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Monya Ichida (Yoko Tsuno character)

Monya Ichida, the last human


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Monya Ishida is an ally of Yoko Tsuno. Unless you’re quite familiar with that universe, you should totally read Yoko Tsuno’s character profile first for a lot of context. Monya first appears in the The Time Spiral graphic novel, in 1981.

Monya is the character who carries the time travel adventures of Yoko and her friends – she’s from the far future and owns a time machine. Thus, her profile will also explain what we know about time travel in Yoko Tsuno stories.

The British version of the story calls the time machines “shifters”. I’ve kept my original “chronal motion translator” translation to keep it sounding more foreign.


Background

  • Real Name: Monya Ichida ; her original family name (if any) is unrevealed
  • Marital Status: Single (minor)
  • Known Relatives: Parents (names unrevealed, deceased), Izumi Ichida (adoptive father) and through Izumi the Ichida and Tsuno families, with Yoko Tsuno being her adoptive cousin.
  • Group Affiliation: Associate of Yoko Tsuno
  • Base Of Operations: Ichida property in Borneo
  • Height: 5’ Weight: 105 lbs
  • Eyes: Dark brown Hair: Black


Powers & Abilities

Monya may be 14, but she’s smarter, more collected and more resourceful than most adults. She can venture alone in strange time periods and do a decent job of it… most of the time.

She’s also presumably the most knowledgeable person in the world about chronophysics . Furthermore, she was taught a lot about the technology of her era.

Monya thinks on her feet and studies the cultures and eras she’s to explore. Her main assets are figuring things out and bullshitting the locals based on their religious beliefs. Her usual MO is to pretend to be some minor and mostly benign supernatural agent, like a minor angel or nature spirit.

The Trio adopts a similar method when they work alongside her, since it’s effective (if not terribly respectful).

We have the technology, part 1

Ms. Ichida has access to technologically advanced supplies. However, this is limited to compact devices that could be carried within her time machine. Recurrent equipment includes :

  • paralysis ray pistols
  • sterile pads and cellular regeneration modules that can make a wound stable, painless and rapidly healing
  • binocular-like scanners to analyse unknown technology and determine its properties
  • micro-missile launchers that can reliably hit their programmed target
  • small aerosols of sleep-inducing droplets (used much like a mace spray)
  • advanced medical drugs
  • ordinary but indispensable supplies such as flashlights, or smoke grenades for signalling

Monya tells about her future

Her ever-present headset includes a radio that can be tuned to the walkie-talkies used by the Trio, and she’ll equip them with wrist-mounted radios if walkie-talkies would be problematic. The headset also seems to include an invisible HUD to guide technical work by displaying enhanced reality schematics, manuals, etc.

We have the technology, part 2

XXXIXth century technology also includes machines to download knowledge in a human brain. This explains most of Monya’s technological knowledge despite her youth. There’s one such system aboard her time machine, which can be used to teach a language within two hours.

This leaves people woozy and disoriented for a while – in DC Heroes that’s a good hint that learning Languages that way costs Hero Points , though presumably at the base cost rather than the Character Advancement cost. It would also explain why Yoko was the only one taught XVIth century Balinese during the Morning of the World graphic novel – she was the one who could spare the HPs.

Monya has access to small quantities of antimatter – the same thing that powers the contraction bomb (more on those later). It doesn’t work in the usual way, though. This form of antimatter shrinks what it is in contact with, without changing its weight.

20 grams could reduce about two tons of rock to 120 of its size, and a large charge will decapitate a mountain. The reaction is highly energetic – if enough antimatter is involved the heat will melt most everything in a large radius.


Expounding a recondite matter

Monya’s time machine is usually called the “translator”, which is short for “translational chronal motion machine”. “Translation” should be understood in the geometry sense, which might be an hint that the language of her era isn’t English.

So far it does what it says on the tin. It travels through time and gets you to the desired day and hour without weird complications. But it’s not necessarily *simple*.

