From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
This character was my first and still is my favorite character. There is a lot to her story, more than people care to read, but suffice it to say she's been a defining part of my life in terms of the skills I've developed in writing.
Switch hides her pain with humor. Not to the level that others do, but still it is her defining trait. No pun or funny observation is safe from her.
Crey's tactics involving Jennifer Malone were less than savory, but wholly impersonal. Commissioning a field test for a unit known as the MCU, or Mobile Conversion unit, they sniffed out a civilian with metahuman potential to see if their unit could accelerate her to Protector Program protocol.
Unbeknownst to them after the test was completed, Jennifer had survived. They thought she was dead, but she was in fact comatose from the process. They deposited her in an alleyway in Galaxy City and aborted the test. Jennifer was found later by an unknown hero, and brought to the hospital.
She discovered shortly after awakening that she was impervious to any blunt trauma or any standard woundings. She found this out when she scratched her neck and claws shot from her fists, clinking off her skin.
Switch can leap great distances due to her invulnerable nature. Since she can take no physical damage, her muscles actually spiked in power without any drawbacks. As a result, she can spring great distances and land without a problem.
Intense body coniditoning has rendered her lean and sleek, a model of perfect health and energy.
Beyond even her mastery of fitness, Switch has been able to cut her energy consumption in half, allowing for doubled use of her talents in prolonged fights. She can also hone her attacks to near 100% accuracy.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Despite all of her perks from being nigh indestructible, Switch is constantly maintaining her signature pair of glasses, the one item on her person which is absolutely required for function. When all else fails, her poor eyesight will still do her in.
Despite her best efforts, Switch can not run continuously in combat mode. Prolonged fights can be alleviated with the talents of her body mastery, but even over the course of 30 minutes, she may need to stop and rest.= Affiliations =
- Kid Switchblade - Kid Switchblade is her number one priority in life. Her "little sister" is actually a clone of herself Crey engineered to take Red down. During maturation, Kid self-aborted before her aging was completed, resulting in being a teenage version of her target.
- Flux Force - Flux Force, or Jewel Malone, was thought to be dead by Red for over a year before she resurfaced. Jewel was the original motivator for Red's heroism, as she was killed during the Rikti invasion. In time, information came forward that Jewel has not died, but been saved by Kheldian symbiote and taken off world.
- Knightward - Knightward's affiliation with Red is somewhat tenuous. The two do not see eye to helmet on many things, but Red has been instrumental to acclimatizing the walking suit of armor to the modern hardships and quirks.
Let’s face it, this world has essentially gone down the tubes.
But that was the last thing on her mind. She stood at her chemist’s desk, tediously pouring chemicals over and over again, trying to find the right mixture to get what the company was aiming for. She needed this formula to work, and she needed to leave early. She needed to escape. Temperatures were rising in the building, mostly due to the heat wave outside and partly due to the chemical processing tank in the back room. She grumbled as the A/C suddenly kicked off. She wondered if anyone really cared, anywhere, if this mixture would really make you both verile, and give you a full head of hair.
Trying to hard to focus on steadying her hands, she closed her eyes for a second and opened them again to hear glass breaking. Third time this week… she’d tried too hard and launched the claws from her hands. This was certainly a ticket to nowhere she wanted to be. She gritted her teeth as she heard a drawer slam some twenty yards away behind a dingy frosted glass door. A quick push of a chair across the floor, and a heavy footstep spelled inevitability for her in big red letters. She retracted the claws into her hands and grabbed for the absorb-all.
Yes, claws. It wasn’t the glamorous life you’d imagine. She’d spent the better part of her time with claws hiding from them, doing everything she could to keep them from surfacing again. She’d get good, no doubt – a week or two and life would be chummy, like it never happened. Then she’d reach for the salt one day and stab straight through the cereal box on the table, resetting her capacity to deny what she’d become.
A lanky, older man stormed up to her desk. He didn’t seem happy, and justifiably so. He stared down at a costly puddle of failed business on the floor. He lifted his gaze to her.
“Ms. Malone. I am certainly convinced at this point we have things to discuss. You’ve ruined a third testing kit this week, and as with the last two, I'm sure you can offer me no answer as to why they broke, that isn't bull. My office - ten minutes.” He tapped his watch, sneered, and daintily stepped around the toxic puddle.
Great. As the pepper-haired lanky king-of-the-world walked away, she casually flipped him the finger to his back. Had to be careful, though – almost launched the middle claw with it. In the past, that has been a like a dinner bell to Trolls and Outcasts and anyone else in the vicinity. To get by in this world, you always had to keep your head down and your eyes trained to see with your head like that. Defiance, it seemed, only got you killed. And she had seen several heroes on the news learn that the hard way.
