Name: Nhin-Cao Noc. Literally, broken down, 'to look at + high + sacrifice'. Run together, it's "eyes high sacrifice." She's the angel of Constellations, and she's here to get herself killed, so....there. Her Vietnamese friends call her 'Ai' as a joke, pronounced 'eye'. It means, alternately, 'who' or 'somebody'. As in, 'who are we today?'
Birthdate: September 23rd
Fave gemstone: Fire opal
Fave food: Pizza with mushrooms and black olives
Hated food: Jalapenos
Likes: Toe rings, clubbing, fuzzy slippers, Old Navy, mocha Frappaccino, berry Smoothies, Drowning Pool, Disturbed, South Park, aromatherapy candles, wildflowers, and she collects vases. She prefers to go barefoot whenever she can, loves to read Terry Brooks and Diane Duane, and her favorite color is a dusty rose. And don't forget flirting and rollerblading.
Dislikes: Diet Coke, country music, stuffed animals, cold weather, the smell of vanilla, disorganization, being short, sit ups, Picasso ("Why can't he get the noses right??"), the color green, and her own handwriting.
Fave subject: Mythology
Hated subject: Gym class
Color: Bright yellow.
Fears: Dogs - she was bitten as a child by a neighbor's dog. Of course...she was teasing the dog at the time, but that part of the story never came out. It wasn't serious, it was just a nip that broke the skin, but the flash of teeth and the snarl that went with it convinced her subconscious that dogs are Dangerous.
Hobbies: Astrology, clubbing, and organizing things. She loves Goth clubs even though she doesn't care to dress the part. She's not part of any 'scene', she just likes the atmosphere. She loves blues clubs, disco clubs, anything so long as the music's loud and she can dance badly. She can't get into most - so she has to settle for all ages clubs most of the time, but she'll make do until she gets better at sneaking into the older clubs, or gets older. Which ain't likely with a name that means 'sacrifice'. XD And she'll organize anything from the files on her computer to her shoes (by color) to her homework. If she has to wait for anything at a store, she'll organize shelves without even realizing it. She isn't hyper, she just really has to have everything lined up and orderly. Her room is always clean, she always knows where everything is, and every hair is in place.
Aspirations: Simply, to be good at something and never have it taken away from her. One of her reasons for shifting from interest to interest is that she thinks if she waits to get a bit older, she'll find the one thing she's meant to do, and nothing will be able to keep her from it. Once she discovers she's Kokabel, she'll focus a little on tracking down the Angelus to see if she can manipulate anyone into joining the Fallen. If they don't agree, well, she'll cause them some hell.
Well, head to toe. Ai's hair is black and chin length, no bangs, with a bluish shine to it. It curves in toward her face and generally looks full. She occasionally pins the sides up with a small hair clip. Her eyes are black, with short lashes, and they're large and almond-shaped. Her skin is a faint olive color, leaning toward maize. Clear complexion, pert, small nose, and she stands about 4'10", which makes her shortest. She's slender, about 110, with an almost boyish figure. (Yeah - pretty much an A cup). She tends to wear high heels to make up for her height, or lack of it. She likes slacks with legs that flare out from the knee down, jeans, and shirts that have wide sleeves at the wrist. Loves belts of all types, the stranger the better. Loves to go for manicures and pedicures, likes to have her toes bare, has a toe ring on the right foot, second toe. Has her belly button pierced (parents don't know). Has a small tattoo of a blue star on her left hip. It's only about an inch across, and she got it just before her 16th birthday, during summer vacation. A friend's older sister was getting a tattoo earlier in the summer, and Ai happened to be along. She picked it out from a gallery on the wall, saved up, and got it for herself just before her birthday. Her voice is full and confident, a solid alto, but she's only loud when she means to be. She can switch between an American or Vietnamese accent, depending on how she's feeling.
