Character Name: Rainbow Archer
Alternate Identities: Marion Locksley
Player Name: NPC
Marion is an attractive young woman of about 20 with short brown hair and brown eyes. On a mission her costume is a special fabric that acts an adaptive camouflage under normal conditions. When seen close up the costume appears to be shifting colors over layed by a silver sheen. She also wears a hood and boots of forest green. Out of costume Marion dresses pretty much as one might expect an attractive 20-something with money to burn. She is always dressed in the latest fashion, usually a bit on the flashy side. She'd be a girl you'd see across the dance floor is a tight, short, low cut dress that looked like spray paint.
Marion is actually in her fifties but with the aid of the Time Ship's nanobots, has aged only slighty since she was 'infected' at age 20.
When you are born in Nottinghamshire with a name like Marion AND Locksley, you are pre-destined for a bow. There was no use fighting the inevitable so Marion Locksley embraced it, taking up archery at age eight. Seven years later she found herself in Berlin at the XXXth World Championship Tournament representing the United Kingdom. Ranked number one in the world of Women's Archery she was the odds on favorite to take gold.
The United States had their own teen wonder in the form of a boy just her age by the name of Aaron Wayne. By quirks of airline scheduling they happened to arrive within minutes of each other. At the baggage carrousel she recognized the bow and quiver cases that were picked up by the good looking American. When her own gear rumbled up the conveyor she noted his instant interest but was surprised when he approached her with a smile.
“You’re Marion Locksley,” he said and offered a hand. “Aaron Wayne.”
For a moment she was flustered, at fifteen she’d hadn’t met too many boys her own age that would be so forthright. She took the offered hand with a shy smile.
“I have read of you,” she commented.
“And I of you. Spectacular finish last month,” he said.
She had scored five of six 'inner 10s' on her last 'end' to win her class but she had also seen him shoot and knew her five that one time was nothing compared to his ability to hit the 'inner 10' as many as 25 times out of the standard 72 shafts. It some ways she was glad she would not be facing him in the finals but in others, she really wanted to test herself against him.
“Where are you staying?” His question caught her a little off-guard.
“Grand Hostel,” she replied naming one of Europe's ubiquitous and inexpensive hostels.
“Staying with your team?” He continued. She wasn’t completely comfortable with his asking. She purposely made her own arrangements and had paid extra for a double room rather than staying in the dormitory. Privacy was what she preferred before a match.
He held up a hand. “Sorry, I’m one of those ask-a-million-questions types. I’m working on curbing the urge but, really, I am staying at the Grand too and was wondering if you’d like to share a meal.”
She swung her cases up over her right shoulder and eyed him. He was really good looking and there didn’t seem to be anything of the arrogance she’d noted in other athletes she encountered.
“Alright,” she said, “Shall we say eight in the restaurant?”
“Sounds good to me, care to split a cab?”
Americans were puzzling but this one, more so. He listened far more than he talked and over the next few days, whether sitting around in the hostel’s library or biking around Berlin, she told him far more about herself than she learned of him. Once she realized this, she worked to turn the tables.
Not only did he speak German like a native but French, Italian and Russian. He played guitar, piano and the flute at a professional level. He also seemed to know a little bit about everything going on in the world and could not only dance but cook. She wasn’t sure if she was jealous of his abilities or ready to fall in love with him. As they got to know each other though, the one thing she was certain about was that she wanted to compete against him head-to-head, even if it was privately.
“Miss Locksley, Mr. Wayne, phone calls for you.”
“At the same time?” she asked the concierge.
It was the worst phone call in her life. The UK as well as the USA had recalled their contestants in protest after the Soviet Union’s top archer declared himself to be a mutant. The UK and USA had demanded ‘testing’ of all athletes but the tournament’s governing body ruled that since there was no definitive way to determine if a contestant was a mutant the Russian archer’s self-proclaimed ‘mutant’ status was not relevant. He would be allowed to compete. The UK and USA protested demanding the athlete be banned as having an unfair advantage. Both nations decided to withdraw their competitors.
She should have put it together ... a 'ghost' archer. That was her target and it really didn't take very long to locate him. It helped that VIPER had eyes all over the Bay Area. Only a few days on the job she'd gotten the call and was told the set up. VIPER would throw away a team of marginal rookie agents to lure the hunter out while she was to lay in wait and kill him.
