently. Better. Sixteen year old Ashley liked to think about these things. Six year old Ashley liked to look at the flowers.
A rustling sound in the bush was the first warning she received. Six year olds are curious, especially about critters. Whatever this thing in the bush could be, she was eager to find out, so she leaned in to stare at the bush - a camellia plant - and saw the creature which was so intriguing. A rabbit.
Six year olds like to touch things. Ashley touched the rabbit. It flinched, but did not run away. Obviously it had become more accustomed to humans than a gardener would allow. This was a menace to domestic plants everywhere.
The change started almost immediately, with a tingling sensation coursing through her body. Ashley was concerned. The rabbit darted into another section of the garden. Under average circumstances, Ashley would have followed. Presently she was too distracted by her own condition to observe the rabbit’s departure, or to care about its new location. She had never felt the way she did presently. She thought she might be shivering, so instinctively her arms went to hug her body, but to her shock they would no longer fold in such a manner. Ashley looked at them. Her fingers were… Melting? Merging? She felt no pain, but she screamed. This was what a nightmare might consist of.
Her mother came running. Any parent, even one as reclusive as her mother had become, would recognize their child’s scream and feel an urge to provide assistance. Her mother had to leave her seat in the living room, enter the kitchen, and from there, get to the backdoor. By the time she could see into her backyard, it was too late.
What Ashley’s mother saw was, at first, nothing, because she had eyes for only one thing - her child - and she did not see her. Then she saw her daughter’s clothing. It was strewn on the ground, over near the garden. The sight absolutely perplexed her.
She saw a rabbit.
The rabbit was standing a meter away from the clothes of Ashley, and as you may have guessed, the rabbit was Ashley. Her x-gene worked feverishly to fit all of her memories into the rabbit’s brain, but Ashley’s mother was already out the door, rushing over to her daughter’s abandoned clothes, by the time Ashley could actually act like herself again. Flight instincts fought human instincts, and Ashley’s won out, so she rushed towards her mother. She tried to call out, but a rabbit’s utterances are not speech, so she could not. She reached her mother and pushed her head into the exposed skin at her mother’s leg. If a worse mistake could have been made, surely it would have, or else some could have considered Ashley ‘lucky’ in that situation. She was not.
The tingling sensation occurred again, and Ashley recoiled. Her mother looked down, and saw the rabbit. She was inclined to shoo it away, but then the change began. Rabbit ears shrank, limbs lengthened, fur disappeared, the face flattened, the body grew longer, and digits appeared. Before the change had finished, Ashley’s mother had already fled into her house and locked the door. If she had not been so panicked, shocked, and horrified, she may have realized that the naked body which the rabbit had transformed into was an exact replica of her own. Alas, she did not. She called authorities. A plethora of them arrived, including the police, the military, and several more secluded government agencies. In their first attempt to take Ashley, she took the form of the man who held her by the arm. For hours afterwards, Ashley huddled in a corner of the backyard, frightened and confused and generally mistreated, as by this point the many government officials were fairly certain they were dealing with a mutant, and therefore offered her nothing but contempt.
On their second attempt, they wore gloves. Ashley was brought away to a government facility. She never saw her mother again.
Now, it is important to recognize that the changes which occurred in Ashley’s form at this time had some effects on her. First, the increased brain capacity given by an adult body encouraged rapid development of the brain, to the point that her mind was at the level of an eleven year old’s when she was spending her first year in the custody of the government, despite her age being only six. Her mind would grow more slowly over the next several years, to the point that by the time her actual age was thirteen, her mind had only advanced those two years to match it. From that point onwards, her brain power seemed to grow in tandem with her actual age, and no amount of changing could destabilize this.
So, for the next three years, Ashley suffered at the hands of the government. No one believed her tale of being the daughter of her mother, least of all her mother, who blamed her for the disappearance of her child. Since she appeared not to have any remaining family, and since DNA tests showed up nothing but the x-gene and the genes of whichever form she was inhabiting at the time, the government took custody of her. When the war ended and the MCD was formed, she was placed into their custody, and was immediately registered, though the officials knew even then that it would be very difficult to keep track of her. Conventional methods such as fingerprints, DNA, or facial recognition were useless. The x-gene could be recorded, but it was decided that for the safety of humanity, Ashley could not be unleashed on the population.
