||Black Magic Woman -- Santana
|Appearance: Standing at just a little less than four feet, Nina is a rather well built and curvy penguin, which is certainly an asset, given her profession. Like other avian Mobians, she has feathers, but like other penguins, they are not as prone to “fluffing out” as it were. Instead, they stay relatively flat to her body and have a slight sheen to them. Starting at her collar bone and stretching down the middle of her torso, they are white, but the rest of her body has a very dark blue-violet, approaching black, hue. Her beak is of an average length for her species and colored a dark orange, with bright violet eyes placed above it. Her most distinguishing feature, though, are her extremely large eyebrows, the signature of her species, the Macaroni Penguin. They are thin and very long, sticking out about six inches past the sides of her head, and are yellow colored. Nina actually bleaches the sides of her long black hair to complement them.|
Her clothing is variable, as she has a rather large wardrobe, though she typically wears lighter pieces of clothing, being one who is used to cold weather.
|Personality: Flirty and self confident, she walks the fine line between being a tease while not being seen as a slut. That is actually one of her pet peeves… Just because she works in a job where she’s expected to wear somewhat revealing clothing, works in a casino, and likes to flirt with people, doesn’t mean she’s just going to jump in people’s pants at the drop of a tophat. She can get… unusually aggressive when it comes down to it, despite the fact that she’s had her share of short-lived flings with people… of both genders.|
Other than that, she’s generally an easy-going woman. She has a love for comics and her mother’s books. She’s also proud of her figure, and keeps up a sort of exercise routine to keep in shape. One thing about her that surprises people is her respect for authority figures, at least the good ones. Most people, upon hearing about her history, figure that she hates the sort of people who put her and her friends in jail, but her positive feelings stem from those very figures, people who kept her safe and helped her out despite her crimes.
However, there’s always that small twinge in the back of her mind to go back to that life. While she certainly doesn’t mind her job – in fact she pretty much loves it – there are times where it just lacks the… excitement of her time as a thief. Magic’s not quite as interesting when you’re the one doing it, but the reaction and the applause make up for it.
|Backstory: Born in a small fishing village way up north in one of the icier Zones, apart from the mainland, to relatively poor parents, Nina had a relatively normal childhood. Her father went out day after day to fish, and brought back what meager earnings he could. Her mother stayed at home and knitted, sometimes reading a book or writing something of her own. Nina went to school in a small, single-room schoolhouse, and helped her mother around the house. Things were pretty fine and dandy, for the most part.|
However, as Nina grew up, she started wanting more and, like some teens, took a very rebellious tack to this. Having grown tired of their meager existence, she ran away from home to Ice City, hoping to find her way one way or another. Unfortunately, given her young age, people weren’t exactly lining up to offer her a job. After her fourth decline in a row, she was feeling rather down and was walking the cold dark street alone with nowhere in particular to go… She was a perfect beacon for trouble, and trouble found her.
Nina was accosted by a few guys from a local gang, a seal Mobian and a polar bear Mobian. They figured a girl around her age, out alone at this hour, was a perfect target to harass and then some. She tried running, but didn’t get very far. She then tried fighting, but was easily outmatched. Finally, she tried the only option left to her… screaming her pretty little lungs out. This caught the attention of a rather large Orca Mobian, who, after cracking her knuckles, proceeded to crack some skulls. After beating down the aggressors, the orca scooped up Nina, who had passed out from the whole ordeal, and carried her to an old abandoned warehouse down on the wharf. After an hour, Nina awoke, and she was introduced to the Orca’s friends, the Crystal Horn gang. A strange name for a gang, for sure, but one that befitted one led by a Narwhal Mobian. Nina, frankly, was intrigued by the whole notion. She had wanted some excitement and here she was with a perfect opportunity sitting there in her lap. Nina got on her knees in front of Sven, the Narwhal leader, and begged him to let her join. After a bit of discussion with Helga, the Orca who had saved Nina, they decided to let her have a trial run. Her mission? Make a simple cash pickup from a local fence (Seller of stolen items). It seemed like an easy enough task, so she gleefully accepted.
