Name: Odetta Freeman
Home: Topeka, Kansas, U.S.A. They used to live in Hagåtña, Guam, but moved out of there after Odetta was almost killed by a stonefish when she was 5. None of them even really liked it there anyway. They moved to her father’s hometown of Topeka where they bought a typical two-story three bedroom two bathroom house. They fortunately could still afford it after her father left because her older sister was old enough to have job and help pay by then while her mom worked two jobs. In the house, all but one of the aforementioned rooms are on the top floor, with the bottom floor consisting of a living room, a kitchen, a dining area, garage access, and the other bathroom. There isn’t really much in the backyard besides a pecan tree Odetta climbs and some shrubs. The front lawn isn’t really much either, although the lawn itself is pretty nice.
Family: Odetta lives with her older sister Laila, pet rhinoceros beetle Burke (named after the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers), Mother Alula Taga’na. That list formerly included her father Oliver Freeman before her mother decided he was an idiot with antiquated views and a superiority complex and kicked him out.
Theme song: Nikopol
Good personality traits:
-Relatively unfazeable: There’s not much that will scare her, make her panic or worry, and just plain move her from her usual state of general apathy. Some people have mistaken this trait for bravery or courage, but that’s definitely not it.
-Hard worker: Odetta is willing to put in a lot of effort to get or accomplish things she wants. Say, for example, Odetta suddenly decides she like breaking furniture around the house and her mom gets mad at her for it. She’ll go and get a job and be the best damn employee there for the sole purpose of making money to buy replacement furniture so that there’s no real issue with her breaking it in the first place and can continue doing so at her leisure. Note: She doesn’t really break stuff for fun. Not always at least.
-Forgiving: Odetta doesn’t hold grudges because what’s the point? If a person wronged her and is going to wrong her again, they’ll do it regardless of whether or not she hates them for it.
-Team player: She knows that she isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed so she’s willing to cooperate with just about anyone to get done what she needs done. Also, she doesn’t really have any issues with helping others either, and usually doesn’t argue.
Bad personality traits:
-No creativity: If you were to ask her a question with an open-ended answer, Odetta would give you the most obvious one. If there isn’t an obvious one, she probably wouldn’t be able to figure an answer out at all. She’s not inventive or clever in the slightest.
-Tends to default to violence: If Odetta is unable to figure out how to deal with something, her final and default response would be to hit it, whatever it is. This isn’t really an angry “ARGH, I CAN’T FIGURE THIS OUT I AM SO ANGRY” type thing, but more like a “Nothing I try works, so maybe hitting it will change something”.
-Unobservant: If a hypothetical bug lands on her head or shoulder or something, chances are she won’t notice it unless it starts crawling right on her face. If a friend changes their hairstyle, gets new clothing, or starts (or stops) wearing glasses or braces, she probably won’t notice it either unless that friend tells her. If the world was ending with falling meteors and explosions and all that good stuff right outside her window, she probably wouldn’t notice that either. Okay, maybe not that last one.
-Apathetic: Odetta just has a hard time caring very much about things. This isn’t a very good trait when it comes to making friends or allies.
-Easily bored: Outside her interests, there isn’t much that can entertain her. When she’s bored, she has a hard time figuring out something to do if her usual activities are unavailable.
Interests and hobbies:
-The Navy: She’s held an interest in the navy thanks to her father who formerly served there.
-Outdoor activities: Things like hiking, fishing, and hunting.
Appearance: Odetta has a good bit more muscle than the other girls at school (but she isn’t anywhere near bodybuilder size) thanks to all the boxing, hiking, and general physical activity she does. Her skin has been tanned by all her hours under the sun, but she still isn’t quite as dark as her mother, having inherited her original color more from her pale father’s side. She stands at a short 5’4” and weighs around 147 lbs, the weight coming mostly from muscle mass. Odetta prefers to keep her dark brown hair short, but not too short so that she still has the ability to put it into her favored hairstyle, a ponytail (although without the ponytail, her hair looks awfully messy). Her eyes are the same dark brown color as her hair. Most people would probably guess that she is Filipina or Hispanic, and back when her skin was light they thought she was Chinese. Narrow eyes, small height, and now tanned skin, coupled with the fact that not many people even know Guam exists, of course they’d be guessing that. It’s clear that nobody’s going to be able to figure out where she’s from just by looking.
Concerning her clothing, Odetta prefers to dress ‘sporty’. She typically wears things like T-shirts or tank tops and shorts with running shoes, liking the mobility of the outfits. In colder weather she’ll switch to a tracksuit. She doesn’t really care what colors her clothes are, her only concern being that they fit and are easy to move around in. Her concern about her overall appearance is minimal, from her unvaried and simple wardrobe to her uncared for hair. Makeup is also a no-go for her (a time waster) as is jewelry (which gets lost or caught on things).
