From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Security Level:||50 (+3)|
|Real Name:||Erika Shimomura|
|Known Aliases:||Yumi Arakawa|
|Occupation:||What's a day job?|
|Place of Birth:||Paragon City|
|Base of Operations:||Paragon City|
|Known Relatives:||Mother (1965-1997); Father (1962-)|
|Self-taught skills with dual swords; some proficiency with disguise|
|A large assortment of bladed weapons|
Vanguard: Consultant/freelance operative.
SHIMMER Industries: Rented base space.
Erika is, in the field, typically highly sarcastic, occasionally even flippant; to those who don't know her, indeed, it may seem that she doesn't really take what she's doing seriously at all. Those who have worked closely with her would know otherwise, and would also know that once she is alerted to a threat to the safety of Paragon City and its citizens, she has a single-minded, nearly obsessive focus on containing and, ultimately, eliminating that threat. She tends to be impulsive, sometimes to her detriment, and will usually act on the first idea she gets to deal with a situation without considering alternative methods of action. She tends to get annoyed very quickly when dealing with magic, as she doesn't understand it very well and has had bad experiences with it.
Before the coming of the Well of the Furies, Erika had no practical superpowers in the sense of the word; just an iron will and a pair of swords. These are still what she mainly relies on; however, since the Praetorian Invasion, she has discovered that she possesses a few new, unusual powers. While Erika doesn't understand precisely where these powers came from, she has no qualms with using them; if asked, she usually just makes some remark about "Well voodoo" and leaves it at that.
As a child, Erika harbored no dreams of heroism; however, she took an early interest in fencing and was reasonably good at it. She believed her mother, Sakura Shimomura, worked as a delivery driver during the day, which was completely false; in truth, her mother held a secret identity as a hero in Paragon City, and her real job was fighting crime in a costume. To this day, Erika doesn't know what her mother's hero identity was.
As it turns out, it was Sakura Shimomura's other secret identity that would set Erika's path in motion, the secret identity that had been abandoned a year before Erika was born; for Sakura Shimomura was an ex-Knife of Artemis who had absconded from the sisterhood. She had taken much care to cover her tracks, and for thirteen years, she stayed out of the radar of her former sisters. But it was inevitable that her new secret identity as a hero would collide with the organization she once worked for, and they quickly recognized the elder Shimomura's fighting style.
The very next day after Sakura Shimomura faced the Malta Group in costume, she would come home to find out Erika had not returned from school. At first, she thought nothing of it; she called Erika's friends. Perhaps she had gone to play with one of them unexpectedly; it would have been highly out of the ordinary for Erika, but not impossible. One by one, though, they told the elder Shimomura they hadn't seen Erika.
Her daughter, it seemed, had disappeared without a trace. To Sakura Shimomura, the ex-Knife of Artemis, that in itself was her greatest clue - only the Malta Operatives could have pulled off that clean of a kidnapping. Her suspicions were soon confirmed when she received a phone call from Erika's school; the school had received a fax from an unlisted international phone number, a neatly typewritten missive directing "Mrs. Shimomura" to come alone to a specific location on Nerva Archipelago within 24 hours or Erika Shimomura would never be seen alive again.
The elder Shimomura was certain it was a trap. However, she was equally certain that the Malta Operatives would make good on the threat if she brought help or if she didn't come. After consulting with a contact within Longbow on the situation, a plan was devised, though her contact wasn't pleased with her refusal to accept any overt assistance. Sakura Shimomura would enter the location, an abandoned warehouse, alone as instructed and confront the Malta Operatives within. Longbow patrols in the immediate area would be heightened, and once the Operatives had been engaged, Longbow troops would enter the warehouse by any means necessary and extract Erika while they were distracted. She and Erika's father would then be spirited away to a secure location outside of Paragon City and given new identities to restart their lives, hopefully without the Malta Operatives taking notice. As soon as Erika was extracted from a warehouse, her mother would receive a signal from the Longbow agents to withdraw to the security of Fort Trident.
Sakura Shimomura chartered a flight to the Rogue Isles that night, and quickly made for the designated location. The Longbow agents got in position, then the elder Shimomura opened the door of the warehouse and promptly took the brunt of no fewer than twenty energy blasts from Malta Sapper Rifles. A trap, indeed, and Sakura Shimomura could do nothing to resist as the Malta agents unmasked her in front of her daughter; the mass of Sapper Rifle blasts had effectively paralyzed her.
But when the Malta agents turned to see the girl's reaction to the unmasking of her mother... she was already gone, extracted by a particular Longbow agent. The rest of the plan went as it was supposed to; however, the elder Shimomura was killed in the process. Back in Paragon, the 12-year-old Erika Shimomura never returned, her disappearance officially remaining unexplained and unresolved.
In reality, Erika and her father started a new life in another city, a decidedly more quiet life free of the antics of widespread superpowers. The Longbow agents had explained to them that they had been moved for their protection due to the actions of Erika's now late hero mother, and that they were never to reveal their previous identities to anyone. Erika's father was not told any specifics of what had happened, and Erika was told not to tell him under any circumstances.
Erika resumed her life at a new school, but her father quickly noticed that she had changed; she kept to herself rather than making new friends, and seemed to devote herself single-mindedly to perfecting her fencing technique to the exclusion of all else. However, her father shrugged it off, figuring that at least she wasn't getting involved with drugs or anything.
Perhaps he shouldn't have, for Erika was preparing for something entirely more dangerous; she wasn't practicing her fencing for sport, or even, for that matter, really practicing proper fencing techniques. Instead, she was perfecting a personal combat style wielding blades in both hands. She had not forgotten what had happened, or who had been responsible.
Then, in June of 2007, the then 22-year-old Erika Shimomura abruptly disappeared again, not leaving any means for her father to contact her. But this time, it was of her own volition. Leaving her life of safety behind, she boarded a plane bound for the place she had been told never to return to.
She endeavored to train quickly; she knew that she would draw attention from her targets before long. At first, she crafted a third identity for herself, the alias Yumi Arakawa; under this name, she rented a cheap apartment in King's Row which would be her earliest base of operations. She hit the streets, using her blades to fight crime, and simultaneously tried to follow the trail that her mother had left ten years before. She remained under the radar for a while, but her actions in the Second Rikti War got her the city's attention, and remembering that a secret identity had not protected her mother in the end, she dispensed with her own.
The 'missing' Erika Shimomura had returned, and she had a mission in mind: to put a stop to the shadowy machinations of the Malta Operatives for good.