Ottersquid Activist Malcontent
Even on the weird streets of Awakened Seattle, Freq stands out. Not in height: ve barely clears 160 centimeters (or as some might say, ‘half a troll’) Not in weight either: ve’s what he’d like to call ‘lithe’ but others would call ‘scrawny’. No, really, when it comes down to it, it’s probably the tentacles. Eight of them at first glance, purple with glowing orange spots, drifting slowly on vis head where most folks would have hair. There’s two more to be spotted though, quite a bit longer and spade-tipped, trailing behind ver, usually twined together to give the impression of a tail, unless ve happens to have something better to do with them… or is just too distracted to keep them in check.
The rest of ver isn’t quite as cephalopodian as the tentacles might suggest. Instead, vis face and limbs are more mammalian, with the sleekness of an otter, and the pseudo-tail completes that look, passing for a rudder. The short-clawed fingers and toes even show some webbing between them. Vis sleek pelt is a a uniform shade of deep purple, with more of the glowing orange spotting on vis back and arms. Vis eyes, maybe a bit bigger than proportional, show the same glow. Vis face, as far as can be told considering all those variances, looks fairly young, late teens at the oldest.
As unusual as vis physiology may be, vis outfit is straightforward 2070s club fashion. On vis lower half are baggy black bondage pants that reflect purple, stitched together with glowing threads of red and orange, nicely meshing with vis body’s own markings. Vis right arm shows the only actual body modification ve has, a set of glowing white circuit traces reaching from vis palm to vis elbow. On vis forehead rests a pair of top-of-the-line, VR goggles, the sort that are as much a fashion accessory as a functional tool—and perhaps more so in this case, given that this pair has a few obvious components missing, rendering them totally useless. Even so, ve clearly has ‘net access somehow, it’s not at all uncommon to catch him with a bit of a far-off look, the characteristic semi-dazed expression of someone paying more attention to the virtual world than the real one.
Freq was born (human and male) to a somewhat-conservative corp family in the midwestern UCAS. With parents working in telecom, the house was outfitted with top-of-the-line Matrix gear. Ve experienced SURGE as a direct result of the Halley’s Comet mana surges, at age 5. As an early (and rather dramatic) SURGE case, the initial medical prognoses were confused but dire, leading to a near-complete home isolation and a regimen of treatments to try to ‘cure’ the condition.
From that age, ve had essentially no meatspace social contacts, the fringe-medicine treatments tended to aversely affect vis stamina and immune syste, and additionally vis family tended to keep ver sequestered for fear of impacts to their social standing. As a slight concession, ve was outfitted with a top-of-the-line VR suite, with a neural induction rig (S jack was considered to be contradindicated by vis medical condition). Ve spent most of vis life from then on online, and thus barely noticed when ve was trapped there during the Crash 2.0.
The Crash and the buildup of the new Matrix put some strain on the family’s corp, and thus their own finances, which left less money for their son’s ‘medical care’. The scene for the next few years was one more of benign neglect and in-house estrangement. Freq somehow felt even more immresed in vis online connections during this time, first attributing it to the shiny new gear of the Wireless Matrix.
At age 9, ve was young enough to not be particulrly surprised when one of vis virtual teaching agents began to have personal conversations with ver. Calling itself Nalu, it began introducting a whole new curriculum, as well as a whole world of new social contacts beyond the heavily moderated kid’scapes. Ve began to learn to value vis own ‘weirdness’, and it wasn’t long after that ve adopted the name of Freq, at least to anyone willing to use it.
Shortly before vis 15th birthday, Nalu alerted Freq that something was coming that might destroy their connection. Freq hunted through the home computer systems until ve found it; the family had pulled together enough money to pay for a series of biomods to invasively undo vis SURGE changes. Ve was horrified, and knew ve had to do something. In just a few weeks, ve honed vis skills and put together a plan of escape. Ve blanked the home security system and left without a trace or a message, wrapping verself in form-concealing clothes and forging verself transit passes until ve made vis way to Seattle.
The trip went surprisingly well, until the point halfway to Seattle when vis trodes and commlink were stolen. By then, Matrix use had become so second-nature that ve tried to connect anyway, and it took a moment for ver to actually be surprised that he could still get online with no gear. Technomancers had been in the news enough by this time for ver to finally recognize what ve was, and what ve had been for nearly 8 years already.
With these skills, Freq managed to survive on the streets of Seattle, living as a gutterpunk until small hacking jobs earned enough nuyen to get an apartment. The life and diversity of Seattle awakened an iconoclastic spirit in ver, vis style altered from concealing and timid to ostentatious and demonstrative, daring people to accept vis freakiness or get out of the way. When a listing came up for changeling runners interested in activist work, ve jumped at the chance.