The next morning, after getting directions, she headed out. The trip to the fence was simple enough, and Nina got the package with no incident. The return trip, though, would prove to be more eventful. A block from the fence’s place, she noticed that she had picked up a shadow, and it wasn’t someone she recognized. Thankfully, Sven didn’t send her out totally unprepared. He had given her the basics of what to do in such a situation and she set out to put those ideas into practice. She did her best to stick to her route for now and act like she hadn’t spotted her tail, but she had started unconsciously to start walking faster, almost jogging. After a couple more blocks, she turned into a mall. Made sense to her, really, as there were a lot of people out shopping after all. At first, it seemed to work, her tail disappearing into the crowd. Nina breathed a sigh of relief and exited the far side of the mall… and was immediately jumped by the tail, who had gotten onto the roof of the mall and tried attacking her from above. Nina thought it was all over, when a familiar scene happened: Helga leaped in and slammed the rival gang member against the wall of the mall, knocking him out. She then escorted a rather down-in the dumps Nina back to the warehouse. Nina wasn’t looking forward to this… she figured that since she couldn’t do it on her own, that she would be out. The penguin teen sat nervously on her cot while the others discussed her fate.
Finally, Helga summoned her into the main area, where the others were waiting. There, Sven was waiting for her… with two boxes. Nina looked supremely confused for a moment, but Sven simply explained the situation. Nina was bait. Sven has sent the new girl out to make a fake pickup while another member made the real pickup later. Overall, Nina did a decent job without even knowing it. This had, understandably, ticked Nina off at first. She wanted to join up, and they used her like this? She started to huff and puff and cause a stir, but Sven quickly and firmly gave her the low-down. If she wanted in, she was going to have to understand the basic rule… the gang comes first. Not that they didn’t care about her, but… priorities.
After a minute of thought, Nina nodded and joined for real.
The next few months were rather hectic, as the rest of the gang spent a little bit of time trying to teach Nina everything as they went. This gave her enough of an idea of what everyone else was doing, as well as some street experience while underneath a more competent group. She also got to meet the rest of the gang, and made friends pretty quickly with the rest of them. In addition, she also got a chance to meet some of the rival gangs, and their biggest threat, Constable Pachman. Pachman was a rotund walrus Mobian, and the head of the city’s “Gang-related Crime” division. He was well known for being almost fanatical about his desire to run the gangs out of the city, but was otherwise a good guy. He wasn’t the kind to gun people down, and instead arrested them by the book.
After this training time, Nina decided to stick with the things she was good at, running games of chance, like shells. She had rather sharp eyes and good reflexes, not to mention that she was growing up into a rather beautiful girl, so it was easy to pull people in, and then sucker them out of their cash. Of course, she wasn’t that great of a fighter, and needed backup in case someone got unruly. To this end, Helga was normally hanging out nearby, ready to slug a troublemaker or carry Nina out of there if needed. Nina also kept up with the occasional running duties, and even joined in on the occasional heist – typically a break-in at one of the more affluent houses in the city.
This continued for a couple of years. She eventually sucked up her pride a little, and would make semi-frequent trips back home, giving her parents a part of her cut from the gang’s dealings, always under the disguise of it being part of her paycheck from her job in the city. Nina also honed her skills, becoming quite adept at lock-picking as well as her typical hustling duties. She was also becoming a decently fast runner, though nothing incredibly special. Helga continued to be her backup, and the two developed a deep bond with each other. They had their run-ins with Pachman, but always managed to stay a step ahead of capture, even if he did manage to break up their current scheme.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and the gang’s glory days were no exception. ((OOC note: …geez, do I use this line in every bio?)) With the rise in gang crime, and Pachman’s seeming ineptitude at stopping it, the populace demanded an answer, and they got it in Victor Orino, the new mayor. Orino had been running on a severe anti-crime platform, and seemed to deliver from day one. He stepped up police presence in the city, and demoted Pachman, putting him in a subordinate role under a friend of Orino’s, a Shark Mobian named Skeeth. Skeeth was a horribly vicious person, ordered by Orino to send a message to the gangs in the only message he thought they would get: violence. And so it all began… a couple people here and there, ending up in a body bag instead of a prison cell.
This obviously didn’t sit well with some people, least of all Pachman. Because of this, he did the only thing he could do, given his position. He rounded up a posse of those officers who were still loyal to him, and started making stings of his own, but instead of using Skeeth’s tactics, he made sure to capture all of his collars alive. This obviously angred the trigger-happy Skeeth, but Orino didn’t care too much. His platform was crime control, and crime was certainly under control. If Pachman wanted to put in all the extra effort which he found wasteful… well, as long as he got results. So, in a way, it became a sort of sick and twisted race between Packman and Skeeth. There were more than a few ugly incidents, but Orino didn’t step in, feeling that the competition made things move faster.
