theresnodoor: (Default)
Your name and/or on-line pseudonym: Li
Your e-mail address: trelali gmail !
The full name of the character you're apping and their journal: Rachel Berenson, [personal profile] theresnodoor
The canon your character is from: Scholastic's Animorphs by K.A. Applegate (and a bunch of ghostwriters she has admitted to)
A 300-500 word essay about your character, why you are apping them, what you intend to do with them, et al.: I've played Rachel in multiple games now but always at the age of at least sixteen, which means after her canon was finished. There was an expectation there for her that she'd gone through a lot and was now ready to rest, and the games I took her to forced her to continue.

In a total change, I really want to play around with this character from the beginning of her canon and occasionally sending her back home to experience more of it. Her canon is so expansive and she changes so much from book one to fifty-four, I want to start her at her relatively innocent beginnings and run through canon with her.
A writing sample: I have no idea what all I can give that sums up how much I love this pup, so I give you an info-dump and pray for your soul:

-From Milliways
-From Shatterverse
theresnodoor: (Default)
Kate has been flying high ever since they left the rest of the group behind. Rachel's been riding her high, laughing in the wake of Kate's joy, enjoying herself and letting it be known. She'd morphed not long after separating with the others and raced Kate's horse across the desert, the body of the stallion she'd morphed bursting with energy, the desire to run. Even the few days of travel, filled with laughter, trading stories and details about the job, has been pure fun.

She'll need to go back to Milliways eventually, and preferably before she fades or snaps back or whatever is supposed to happen to her. But until then, she's enjoying herself.

-

Galveston is nice enough, Rachel supposes, for yet another place without running water. Kate found them a nice set of rooms to stay in, though they'll be trying to find Rachel a door soon. They've even done some shopping and, as such, while Kate is off exploring the town herself, Rachel is walking the main street in a new skirt, patterned and bright in yellow, another stark white blouse, ruffled at the open collar with the sleeves rolled up again. She's been paying attention the last few days and she knows she's not pulling off the look of a lady. Maybe a ranch hand, a cowgirl, something like that. But Texas remains hot and Rachel's of the opinion that she makes a pretty cute cowgirl like this, nothing immodest or tasteless about the outfit. She'll be keeping it just like this until someone convinces her to pretend to be a lady.
theresnodoor: (morph - the outfit)
It’s kind of disappointing. Rachel won’t be sharing that with Kate or Tobias, but it is. After the war, after her journeys through the Labyrinth, strolling through a little town in the Old West toward a handful of men carrying late 1800s six-shooters was not the best high.

That first shot, stinging and sharp in her shoulder, helped some.

Thick as the bear’s defenses are, Rachel’s not too keen on getting shot any more than she absolutely has to. After that first rear up and roar, she was pretty sure half the group fled (”Holy hell, what is that?!” “Biggest damn bear I ever saw!”). If they hadn’t, by the time she charged, still roaring, and got close enough to see the detail, only two had stayed to meet her. (”Stand your ground, boy! And don’t you shoot at it again, you’ll just make it mad!” Well, he was right on that point.) They weren’t real enemies and she hadn’t been asked in to kill anybody, but she gave the larger of the two a cuff to the head that ensured he’d be staying down for the time being. Plus a few hours. Or days. That got rid of the remaining man quick enough. (”Christ Almighty!”)

Then someone cocked a rifle on the roof of a building too far for her to see (but not to hear, ”See if we can’t take some’a the fight outta you, beast!” Haha yeah, keep trying) and Rachel figured that was a pretty good distraction for everybody. Running away like a wounded animal - pun not especially intended - got her two more shots in her back legs, hurt, but not bad enough to keep her from getting to a little side alley. Men were closing in to corner her, take her out, but she was already curling her massive bulk into a corner, behind a small hill of empty crates, closing her eyes to start the demorph.

By the time the first man poked his head in to check, she was small enough not to be seen behind those boxes.

By the time three of them slowly ventured in for a better look, she was really small.

