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Variance
Variance
Formerly known as 'FMS-05X'
Age: -1
Race: former Reploid
Status: Deceased?
Affiliation: None

The fifth, and ultimately last, in a series of reploids carrying the experimental "Force Manipulation Stratagem" system, which got a lot of publicity in 21XX being (mis)advertised as everything from a superior replacement for traditional plasma weapons, a super-effective method of Maverick apprehension, and even a full-on environmental cleanup system. In reality, the system's true purpose was still a grey area past all the demos of things like water purification and fancy light shows. The FMS development team had pinned all their hopes on this, model FMS-05X, to show the world that Earth wasn't completely beyond saving with perhaps the nice side effect of putting all that weird PR to rest.

Variance never got the chance to set the record straight, however, even after his stunning success as being the only one in the line to not suffer a catastrophic failure of some kind. (don't ask what happened to 01X-04X) The night of his big reveal to society didn't turn out to plan as a strange rift whisked him away to a much different world.

With only a few months of life under his belt, Variance was left to his own designs. He spent much of his early days wandering the Cleft at large, searching for something solid to hold on to. The closest things he had to a purpose were the collection of Maverick Hunters press material his dev team had him hold on to and a cryptic, repeated line from his creator: "I made you to live." While the latter was a bit tough for him considering he had little idea what "living" meant, he was fortunate enough to find solace in a budding branch of the Maverick Hunters housed right outside Truce. Rather more unfortunately, he was also formally introduced to a live Maverick by the name of Vice, which only served to strengthen his resolve to become a Hunter.

Though the Truce Hunters, he not only found a viable purpose in life, but found an ally in Seikou with whom he formed a strong friendship. The two spent their early careers comfortably, though with the same sort of strife that comes with working for a policing agency. Notable is several encounters Variance had with Vice, who attempted to infect the Hunter with the Maverick Virus at least once. Fortunately, that particular instance failed, though it led to Vice changing tack and targeting one who was already partway there: Seikou. With several, all-too-effective plots to break Seikou's will, centered around lies involving Variance himself and a reploid woman the two had befriended, Aura, it was only a matter of time before Variance found himself subduing his truest friend and confidant. While neither of them were truly disabled, the fight left Variance with a vicious wound and with it a modified strain of the Maverick Virus.

Shortly after the encounter, Variance began to be contacted by Dryads, concerned for Aura's well-being and hoping Variance could do something to keep her heart calm. Between Seikou being willfully incarcerated, Aura worrying herself sick about him, and several strange encounters with another off-kilter reploid throwing his opinions of justice into question, it was hardly a simple task. Weeks went by, all three parties under their own flavors of torment, until Aura finally got her chance to see Seikou. Close to deactivation by the Hunters' hand, Seikou regained control and was soon released.

Life went back to normal for a time. Variance got to resume his duties, even rejoining Seikou on duty once his own probation was over. Unfortunately, there was the tiny issue of Variance's own infection -- that surfaced painfully on him on at least one occasion -- which he himself had to admit to once a certain technician informed the Hunters' leader of Seikou not being truly cured. Since infected Hunters don't go over as well outside the original organization, he and Seikou both were expelled. While Seikou had more time to build his relationship with Aura, Variance(while happy for them) was left listless, his purpose for being thrown into question once again.

Consequently, that point was when strange things began happening around Truce, leading to the exposition of a war between the gods. Events led to Jango being pointed out as the culprit, most likely due to him stealing away Aura(kind of a gigantic giveaway there). This, paired with his strain of the Virus taking a turn for the worse, makes it easy to say that Variance was having something of a bad day/week/span of months.

Eventually, Variance and a small group of Truce citizens and regulars gathered and traveled to Arlia under the offer of sanctuary from the brunt of the war courtesy of Ageatii. The affair blew over successfully with little fanfare on the physical world, leaving Variance to carry out his end of the agreement with Ageatii: seclusion from civilization. After leaving Arlia, he found a cozy little glade in Oreyndur Forest and settled down. It was an opportune time to both get himself closer to this Mana he'd been philosophizing about for so long, and maybe do something about that whole Maverick Virus thing. (SPOILER: HE USES TRAP THE SOUL ON THE MAVERICK VIRUS I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING) Fortunately, Variance found some company in Seikou, a frequent visitor despite the whole seclusion thing.

Of course, once Destiny comes knocking, it doesn't stop. Following a stint as a reploid spiritual healer and a brief Dryad freak-out, Variance found himself searching out Lilly, who in turn granted him admittance to the Mana Holyland. There, word of the Dark Manabeast's awakening led to the presentation of the Mana Sword; it was likely he would end up fighting either the Dark Manabeast itself or the very Flammie he arrived on, driven berserk in its duty to protect Mana. With his task set and some of his own uncertainties set to rest, Variance returned to the world at large, with nothing to do but wait and prepare.

As time is wont to do, it marched on. The cry rang out and the Hero responded. Regretful to leave Seikou(and his newborn dreamchild) on his own, Variance made his move, finding the berserk Manabeast in the outmost reaches of the Sulfataska Mountains. The battle was vicious, if exceedingly private, and drove Variance to his absolute limit. In his last moments, he did the one thing he was extraordinarily good at: kicking the Third Law to the curb and inflicting massive self-injury to get the job done. A single Megamagic with the Mana Sword as a lightning rod finally did the Beast in. As would happen to anyone using that spell at the very last possible moment, Variance died from the effort.

Might have been a pleasant afterlife, though it seemed Ageatii had other plans. Citing a conflict between Variance's acceptance of death and strong ties to those still living, the immortal that secluded him offered him a second chance at life, albeit in a different form. Realizing his promise to Seikou to return and frankly panicked at the proposal of becoming a shadole should he not make his decision quickly, Variance accepted. His soul was transferred into a device crafted by Carsanquay and used to induce a pregnancy in Ageatii's chosen vessel, Mizo. (puts a whole new spin on the term "DNA Soul", doesn't it?)


...But what happened to the device after that? Did Variance's soul ever leave it?

In the strange concurrence of realms that is the Cleft, could a drifting soul reach out to another?