For years, she was kept. They performed experiments on her, trying to nullify the effects of the x-gene, trying to copy it and implant it in other subjects. They measured everything they could, but were perplexed by most of it, including her brain development. Ashley endured the tests. She had no choice. But, with every passing hour, and every day, with the days becoming weeks and the weeks forming years which she lost count of, Ashley grew to hate. She hated not just the people performing these tests, who she fought on several occasions - she hated humanity. Humanity, she came to understand, was the reason for all the pain and misery which she was enduring.
Over the years, she met a few other mutants, imprisoned to be tested on. Some had lost their minds after all of the testing, but all the same, Ashley felt a kinship to them, which she cherished and remembered.
It was at the age of ten that Ashley saw the world again. The government decided their efforts from that point on would be worth less than the money used to keep Ashley a prisoner, and they placed her in the care of a foster family, in the guise of a child. Ashley had learned to delay the changes by this time, so the government officials told her to do this whenever necessary, and to never allow a change to complete itself. She also had learned, or rather, the government had told her, that fresh strands of hair could be used to revert to a previous form, as they still carried enough active genetic markers that the entire body plan could be copied from them. If she did this, they said, then she would have a normal life with her new family. Ashley did not care.
Within a day of living with her adoptive family, Ashley vanished. She had taken the form of a fly, and had left through an open window. The authorities searched frantically to relocate her.
Over the next several days, she took the form of several dogs and wandered the streets. Eventually she managed to get close enough to a cat that she could touch it, and then she was a cat. She enjoyed being a cat, but she enjoyed being a human more, so her goal was to get a human’s form. She got a fly’s form again, and she flew into an open window. She brushed up against a human as they were leaving the house, and got his form. She took what she needed from his house - clothes, food, a gun - and she left.
For nearly three years, she lived like this, taking everything she needed - new bodies, new supplies, new identities, etc. She embraced violence, and on more than one occasion she committed crimes. When the owner of a form she had taken to commit these crimes produced an unbreakable alibi, the government noticed, and began investigating in the hopes that they might catch the elusive form-taking mutant who was only eleven. Then twelve. Then thirteen.
Fourteen. The MCD finally caught her. They could never prove that she had committed the various crimes on her record, and she knew that. She also knew that she had some power over them - one of her crimes, a blatant murder, had been committed in the guise of a high ranking MCD official. So long as she admitted to the crime, the official could not be arrested, as the jury could find reasonable cause to doubt his guilt. Due to the intricacies of the legal system, her testimony at one trial could be changed in a further trial, so that the MCD continued to allow her some privileges, within the limits of how much the official whose freedom was at stake was worth.
The MCD decided he was not worth allowing Ashley to remain free. She was imprisoned in a cell with no way for her to escape, as there was not access to any creature small enough to fit through the hole which brought her her food. For three months she lived like this, totally alone. Then, after power struggles and controversies occurred between two high-ranking officials of the MCD, it was decided that Ashley would be allowed to walk free in return for the admission of guilt which she had already offered. There was one condition to this freedom, though, and after the horror of isolation, Ashley easily agreed to it: a device would be placed around her ankle which would kill her if she attempted to change forms.
This is her current situation. She lives a free life, and has a job at a telemarketing company, which she only keeps by remaining unremarkable and unproblematic for her employers. This only encourages her not to change - any public displays of mutation would get her fired. Her mutation is, additionally, unusable, and she is forced to do everything she can to subdue it or else face death. Her appearance is that of a twenty five year old woman, while her mind is that of a sixteen year old teenager. An intelligent, violent, and unstable teenager who hates the MCD and all of non-mutant humanity, but who is trapped by an unwillingness to die. Her entire life has been taken by her mutation, and by humanity’s unwillingness to accept it.