Several shots from what she recognized as the standard VIPER sidearm put her on the alert. A touch of the tiny stud on the frame of her visor activated the night eyes and the world turned green. Several blocks away streaks of brighter green marked the incoming VIPER team and judging by the angle of their fire, her target was at rooftop level.
"Hold still you morons," she whispered as she nocked an arrow tipped with an explosive.
The beams of her 'assistants' converged and she loosed the shaft. It was an easy shot, less than a hundred meters. The corner of the building exploded raining concrete into an alley. She didn't see a body, at least not up there. There were two stretched out on the pavement though, her guys. Touching the stud again, the bodies zoomed in. Both men had an arrow through the left side of their chest just below the collar bone. One was moving, the other looked dead.
The hair on the nap of her neck had her spinning and forgetting her visor was on magnify, saw only a huge fist.
Her face hurt and she could taste the blood that had probably dripped down through her sinuses.
"Sorry about the black eyes," a male voice came from out of a shadow.
Her visor was gone and with it her night vision. He had propped her up against a wall with her hands cuffed together in front of her. The bow nowhere in sight and the quiver was gone from her back.
"You VIPER or a contractor?"
He waited. As much as she wanted to keep her mouth shut, after a couple of minutes she couldn't stop herself.
"Contractor," she replied.
A soft whisper of cloth and a knee thrust itself from the shadow. He was sitting down.
"That's good," he said. "Means there's no reason to turn you over the cops."
A gloved hand rested on his knee and opened, palm up.
"See, if you'd been like the four I chased into your trap, I'd have to turn you in, but since you're not actually VIPER, I don't have anything against you."
Her head was throbbing. He was going to let her go?
"Other then the fact you tried to kill me," he concluded.
Fuck. He was going to just kill her.
The knee disappeared as he stood up in the shadow, invisible once more. She closed her eyes and waited for the arrow.
"I'll be keeping your bow and quiver, you have some nice ideas there."
Silence. Had he left? How was she going to get out of the cuffs?
His voice came from some distance, "Don't move."
She flinched and rolled away from the sound of an arrow splintering on the concrete wall near her head. There was a metallic clink as the shaft hit the rooftop. About halfway up the arrow was the handcuff key.
"Don't hunt me again," came the voice. "Marion."
It took her nearly eighteen hours to recover from that last word and by that time she was back in the UK. He knew who she was.
The snug of the pub was deserted on a Tuesday, just the way she liked it. She set the pint down on the scarred tabletop with a thump.
"Another," she called to the bar maid through the curtained doorway of the small room.
An eclipse blotted out what little light that filtered through from the main room. She looked up at the silhouette of a huge man or Bigfoot, maybe it was a bear. A fresh pint appeared. A bear with a pint was okay in her book.
"You look like you lost a fight and could use a little company, lass," the bear said with an Irish lilt.
The bruises around her eyes! Tentatively she finger the area, not as sore. She tried to focus on the bear across the table.
"You seen any snakes?" she asked.
"There're no snakes in Ireland, lass."
"This isn't Ireland," she said before downing the pint.
"Was this mornin' when I looked out me front door."
"Where do you think you are, lass."
She shrugged. "Woodthorpe? ... Wait. It is Tuesday, right?"
The bear shook his head.
"Thursday and your in Dublin."
"Oh, god, how did I get here?"
The mug dropped heavily and she covered her face with both hands. It was coming back, a little. The guy on the roof in San Francisco, her frantic flight out on the first plane to the UK. The panic when she realized VIPER was not going to be happy about her failure, then the pubs. Was it three days or four?
"You don't look so well, lass," the bear said. "Shall I get you a cab?"
She tilted her head back and closed her eyes. No, she didn't remember any hotel but she seemed to recall something about a boat and vomiting over the side.
"No hotel," she said. That was the last thing she remembered.
There was a giant canary singing through a megaphone just outside the window when she awoke. Her first instinct was to throw the nearest object at it but nothing came to hand when she reached out for her nightstand. Opening one eye she noted the nightstand was gone. Opening both eyes she noted the walls were pale green. Somebody painted her room and move the furniture. A knock on the door made her head feel like the inside of a bass drum.
Oh, that was stupid. She pulled the pillow and quilt over her head.
"Coffee?" A male voice asked softly.
Her eyes popped open and the pillow/quilt combination came down. Did she just have a one night stand?
The man that belonged to the voice did make even her sluggish heart skip a beat. He was very handsome but the red hair and freckles ruined it a little. It was like looking at a giant leprechaun, a really buff giant leprechaun.