Her older brother, Tien, is older by two years and remembers more of Vietnam. His name means 'advanced', and Ai and his friends call him Ty. He's taller than she is, taller than their parents (5'10"), and spends most of his time hanging out with his friends, working on his car, studying for college, and making extra money by prowling cars. Car prowling has become prominent in Roanoke lately, and he doesn't really want to be involved. He knows he's getting a little too old for it, since the average car prowler is about 14. But with the pressure from his parents to 'do well', sometimes he gives into peer pressure and does whatever his friends are doing, finding acceptance much easier in that arena than at home. He knows better, and plays it off to be cool. He promises himself he's not falling into that trap. He doesn't want to find himself becoming a stereotype - one more ethnic kid with immigrant parents, locked up for being stupid. It's just for fun, for extra money to keep Ahn-Li happy. Ahn-Li is Ty's college girlfriend, a materialistic girl, and knows Ty is on his way up by any means necessary.
Mother: Kim-Oanh, 44, a woman of diminuitive stature with a round, kindly face and a penchant for letting things resolve themselves. Father: Yu-duk, 46, a slender and wiry man who believes that his children should solve their own problems. They are both from Vietnam, and came to America to start a business - a Vietnamese restaurant called Minh May Man, 'lucky star'. It started out a small mom-and-pop outfit, but Yu-duk's cooking gained such renown that it's become a reservations only, high-end place. The family is not wealthy, but they can be considered upper middle class at this point, They would like to pass the restaurant to Ty, but the last thing he wants to do is help out - which he has to, more often than not. Both Ty and Ai take their turns on weekends and weeknights helping out. Yu-duk was a master chef in Ha Noi before he moved his family to America. They chose Roanoke because an old school friend of Yu-duk's had moved there years earlier, and they had remained in contact. The restaurant has been open for 10 years now, and it took long hours of work and several moves to make it happen. At first it was a tiny hole in the wall in a food court in a local strip mall; then, after saving enough money, it was moved down the block to its very own building. Still small, but in a cozy way, it's almost always bustling from the time it opens at 11am until 11pm. There are two other employees, both nephews of Yu-duk's old school friend.
She thinks falling in love means giving someone power over you, so she flirts and runs more often than not. She gets impatient with her parents for not adapting fully to America. She was born in Vietnam but her parents moved to Roanoke when she was 4, so she's fully bilingual and finds herself translating for her parents all the time. She's not embarrassed by them, just impatient. She has trouble following tradition and doesn't go for the whole firstborn son - favoritism thing, but she's not jealous of Ty. She loves to practice astrology on everyone around her, and especially herself (a Virgo with a Leo ascendant and a moon in Aries). She's got her whole chart worked out, down to the part about houses and cusps and ascendants. She doesn't confuse astrology with astronomy, and gets pissed at anyone who does.
Ai has a wicked sense of humor and is easily bored. When bored, she tends to go looking for trouble, even if she has to invent it. She's rarely mean, but if there's a chance at a joke, even at someone's expense, she'll probably take it. She'll find a way to make up for it later, but she really goes for the throat when the opportunity presents itself. It can be friend, family, enemy, or casual acquaintance; teacher, store clerk, you name it. She's an equal opportunity offender. Nothing is sacred to her. The sky is the limit. She'll cause trouble, then leave you holding the bag - with or without the cat.
She wants to fit in, and has occasionally stooped to cliquishness. She's a leader, though, not a follower, so when a clique bores her she moves on to another or makes one of her own. Those who aren't in her ever-shifting inner circle label her a snob, then immediately regard her as a saint when they're the object of her attention. She's good for a laugh and full of life, so people gravitate toward her. It's hard to hold her attention, though; like the sky, she changes day to day or even moment by moment. It's foggy, it clears into a beautiful day, then you find yourself struck by lightning when the cloud you didn't know was there nails you in the ass. Being mercurial is part of her charm; if you don't like her one day, wait around, and you'll see something pleasant sooner or later. The constellation of Ursa Major is known as the Big Bear, the plough, or the Big Dipper, depending on who you ask. If you ask any three people what Ai is like, you'll get three different answers, because she'll change her attitude to fit the people she runs into. Being true to herself isn't as important as being mysterious and popular.