It’s Texas in the height of summer. Who’s going to notice one more fly?

-

Kate had told her the plan. She didn’t really need to know it, honestly, but Rachel didn’t mind being read in. Rob a bank, ride out in a gallop a good mile; trade for fresh horses and ride again; meet up at a second checkpoint, get another set of horses, trade up whatever money they’d stolen, and split up.

Rachel considers her checkpoints.

Bear in the town. Fly in the alley. Wolf around the back of the general store.

Maybe not her best choice in a desert town, picking an animal with such a shaggy, heavy coat. But while Kate and the rest have the choice of riding away on other animals, Rachel has a few miles of distance to cover without the help of anyone but herself. Nothing runs with stamina like a wolf.

Fur itches through her skin, then washes over it in a wave of coarse, thick grey and brown. Rachel drops to all fours as her joints switch position and thinks she should be tired, this many morphs in such a short time. She’ll probably sleep for a whole day when she gets back to Milliways, but for now her heart’s pounding, she’s grinning up until her jaw shifts and warps, and she may just hug Kate at that second checkpoint for making a dead girl feel alive.

-

This is Rachel’s second trip into Texas and she has come to the same conclusion: it is hot.

She makes the second checkpoint long before the others do, all a part of the plan. A good five miles from where she started doesn’t seem like much, but it’s not like a car is going to come zooming along beside her, flashing red and blue. And given that she has an indulgent amount of time to herself, this demorph is followed by sprawling under the pathetic shade of a very put-upon mesquite tree.

It’s a good landmark, standing tall and lonely in the desert, and not too far from where Kate and her men are supposed to end up. Rachel was pleased with herself to find it and once she’s cooled down a bit, crawls to her feet, using the trunk for balance to stand upright, and - swearing a little under her breath - climbs high enough to retrieve the flour sack she’d stuck in the branches.

Fun as it would be to scar the natives again, Kate had highly suggested wearing a skirt when she met the ‘posse.’
theresnodoor: (Default)
A lot - a lot - of cafeterias later and Rachel and Tobias find themselves holed up in a storage closet. It had a light in it and it wasn't an air vent, with the added bonus of not seeming to be very popular with the crew. That was about all Rachel wanted to ask for just now.

Granted, a bed would also have been nice. But if she was going to start wishing like that, she may as well go all the way and demand a door back to Milliways, too.

They've gotten good at calculating time over the years. Ax did most of the work, with his literal internal clock, but they all had some sense of it. Between that and the occasional discussion of time from the people around them, Tobias and Rachel have come to an agreement about how much time has passed since they first arrived in this place.

Roughly, two days.

They're not confident enough to say forty-eight hours, either of them, but it's close enough. And while Rachel hasn't left Milliways much in that time, needing someone else's help to do it, each and every person she's discussed it with has made one thing very clear: the time limit.

If this isn't the Labyrinth, isn't Milliways at all, there is a time limit for her. The dead can't stay outside the door long and while she's heard the limit argued around others, more often than not, people agree on three days.

Seventy-two hours.

There's a storage closet, which is not much good for pacing, with a few shelves that probably aren't fantastic for perching, and around everything else they're not saying to each other, Rachel is hesitant to add this one maddeningly vague thing.
theresnodoor: (Default)
Rachel's been back in Milliways for a while. Long enough to soothe questions - or ignore them outright - about where she'd been, why she left, what she did. Long enough to put a pair of boots, a hat, and a few other unique items of clothing into her closet, buried deep in the back.

Long enough to get antsy again, even while she smiles and gets back to their routine.

The balcony doors are open and Rachel fights back a shiver in the cool air. It's not that bad, but she hasn't bothered getting dressed yet. Mostly for the opportunity to stop Tobias from taking off right away.

"Hang on. I'll come with you."

He doesn't always like an audience when he's hunting but she feels like flying today.
theresnodoor: (Default)
Picture it: a bar, at the end of the universe, warm and cheerful and filled with the quiet murmur of voices. At a table in the corner, specifically set aside from all the other patrons, is a blonde, pretty teenager.