Cleaning off the Hapland Technologies chemicals and sweeping up the broken glass, she headed over to Director Volpe’s office. Sighing heavily and expecting the worst, she turned the knob.
A soft shunk heralded in a new era of heart problems, as her heart skipped several beats, the paused for a brief respite and began playing a newer, faster tune all together. It reminded her of techno and she was very much a slow-rock fan. Looking at her hand, she sighed audibly.
The jig was up before she even had a chance to lie about it. Her right claw was now through the door, and retracting it was no easy matter. She pulled the claw from the door, and pushed the door open. Director Volpe stood not three feet from the entrance, his face as white as a ghost’s.
“Wh…w….wha…what was that, Jen?”
The words escaped his mouth like jell-o falling from a table. Words came like globs and eventually struck the ground with a resounding heaviness.
“P..please, please don’t hurt me.” He finally said. A puddle of his own toxic business was available for viewing now.
“Oh god! Um… just calm down.” She stated. She tried to placate him, but knew that it would be no easy matter to console a man whose naughty bits were nearly compromised by sharp metal.
“Calm down? There’s a freakin’ hole in my door that you put there with a knife!!”
“Not a knife.” She stated calmly again. She didn’t know why she had given up on trying to lie out of being a metahuman, but later she realized that attempted murder sounded worse than accidental hero, and decided she’d done the right thing.
Volpe stared at her and eventually learned to regulate his breathing. He became aware of his cowardice running down his leg, but swallowed hard and did the mature thing. He leered at her in a fit of self-righteousness and demanded an answer.
She lifted her fist in response and closed her eyes, focusing on her fist. She extended her blades. She heard a soft thunk and something hit her foot. She opened her eyes and looked up to find her claws had extended into the ceiling fan. A piece was at her foot.
Volpe ducked near his desk as the fan sputtered and made a crazy racket, eventually smoking and burning out due to the heavy imbalance.
“So, you’re a hero are you? That’s not covered in the health plan.” He stated firmly, as if his room wasn’t smoky and smelling a bit like a frathouse bathroom.
“This is my curse, Volpe. I’m a victim of Crey. I was abducted about two months ago and I thought they must have been stopped by the Phalanx, because I woke up on the street and nothing had physically changed, ya know?” She paused for a moment to remember the hero that had found her. He had really cute eyes. ”Little did I know less than 12 hours later, while trying to pour myself a cup of coffee in the kitchen while filling out a police report, that heavy focus caused these claws to shoot from my hands. I hid them from the police, as I did from everyone else, in hopes of never having to use them. I’m sorry I broke the testing kits, these” and as she said that, the claws extended from her hands again, “claws are a curse I can’t shake.”
“Does it hurt?” Volpe asked, feigning interest in her whimsical story. She was really giving him too much information for a person who didn’t even work for him anymore.
“Nope… and nothing has since then.” Jen replied softly.
“That’s good then. The pain of being fired won’t seem like much in comparison. We can’t afford metahuman liability on this company’s insurance. Pack up your desk and be out by the end of the day.” He sat down with a wet thud in his smokey room, and pointed at the door.
“You wormy son of a!” she shouted, punching his desktop and making three nice blade-holes through his paper blotter. “This world is awful enough without being jobless in it!”
“This isn’t helping your case,” he shakily replied, obviously containing the urge to urinate on himself again while he questioned his need to have had that second cup of coffee this morning, “when you stab my desk with freak claws. Get out or I’ll call someone to remove you.”
Well, out on her own again. Just when she finally cashed in that Chemistry Degree from La Salle, she had to go and get abducted, lose control of her freak powers, and draw attention to herself. Well, worse and stranger things have happened in this city, she assumed.
This world has gone down the tubes. And now she’s neck-deep in unemployment.
The walk home from Hapland Technologies was the longest, most painful walk home she ever endured. Yes, there is a sense of irony in her innate ability to dull pain, but no metahuman power could dull the mental anguish of being jobless in Paragon City.
Hapland was a good job. It was in the middle of everything, in a section of town that saw less crime than most. The war walls were just far enough away to light her window without hearing the migraine friendly hum they let out. Galaxy City was a good place, and she was just within earshot of Backstreet Brawler and his endless supply of fresh recruits who were eager to help. From her office, she once cried out the window and got a team of five heroes to thwart a rogue pack of Vahzilok who had wandered onto her floor, looking for a “Pavel Garnier” but decided to stop and vandalize on their way. Those were trying times, but the instances of crime were few and far between enough to keep her coming back.
