Oni/Early Story

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Following is a collection of information about what Oni's story was like before the final version. Commentary is available on the talk page.

Spring 1999

The following text is copied verbatim from a Word file dated Apr. 13, 1999. Please do not alter.

Items with an asterix are not final names/concepts. This is for our comprehension only—corrections are not necessary.


BACKSTORY

Little baby Mai Takamatsu is born to Yuko (mother) and Shin (father). Yuko dies in childbirth. Shin is the leader of a tech-crime gang, the Syndicate. Though a criminal, her father does have a contact in the TCTF, Lieutenant Griffin. It's not clear whether Griffin is corrupt or if he and Shin simply have a mutual respect as adversaries (more on this later).

Mai grows to about age 6. A young rival, Muro, threatens Shin's control of the gang. Muro closes in on Shin, about to overthrow him, and to protect Mai, Shin gives her to Griffin. Muro kills Shin and Griffin puts Mai up for adoption. Griffin’s name is on the adoption papers, and he hides Mai’s true identity. Her memory has been wiped though whether by Shin or Griffin is not clear.

Mai is adopted by Ken* and Barbie* Mitsusashi, who name her Konoko. Konoko grows up knowing nothing about her true father. She joins the police force. Griffin is her boss. He knows she is Mai. Whether he watches over her out of respect for his old adversary, or for some ulterior motive, is not clear (ominous music here).

GAME BEGINS

Konoko has been a TCTF operative for a while, having done a couple of missions, when Ken and Barbie, innocent bystanders, are killed during a Syndicate operation gone bad. Konoko vows to destroy the Syndicate that killed her parents. The TCTF has an AI/android named Shinatama, who gives her directions and intelligence during operations and who has worked with Konoko on many missions throughout her career.

Shin had a code that gave him control of Orbital Mind Control Lasers*. Muro has spent these years investigating Shin's work and finally has figured out half of the code. He knows the other half must be somewhere, and suspects Shin’s missing daughter Mai might lead him to it.

Konoko, investigating the Syndicate, hears them talking about this “Mai” and starts investigating her disappearance as well, since she figures Mai is connected to the Syndicate somehow. Muro kidnaps Shinatama to see if the TCTF knows where Mai is. He hacks her memory, and learns that Mai is Konoko. He sets up Shinatama to lure Konoko into a trap.

Griffin orders Konoko off the case (of rescuing Shinatama) ostensibly because she has been disobeying orders and is "too close to the case". This may or may not be true. Konoko thinks this is bullshit. She does not officially quit the force, but continues her pursuit of the Syndicate in plain clothes as a rogue.

Against orders, Konoko goes after Shinatama and tracks her to the electric plant. Shinatama tells Konoko that the Syndicate thinks she is Mai and that the kidnapping is a trap to capture Konoko. Shinatama says that she can rig the plant to explode while Konoko escapes. Konoko escapes and the plant explodes with Shinatama (and a bunch of other TCTF that were going to rescue Shinatama) still in it. Konoko feels guilty and Griffin/TCTF blame her for destroying Shinatama and other TCTF officers. Griffin dispatches the TCTF to bring her in.

Now Konoko’s investigations uncover that Griffin is connected to her adoption, that she herself may be Mai, and that someone (most likely Griffin) has removed something from her mind. Griffin may have the other half of the code.

She’s freaked out about her identity and feels betrayed by Griffin. Is he out to get her? Or is he reacting in a justified manner to a cop who has been disobeying orders and whose actions have led to the deaths of other officers?

She has a bizzaro nightmare sequence in which she fights creatures who morph into different characters in the story* (Shin, Muro, Shinatama, herself). The sequence has alternate physics, bizarre lighting and textures, the works.

Both the TCTF and the Syndicate are hunting her and has NO ONE LEFT TO TRUST. She makes contact with Muro and offers to help him get Griffin and the code. She also meets up with Griffin (during the raid on the TCTF building and offers him a chance to wipe out the syndicate (as opposed to giving herself up).

Both the Syndicate and the TCTF show up at the meeting place, a building that she has wired with explosives. BLAMMMMM. She alone emerges from the rubble, physically and emotionally drained from her ordeal. A tear trickles down her cheek as she lays a rose on Shinatama's cyber-grave while the sun sets.

(I added that last line myself. BWest thinks the game is going to end with her stumbling out of the rubble.)

THE END

We have kept their motivations (especially Griffin's) intentionally gray. Griffin is not necessarily on the take. Essentially, there are two scenarios that could explain Griffin—players are free to decide for themselves what is the truth, sort of like in that Kurosawa film Rashomon.

Bad Cop: Griffin is a cop gone bad who is/was on the take. He had been in on some shady deals with Konoko's father and as a debt, took Konoko as a child. Finding out that she had something valuable implanted in her brain, he mind-wiped her and took out the code. He has now been using her as bait to get the other portions of the code (in Muro's possession).

Good Cop: Griffin is a good cop who was approached by Konoko's father in a sort of honorable adversary role to take Konoko from a life of crime into a safer life. Griffin was the only man that Konoko's father trusted. In a routine scan, Griffin finds out about the code in Konoko's mind. Recognizing that possessing this puts Konoko in grave danger, he takes it out, hopes nobody knows about it and hopes that Konoko is now safe. Griffin is now going after the Syndicate because, well, they're a crime syndicate.

Note that if Griffin is a bad cop, Konoko is justified in killing all those TCTF guys: she was "takin' out the trash". If Griffin is a good cop, then it was all a tragic misunderstanding and Konoko is a mass-murderer who has just killed a building full of innocent cops 'cuz she was paranoid.

Orbital Mind Control Lasers are a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games, Inc.

Summer 1999

The following text is copied verbatim from an HTML file dated Jun. 29, 1999. The HTML file has thumbnail pictures of each character or class, and then the blurbs that follow are written under those thumbnails. Please do not alter.

Konoko - She begins the game as a young naive cop. During the story she is betrayed and she becomes more paranoid about others and becomes more self relyant.

Shinatama - She is a quiet young girl. Factory made as a high-speed computer interface she has a human brain but a mechanical body.

Commander Griffen - When the game begins, he is seens as a friendly paternal figure. As the game progresses, hints are dropped that he may have a dark side. He becomes morally ambiguous at game's end.

Elite Striker - Squad commander of the Kage Syndicate.

[Tanker -] Bio-Chemically enhanced syndicate kickboxer.

[Ninja -] Bio-Chemically enhanced syndicate kickboxer.

These are mock-up images of a Unit Viewer that was being constructed. The images are dated Jul. 2, 1999. Click an image for a more readable transcript of the text.

Character Selection
Unit viewer-Konoko 2.jpg
Character Selection (all text shown)
 Unit viewer-Konoko 2 unmasked.jpg
Konoko Biography
Unit viewer-Konoko.JPG
Konoko Biography (all text shown)
Unit viewer-Konoko unmasked.jpg