This was a bad time for everyone, and Sven faced a touch choice. On one hand, there was the freedom the gang offered and principle of fighting for what one believed in. On the other hand, being dead certainly put a cramp in pretty much every facet of one’s life. In the end, Sven made a decision, and contacted Pachman in secret, not able to face the idea of telling his comrades that he was selling them out. The day couldn’t come quickly enough, but when it did, it was far darker than anticipated. Sven and the ‘Horns held a meeting in one of the old abandoned warehouses on the wharf, and were quickly surrounded by Pachman and his men. Before there could be any sort of outburst from the rest of the gang, though, their little party was interrupted by Skeeth descending from above. It seemed like the Walrus had been tailed. The shark made a short little speech, thanking the walrus for his “assistance” and then leveled an assault rifle at the assembled members of Sven’s gang.
One shot was all it took to change everything.
The crack from the single gunshot rang out in the enclosed space, and it caused the assembled ‘Horns to panic a little, trying to figure out whom among their number had been shot. They were interrupted, though, by the sound of Pachman’s revolver falling from his trembling hand, short one bullet, which had found its way into the heart of Skeeth, who was lying face down on the cold warehouse floor, a pool of blood forming around him.
The next few months were mostly a blur for Nina. There were trials, time spent in juvie… her mother visiting, sobbing, questioning why she was there… Surprisingly, the one who seemed to get things back into perspective was the one who had started the spiral in the first place: Pachman. At the time, Nina was sitting in the reading room of the correctional facility, reading one of the limited supply of comic books they had. (The warden thought they taught that crime doesn’t pay.) She had developed a sort of fondness for them, being the only sort of entertainment she had access to anymore. This time, though, her reading time was interrupted by the portly walrus, having been demoted to prison guard after his little incident.
Pachman had come to her with an offer, a chance to be one of the first to test out his new job placement test. It consisted of several parts, some written, some physical, and some while hooked up to lie-detectors. It was long, and somewhat complicated. Nina’s head was spinning by the end. After a couple of days, Pachman came back with the results: a stage magician. It seemed to come out of the blue, really… it’s not a very common job. However, when it came down to it, it made sense. Nina had very good reflexes and a keen, not to mention a healthy dose of charisma, not to mention that one of her favorite characters from her comics came from a similar profession. During the remaining months of her sentence, an illusionist would come in and show her the basics of the trade. She learned pretty quickly and seemed to be enjoying the lessons – It helped that she had undergone a similar process when she was joining the Horns.
After she had finished her time, she packed her things and made her way to Casinopolis to study at a proper Magician’s School. Her studies continued to go well, though she was up to her eyebrows in debt by the time she was done, even with what little of her cut she managed to smuggle past the police. She was saved, however, through a rather lucky windfall on the part of her mother. It would seem that her writing career took a rather sudden upswing after writing a popular book based off of her daughter’s exploits. Of course there was quite a bit changed to preserve her identity, but that didn’t stop people from buying it. With her sudden boost in income, she decided to move with her husband to Casinopolis to be closer to her daughter and to help support her. With this backing, she managed to get her feet set on her career path and quickly moved her way forward.
She started small, performing at kids’ birthday parties and other special events, but eventually managed to land shows at some of the smaller establishments in Casinopolis. She’s currently continuing to work her way up, having just weathered all of the nonsense with Mammoth Mogul and Metal Sonic. Of course, there’s the madness with the Dark Legion, but a magician’s work is never done.
|Residence: Nina currently resides in a decent apartment in Casinopolis.|
Magic! – Duh. Though this isn’t anything like the magic from video games or fantasy books, simply honest-to-goodness slight of hand and other misdirection tricks, all of which have multiple uses.
Cards – Nina always keeps a deck or two on hand. She's well versed in both card-based tricks as well as games, and has a sharp aim with them.
Speed – She’s nothing legendary, but she’s got a strong pair of legs and knows how to beat feet if the situation demands it.
Swimming – She’s a flightless bird, but makes up for it with her swimming ability. She’s a strong swimmer, and can reach a decent clip in the water.
Thievery – Nina has rather adroit fingers, and they have gotten her past many doors (with mechanical locks, anyway) and into many pockets in the past. It’s been a while, though, and she is trying to follow the straight and narrow for now.
- Physical charms – What can I say? Nina’s a pretty bird.
- Dexterous – She has nimble fingers, and is fairly fast on her feet.
- Athletic – She’s a good runner and swimmer, and has a decent jump, thanks to her time running from the police.
- Cold – She’s a penguin.
- Physically weak – Her punches lack… punch.
- No fighting training – She never really developed much as a fighter, since she typically had Helga looking over her.
- Temper – While she enjoys being a flirt, she HATES it when people assume she’s some sort of a cheap floozy.
- Heat – She’s a penguin.
|Comments: Thanks to Liz for the bio picture.|