Ms. Exquisite Agony
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Can I help you?|
|Ms. Exquisite Agony|
|Real Name:||Exquisite Agony|
|Species:||Demon (unplanned throwback)|
|Age:||Unknown, probably young|
|Place of Birth:||Fifth Circle, UniStyxHellCorp LLC|
|Base of Operations:||Earth Satellite Office, UniStyxHellCorp LLC|
|Marital Status:||Single and loving it|
|Known Relatives:||Glorious Agony (father), Sublime Razor (mother)|
|Infernal Spark, Vigor, Kiss|
|Manager, Dimensional Pocket|
|No additional information available.|
Ms. Exquisite Agony is a former employee of the alternate underworld known as UniStyxHellCorp, LLC. Having recently left the company and overcome various personal issues, she currently divides her time between growing her own business, fighting her former superiors at USHC, and enjoying what life has to offer.
Agony no longer works for USHC, but maintains contact with her former boss, section chief Amon from Marketing. As the de facto overseer of most day-to-day office operations at Von Schmaak Laboratories, Agony works closely with deranged inventors Herman von Schmaak, Doctor McEvil, and Magical Girl Ichigo. When she needs additional manpower, she will hire affiliates of Foxtrot Company, including Azure Freeze and Janie Gunn - as well as Flora Fairchild, whose hideous plant-child Audrey Agony considers to be utterly adorable. She will also hire unaffiliated freelancers such as young half-dragon Grimvale, lightning lord Max Thunder, cyborg Reckless Disregard, and a host of other itinerant villains. Although indifferent to the goals of the Dark Cosmos, she will work with its members whenever their goals align with her own. She has even worked on occasion with Rust Raven, despite the latter's preferred diet of demon energy. Of late, she has shown an interest in the unfortunate thrall of Fortune Maubergeonne, as well as the hulking Abomination, who she refers to as her "projects" or "hobbies".
Outside of work, Agony enjoys hanging out at the Pocket D, stealing drinks from the bar and passing them on to other regulars. Among her acquaintances there are Shade Wield, Khariss, Hero Automaton, and S'Rissia. Since first meeting Ixiie, Agony has tried to make sure she always has a cookie or piece of cake on hand.
Thousands of years of careful breeding have divided the demonic employees of UniStyxHellCorp into strictly delineated castes, each perfectly suited to their own particular use in the organization. However, excessive drinking at an All Hallows Eve office party led to an unplanned tryst between Glorious Agony (Subsection Chief, Crushing & Devouring) and Sublime Razor (Service Provider 3rd Class, Carnal Services).
As the child of these two, Agony was left with a host of psychological problems stemming from her inability to properly differentiate desire from anger. As she later discovered, these problems were exacerbated by spells placed upon her by USHC which were designed to leave her permanently emotionally crippled. However, although she did not know about this interference, she did know enough to realize that there was something wrong with her, and eventually concocted a scheme to resolve the problem. Using a rite she had observed Archmage Tarixus preparing for Psymon Omega, she and her allies entered her own mind and destroyed the curse upon her psyche.
Although she is no longer under the power of the curse, it would be wrong to say that she is no longer affected by it. Years of carefully avoiding excessive emotion so as to avoid a complete loss of control have left her with a keen interest in transcending the limits she once had to observe. On the other hand, she has lost none of her ability to strictly control herself if the situation warrants. While working, she reins in her desires and turns them into a predatory focus on her goals. Off the job, she applies the same focus to her pursuit of hedonistic pleasure. She's been called "easy", but thinks "rake" would be a more accurate term. Notably, her tastes run to the exotic if not outright bizarre, and she has expressed interest in and affection for a number of individuals not considered conventionally attractive, including Regent Korol and the Abomination.
Like other demons of her kind, Agony is endowed with an infernal spark of mystic lightning. Although she lacks the control to channel it into attacks, it serves to protect her from harm as well as forming a field of dangerous lightning around her.
From her father's line, Agony inherited the horrific strength and appetite of the Crushing & Devouring department. In combat, she employs this strength the most direct manner possible, smashing her clawed hands into - and often through - her foes, or hurling them into the air. As she continues to fight, her power is fueled by her savage delight in violence, and vice versa. However, her stamina is not the equal of her strength and she frequently finds herself exhausted and needing to rest - a restriction she can slightly ameliorate by consuming the power of her enemies.
