Reiko • Hiyama
≈ CHARACTER ≈
Reiko Hiyama was born December 21st, 1898 in the Yokohama, Japan to Fumiko and Yuu Hiyama. In a world where steam power, industrial technology and elemental magic worked hand in hand, strife and progress seemed to go in constant flux.
Rei was born in to a time of heavy civil unrest between Japan and many other countries, China in particular. While many businessmen, like Reiko's father, wanted to continue to do business with China, Japan was instead trying to invade them and their surrounding territories.
For Yuu, this was not only putting a strain on his source of income, it was causing close Chinese friends of his to suffer greatly. It prompted him to become an activist in hopes of some how politically moving Japan to stop their attacks on China. When nothing changed, though, Yuu decided it was time to move his family away from Japan, specifically to the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi.
In 1900, Hawaii had only been a territory of the United States for two years. They retained much of their way of life as it had been before the acquisition, including their laid back, 'everyone can do whatever they want' view on life. Unlike many countries and societies, if a woman wanted to do something, she could, and there would be no bias against her because of gender or status. This was something that worked heavily in Rei's favor as the years went on.
For a time their family was healthy and thriving. Fumiko had another child shortly after they arrived, a boy they named Raito. The two grew up together, close as any siblings could be. They went to school, played with the other kids on the island, and even learned to surf at a very early age. Rei did whatever she wanted because there was no one to tell her 'girls can't do that', and while her parents had been heavily entrenched in the Japanese lifestyle, they actually appreciated the freedom that Hawaii's culture allowed them all. To see their son and daughter so free and happy only encouraged them to let Rei grow up as a tomboy.
Unfortunately it wasn't going to last. Their childhood was cut short when Raito suddenly collapsed while he was in class, losing all feeling to his legs. After rushing him to a doctor on the main island, they learned that he had contracted Polio, a debilitating virus that destroyed nervous system and motor functions. At barely eleven years old, Raito would likely never walk again. He was devastated, the family besides themselves with grief at this news.
After his initial recovery to get the virus out of his system, Raito expressed concern about having his family take care of him for the rest of his life. He was stubborn, strong willed and independent even at his young age, and he worried about what would become of them if he was little more than a burden. They insisted it was fine, that they loved him too much to leave him in a hospital, but he said he had a different idea. He'd heard there were a group of highly skilled elemental users in Germany that specified in healing on particularly difficult cases, namely war-victims and people struck with incurable diseases. After looking in to it further, Yuu and Fumiko found them to at least be of a decent reputation, and while it was difficult to find accounts of actual success stories with them, for the sake of their son they were willing to try.
Rei stayed behind with a neighbor her and her brother affectionately called "Uncle Iokua", still needing to attend school even with her brother gone. Though highly upset by having him go to a country so far away, she forced herself to smile as she saw them off, having high hopes that one day he would return well and walking again, and they'd be able to surf and play as they always had. It was also around this time that she began to express an interest in mechanics and began learning under Iokua, as he ran the local auto shop on the island despite not many people owning vehicles.
Though Raito, Fumiko and Yuu made it safely to Germany and Raito was checked in to the hospital, Fumiko and Yuu never returned to Hawaii. Originally intended to take a small steamer out of Southampton, England, the coal strike that year got them transferred to the ill fated Titanic departing out of England, with the intent to go through the US to return to Hawaii. On April 15th, 1912, the Titanic struck and iceberg and sank fourty minutes later. Of the 706 survivors of the horrible tragedy, Rei and Raito's parents were not among them. They were orphaned in two separate countries thousands of miles apart, with no way to reunite.
Through their will, Rei was able to keep the house despite her age, and with the methods of the territory at the time, no one tried to place Rei in foster care or an orphanage, leaving her to live on her own at the young age of fourteen. Thankfully, Iokua helped take care of her, continuing her training in the mechanics field while she went to school.
During this time Raito continued to receive treatment and sent frequent letters to Rei, telling her of his progress. Unfortunately Rei had no way to bring her brother home if he did fully recover. What little assets that had been left behind had gone to the cost of his medical treatment and towards her schooling, leaving her with just enough to live on for a few years.
With that in mind, she made a goal for herself - finish her aprenticeship with Iokua and work until she had enough money to bring Raito home, and from there, if she was lucky, open up her own shop. If their parents had taught her anything, it was how to be indepedent and take care of herself, and she didn't want to let them down even after their death.
Again, life had other plans in store.
When Rei was 18, Raito's letters suddenly stopped coming. She waited several months, writing again and again in hopes something was just delayed. She'd heard of the fighting that had begun overseas, but hadn't given much thought to how it could affect Raito. Once the letters stopped, though, she began to fear he'd some how been caught up in it all, possibly even killed.
Despite Iokua's warnings and protests that she stay, Rei sold everything she had to get passage in to Germany, making it as far as Verdun before she was stopped. The French army was attempting to get civilians out of the area and away from the border, so when Rei demanded that she needed to get in to Germany they automatically assumed her to be a spy and brought her in for questioning.