"Who are you?" she managed, not really caring but needing information ... and coffee. She held out her hands to the offered cup.
"Barney O'Tumey," he said with a little bow. "Savior of English lassies down in their cups."
"Oh, god, I remember, were you that giant bear in the pub?"
"I've been called many things but giant bear is a new one." His chuckle was soft, moderated as if in deference to her hangover.
She lifted the quilt and found she was still fully dressed.
"I'd never take advantage of a girl that wasn't awake to enjoy it," he said. "And to answer your next question, you're still in Dublin, at a flat I keep in town. The police station is two doors up and there's a pub across the street ... whichever way you're leanin'"
"How about I just lean on this coffee for now."
It was hot, with sugar and cream, just the way she liked it. Her questioning look at him from across the cup had him smiling.
"I guessed." He held out a hand with a couple of aspirin which she took gratefully.
The hair at the nap of her neck fuzzed. A window shattered in the room below and she found herself enveloped by the huge man. He covered her and rolled the both of them off the bed and against one wall as the explosion propelled the bed into the ceiling. It dropped, tattered by the blast and covered the hole in the floor.
Before her head cleared enough for her to react, Barney was on his feet with her cradled in his arms and running for the back of the flat. Tucking one shoulder, he slammed into the wall and burst through to land cat-like on the garden's small patch of grass. Three of them were waiting for exactly that and she realized that VIPER had found her.
The trio of green-clad agents opened fire and Barney actually laughed. Several shots bounced off the big man and didn't seem to phase him. Setting her on her feet, he swept her behind his body.
"Can you keep up, lass?" He said as more shots bounced off.
Then they were moving, Barney plowing straight through anything that moved. Like rag dolls, the VIPER agents soared into the air to land a dozen meters away. When they rounded the corner, a van was across the road and two men were busy loading a heavy machinegun. Barney simply ran up to it, grabbed it by the rear bumper and lofted it down the street.
"Who are you?" she managed as they ducked down a side street.
Barney laughed, "I'm your personal shamrock!"
The Aston Martin DB5 she found herself in five minutes later looked like it had just rolled off the set of a James Bond film.
"Time to get deeper into the Republic," Barney said as they hit the M7 heading south west. "I've got a country place up the road a bit. Now, what did a sweet lass like yourself do to piss off the snakes?"
“So, he just let you go and you ran for home as fast as your gorgeous legs could carry you?”
It hadn’t taken her but a few moments to fill him in as kilometer after kilometer of green blew past the speeding car.
“I figured VIPER was going to be pissed that I didn’t kill him but I can’t figure out how they found me.”
“St. Patrick didn’t live long enough to rid Ireland of those kinds of snakes,” Barney said. “Got any idea who he is since he seemed to know you?”
“Yes, I am pretty sure I know him, or did, a few years back.”
“Were you an item then?”
“Could have been if we’d had a few more days,” she replied.
“What are you going to do, lass?”
“Stay as far away from him as possible,” she said, then added in a whisper, “he’s a lot better than me.”
“Nothing …” she said. “He let me go and told me to not come hunting him again and I think I’ll take the advice.”
“Who is he?”
“VIPER called him Ghost Archer,” she replied.
“N’er heard o’ him,” Barney laughed. “But he’s in the States and you’re here.”
“All I have to do is get VIPER off my back,” Marion said.
“Oh, I think I can be of some help there, lass.”
Barney turned into a country lane that had the Aston bouncing and the big man cursing.
“I keep tellin’ him we need to fix this bloody road, but does he listen? No … ain’t his auto keeps getting beat up by pot holes.”
As it turned out the condition of the road was indicative of the condition of the house that appeared at they rounded the last bend in the road.
"That's your 'country' place?" Marion was agast. The place was more of a hovel, not even reaching up to the exhaulted level of shack. Perhaps ten meters wide and half that deep, it looked as if a mild breeze would topple the entire structure. Nothing was straight, or level and paint was a distant, centuries distant, memory. Nine out of the eighteen panes of glass were either cracked or covered over by what looked to be ancient leather and the door hung from only a single hinge somewhere near the middle of the left side.
"It is a might nicer on the inside," Barney said as he climbed out of the DB5. Marion made no move to get out so when Barney, smiling, okay, grinning, opened her door she just sat there.