She walked towards the Yellow Line train, eager to get to her apartment in Atlas Park before the sun went down. Clockwork come out at night, and everyone knows Clockwork wouldn’t be ashamed of stealing your earrings if it meant being able to complete a new drone with those tacky gold inlays on their torsos.
A block away from the train station, she paused to look into her purse and fumbled for her token. She looked up and found herself face to face with a Hellion pack. In a flash of purple, she found herself thrown to the ground, her purse in the hands of a laughing Hellion. Angry and frustrated at the appalling awfulness of her day, she stood up.
“What’s this, the red wants to play ball?”
The Hellion planted his fist straight into her face. Falling over, she fumbled around on her stomach looking for her glasses. The Hellions mocked her and she laid down, pretending to play dead. Then, like a switch had been flipped somewhere, she lost it.
Powered by the fact that she had not felt the actual punch in the first place, she stood up again. The Hellion looked at her in amazement, and tilted his head, trying to make sense of what she was. Gritting her teeth and staring him straight in the eye, she lifted her fist.
“Aww, Barbie’s gonna play with us? Go ahead, lady. Plant one right here.”
He gestured to his left cheek, tapping it softly and awaiting the best. He closed his eyes.
She closed her eyes as well, concentrated, and wound up.
The Hellion opened his eyes and found himself nose-to-nose with his battered victim. Following her face to her neck, and to her right arm, he traced where her arm went. His gang member pal stood next to him, with a claw blade in each eye and the middle claw firmly between
The blades softly retracted from his skull, allowing him to fall to the sidewalk. There was a crowd gathering, as few civilians had seen a hero in action, much less in lethal action. A pang of incredible rage, empowerment, and total guilt washed over Jen.
“Holy s***, we picked the wrong fight! Phil, Jimmy, jump her!”
And with that, two more Hellions leaped at her, knocking her to the ground for a third time. Beating her mightily, the purse snatcher ran off. She flung them off with a primal toss that shook the airwaves, and took off after thief.
But he was gone.
Cold and alone, without the means to get home to Atlas Park, our heroine cried her first of many tears.
Making her way down the main street of Galaxy City, she sighed heavily at the Security Guards blocking her way to Perez Park. She had a long walk ahead of her, and she’d be walking through Kings Row AND Skyway city to get back. No dice on that trip, she might as well walk back to work and sleep there. She was no hero, she didn’t even have a fake superhero I.D. to get into those really slammin’ night clubs. How was she going to bullshit past two armed guards that she was legit? She wiped the tears from her eyes and steadied her resolve.
A team of 6 similarly colored heroes descended from above her. As they ran past her, she caught a glimpse of one of their badges. The supergroup “Unity”, eh? Maybe she did have what it took to get past them. As Unity bunched up at the gate to get through, she walked up behind them.
“Sorry officers,” She extended her claws and waved to them, “Clockwork are 30 minutes away from destroying a bunker in Perez Park. Gotta go!”
And with that, she watched the one officer look her over once, and wave her through. It was strangely empowering, even though garbed in incredible pretense.
Now all she had to do was survive Perez Park.
And there it stood before her – a dingy, dismal area that was downright depressing. Knowing full well that it was gangland over here, with Hellions and Skulls and worse camped up in the park, she swallowed hard and pushed herself along the road. Making sure to keep a good amount of distance from the packs of gang members, she walked swiftly and never looked anywhere but forward.
Fat lot of good that did her. Leaping from the wall separating the road from the park, she found herself face to face with a Skull. Her insides stirred as she still recalled her “outburst” in Galaxy and what it meant for her future. She didn’t want to be a hero, and she didn’t want to be a murderer. She just wanted to go home.
So she stopped, and looked him in the face. He looked hard at her, sizing her up. Then he drew a knife from his pocket.
“Your money,” the Skull sneered without a flinch. He had added a colorful word conjecturing about her private life, which has been graciously omitted.
Obliging, she reached for her pocketbook. But it wasn’t there, some punk Hellion had it in Atlas. She silently hoped he enjoyed the tampons and chewing gum he lifted.
She was about to give up when something came from the distance. A hero? Perfect! He came bull-charging down the road, smacked the Skull in the face, and kept running. It was a hard enough smack that the punk dropped his knife, mouth agape. The Skull, with his honor obviously besmirched, took off after him. A low rumble followed, as no less than 100 skulls came filing down the street after him!
Jen watched in amazement as the whole herd passed her and into an alleyway. A bright flash of light followed as the hero arrested them all after his superheated firepatch subsided. She looked up the street, and the whole area was clear. She grabbed that guy’s knife and made a beeline for the nearest checkpoint. If she couldn’t make it to Atlas, she would settle for Steel Canyon – she knew a decent hotel there.