Travel

  • it can range at least from the year 1,000 to the year 4,000, but there’s nothing to suggest it cannot go further
  • most such travels seem to take about 10-15 minutes from the passenger’s point of view, though it’s hard to tell from the material
  • the machine can move through space as well. But to perform teleportations it needs to be targeting a specific emitter – a sort of electronic plate you drop on the ground in a clear and flat area where the translator can materialise. Earth’s movement through space doesn’t seem to matter at all, though.
  • the translator can also fly like a sort of clumsy, slow helicopter. It is spaceworthy and apparently has its own air supply, but needs to have a specialised propulsor attached to move in a vacuum – and it is unlikely those can now be procured.
    The body of the translator is rapidly spinning around the crew compartment whenever it travels through time/space, and its extended arms pose a hazard akin to a massive helicopter rotor.
  • one cannot hop through spacetime willy-nilly. Apparently Monya needs to compute a trajectory and perform partial “reconnaissance flights” to make sure the projected path is safe. However, once this navigational work between point A and point B has been done, quick travel without lengthy preparations is possible – though not preferable. One assumes that part of the reason is that a signal plate has been left at the destination after the first full foray.
    Apparently the whole pathfinding process can take 4-6 days.
  • in some cases, the pathfinding establishes that there are windows of time in the present outside of which the trip would be impossible or at least inadvisable. This might be tied to the way the translator compensate for Earth’s movement in space. In these cases, once the translator is in the destination year or month, Monya will switch to manual control to finalise the approach.
  • violent electronic magnetic phenomenon such as a storm can result in physical drift, a bit like running into excessive wind when parachuting. Thus, Monya will usually materialise a dozen metres above the ground when jumping to a destination for the first time or in bad conditions.
    If the translator materialises inside matter, there is no explosion and the machine is simply embedded in. Presumably the matter that was there is shunted somewhen else. But the translator will be wrecked beyond repair.
  • some properly reconnoitered destinations are safe. For instance Monya did not hesitate to jump without a pre-travel check from Bali in 1530 to one of her emitters in Borneo in 1520, though she might have prepared it beforehand and off-panel.
  • going in the future would be risked, especially as the ripple effects from the death of Dr. Webbs (more on that later) start significantly affect the timeline. It is possible to travel back to the 3,800s, but Monya considers that it’s not worth the risk. Everything and everyone will just be too different from what little she has experienced of her native era. Her past is gone.

Paradoxes

  • time in Yoko Tsuno graphic novels seems robust and straightforward. You’re not going to wreck everything by stepping upon a butterfly , or routinely have to tangle with multiple timelines.
  • nevertheless, Monya and the Trio make sure that everything they learn about past events takes place correctly. This is especially true when it pertains to the alterations resulting from their own presence in the past. So far this has not been too difficult – one mostly has to play along and keep a checklist of what must happen. The effects a paradox would have unrevealed.
  • on the one occasion where two versions of the same item were present in the same place and time they started giving off electricity when very close to each other. So there is some sort of force reacting to paradoxes – just not that aggressively.
  • Monya alluded to something akin to multiple timelines. She mentioned “time spirals” and said that, with her future having been erased, she now belonged to “another spiral” rather than the one she originally came from.
  • she also stated that the matter of the expanding universe was ejected upon a new time spiral, and that going backward involved hopping back to spirals that correspond to an older, smaller universe.

More logistics

  • there is only one chronal translator left. The other one was destroyed in 1943 when it rematerialised halfway within solid rock.
  • the translator cannot hold much in the main compartment. Five persons is pushing it, and that’s assuming some are small like Yoko or Monya. There is a separate compartment that can hold a few bags. When bringing an ultralight airplane to the past, Monya had to do several trips with the disassembled parts.
  • a translator can be sent “into the intemporal” – it’s still there, but invisible and immaterial. Monya can have it return to the physical world using her remote, and can check up on it using her headset. She once referred to the process as placing the translator on a nearby time spiral – so perhaps it’s located in space that doesn’t exist yet.
  • everyone *must* wear a special computerised belt during the entire trip. These belts are flat and light, and easy to hide. They can also be set to anchor against time travel. If a belt is incorrectly shut down by a person not in their native era, they will be instantly slung back to their native era and disintegrated.
  • this is not generally a problem, but the belts aren’t exactly armoured. Thus, falling on it or some such stroke of bad luck can result in disintegration. A bio-belt can also be set to stun a traveller – presumably by allowing a tiny fraction of the energy that would disintegrate the person to shock them.
  • as Monya pointed out, travellers really shouldn’t expect the history books to be 100% correct.
  • on the other hand, the series downplays the evolution of languages. XXIst century Cantonese works fine after going back by nearly 1,000 years, and ditto for modern Flemish in Bruges in 1545.

History

Mankind went extinct in the year 3,872. Two civilisations went to war, and the loser took everything with it by detonating a contraction bomb. Within days the Earth became a ball of magma with an unbreathable atmosphere, as the tectonic damage from the bomb destabilised everything.

A grand total of four persons were miraculously left alive. Two were in a secret orbital laboratory. Though other space stations had been shot down during the war, this lab was conducting secret chronophysical  research and was undocumented and well-cloaked. The main researcher there was Monya’s father, assisted by one Leyton.

The other two reached the secret lab just before it was too late. When Monya’s mother realised that the orbital stations were being destroyed, she stole the first available automated shuttle, programmed it to reach the secret lab and put her little girl inside.