Or maybe that scene is a little too broad for a bar like Milliways.

Add in a scowl and a National Geographic.

Rachel's wondering if there'd be any point in making it out of somebody's door to a zoo. Though she's finding there are depressingly few animals that don't already have memories attached.
theresnodoor: (Default)
When she gets a choice, which isn't often necessary considering how well Leah knows her by now, Rachel prefers not to work alone. Often it's best for her to be alone during her specific portion of a mission. But the job itself, the traveling, the planning, strategizing, working out the details on site: Rachel prefers a team.

Teams are not always available in Shatter. Rather than be kept idle, that means Rachel is occasionally sent on "Scout this, keep your radio on, tell me what you see" missions.

Which are way more interesting than "What does the wall of your living room look like when you stare at it from sun-up to sun-down" missions.

Today, Rachel is walking in sunny Oklahoma. The scouting includes a number of flash-ins appearing in this area who never seem to make it to the farm, Smallville, or Metropolis. Odd when they're the closest civilized areas.

She's been flying most of the day but for now, she's actually wearing her shoes instead of carrying them in her talons.
theresnodoor: (Default)
The front door doesn't get used much, these days. The first thing Rachel does when she wakes up is open the balcony doors, let Tobias out to hunt. And lately, more often than not, Rachel prefers up-and-over when it comes to her own exit.

Not always. Sometimes.




Okay. A lot.

Tobias doesn't know. She's pretty sure, anyway, she leaves after he does and she's often back in the room before he gets back. When she's not, they're out flying together, it's not surprising for her to go in through the balcony. It's not a big deal. It's nothing special.

That's why she hasn't told him. Because it doesn't matter. See.




Like going 'out.' That doesn't matter either. How often she does it, how often she's walked through a door that took her very, very far from him.










There's a second calendar on the wall.

Rachel finishes her demorph and catches sight of it. And the most unsettling detail about the calendar is that she can't be certain it's only just appeared. He could have put it up days ago.

Or was it Tobias?

If it was Tobias, he'd have to have been human.

Maybe it wasn't him at all, then, why would he morph human just to put a calendar on the wall, right beside a calendar she already had hanging there?

Maybe it wasn't Tobias. Maybe someone broke into their room and... and put a calendar on the wall.








Maybe.



The carpet is soft on bare feet when she crosses the room. One hand stretches out, fingertips brushing the slick paper of the new calendar. It's not like hers - hers is marked, holidays clearly labeled. Days To Avoid The Bar. But this calendar, this new thing, is blank. Nothing on it.

Why would he...

So maybe he didn't.

Maybe someone else did, someone broke in, interrupted their space, where they live.



It crumples so easily in her hand when she snatches it away from the wall.

Flipping through it, she waits for something to pop out. In the pretty pictures, names of month, numbers listed in neat little boxes. Waits for the clue or significance, why someone would bring this into their apartment, what it means, what's the point?

But there's nothing.



Slowly, she puts it down again. Glaring at it as it rests on the bar, in their kitchen. Accusingly.

A stupid packet of paper, meaningless dates to a girl who has no use for time and a boy who refuses to-








Her fingers only brush it, sending it skidding down the counter a few more inches. But she's already walking away.

She should probably throw it away.

But if he brought it in, he would have had to be human to do it. Without her. For something as purely human as a calendar.


She wants to hold onto that thought a little longer.
theresnodoor: (You have GOT to be kidding me.)
Morphing is an inexact science. There's DNA and intense concentration and some stuff about z-space or whatever. There are the rules, all with exceptions - like natural metamorphosis, allergies, regeneration. There are the constants.

Well, one constant.

Morphing relies on DNA. Demorphing will get rid of injuries. There's always a chance morphing, then demorphing, will get rid of an imperfection in her human body.

A chance.

"I can actually hear Ax trying to explain this crap to me," Rachel grumbles to herself, left hand pressed tight to her right bicep.

While blood seeps through.