"Is this an Irish joke on the English girl?" she asked suspiciously.
Barney offer his hand.
"Lass, I wouldn't lie to you, trust me for two minutes."
"Who's that?" A querulous voice was quickly followed by an equally querulous old man of about 90. Resting in the crook of his right arm was an over and under shot gun.
"Just me, you old coot," Barney called then wiggled his fingers at Marion. She took his offered hand and allowed herself to be pulled up.
"Damn it boy!" the man growled. "I told you not to be bringing your bréagán here!"
"Bréagán" Marion eyed the tall man. "Translates to something like 'slag'?
"If I wanted to call you a slag, I'd say slag." the old man said as he stepped towards them.
"That's not very nice, Old man," Barney admonished to no visible effect. "We were jumped by a snake goon squad and she's the target."
"What the hell snakes want with her? She step on someone's tail?"
Up close the man's green eyes were sharp and intelligent with no hint of diminished capacity due to his advanced years. She didn't flinch or wither as they traded stares until at last the man broke into a smile.
"She's got guts, kiddo, I'll give you that."
"To answer your question, I failed to kill a man in California." She said coldly.
The old man snorted. "Couldn't pull the trigger?"
"No, he got the jump on me."
"Why aren't you dead?"
"Turned out we were old friends."
"Let's get out of sight," Barney suggested.
The old man nodded and pointed something at the car. It vanished.
"That's a nice trick," Marion said. "Can you make that eyesore of a house vanish too?"
"In a way," the old man said. "In a way."
He turned and headed for the house. Barney stepped up beside Marion and touched the small of her back, gently urging her to follow. Inside was everything she had expected, dust in every corner, ratty curtains, broken down furnature, a cold wood stove and rusted water pump. The old man stopped on the far edge of a time worn circular rug and faced her. Barney gave her a half smile as he directed her to the center of the rug. The floor dropped away and the stainless steel walls of an elevator enclosed them.
"More then it seems," Barney said.
Doors slid back silently and opened up on a narrow cleft split through solid rock. The floor of the passage had been cemented over making walking easy and light strips were space in such a way as to fully illuminate the entire length. The corridor disappeared in the distance. The old man didn't hesitate but took off at a surprising clip.
"Hope you got your walkin' shoes on," Barney said.
"How far is it?"
They were forced to walk single file with Marion in the middle.
"A good mornin's hike," Barney replied. "Near ten kilometers."
Marion stopped and Barney managed to avoid running her over.
"Ten k?! Into what?"
"Into the heart of the mountain," the old man called back over his shoulder.
"I been trying to talk him into a golf cart or something but the passage narrows to less than a meter in places," Barney said.
"What about bicycles?"
Ahead of her the old man stopped and turned.
"Now why didn't YOU think of that?" he demanded of the bigger man.
Barney grinned. "I like the walkin'."
The old man turned his back on them with a snort. "She has already proved her worth, kiddo, your turn."
Marion was in damn good shape she knew, even if she'd passed out the night before, drunk, but the pace the old man set was pretty grueling. They covered the ten kilometers in just under an hour and stood before a metal wall at the end.
|Marion is a world-class archer with a variety of useful arrowhead attachments. These range from High Explosive to Flash Bangs and while both the HE and HEAT have the potential for considerable injury to a living target, Marion will always select her TASER arrow first and uses the more lethal loads only in the case of dire threat to her or a teammate. Her primary role in the team is sniper / high cover. Standard proceedure is for Marion to scout the location of a job and predetermine a number of sniper positions before establishing herself in place. With these predetermined locations she is able to move freely and follow the path the team's to provide cover fire. Though a mutant, Marion's powers are limited to her reflexes, speed and an uncanny awareness of potential threats.|
Marion's first encounter with Ghost Archer shook her to the core. When she had begun her adventuring life, she was surpemely confident in not only her archery skills but in her abilitiy to just seem to know when she was the subject of unwanted and usually dangerous attention. The ease with which Ghost Archer had not only found her but had gotten in close enough to knock her out did more than damage her ego, it scared her to point that she would rather run then risk another hand-to-hand encounter. This has made her particularly vulnerable to being punched. This has not, however, shaken her confidence in her skills with a bow. She still looks forward to a time when she can match her skills against Ghost Archer, a contest she is certain she will win.
When Marion joined up with Shamrock and S.A.A.T. she was something of a show off, always picking the most spectacular of entries but it didn't take long to change her tactics.
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