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[personal profile] pterosaur
[nick / name]: Joysweeper
[personal LJ name]: [livejournal.com profile] joysweeper
[other characters currently played]: n/a
[e-mail]: joysweeper@hotmail.com
[AIM / messenger]: joysweeper@hotmail.com (rarely on)

[series]: Dinoverse
[character]: Janine Farehouse
[character history / background]: Janine had a large, eccentric extended family, but the only one she ever felt close to was her dad. He died overseas when she was in third grade, and she felt that she had to be strong to hold her mother together. In fourth grade, she moved to a new school. One named Candayce opened up an ink pen all over her. This was made worse in sixth grade, when her best friend decided she would rather be popular and beat up, then publicly rejected Janine – then came to her in private and told her it didn’t mean anything, she’d just done it to impress Candayce, and they could still be friends if it was where no one could see. Janine refused.

After that she became more distant. Some kids were actually afraid of her, a little. She couldn’t be controlled and didn't care what they thought. Most of her time was spent at school, at home – her mother ran a bed and breakfast, which is where they lived - or getting into trouble.

She turned to vandalism. Mostly this meant spraypainting graffiti, but she also put bubblebath in fountains and pulled fire alarms. Janine loved both the feeling of risking being caught and the idea that bare walls were calling out for adornment. She thought she was doing it all anonymously, or at most that people suspected but couldn’t prove it was her.

Really they knew, but her mother intercepted all the trouble that came at her for that. She was afraid of confronting Janine and possibly driving her to run away; their relationship wasn’t that great. It didn’t help that Janine resented her mother for not being around – she had to go out to keep Janine from getting busted – meaning that Janine had to miss school and work in the bed-and-breakfast, housekeeping. Janine did the work instead of skipping, but hated it.

Once, in the car with an older cousin, a tire had a blowout and they would have had a head-on collision with a truck if she hadn’t had the sudden presence of mind to seize the wheel.

There was a school science fair in eighth grade which she delayed a little by pulling the fire alarm. During it, Bertram – the geek boy – introduced his M.I.N.D. Machine, a “Memory INterpreter Device” designed to display preselected images off a CD when hooked up to someone’s head, though he presented it as showing people’s dreams and rigged up a lot of trash from electronics stores to make it look impressive.

Through a freak accident of plot devices and technobabble, it transformed his consciousness and those of three other kids, including Janine, into "pure thought-energy brainwaves" which were then cast back through time into the Cretaceous Period. Their minds ended up in the bodies of four different major prehistoric creatures – the geek Bertram, an Ankylosaurus; the pretty girl Candayce, a Leptoceratops; the jock Mike, a Tyrannosaurus Rex; and Janine, a Quetzalcoatlus.

While falling into the sea, Janine managed to calm enough to find her host’s buried consciousness and bring it up enough to turn a dead fall into a glide into the water, though that consciousness went passive after that, leaving her unable to fly. Another Quetzalcoatlus distracted a sea predator for long enough to let her swim to shore and join the other three.

They regrouped and received a message from the distant future telling them part of what they needed to do to get home. It involved having to travel to a particular place. Janine cut the general semipanic short by announcing that first, everyone needed to eat. She went fishing with Mike, deciding that she wanted to help him with his personal problems – hostility about one person, guilt about another – as she did.

A bit later on, when the group had stopped to rest for the night, she recreated her signature ringing key chain out of shells pierced and knotted with vine. She came to Bertram’s defense after Candayce broke a shell and blamed him – then helped Candayce make the shell bikini she’d been trying to put together.

Later, she was a little resentful about the suggestion that it was she who should find where Candayce had gone in the early morning, until Mike said that she was the one Candayce wouldn’t argue with – that Candayce was afraid of her. She helped Candayce tie her shells back on, knowing that they’d been cut off by Janine’s native quetzalcoatlus friend, which she’d named Loki.

When she noticed that Bertram wasn’t eating, she knew why – his ankylosaurus body produced a lot of flatulence. Alternating light teasing with common sense, she coaxed him into eating anyway. They’d never make it if he starved to death.