Among the cargo was the fourth remaining human. Named Stanford, this man was a murderer condemned to remain forever in suspended animation.

Thankfully, Monya’s father research was in time travel. He and Leyton worked feverishly for years on a plan to go back in time to prevent the end of the world.

They reached the conclusion that preventing the discovery of the antimatter-based contraction bomb technology was the most efficient approach. And the best way to do that was to stop the research of one Dr. Webbs in 1981.

(Incidentally, 1981 is the year when this story was published as a hardback graphic novel.)

Some XXXIXth century notes

All four remaining humans had a similar skin tone and vaguely similar features. Presumably this indicates thorough ethnic mixing thanks to greater mobility from the XXIst century onward.

The XXXIXth century didn’t seem… that advanced, really. It’s closer to a near-future setting – say a cyberpunk  future. Few things were that much ahead of what can be done in 2013. Depending upon how the paralysis pistols and tech-scanners work exactly, it might even be possible to build a fair approximation of these in 2013 given a large enough budget.

As to the two “impossible assumption” technologies in evidence :

  • the contraction bomb was designed in 1981 (though that was a complete anomaly)
  • a time machine comparable to Monya’s father’s (albeit more primitive) was developed by a secretive British genius in the 1930s

One assumes that things happened, perhaps repeatedly, between the XXIst and XXXIXth century that greatly hindered technological progress and/or turned this clock back. It would seem that by the 3,800s, research was mostly concerned with recreating what was available during the 2,050s or so.

However, time travel technology may never have organically resurfaced between the 1930s and the end.

The last girl off Earth

Two chronal translators were built in the orbital lab, and the main mission was launched when Monya was 7. Leyton piloted the first translator. Stanford was tasked with convincing Webbs to abandon his antimatter research – or kill him if that didn’t work, as neither Leyton or Monya’s father felt capable of murdering somebody.

Monya and her father remained in the lab. They would use the second translator to join Leyton and Stanford in 1981 once Monya was 20. In the meanwhile, they continued to loot destroyed space stations for food and supplies.

Monya's time machine spinning

However, Monya’s father had been repeatedly irradiated whilst experimenting with unknown energies during the development of the translators. He died some years later, when Monya was but 14 – leaving her the last known human in the universe.

Monya had spent the previous seven years studying intensely, including during her sleep using specialised machines. She had been taught late XXth century English for the mission, and was extensively educated in the science and technology of her time.

Though in shock over the death of her father, she could operate the chronal translator by rote. She left for 1981, since there was little point in remaining in the 3,800s now that she was an orphan.

No fate

As it turned out, Stanford had betrayed the other three. Leyton was dead, Webb was alive and uninformed of what his discovery would do, and the murderer was waiting for Monya and her father gun in hand.

He was surprised to find Monya alone and younger than scheduled. Furthermore, Yoko Tsuno stumbled upon Monya’s translator as it materialised in Borneo, not too far from Webbs’ lab.

Tsuno fought Stanford to save Monya. In the fray, the murderer fell on the biological stabilisation belt he was wearing under his clothes to make sure that he wouldn’t return to the future. The belt was broken, disintegrating Stanford.

Thanks to her remarkable maturity and intelligence Monya continued the mission, and Yoko and her friends joined her. Yoko was of course instrumental in determining what was going on. After a jump back to 1943 where she met her uncle Tōshio she discovered how the extremely advanced contraction bomb could possibly get discovered during the XXth century.

After she returned to 1981 to show Webbs the truth about antimatter, the entire lab was accidentally destroyed. Dr. Webbs was killed whilst helping Monya and Yoko flee the doomed base.

Monya then launched a probe back into the late 3,800s. It just checked the temperature and received a 30°C reading, confirming that the Earth had not melted and that history had been successfully altered.

However, there was no point in returning to the changed future. At best, it would have an unpredictably altered version of her father and herself.

The past is another country

Cousins of Yoko from the Ichida branch of the family, who had been running a logging operation in Borneo  for decades, adopted Monya as their daughter. They helped her settle in the 1980s and beyond. Though Monya was very independent, that provided her with all the necessary support.

Growing interested in her adoptive country, Monya studied the history of Indonesia. She learned that in 1530, a major eruption of Mount Agung  had razed settlements and destroyed artistic treasures – and thus part of Balinese history.

She left Borneo for Bali  for a time. There she looked for allies so she could prepare an expedition in the past of the Pura Besakih area and bring back pre-eruption artwork.

However, the allies she found were a strange cult of Westerners copying ancient Balinese customs, whom she didn’t trust. Furthermore, her expeditions in the past went wrong as a sacred dancer who helped her was denounced and condemned to death.

Monya called the Trio of the Uncanny — Yoko Tsuno, Vic Vidéo, Pol Pitron — to the rescue, as her priority was now to save her accomplice back in 1530.