As well as prodigious strength, Agony's vigorous body allows her to summon bursts of supernatural speed. Her wings allow her to steer while she runs at up to a hundred miles per hour.
The kiss of a Carnal Services Provider restores the body and invigorates the mind in preparation for further enjoyment ahead. Agony employs the power of her kiss to aid wounded allies (sometimes to their consternation) and also to restore herself.
Agony is heavier than she looks. Nonetheless, she set her mind to training her wings and can now fly at a good pace and with a considerable degree of control.
Agony knows how to run an office properly. Once USHC benefitted from her skills; now she occupies a nebulous position at Von Schmaak Laboratories. Theoretically Von Schmaak outranks her in the company - after all, it's his name on the letterhead - but for most practical purposes it seems to be Agony who is calling the shots. Not that Von Schmaak seems to mind, or for that matter notice.
With a snap of her fingers and a spray of sparks, Agony can move objects into or out of a mystical sub-space. The power does not work on living things or animate objects, but it's a very handy place to store whatever equipment might come in handy. Agony uses it to store her favorite outfits, among other things.
Agony's affiliation with Arachnos lieutenant Black Scorpion has been both less pleasant and less profitable than she had initially hoped. However, she was able to get her hands on an Executioner Mace. She turned it over to Von Schmaak for reverse-engineering and carries the resulting prototype with her for testing purposes.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Agony combines many of the strengths of her parents, but not all of them, and not in equal measure. She is strong and tough, but not as much so as her father (as was proved when she was forced to fight him). She has inherited her mother's beauty and can boost her senses like a purebred Carnal Services Provider, but lacks their fabled psychic abilities. Although she possesses a great deal of self confidence, her individual prowess is relatively low-tier as demons go.
Von Schmaak Laboratories
Under Agony's direction, this research firm has expanded into reverse-engineering super-scientific weaponry into more practical devices for the metahuman market.
Reverse-engineered from the Malta Nullifier Rifle, the Self-Control Personal Power Modification Device is a body harness containing a variable-strength Nullifier field generator. By adjusting the strength of the field, metahumans with dangerous powers can often keep those powers under control. The Self-Control PPMD has been extensively tested, not least by Agony herself, and found effective and safe in all cases.
Cost: $50,000 per unit, with lifetime warranty and support.
By assembling a captured Nemesis duplicate of Agony, Von Schmaak discovered many new principles of humanoid robot construction. The result is the YouTwo - a robotic duplicate nearly indistinguishable from a human, scuplted and programmed to the buyer's specifications. Although not durable enough for serious combat, the YouTwo automatons have a wide variety of other uses, from tireless laborer to domestic servant to assassination decoy, and more. Agony has only one restriction on YouTwo design and sales - the original duplicate of herself is her own property, and no other duplicates of herself may be made.
Cost: Mass production models based on generic body templates and programming start at $200,000; custom models are priced on a case-by-case basis.
The D-Hammer is not in itself a saleable product, but its unique power is available to those who can afford its unusual price. By harnessing vast quantities of mystic energy, the D-Hammer punches through the walls between dimensions, temporarily projecting its users into an alternate universe and letting them interact with that universe until its power runs out and the hammer snaps them back to their own dimension. It is currently the only means by which Earthlings can "visit" USHC, and that is what Agony and (occasionally) members of the USHC Earth Branch Office use it for.
Cost: The D-Hammer is not for sale. Anyone can use it if they provide their own mystical power source and if their intended use is acceptable to its owners.
Despite the unplanned circumstances of her birth, Agony was allowed to mature in the hopes that her existence would not be a waste. Her exotic beauty recommended her to a posting in Carnal Services. Eager to prove herself, she sublimated her emotions in intense study of the techniques of the Service Provider, memorizing every detail of the Nine Hundred Thirty Seven Approved Service Methodologies. However, her eagerness backfired, and in her very first service session she was overwhelmed by her Urge and performed, instead of a Standard #209, what was thenceforth referred to as a #303b With Extra Spleen.