If she thinks you're talking about her or someone she's currently fond of, she'll scold you in front of as many people as possible, like a wet hen. Sometimes people cross her just to watch the fireworks. She can dish it out with glee, but taking it is another matter. She'll descend on you like a nest of hornets, yelling in two languages and telling you exactly what's wrong with you. But when she's truly gone too far, and hurt someone's feelings, she'll look so morose you almost have to feel sorry for her. Hurting someone in a real sense means the end of the joke. You should be embarrassed, outraged, even furious, but if you're hurt by something she's done, she'll apologize. She'll chew glass before she actually admits she's wrong, but she'll vaguely apologize. Or she'll make you think she has. She'll lie, to get into or out of most things.
She likes to pretend she can't speak English just to see how people will react to it. If they're rude as a result, she'll start shouting at them. So she's not beyond setting people up just for a chance to yell at them. Most of her obnoxiousness is an attempt to get attention, and no one's managed to break it to her yet. She also likes to play 'street theatre', which includes staging mock-fights with friends to see how much attention she can get. She's full of self confidence and plenty of self esteem, and usually doesn't hesitate before she does something. If she's made a decision, she trusts herself and her judgment, and gets on with things.
Ai was born in Ha Noi, in an apartment in the city, the youngest of two. The apartment was small and cramped, but there were plenty of other children in the surrounding apartments, and plenty to do outside. Ai has little or no memory of Vietnam, so doesn't share her parent's occasional reverie about 'home'. America is her home, and she's as American as can be.
She was coddled as a toddler, and grew used to getting her way in nearly everything. When the family moved to Roanoke, though, there was too much work to be done and she began to become a bit more self-reliant. Both she and Ty practically grew up in the restaurant once it was open, helping out in small ways when they could, and hiding from the health department. Once the restaurant grew more popular, their parent's reliance on both kids grew. Since they grew up with the restaurant being nearly a part of the family, neither kid noticed until they hit their teens and had to really start *working* there. Then the whole free-time issue came up. Neither parent is very demanding, but to some teens, everything seems too demanding. Both kids realized the bills (and their allowance) were being paid due to their extra efforts, so they knuckled down.
Once she reached junior high, Ai became a bit rebellious and vocal. She was never outright disrespectful of her parents, but she had to argue about everything, down to the smallest detail. They began to find her exhausting, and rather than expend energy they didn't have, they would let her do as she pleased within reason. So she became accustomed to coming and going when and as she wished, and so long as she was not endangering herself or others, and kept her grades up, her parents turned a blind eye. Now that she's a junior at Northside High, she shows a definite self confidence that stays just shy of arrogance. She knows that no one likes arrogance, least of all herself, and she likes being popular, so she tones it down. She wants everyone to like her even if she says otherwise, and it will hurt her feelings if the possibility arises of anyone having a difficulty with her. She can't bring herself to try to win anyone back (that might include admitting she was wrong about something), but she'll worry about it internally for awhile. Her grades tend to run in the B's, with an occasional A, and she also knows that bad grades don't win any brownie points with teachers. So she keeps her study skills sharp. She wants to have an astrology business but knows that's taking it a little too far, so she's set her sights on going to college at Radford and studying....well, this week it's fashion design, which she can't even study at Radford. Last week it was Hollins, to study to become an English teacher. She just wants to go to college, because she like the idea of it. She thinks she has a lot more time to plan than she really does.
She currently lives in a two story duplex with her family among the majority of the Vietnamese population in Roanoke. When she discovers she's Kokabel, she'll harass the Angelus as badly as she harasses the Astronomia. And she'll love it that she's a Grigori; she'll think it gives her license to cause more trouble than ever.
Transformation: "Kokabel Grigori Power, Make Up!"
Nhin-Cao raises a hand above her head in a fist, the other hand in a fist at her side, elbow bent and perpendicular to her body (fist straight out, palm up), feet spread to shoulder width. Once her phrase is shouted, she brings her feet together and lowers the pointing arm, along with her face, to the ground. Her fuku top seems to swirl out of the air above her and settle over her head in a spinning motion, and brings a shower of sparks with it that settle along her body and become chains. The rest of her fuku shimmers into place, and if it's dark, certain parts of her fuku will continue glowing (see below). She stands in her final pose, feet apart again, hands folded in front of her face. Her eyes are now an electric blue, and can be seen in the dark.