She was annoyed enough when Candayce started continuously complaining about the smell that she snapped the other girl’s bikini, ran away with it, and hurled it off a cliff. She talked Candayce out of charging her by accusing her of acting like a butt-faced dinosaur, then told her to lay off Bertram, since he had a crush on her. Candayce found this hilarious, which infuriated Janine, but before she could do anything, more Leptoceratopsians came and chased her away, then took Candayce with them.

Janine redoubled her efforts to learn to fly, loving the feeling of freedom and peace she got even in a moment’s glide. It was like her desire to sneak out and go tagging, but greater – the feeling that she was where she belonged and doing what was natural to her. Loki demonstrated, and she finally managed to glide well – and then felt curiously distant from the other kids, and flew away while they were tracking Candayce. She guided Bertram and Mike to Candayce – and then left with Loki, dropping her makeshift keychain on the ground with “GOOD LUCK” and “GOOD BYE” written on two of the shells.

She flew with Loki for two days, considering herself not human anymore, feeling a little panic whenever Loki wasn’t near her – he was all she had, and she needed him. For a while she felt at home, at peace, and like none of the problems she’d worried so much about before could bother her now. She made a nest in a cave, decorated it with flowers crushed into paste, and eventually started questioning her choice. Absolute freedom meant no civilization or the company of anyone who could speak, and life was dangerous even to a careful flyer.

Candayce came back for her and was nearly stampeded by some Triceratops, and Janine immediately tried to help by teasing one to veer away from her, though she was knocked down in the process. She was incredibly bitchy when Candayce was concerned, and only grudgingly agreed to help the others. On the way back, though, she was nearly struck by lightning and hurt her wing landing. Loki stopped following her, and she and Candayce had an angry, then just generally emotional heart-to-heart in which it came out that Janine’s mom knew what her daughter had been doing, that it was hurting her.

After that, the bitterness between them eased, though they still sniped at each other. While trying to find their way back, Candayce took an opportunity to try to save some Triceratops eggs which had been endangered in an earthquake. Janine joined her and managed to snap a dislocated wing bone back into place in the process. She could fly again, but not very far. Loki came back.

They got back to the others and resumed travel, Janine still more or less believing she’d prefer to stay behind. A lucky flash flood washed the others closer to their destination; Janine glided above it. Later she went to scout out the place which they were supposed to reach, and found no standing stones. She waited out the night on that plateau with Loki, then flew back.

She thought this might not be the right place, that she should scout for others like it, but was overruled. During that time she revealed her belief that life is random, and everything comes down to chance. When they reached the site and she landed, an image of the M.I.N.D. Machine appeared – and a larger Tyrannosaurus which had been stalking them grabbed her, and she lost consciousness.

[character abilities]:

Janine is in the body of a Quetzalcoatlus, a spectacularly huge quadrupedal pterosaur. She's not fully grown. Her standing shoulder height is about six feet; at fullest neck extension her eye level is around twelve feet off the ground. She is of course quite flight-capable and good at flight. Presently she's not very good at quadrupedally launching, so she gets into the air with the help of steep drops in terrain or stiff breezes, but with practice she will be able to achieve almost-vertical takeoff.

Aside from flight she has a few other physical skills. She can scale steep cliffs, use her tremendous beak with surprising speed and precision, sense air currents, and close translucent third eyelids while still keeping her outer eyelids open, letting her see but still protecting her eyes. She can carry a single human passenger for a ride, though she can't quad-launch with them or fly as well, and they'd need some kind of harness rig. Her eyesight's quite good.

There are also some distinct downsides to her body. The most obvious is her size - her shoulders are too wide to let her fit through standard doorways, and she takes up a lot of space. She has to eat frequently. She has virtually no sense of smell or taste, and has extremely poor night vision; in fact, darkness automatically makes her drowsy. While she has thumbs and some use of her hands, they're placed awkwardly and used for walking on. Even when she stands awkwardly on her back legs her wing/arms are not jointed quite the way human arms are. Though she's endothermic and covered in hairlike pycnofibers, really cold weather gives her trouble. She cannot speak.