After this mission was over, Monya was an integral part of all time travel missions undertaken by Yoko Tsuno and her friends. They went to 1545 in Bruges  after stumbling upon a period painting depicting Monya and Yoko, to discover what was going on and prevent any paradox.

They travelled to 1021 in the Guilin  area to rescue an ancient Empress before her death at age 6… then jumped to Dayong (now Zhangjiajie ) two weeks later in 1021 to finish their business.

In 2012, Yoko and her friend Emilia MacKinley discovered that a physicist, Sir Malcom Hendry, had invented in 1934 a primitive but recognizable version of the chronal translation motion machine used by Monya.


Description

Monya has the skin tone of her era, and vaguely Southern Asian features. Given the ethnic diversity of Indonesia, she can more or less blend in and successfully passed as Balinese. When adventuring in the past, she will of course procure period clothing or replicas.

Indonesian is her main language now, and that’s what she tends to use when talking to Yoko. Of course she’ll switch to “ancient English” (i.e., late XXth/early XXIst international English) when Pol and Vic are present.

Monya almost always wears a futuristic headset, which doubles as a headband.

Like the rest of the cast and as a genre convention, Monya ages at a highly reduced rate. She isn’t much older now than she was in 1981 for her first appearance. In 1994, 13 years after her appearance, it is mentioned that Monya’s dress is sized for a 16-year old, and though otherwise unchanged she does seem a bit taller.


Personality

Monya is extremely smart and mature for her age, and very self-sufficient. She also knows what she wants, and can be every bit as imperious as Yoko when the urgency makes it necessary.

She has the necessary resourcefulness to operate as a time traveller. Monya usually plays on local religions and some everyday gadgets to pass herself for some minor benign supernatural agent. She can thus bullshit her way in and out of trouble with aplomb… until she can’t.

At the same time Monya is still 14 or 15 and has a limited and peculiar life experience. She also has the usual teenage tendency toward impulsive decisions and difficulties with long-term reasoning. Thankfully, she has highly competent and level-headed friends to help her when she does err, which isn’t often.

She hates being considered as a child. To her, 14 is a young adult. It is possible that it was indeed the case on Earth in her home era.

Perhaps the learning machines make maturation faster (though there’s always the issue of the brain’s physical maturation), or perhaps her era has more age categories than the present, in the same way that the concept of “teenager” appeared in many XXth late century societies.

Monya seems to have been raised to have strong ethics, though like Vic she can act pragmatically when it’s clearly necessary.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Monya

Dex: 02 Str: 01 Bod: 02 Motivation: Uphold Good
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Student
Inf: 03 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 010 HP: 015

Skills:
Charisma (Bullshitting): 04, Gadgetry: 04, Medicine: 06, Scientist: 06, Vehicles (Chronal translator): 04, Weaponry (Paralysis pistol): 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Gadgetry is limited to maintenance, repair and power user operations
  • Most applications of Monya’s Gadgetry Skill have their OV/RV increased by one CS if she doesn’t have access to manuals and expert systems from her native era
  • Most applications of Monya’s Medicine and Scientist Skills have their OV/RV increased by two CSes if she doesn’t have access to scanners and expert systems from her native era.

Advantages
Expertise (Chronophysics, XXXIXth century technology), Familiarity (World history, Indonesian history), Languages (Indonesian, Balinese, Flemish and presumably quite a few others, plus her unspecified native language)

Connections:
Yoko Tsuno (High)

Drawbacks:
Age (Young)

Equipment:

  • TRANSLATIONAL CHRONAL MOTION MACHINE [STR 04 BODY 07, Flight: 05, Life sense: 04, Time travel: 35 or more, Misc.: the MACHINE can teach any known Language within two hours, at character creation costs]
  • XXXIXth century tech-scanner binoculars [BODY 01, Detect (Energy, metals (both are Discerning)): 04, Detect (Chronal translator): 09, Gadgetry (Identify Gadget): 08, Life sense: 05, X-Ray vision: 04]
  • Headset (x4) [BODY 02, Radio communications: 14, Misc.: seems to includes an invisible HUD wirelessly linked to other devices].
  • ISOTHERMIC JUMPSUIT (x4) [BODY 03, Cold immunity: 02, Flame immunity: 02]
  • Stun Pistol [BODY 01, Mental blast: 07, Limitation: Mental blast only affects living beings, Mental Blast only for Bashing Combat, Mental Blast cannot result in Knockback]
  • Cellular regeneration pads [BODY 01, Regeneration: 04, Limitation: the pads must be applied to a specific wound and only heal that wound]

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Yoko Tsuno graphic novels by Roger Leloup

Writeup completed on the 6th of September, 2013.

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