She's still in the forest, too, unwilling to leave the trees even for the infirmary. Not until she knows it won't stop bleeding with continuous pressure.
theresnodoor: (17: Watching/Spying)
It's about space and time.

And how neither pass, when you spend your days in Milliways.

And nights.

And mornings.

And evenings.



Rachel copes. She doesn't live, she doesn't thrive. She just copes. Gymnastics and magazines and people who pass in and out of the door. The occasional trip to the Labyrinth - with company - and the effort she goes to in order to make sure no one notices just how often she walks into it herself.

Sleeping in a bed with a hawk perched nearby, pretending she can't feel the way he watches her.

Pretending she has nothing to hide from him, not anymore.



But today?

Today Rachel is swimming in the lake. It's a good day for it. Nice and sunny, even outside the Caribbean beach. The water is cool but it's easy to get used to. And Bar even gave her a nice one piece.
theresnodoor: (Animorphs)
When you fight for three years, you get used to the aspects of it. The secret keeping. The sudden pounding rush of adrenaline. The constant thrum of fear under your skin. The exhaustion. The rage. The helplessness and the power.

There are different kinds of 'get used to,' though.

There's the kind where, free of those constraints, you can relax. It never leaves entirely, but it ebbs. You don't miss it exactly but you recognize that you could go back to it in a heartbeat, if you needed to - and you tell yourself you don't want to.

There's another kind. Less readily admitted to.

The kind where you relax immediately. And slowly, surely, the thrum under your skin comes back. But the fear has a different flavor this time around, more restless than anything else.

The nice thing is, the solution is obvious.

The bad thing is, it's a solution you can't admit to.




Rachel does a lot of things to channel that thrum. Waking at dawn. Gymnastics routines. Runs around the lake. Training with the punching bag. Reading with Tobias. Talking, talking, talking to people. Morphing for fun.

But they're only channels, and none of them for much purpose.

There's only one thing that's given her true relaxation, release, since Milliways.


An afternoon walk in Milliways' forest and Rachel finds herself standing before a tall rock face, more than a hill but not quite a mountain. An opening several feet taller than she is - a rock cave.



Carved into the stone, a symbol she won't readily forget.



"...Daedalus."

OOM

Jul. 2nd, 2011 09:11 am
theresnodoor: (17: Not so far away (as I'd like))
After This:



Milliways is there for those who need it.

So they say.




I was dead.
I was dead.

I was dead.


And now I'm - well, not.





The door swings behind her and the grass beneath her feet is cool and soft. The sun is going down behind the mountains and the sky is streaked with color. All is green and cool and beautiful.

Last summer, it was boiling hot and every spare day was spent indoors or at the beach - not of a lake, but the Pacific Ocean, and they had to take a bus to get there unless their parents dropped them off and... and if she were there right now, there would be no buses and the beaches probably survived but not without their own scars and if she survived if she survived if she survived if she if and if.



Walk. Steps. One in front of the other.

If she had survived, what would she have said?

Trees up ahead, turn, the way is clear.

How would she have justified?

Move, just move.

Was. Was dead.

Run.



Jog, really. Just move. Until all of her energy is taken up with breathing and moving and staying upright.

Or just the last two.

Was. Was dead.

theresnodoor: (17: Tobias)
On the kitchen bar, when Tobias flies back through the wide open balcony doors one morning, is a note.

I'm okay. Don't worry. I might be gone for a little while but I'm coming back.

Trust me. I love you.


Words are scratched out with an X - then scratched out even further, darkened to nothing by the pen.



Then smaller, further down, carefully rewritten:

Don't hide.
theresnodoor: (17: The beast in me)
The door to room 2754 slams.

A minute or so later, it opens again.

A few seconds and it slams again.

Just to make a point.




But it's open when the other person who lives there finds his way.

OOM

Jun. 11th, 2011 07:09 pm
theresnodoor: (17: Innocent)
Sometimes a routine is a useful thing.  When it's broken in the slightest way, it's obvious.  Noticeable.  There's no way to miss it and let the change go by, possibly to the detriment of others.