On her way to the gate, she saw something she’d never seen before. A lone hero was sitting in the corner of a parking lot, on his communicator. As she passed him to enter Steel Canyon, she heard “Go. Hunt. Kill skuls.” She laughed to herself as the hero chanted that over and over again. She guessed even heroes can have bad days.
Jen woke up in a Steel Canyon hotel. She’d only been fired for maybe 16 hours, at best, but it was already affecting her. She felt the weight of unemployment press upon her as she knew her student loans would be coming around at the end of the month. She called her sister to see what she was up to.
“Hey Jewel, what’re you up to?”
“Jen! You didn’t stop by last night, have a bad day at work?”
“You could say that. Kinda got fired, then mugged. I’m in Steel Canyon. Want to grab some food from City of Gyros and relax down by Platinum Lake? I need someone to vent at.”
“Jesus Christ, are you okay? Well, you sound okay. I better come by. Jeez, it’s been weeks since I had had Greek food anyway. Where you at?”
“3rd and Main. I’ll meet you by the Yellow Line. Um, bring extra cash for me?”
“Sounds good sis. See you in 25 minutes.”
Jen hung up the phone and checked out of the hotel. She was aching for some food, and hoped the line wouldn’t be too long at City. She made her way to the tram after much walking, and waited for her sister to arrive.
“Right on time.” Jen said, grabbing her sister as she stepped off the monorail.
Jewel gave her sister a huge hug and remarked at how unscathed her sister appeared to be. She consoled her, and the two made their way down to the restaurant. Jen kept quiet about her fight with the Hellions, knowing that heroism was simply not something her family needed right now. She felt her spirits lift as her sister chattered on about college, boys, and all the usual goings-on on a girl’s floor. If you’re one of those people who have never had the experience of living in a residence hall, then you’d know that half the campus was fueled purely on female drama. And little beknownst to anyone, drama and its ugly cousin tragedy are the best source of comedy known to the Universe. If you could communicate pleasantly with a Rikti, it’d agree with you.
It would have been a perfect day for a comeback, if the sky hadn’t suddenly darkened above them as they sat on the grass by Platinum Lake. They both looked up to see something they never thought they would – an alien craft hovering overhead. It was a shame that they didn’t know at least one alien up there looked down and saw an incredible source of humor in the panicking throng of mankind below.
“Holy crap! Jewel yelled out, dropping her bag of food.
“You have GOT to be kidding me! What is this, Murphy’s Law in motion?” Jen yelled.
They watched in horror as Rikti began to beam down from the alien ship. A pack of five 100 yards to their left, another pack of 12 to their rear about 50 yards.
“Do you think they’re friendly?” Jewel asked nervously.
As if on cue, a Rikti lifted its gun and shot a nearby pedestrian in the chest.
“Oh my god, RUN!” Jen yelled, grabbing her sister by the arm. They made their way to the northwest, just shy of where the troops had landed. Heroes were flying everywhere, trying to scoop up the helpless and save the innocent.
With a thud, an orange and blue hero landed face down in front of them, stone cold. They both screamed, and hurdled him as they ran down the street. More Rikti began to beam down, and errant fire was buzzing all about.
Then, about 75 yards ahead, a large pack of Infantry and Drones spawned. Jen and Jewel skidded to a halt, and bolted to the left. Dodging fire, they came to an alleyway to hide. The hum of a drone could be heard, advancing closer. Not wasting any time, they picked up and moved down the alleyway to another street.
Finally losing the drone, they made their way to Gimry Ridge. Thinking that maybe they’d be safe there, they made their way into the park. They stopped to breathe.
“This is… it, you know? We’re going to die. There isn’t a damn thing these heroes can seem to do. I love you, sis.” Jewel began to cry at those last words. They gazed out at Blyde Square, which was now partly in flame and buzzing with plasma rifle fire and the vapor trails of a thousand heroes valiantly flailing against the might of the Rikti war machine.
“We’re going to be okay, just hang on. There were some heroes here in Perez Park. Crazy though it may seem, we might be…”
Before Jen could finish her sentence, a gunman teleported in front of them. Making inexplicable noises emanating from his suit, he lifted his gun and fired a single shot, which Jewel was brave enough to step in front of, saving her sister.
“Noooooooooooooooo!” Jen screamed. As her sister lurched over and fell to the ground, she leered wildly at the gunman, and extracted her claws. But that was all she could do, still plagued by yesterday’s memories of rage and abuse. She stayed her hand, and watched the alien scum teleport away. Jen collapsed to her knees.
Kneeling over her sister, she cried. For herself, for her sister, for the city she once knew. And staring upward, she vowed to change herself forever.