As a being of "thought-energy brainwaves", Janine has some psychic abilities. Most notably, she has one-way telepathy and can project her voice so it "sounds" as if she's speaking. This maps very well to sound, to the point that someone not paying attention may not notice that they're not hearing her. She habitually vocalizes while speaking, but unless she's shouting or screaming the telepathy seems 'louder' and much more noticeable than the pterosaur noises.

Janine can also project "recordings" of other sounds, from music to sound effects to entire conversations. With more effort, she can also project visuals and more sensory input, though her 'range' is smaller for these than for sound. She can learn to use this ability to show someone a memory, or make them perceive an object which isn't really there, though it's often not very convincing. If she worked at it for long enough she would be able to make these projections last well away from her, so that they fade half an hour after she stops working to maintain them. None of this is targeted. It affects everyone in range. Tech not specially adapted to pick up on telepathy doesn't 'hear' her or notice her projections at all; a normal camera will get nothing out of even the most spectacular display.

Another psychic ability is empathy. Janine picks up on the emotions of people and animals she's in close proximity to. She can't always tell if they're hers or not, and has to analyze: does she have a reason to suddenly be embarrassed, or is there someone close by who's blushing? She can also project her emotions a short range, but whoever feels it knows it's not their own.

The final psychic talent doesn't have an easy name. Thought or idea-sharing comes close. Janine can project a map and general notes to someone, if she spends time and concentration creating it and doing so. They will then know the map and its notes, as if she'd gone over this in depth to them. The map is just the most complicated example; usually this skill is used for simpler things, like sharing just how two people can cooperate in retrieving something from over the edge of a cliff. This is targeted.

Lastly, something she could do as a human which she resorts to very rarely now. Other eighth graders think of her as being able to direct a “soul piercing” stare at them. Some hate it, but at least one feels like he's being understood perfectly and accepted. This effect is just their perception, really. Her stare is certainly penetrating, but what she sees is what she already knows – this person is petty and unpleasant, this one’s kind of pathetic but sweet, everyone has some ulterior motives – and people assume her reaction to being laid bare. She doesn’t do that all the time. There seems to be some kind of technique to it.

[character personality]:
Janine is a rebellious free spirit and something of a loner, an outsider. In the past her trust was betrayed, so she responded by closing off and emphatically not caring what anyone thought of her. She has since learned to trust again, somewhat, and to relate more amiably with people, but she still tends to be somewhat aloof, above it all, dancing to the beat of her own drum.

Not that she can always hold the distant air. She can panic and beg for help in a tough spot – but by the same token, her emotions can suddenly cut off mid panic, letting her observe and act. Of course, if she still can’t see a course of action, this calm will vanish in a flash.

Often lightheartedly sarcastic and irreverent, Janine enjoys giving out nicknames, snark, teasing, and sometimes being provocative or watching someone else do the same, so she can watch the reactions. She doesn't like to go too far with any of it - genuine distress or pain isn't funny to her, unless it's happening to someone she feels personally wronged by. Janine can nurse a grudge fantastically - but even to someone who's earned her ire, she has limits, and she can forgive, with difficulty.

As a fourteen-year-old girl who considers herself outside of normal society, she's somewhat self-absorbed and blind to her own flaws and the hurt she can cause. If this pain is brought to her attention she is immediately and truly contrite and tries to make up for it. She's far more empathic and goodhearted than she wants to seem. Janine definitely favors underdogs. She will try to save someone from death or major pain at cost to herself - even if this is someone she has a grudge against. She'll also help them in less dire scenarios, though admittedly there's a vindictive edge to this help.

She's cynical and good at picking up on someone's true feelings and motivations. She is also practical. “I don’t want to think about this, I don’t want to talk about this. It doesn’t do us any good. We know what’s at stake. What we have to figure out is what’s our first move,” she says once. She adjusts to changes, even radical ones, very quickly – or seems to. Janine believes that chance governs, and there's no guiding force making things work out.