Needing a translator as she only spoke English, Japanese and a very small bit of German at the time, they took her back to Paris for questioning, keeping her there for quite a while with an intense interrogation in order to determine just what she was doing, trying to get in to Germany. They brought in free-lance translators named Mitchell Edwards and his younger brother Allen to assist. It was through this that Rei told her entire story to Mitch and Allen, begging and pleading with them for help.
At first they were wary and cautious. To go in to a war-time country at all was dangerous, but to go in as an Asian, even with two European escorts, was even more risky. Still, their hearts went out to her, and they agreed to help by forging papers and passports necessary to get across.
After a few mishaps in attempting to cross, they finally made it in, only for Rei to find that her brother was no longer in the country. He'd been moved with several other patients in an attempt to get them to England in order to avoid getting wrapped up in the conflict, but some how had gotten 'misplaced' along the way. The German side had no record of him arriving in England, but also had no record of where he could possibly be.
It took several more months to get themselves back out of the country, and even more to track down the last places Raito's group had been seen. During that time, though, Rei and Mitch had grown close, and he made a promise to stay with her until they found her brother.
They ran in to yet another problem, though. Upon arriving in England, the trail went completely cold. No one had seen or heard of Raito Hiyama, and it was as if the young man had simply vanished off the face of the earth. Rei had no idea if he was dead or alive, and to make matters worse, they were entirely out of funds to continue traveling.
Begrudgingly, Mitch and Allen went to their father for assistance. Both having a rather strained relationship with him, it was difficult to even ask, and true to Thomas Edward's personality, he was furious with them. He disliked Rei for not being a proper woman, was angry at Mitch for disregarding his schooling and for being a 'poor influence' on Allen, and Allen for even agreeing to go along with it all.
After much arguing and talking and discussing, a few points of compromise were reached: all three would go to school for at least a year, Rei would be allowed to work in a mechanic's shop at night under the condition that during the day she would dress and behave like a lady, and if these conditions were met, Thomas would fund another search for Raito.
Rei wasn't happy with the arrangements, more afraid that the longer they took the less chance they had of finding him than anything, but with Mitch's encouragement she agreed.
It became clear that fate truly had something so much more in store for all of them, though.
The night of May 28th, 1917, a fleet of Gothas appeared on the coast of England. Barely a month later, on June 13th another fleet began dropping bombs on to London. All three of them were caught up in it, Mitch desperately trying to find a safe place for them to hide until it was over.
A fire blast took out a building near where they were running, separating Rei from Mitch and Allen and catching her in the fire.
When she woke, she was not on the streets of London, but somewhere else entirely...
≈ PERSONALITY ≈
Rei is mainly two things - stubborn, and a tom boy.
Unlike most women of that era, Rei has no notion or want to be a typical female, despite the fact that she lives in a highly male-run world. She was raised by a culture that has always viewed women and men as equal, and as such she demands that same equality everywhere, refusing to take 'no' for an answer.
This makes her almost needlessly strong willed. Certain situations could just as easily be resolved without her interference, but she has a tenancy to want to always be the one who's 'right' even when she's very obviously wrong. She has a tenancy to get in some one's face for one of two reasons - one, they believe she's wrong/can't do something because she's Asian, or two, they believe she's wrong/can't do something because she's a woman. Most of the time? She's wrong on either account.
Trying to get her in to a dress is nearly impossible, she has an almost OCD need to be in shorts, pants, or something similar nearly all the time, and refuses to go anywhere without at least one of her tool kits with her. Her short hair is also a compulsion to be viewed as more masculine than effeminate.
That's not to say, though, that Rei doesn't have a gentler side. It's one that takes a lot to bring out, though. She has a difficult time trusting people, and prefers to keep people at arms length. She'll befriend some one, but for her to actually trust them takes time and patience on their part. The only people she trusts completely, without any doubt or hesitation are her boyfriend, his brother, her own younger brother and their uncle. Mitch brings out her truly demure side, when he's not doing things that simply irritate her to no end.
≈ PARTNER ≈
Hargurumon is Rei's exact opposite in almost every possible way.
A fairly well known fashion designer from Tetha, Hargurumon spent most of her existence creating fashions for other Digimon, as she, being little more than a set of gears, usually couldn't wear any of it. She didn't mind, though, happy to create for others and see her creations on them. When humans started coming to the Digital World, she was able to add to her collection by making additional fashions for the many tamers seeking something stylish to wear. As such she believes heavily that certain styles were meant for male humans and certain styles were meant for female humans.
This is where her and Rei clash heavily. Rei's short hair and preference to dress as a boy drives her absolutely crazy. The hair she can deal with, but with Rei constantly refusing to wear something more feminine is something she simply can't understand.
Unfortunately Hargurumon is also a pushover. She's not a fighter, she's meek, and she hates confrontation, and the more she tries to be convincing the softer her voice gets. Even if she wasn't a set of gears, she'd likely be missing a backbone in any form, and while it does lead to a lot of incidents where she simply leaves her tamer out of frustration and upset, it also means she's almost useless in battle.
It's difficult to tell where he loyalties lie - to her career or to her tamer. It seems she's really only in her element at all if she's designing something and preparing for a fashion show. Time will tell if she'll eventually step up to the bat and be a decent partner to Rei.
≈ RELATIONSHIPS ≈
HSAT Miria• Kats Lucas
≈ LINKS ≈