Once transformed, she will attack anyone - teammate, enemy, they're all the same to a Grigori. Her powers are defensive, but she's very quick and lithe. She has no problem swinging her chains at people or using the chains on her hands to cause damage. She also has a strong kick. So despite being small, she'll launch herself at anyone and just start swinging.
Powers: 1) With a wave of her hand and a shout of "Chom sao!" ('constellation'), a shower of sparks will erupt from her hands, leaving a constellation of lights imprinted on the retinas of anyone around. This is only effective for night fighting, only lasts as long as it takes the average human eye to recover, and can be used several times in a row. Pretty harmless, no aftereffects, for distraction only. And it costs her very little energy. 2) Redshift: this makes people think she's headed away when she's really headed toward them, or vice/versa. It's an illusion that she casts by spinning once in a tight circle on one toe, swirling her poncho out in a circle, then taking off in whatever direction she likes. She might actually flash anyone standing around, since she's got nothing on under the poncho. In astronomy, astrophysicists gauge whether a star is headed away or toward earth by analyzing the spectrum of light the object gives off; a shift toward the red part of the spectrum means it's heading away, and a shift toward the blue means it's coming closer. She can only do this once or twice, and it won't fool anyone who is good at pinpointing an enemy. ::coughs:: ::cough sounds suspiciously like 'Aldebaran'::
Fuku: From the top: a headband, a choker, a poncho, a belt, leggings, gloves, calf-high boots. Now for the particulars. The headband is a thin, electric blue strip of metal across her forehead with an 8 point, sharp, crystal-clear star in the center that could pass for a bow. She's got chains connected to it that weave through her hair on the sides. The choker is a thin, electric blue chain with circular links. Poncho is yellow with small electric blue sparkles in what look like random patterns in daylight, and chains hanging off the shoulders in a half-circle. The poncho has a rounded edge, with points hanging down in the front and back, with the sides at forearm length and the front and back extending down long enough to make it look a little skirtish - and she has nothing on under it. The ends of the 'points' each have the same bow-star that her headband does. Her gloves consist of a chain around each wrist, and only her fingers are covered by glove. The rest of her hands are bare. She has a ring on each thumb, with a chain looping between the ring and the chain on her wrist. Her belt is made of electric blue circlets that hang off her hips, with one large circlet in the center from which a longer length of chain hangs between her knees by. Leggings are yellow with blue sparkles, boots are blue and high-heeled with blue chains running across the top of the foot.
All chains chime very softly in harmony when she walks. Stars are said to each have their own tone that they resonate at; beyond the range of human hearing, according to scientists, they 'chime like bells'. Therefore, the sound of her chains. The blue sparkles are the only part of her fuku that's visible in the dark, so she looks like a running constellation.
Best friend: Anh Phuong, 16, lives in the other side of the duplex Ai's family lives in. Anh is the oldest of 4, and tends to be bossy as a result. The two get along well because they can't out-boss each other, and have similar views on trying to be Americanized and dealing with old-school parents and traditions. Anh's hair is shoulder-blade length, and her eyes are a medium brown. She's a good two inches taller than Ai and collects anything that has to do with butterflies. She's been known to help Ai with her pranks, but only on a limited basis, as her parents tend to be more on the stern side.
Kokabel, or Kakabel, also appears in Jewish folklore as a powerful angel who is in charge of the stars and constellations. Considered by some to be a holy angel; by others, a fallen one. It is said that Kokabel commands 365,000 lesser spirits and 'teaches astrology to his fellow angels'. Yowza.
Other stuff: she's right-handed and still has a baby tooth (her left canine). She tends to call people 'whackadoo' for no particular reason, the same way people use the word 'buddy'. "Hey whackadoo, whatcha doin'?"
Ai first appeared in the summer interlude between seasons I and II in 'Starstruck At Starbucks', then appeared in 'Chef's Special Mayhem' in season II when she was awakened by Armers and Aldegundis. Kokabel knows and hates Aldebaran, and has met Sombrero, Armers, Ariel and Aldegundis.
::back to Sailor Myth::