Odetta sat at the top of the pecan tree in the backyard, bored out of her mind. After watching clouds very briefly, she gave up trying to guess what they looked like and instead hung upside-down from a branch. Apparently, according to her mom, the pounding of her fists against the punching bag in her room was loud and disturbed the guests. She could always walk to one of the stores in the area, but what would she even do there? She hung there from the tree for god knows how long before she started feeling dizzy from the blood rushing to her head, so she sat upright and started climbing down. Once at the bottom, she thought about her predicament. Maybe she could use the tree as a punching bag like she’d seen done a few times on TV. She turned to face the arboreal titan and began pounding her fists into the bark. Unfortunately, it hurt more than she expected it to and decided after a few punches that it was a stupid idea, so she walked back inside.
When she stepped inside, she found her mother and Laila preparing dinner, but saw that the living room and its three couches were empty. “Hey mom, when did your ‘old friends’ leave? Why didn’t you tell me?” Seriously, who ‘pops in to see an old friend’ on a wednesday? Odetta didn’t really care about them, but was a little annoyed that she could have been in her room punching her bag instead of a tree.
“We thought you knew,” said Laila. “You couldn’t have missed the sound of that humongous truck pulling out of the driveway from out there, could you?” Odetta gave a deadpan stare as that’s exactly what happened. “Oooof course you could,” she finished, apparently remembering who she was talking to.
Wordlessly, Odetta made her way up the stairs to her room, hearing her mom call out, “Hey, I’m spending my day off to make this so you’d better be here for dinner this time!” Odetta remembered how she’d fallen asleep on the roof last week and neither of them could find her. She felt a little bad considering how much her mom worked to provide for the family, leaving her only one day free between the two jobs. Odetta had told her several times to relax, since both her and Laila had jobs too now, but her mom wouldn’t listen.
“Don’t worry, I won’t forget this time,” she replied with a smile as she entered her room. She looked at all the things cluttering two of her walls. One of them had a shelf with model ships and military books, including an autobiography by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Another wall had her hunting rifle and fishing rods mounted along with the supplies for each respective activity in a cabinet underneath. She looked toward her punching bag with her boxing gloves resting on top, then looked at her fists that had recently beaten (or rather taken a beating from) the tree. Yeah, that wasn’t my smartest decision. I should probably hold off on punching stuff until the pain stops. Instead, she sat down at her desk, on top of which sat her computer and the tank that housed her beetle, Burke. She always felt the name was appropriate, since he was large, bulky, and looked pretty damn dangerous, just like an Arleigh Burke destroyer ship. Realizing he was probably hungry by now, she ran back down to the kitchen where she noticed that her mother was missing. When she asked, Laila told her that she had gone to get the mail.
The front door opened and her mom stepped back inside, carrying various envelopes and a small box. “Odetta, this one’s for you.” Mom handed the case to her. Odetta opened it to reveal a DVD, no, a game case that read CHESS. “I didn’t know you played video games. Maybe they’ll keep you from getting yourself hurt all the time.” She looked at Odetta’s hands as she said that. Odetta was focused on this case, though. I don’t... she thought in response to her mother while she looked at the elaborate case in front of her. She hadn’t ordered anything, so who sent it to her? She recovered the torn brown paper and examined it. No return address. Huh. She didn’t have anything better to do today, so why not?
Odetta grabbed an old neglected banana from the fruit bowl to give to Burke then returned to the room, dropping it in his tank. It didn’t really matter whether or not it was peeled, since he’d eat the entire thing eventually anyway without a problem. She didn’t know much about games, so she called, “Laila, can you come help me with this when you’re done?” She heard a distant “Sure” in response and turned her attention back to the case. It had a leaflet attached to the back, so she read that first.
Hello, you have been chosen to participate in CHESS, a feat that will be accredited to very few individuals. CHESS is an innovative, exciting new computer game meant to revolutionize gaming and life as we know it. Bringing you features from popular genres such as Simulation, Role-Playing, Adventure, Action, Strategy, Puzzle, and many more. Each of these features has been molded and refined to their maximum level. Upon installing the game, you will enter a world of mystery and suspense, all while enjoying the perfection that is CHESS.
Of course, it didn’t matter what genres this game borrowed from since Odetta would be just as inexperienced with any game genre. The last time she had tried playing a game was when a rainy day spoiled her hunting trip with her friend Daniel, so he insisted they play a game about shooting instead, some game called ‘Halo’. It took her ages to even figure out how to successfully move the character and the camera at the same time to navigate the area, so she got bored and gave up. She looked back at the box and saw more written there.
✜ If a PLAYER is slain, the KISS has to be given to the corpse and the DREAMSELF will come alive.
✜ If a DREAMSELF is slain, the PLAYER will nevermore dream on the MOONS.
✜ If a PLAYER with a dead DREAMSELF is slain, the player enters the AFTERLIFE.
Kiss? Dreamself? Pretty much every all-caps word in that text was unfamiliar to her, but she assumed there would be a tutorial to tell her what it all meant. She decided it was finally time try it out, so she started the computer and inserted the disc, waiting to see what CHESS had in store for her.