So Rachel notices when Tobias doesn't leave her in the mornings to go hunt.  When he tries to follow her down to the garage rather than eat.  And when she's gone outside with him and he does nothing but look at her and obey suggestions on her behalf, she continues to notice.  He's either refusing to listen to his own body's urges, or simply can't hear them anymore.

It's the sort of thing she'd talk to Cassie about, if...

Or maybe, since it affects his life so completely, since he's changed so much, it's Jake that she should...

Of course, she probably wouldn't have to.  Ax would have noticed first that he...

The first day, she carries him to the woods on her arm and asks him to wait on a branch while she morphs.  When they're up in the air, eagle and hawk, and he still does nothing, she starts pointing out prey.  But once it's noticed, as is the nature of quick-moving animals, it's too late for him to dive.

The first day, she hunts for him.  Downs a demon rabbit and holds it, pinned to the ground struggling and screaming, and calls to Tobias to come down and finish it.  He needs to eat and the hawk prefers its prey live.

She keeps holding it while he eats, only moving when she's in his way.

They've been through so much.  But there was never anything that Tobias couldn't cope with, or pretend he was coping with.

He's never let her take care of him.  Not like this.

It scares her.

And it's not right.



She does the same that afternoon, before the sun goes down. And it's a rabbit again - they are everywhere - and she holds it while he eats.

In the morning, it is the same.

And the next afternoon.


The third day, she starts to ask him about it, to say something, anything. But every attempt is aborted for the simplest reason.

Why won't you-
Can't you-
Aren't you-
You should-


Guilt.

Maybe he would, could if she hadn't left suddenly. Maybe he wouldn't be like this if she hadn't left that first time.



But it's still some time before she realizes. That first time?

She'd said goodbye.

She'd made sure she could.

And this time?

Was not her fault.



"Tobias? Let's go outside."
theresnodoor: (17: wtf just happened?)
"Jo!"



The castle is as dark as ever it was before, with the added benefit of the section Rachel is currently trying to look into having no torch. No source of light at all beyond the torch in the hand that isn't pressed to the tile, trying to peer into darkness for her friend.
theresnodoor: (17: Ruffled - postfight)
For the record, Rachel has been issued enough homework to know the name Daedalus. But in a cave, behind a waterfall, in a forest, inside a cupboard, lurking in a gloomy castle is not the best place for memory recall. And by the time she'd dragged herself out of the water and up onto the rocky shelf behind the fall, there were only so many questions she wanted to ask.

Bear in the castle. Eagle in the woods. Dolphin in the water. Not to mention swinging a torch around and running hard through the forest floor.

On her hands and knees on the stone floor, Rachel watches a puddle of water form beneath her hair and clothing. At the moment, it's the only thing keeping her from falling over from exhaustion.
theresnodoor: (17: Ruffled - postfight)
There is boredom. There is restlessness. There is anxiety. And there is recklessness. Stages of reactions following the common phrase of There's nothing to do. If left alone for too long, this condition can result in conversation, conflict, experimentation, explosions, discovery, and death.

Among others.

But sometimes, Fate steps in. Someone looks down and notices the ever-increasing stages and says, Hey. That looks kind of dull. Let me help you out there.

The common reaction to such politeness is gratitude.


Well into the stages of boredom, Rachel opens her eyes and finds herself not in her bedroom, her apartment, or even the Bar's couch. Instead of soft fabric, there are hard, rough stones beneath her back. Instead of open space, the walls are close and dingy and the ceiling is low. And when she sits up, sharp and sudden, she is staring out of an archway that leads into the darkest of dark hallways, despite the flickering torch on the wall.

Blue eyes dart in every direction and not a single one of them makes sense - including the other person, crumpled on the stones nearby.

OOM

Mar. 15th, 2011 11:52 am
theresnodoor: (text - Did I make a difference?)
There is a reason why chess is such an overused cliche for the art of war. In no other game are aspects of ruthless conquering so simply displayed. One side against another, the same basic shape and purpose, differing in only simple ways. Guarded by many disposable pieces, flanked by those willing to sacrifice, the leaders lie safely ensconced from beginning to end, if played well.

