Name: Mariko "Mari" Ito Age: 25 Gender: Female, she/they Appearance: Mari stands a bit shorter than most, with long dark hair that she often lets hang loose. When working on her projects, she does her best to keep it out of her face with a cat-ear headband that Spork gave her once as a joke. She always dresses rather smartly, usually in some form of slacks, a vest, and a button-up shirt. One constant is the fox-paw charm that Mari keeps on her belt at nearly all times, except for when she's working. Features: Mari has lived her whole life with a heightened intelligence. While she was never tested, she personally wouldn't consider herself a genius. She simply sees things in terms of problems to be solved. Perhaps as a result, some would call her emotionally stunted, unable to process her own emotions or those of others very well.
Alias: Kitsune Powers: Like a cat, Kitsune has nine lives. She uses one of these lives whenever she dies, returning to life within 60 seconds. Any damage she's sustained prior to resurrection will heal, but she will still feel the phantom pains left behind. Kitsune regains one life per lunar cycle, approximately 30 days, and is constantly aware of just how many lives she has left. Alliances: Founder and leader of Nine Tails Inc., working alongside Shiba Equipment:
A modular "laser" pistol that can be modified to serve the purpose of other guns.
Two knives, the blades of which can be heated or given an electric current.
A handful of proximity alarms with 3D cameras that feed into her helmet.
Suit made from a slash-resistant, puncture-proof durable fabric.
Mask with built-in voice modifier, HUD, targeting system, and short-range communicator connected to Shiba's.
To Mariko Ito, everything is a puzzle. Everything can be solved. Even if there is no perfect solution, the one that gets closest to the desired outcome is usually the one that she chooses. Thus, she chose to be friends with Spork.
It was not a choice of ulterior motive, but merely proximity. Being the only two children their age in close proximity, their mothers were desperate for the two to be friends. She did not mind Spork's company, and saw their blindness as nothing more as a problem she added to her 'To Be Solved' list.
Over time, however, this opinion changed. What had once been a friendship formed of convenience began to develop into something more. While Mari saw their blindness as an inconvenience, others saw it as a disability, something to be mocked. Feeling protective, she would have done something about these bullies if not for Spork crafting their own brilliant plan. The blind kid can't see after all, so who's to say they know where every person is standing in a room. And if they received a subtle tap to let them know their target is in range well, that's just being a good friend.
Being friends with the blind kid meant Mari was an outcast, however. Not that she would have known, she was too busy reading and concocting plans to bother with friends. Her father always said that she wouldn't get anywhere with her nose stuck in a book all the time, but her mother was always supportive. She told Mari about how intelligent foxes were, and they quickly became Mari's favorite animal, with her mom even making a little fox-paw charm for her.
The number of people Mari trusted went from 2 to 1 on one fateful day. An unexpected slip and fall sent Mari's mom to the hospital in critical condition. She was not allowed in to hear her mother's last words. She did not cry. Not on the way home. Not in her room after. Not at the funeral.
But weeks later, while with Spork.
It was an ugly grief, one that had been suppressed and held down for as long as it could be. Mari expected Spork to push her off or tell her to stop crying. Instead, they did their best to console her, and Mari realized just how good of a friend this goofball was.
They showed the world what the phrase 'thick as thieves' truly meant. They stuck together through high school, synchronizing their schedules at every opportunity and ensuring assholes were dealt with properly. As college came and went, Mari found herself on the business end of a double major in Robotics Engineering and Electrical & Chemical Engineering, with a minor in Physics. While Spork dropped out halfway through, she wouldn't dream of letting them go. Even after she graduated, they continued to share a space.
Mari first discovered her powers when she was mugged walking home one night. She stubbornly refused to give the man her money, and in exchange he gave her a bullet in the back of the skull. Sixty seconds later, she woke up on the dirty asphalt, a drum pounding in her head and the clear vision of a nine ticking down to eight. She made her way back home and did what anyone in that position would do.
Mari researched endlessly, finding the man online, tracking his movements, finding his daily routines. She dipped down into the more unsavory parts of the web, hoping to find someone to track him for her. Instead she found his name and face tied to a hitman listing. She accepted it and, remembering the numbers in her mind, listed it under Nine Tails Inc. She worked feverishly, almost high on the sensation of data discovery and experimentation as she began to work on proper tools. She knew she couldn't kill him with a weapon she owned, so she had to craft her own. She took all the precautions, found him one night and fulfilled the contract.
He didn't even remember who she was.
Mari was ecstatic, not because she'd just killed someone, but because of the new breed of puzzle she'd just solved. She knew this was the beginning of something great. But she had to keep it from Spork.