Upper management, disappointed with her performance but hoping to salvage a silk purse from a sow's ear, transferred her to her father's Crushing and Devouring department. There, despite repeated accusations of nepotism and unfair promotion, she was able to deliver consistent and spectacular results. However, she had to be removed from the department after her colleagues complained that her unfortunate habit of pleasuring herself atop a mountain of fresh corpses was distracting them from their duties.
Now greatly displeased with the apparently useless young demoness, the management decided to give her one last chance - a posting to a remote and inaccessible branch office far from where she could do any real harm. Thus Agony was sent to work under Amon from Marketing, where she performed satisfactorily but without much enjoyment.
A filing slipup led Agony to become aware of the Hybrid Pandora Directive, a special order which strictly prohibited half-breed demons from advancing in USHC. With this knowledge she began to wonder whether her dismal career was wholly her fault. Soon she resolved to leave USHC and make her own way in the world, a decision complicated by the fact that the only known way out of USHC was through the Human Resources Recycling Program. Through extensive reading of demon law, she discovered that hybrid demons could choose to refuse the protections of the Nine Hells Treaty on which USHC was based, and instead challenge their servitude under the terms of the old common law, which would let her win her life and freedom by defeating all of her superiors in combat or some other mutually agreed contest.
After using Tarixus' rite to free her psyche from the curse USHC had placed on it, Agony declared herself ready to fight for her freedom, and challenged her current boss, Amon from Marketing. Although they proved evenly matched in combat, Agony was able to defeat him in a contest of contracts (by brazenly cheating). She then took on her father, Glorious Agony, the head of Crushing & Devouring, and narrowly defeated him. The head of Carnal Services was next to fall, followed by the Demon Queen of Secretaries.
Agony easily persuaded Herman von Schmaak to offer her a position in his company, and proceeded to largely take over the day-to-day operation of the firm - a change Von Schmaak did not object to, as it gave him more time to work on his various projects. She has subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) guided his investigations in the direction of marketable breakthroughs, and as a result the company is on a quite secure financial footing.
In an effort to secure lucrative contracts from Arachnos (as well as brazenly steal Arachnos technology), Agony offered her services to Black Scorpion, thinking him to be the most technically-minded of Recluse's inner circle. To her dismay, she found him to be a boorish fool who sent her on idiotic errands in between making crude passes at her. She was even more annoyed by Scorpion's "lieutenant" Silver Mantis, who repeatedly and deliberately interfered with Agony's work, forcing Agony to fight her. (That Mantis obviously derived sadomasochistic pleasure from these encounters did not bother Agony - what annoyed her was that she wasn't having any fun, and it was interfering with her work.) So when Scorpion finally overstepped his bounds, Agony gleefully reported him to Arbiter Rein and carried out his punishment with great delight.
As a result of her continued campaign against the Circle of Thorns and their demons (or, as she refers to them, the "local yokels"), Agony managed to draw the ire of a group of powerful magi who enacted a spell to summon a demon capable of defeating her. To the surprise of all concerned, this demon turned out to be Agony's own mother, Sublime Razor, as well as a number of her entourage. Thinking quickly in an effort to capitalize on the situation, the magi convinced Razor that her daughter had turned her back not only on USHC, but on the very principles of demonhood. Razor's entourage was easily convinced and attacked Agony on sight, but Razor herself remained unsure until she encountered Agony in the company of Maubergeonne. Assuming the worst, she accused Agony of foul monogamy, the greatest possible betrayal of her nature, and unleashed all the magic at her disposal upon her wayward daughter. Agony withstood the assault and reasoned with Razor, who finally withdrew from the battle confused and distraught. Realizing that Razor would not kill her daughter as they had hoped, the magi instead trapped her in a binding spell and drained her power to fuel their own champion. However, Agony and Maubergeonne managed to free her and together they prevailed against the demon lord. Her powers were considerably reduced by the rite, however, and she currently lives with Agony while she recuperates. Her future plans are unclear.
Agony currently divides her time between her work at Von Schmaak Labs, some personal projects, and preparation for the inevitable next attack from USHC.
- Agony's favorite drink is the Manhattan, of which she will drink a half dozen at a sitting.
- Agony enjoys reading Jane Austen novels, although she finds the concept of romantic love difficult to grasp.
- There are two things Agony simply can't stand: clowns, and weddings.