For a long time her greatest joy came from sneaking out at night and defiling property. Janine saw this as a victimless crime and a harmless release. She loved the thrill of knowing she could be caught and being confident that she wouldn't be. Recently she has realized that it wasn't harmless, so while she still has some artistic inclinations and is the kind of person who'd draw on a sleeping person's face, she's no longer as inclined towards graffiti.

Since becoming a pterosaur Janine has found an even greater joy: flight. She feels like she belongs in the air, finding it peaceful and right-seeming. So much so that she ran away believing that this life would be better than her old one as an outsider that no one needed. Time to think it over, and the appeal of one of the others telling her they needed her, got her to come back, but she still thinks she will probably stay behind when they go home.

The mind of her host, the Quetzalcoatlus whose body she’s in, is buried in there, but it’s quite passive, offering little more than a general set of guiding instincts and paranoia about situations that have been dangerous to it before. These include deep water and large waterfalls. And it makes her quite interested in small animals running underfoot. She can override it with some concentration, though it's more difficult when she's hungry or highly stressed. It doesn't even qualify as a split personality.

[point in timeline you're picking your character from]: Late in the book, when Moriarty the T. rex has picked her up and she's blacked out.

[journal post]:

[The device is attached to the trunk of a tree. An enormous beaky head swings into view, one red eye looking into the screen. The beak opens and emits a hoarse caw. A girl's voice sounds at the same time, only vaguely in synch with the beak's movements.]

Testing. Test-ing. Okay, you either work or you don't.

The hell is this? There's a city over there. There are humans in it. Practically everyone on this network thing is human! That should not be possible. Is this more time travel?

Oh, God, this is more time travel, isn't it. [Her head moves away from the device as she calls out. A shriek emits from her throat.] Philips, Peterefsky! Chambers! Where are you guys? Where's Loki, what happened with Moriarty?

...What is that sound?!

[third person / log sample]:

One of the four biggest anachronisms in the Cretaceous period soared above a river, idly following it down towards the sea. The sun warmed her outstretched wings like a benediction. If this were a movie there'd be something very pretty on the soundtrack right now. She kind of wanted to think of something and "play" it.

In time, Janine thought, she would stop comparing everything to things from Montana in the late twentieth century. She'd quit talking and thinking in English. Her name would go, and all awareness that she had ever been human would fade to a faint oddity, one she never dwelled on. She would be just this, just a Quetzalcoatlus.

And that... she told herself, that was a good thing. It would make things easier for her.

Thinking of this in terms of what she'd lost would just be depressing. Actually cleaned surroundings. Real beds and furniture. A roof in the rain. The smell of pretty much anything. Foods she could taste - chocolate, she'd never have chocolate again. Music, movies, books. Games. Conversation with anything that understood language.

- oh, yes, because her conversations had been so meaningful and fulfilling. Her life was not like fiction - no one's life was. Anyone who seemed like a true friend would turn without warning if they saw something better. Just about everyone up to the teachers despised her. Janine's own mother didn't care enough about her to be around. Janine had had more real conversations in the week since coming here, with Bertram and Mike and even Chambers, than in two years at home.

A pealing screech rang out, and Loki, the native Quetzalcoatlus who always seemed to stick around, flew out in front of her. His long head twisted slightly so that he looked back at her out of one eye, and then he dove like a homicidal kite, pulling up just in time to not crash, scaring several prehistoric crocodiles into the water from where they'd been sunbathing. He'd broken her out of her mood, and she laughed. No; no, this was the right thing to do. She wasn't really alone.

And flying was the best thing that had ever happened to her. Sensing the change in her mood, Loki pulled up besides her, or as close to besides as was practical, considering their wingspans.

Janine didn't have lips anymore, or eyes that crinkled, but she felt sure she was smiling.

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"Horizon" Janine Farehouse

November 2015

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