And at no time are any of the pieces on the board, so focused on their objective, every truly in control.



There are things about chess that Rachel would agree with, when applied to war. An aggressive opening is always a good choice. One should sacrifice for the good of many. A loss here and there, while disheartening, is inevitable and must be anticipated, accepted, and forged through.

The point is to win.

You must win.



These are things Rachel would agree with, if she had ever played chess. Or had any interest in chess.

But to play chess, you must be a player, the mover of pieces, the gentle strategist.

And even Rachel knows, she is more likely to be a knight.

If the player is being charitable.



Certain subjects are not talked about.

Some of them haven't changed since the early days of the war. The word Nothlit never passes between them. The very first battle, the hours following their descent into the Yeerk Pool. The construction site, at any time, for any memory, is taboo.

What they saw there, did there, is unspeakable in many ways.

The final moments of Rachel's life are not talked about. In fact, the entire twenty-four hours preceding, though she knows that Tobias has guessed how long she held her secret, that she could have warned him and didn't.

She would say couldn't. He would say didn't.

But they don't talk about that.

Some subjects are not so easy. After the last time she tried, Rachel knows now that Loren is not to be discussed. And after the initial questions about their friends, about the aftermath of the war, when Tobias did not mention a single member of her family, she took that hint, too.

The time between her death and her arrival in Milliways, if any time passed at all.

Tobias does not know it exists and sometimes Rachel isn't sure.

What she is sure of is that telling him would change nothing.

And would solve less.



You were just a kid, she'd said, when the great player himself finished his story. Like us.

And he was, she could see that. She spoke the words, knowing he wanted some form of forgiveness, perhaps more than he wanted to honor her, to explain why she had to die. She wonders, sometimes, if he was comforted at all to hear her say so, to be given the opportunity to speak the words that meant so much.

Yes.
You were brave.
You were strong.
You were good.


You mattered.


She wonders if he realized, if he cared, that being a child in a war offers little excuse.

For either of them.



Chess is a game for the brave. For the confident. For the dedicated. For the patient.

For the player.

Not the pawns.



There are things that are not spoken of.

Bringing up the fight with Yrael was allowed in a moment of distress. Like a moment of silence for Elfangor while discussing the Blue Box. Because the latter is necessary, the former is allowed.

Because she had to say something about Yrael, Rachel was allowed to say the Ellimist's name. And when that time passed and they agreed, together, that neither understood or perhaps could understand, it was over.

But it stays with her.

In all his storytelling, the emotions the Ellimist displayed to her were elevated and far away, things he had grown past and was no longer capable of feeling as he once was. A creature so beyond what he had once been that he would never return. It's why he could stop time and tell her, in those moments when surely she had already died but was not quite dead yet, tell her his story when she demanded it from him. When she had sneered his name and demanded to know what right he had to pick up the pieces and move them where he wanted, even when such a move would sacrifice the piece.

And he had told her, in that way that is part answer to the desperate cry of a dying child, part a desperate cry of his own for forgiveness. Too elevated to see the ludicrous nature of it, and she too scared to protest.

She hadn't wanted to die. He was one of few creatures who truly knew that about her.



The Ellimist is a curse to them. A four letter word, as it's said. Rachel can think of him in moments where she is clear-headed and be angry and confused and exasperated and sad all at once. For his story and his purpose and his choices.

They don't line up in her head, the Ellimist and Yrael. Their choices and their attitude. The Ellimist is a player, Yrael has the potential to be a player.

Perhaps they all do, in significantly smaller ways.



I did not cause you to be one of the six.

An extra piece on the board. Stacking the deck for one side, one more square taken up by a soldier the other side didn't have.



But Rachel doesn't play chess.

All she really knows, if she had to think about it at all, is that one side plays with black pieces, the other with white.



She is the grey knight.

More useful than a pawn.

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Rachel

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