Chanting out loud to her dying sister, she said,
I don’t know who I am
I know who I must be
I just want to go home
And bring you with me.
With a smile, Jewel lifted her head and kissed her sister on the cheek. Weakly, she said, “If you have any sort of superpower you’ve been hiding from me, you know, one that might have saved you from a bunch of Hellions? You might want to use them now. I don’t blame you for hiding them, but you can’t hide forever.”
Jen extracted her claws and covered her face to cry.
“I knew it,” Jewel said and coughed shortly thereafter. She closed her eyes for the last time as a human.
Up aboard the Rikti craft, a Kheldian escaped from its lockup and shot a luminous blast in the face of its captor. Surprisingly, the Rikti victim didn’t find it very funny. But his subordinate did as it dove for cover. In doing so, it threw open the airlock and the Kheldian made a break for it. Tragedy, you see? It really does power the universe in a humorous kind of way.
Back in Steel Canyon, Jen lifted her gaze from her dead sister and over to the tattered landscape. Lifting her fists, claws engaged, she leapt into the fray with the remaining heroes and found herself amongst the thrashed alien corpses and fragmented drone chasses. She pulled the knife out from her pocket – the one that the Skull had dropped in Perez not eighteen hours ago – and studied it. A switchblade, she thought to herself.
A yellow and blue hero with a cross came by and grabbed her, throwing several ice blasts about before her lifting her off to a Longbow triage center in the northwest of the city.
“Slick fighting there, miss. What do they call you around these parts…?”
Jen looked up at his masked face, vapors trailing of from his eyes. She fumbled the knife and dropped it as they flew across the devastated landscape.
“Switchblade,” she said. “Red Switchblade.”
The hero dropped her off at the triage unit and hovered off, waving as he left.
“Hope to see you again, heal up so we can team up another time! This city needs more heroes!”
She dropped to her knees again, gazing skyward. She said a prayer for her sister. Little did she know as she gazed upward that her sister was flying across her line of sight as a little blue streak.
She hoped it came with its own health plan.
First Victim continues to be her ultimate arch nemesis. His existence is something like karma in motion, as his villainous existence is Red Switchblade's fault, entirely. During an altercation, after which she had been abducted by Crey but before she had registered to become a hero, she used lethal force to defend herself. This self-defense maneuver should have killed her assailant, but instead triggered his latent psychic potential. The rest of his posse beat her up while he lay bleeding on the ground, and when nobody was looking, an interested third party absconded with him, patched up his eyes and mouth, and nurtured his talent. He was then loosed back on Paragon as an agent of retribution, but his benefactor did not know how deep his psychic potential ran. First Victim is now a free agent with no man to call master.
Trivia: First Victim and Red Switchblade cannot in fact tolerate each other's presence. In their original exchange of violence, something was exchanged between the two, allowing them to know each other's presence by a bone-chilling sensation that renders them helpless. As a result, the two have formed personal coalitions to fight for them, should they ever meet.
Kid Switchblade was Crey's last attempt to retrieve their lost property. In an interesting twist, Crey attempted to use puppet mind control through a subcutaneous chip in Kid's mouth to frame Red for several crimes, after she'd escaped the labs and joined up with the Defenders of Paragon. At an altercation in a warehouse, Kid was placated by a flying door and took a hard shot to the chin, dislodging the chip. The chip was a field test, and soon Red realized she'd had one on her too. Crey had been testing the chip's limits on a mind reader so it would work in full capacity on Red, since it was her weakness. In a cruel twist of fate, Crey actually succeeded in having Red slash Dione's throat open, and an enraged Dr. Blight smashed Red in the face with a huge bolt of radiation, unknowingly frying the chip.
Trivia: The story of Kid Switchblade was first introduced when some Guru's made level 1 versions of themselves if they were kid-sized. Most notable was American Iron whose kid version featured a huge helmet. I decided I didn't want a kid-sized Red, and instead started thinking about a teen-aged Red, and how that would work. I took Mind Control because I'd recently seen Heather Wind use Telekinesis and nearly shat myself. I took radiation to soften invulnerability, should the two have ever come in contact, RP wise. And lo, Kid was made.
Trivia: The story where she falls to Crey mind control, hilariously enough, started in an RP where Dione was comatose and I write a single line "*Cops a feel*" on the forums. People were confused and I covered my ass by saying it was Kid, who was in the process of framing Red. Things moved on from there. It all started from the fondling of one boob *tear*
@Red Switchblade - Global Handle
RedSwitchblade - CoHGuru.com
RedSwitchblade - The Official Forums
Rotorbladesmoke - DeviantArt