- At the first stage of the mutation, Ashley’s body has the ability to take on any animal form, including the forms of any other humans, upon touching genetic material from them. Her x-gene copies the genetic plan enclosed in DNA, as well as any important messages received from the nervous system (injuries, hair length), and morphs the body to fit this plan, while being sure to keep the entirety of Ashley’s brain intact and functional, although made to fit in the brain cavity of this new form. This process takes a varied amount of time, around ten seconds on average, especially when a form is being assumed for the first time. The brain conversion takes several moments longer, up to fifteen seconds, although if a form has been assumed multiple times or is relatively similar to a previous form, then this may be as short as one to six seconds. During this period when the change is incomplete, the form’s basic instincts take over, or, in the case of a human, confusion occurs. The change can be delayed by mental willpower, but not indefinitely. When changing form, any injuries sustained in her previous form are negated, but any injuries or afflictions of her new form are gained. WARNING: Pursuant to this statement is a series of sentences attempting to justify various blaring scientific issues with this mutation. The change is also very physically draining, though not to the point that Ashley becomes incapable of regular functions after changing forms; she may, however, find herself very hungry. In order to account for differences in total mass between smaller and larger forms, a variety of functions are used. One is the compaction of molecules to change into smaller forms; therefore, if Ashley were in the form of an insect, her molecular density would have been greater. However, in larger forms, molecules are stretched somewhat further apart. This is undesirable to the body’s natural state of order, so as time progresses, she gains more density in smaller forms so that larger forms may have a less strained molecular structure.
- At stage two, only two improvements are noticeable: form and brain conversions become instantaneous, and the age of the form Ashley assumes can be changed as well, based on thoughts (Before, the age would be equal to the age of the genetic material from which the form was assumed).
- At the third stage, Ashley gains the abilty to change into forms which she has used repeatedly without touching genetic material from them. This process takes longer than the now-instantaneous changes which occur based on touch.
- The fourth stage allows for any form assumed since the advancement to the fourth stage to be reverted to at a thought, while keeping the effects of the third stage as well.
- Stage five allows Ashley to splice different parts of her forms into one. For example, she might choose to assume the teeth of a crocodile (Not sure how she would ever touch one of those, but assume she did), while also replacing her hands with the clawed paws of a lion (Which is even more unlikely for her to ever touch than a crocodile). With this she must be careful not to give herself a form unsuited for balance or mobility.
Other: At a glance, this may seem like an extremely powerful mutation. I would agree that it is. For that reason, I would like to outline a few things which might decrease Ashley’s assumed power:
- Ashley can only change into forms of people or animals whose cells she touches while they are alive or were recently alive (ie. a week). This means no plants, fungi, or bacteria (Not that it would be an asset to become one of those), and many of the more dangerous animals of earth will never be assumed, as she will never have access to their forms. She might become a fly, and using that form gain other forms unobtainable as a human, but the risk involved in being a fly could deter her from doing this. All the same, she will never be a real threat to the vast majority of offensively inclined mutants due to the second factor listed here.
- Ashley has no ability to copy x-genes, meaning she can never use the mutation of another mutant. She can copy the normal genes of that mutant, and assume their form, given that said form has no physical alterations to make it a mutant. Therefore, she can almost never gain immunity to a mutant’s abilities. This, coupled with the first factor, go to show that her ability is far more oriented around evasion, espionage, and trickery than offense. (She will still be quite involved in fights, though, as she gravitates towards violence, and does not restrain herself when engaged in it.)
- In fact, while factor two displayed that she had no strengths against specific mutants, factor three is that she does have a weakness to specific mutants. Unknown bugboy would have equal abilities to control her as he would any other arthropod if she were to assume the form of an arthropod. To enhance this, she will be unable to assume a new form by thought alone when under the influence of bugboy. Instead she will be forced to rely on touch.
- Ashley has no control over whether or not her body begins to assume a new form upon touching it, but she can delay this change, and by touching another animal or person she can override the change. However, delaying the change requires a great deal of mental focus. The way in which this would easily be a major weakness is as follows: Assume that Ashley has the form of a dog. She attacks a person by biting them. As soon as she has touched them, her body will begin to take their form. Every injury she gives them, however, would also be given to her once she assumes their form. Therefore, for the remainder of the fight, in order to avoid injuries she must keep from changing, which will cause serious mental distraction. This means that she would be more inclined to use a human form and a weapon while in a fight, but her weakness would remain, so that if her victim were to touch her, she would have to make a choice between retreating and finding a way to override the current change or fighting while being distracted by the need to delay the change.
I’m sure that other weaknesses could be thought of, or may be encountered over the course of the roleplay. Also, I apologize for the various glaring scientific predicaments caused by this mutation which I have neglected to explain. This form is plenty long enough already.