Further reading: Reaper
To understand Yukina's background, a bit must first be said about the Nichiren branch of Buddhism and its evolution in the Sixth World. The religion was originally based on the writings of Nichiren, a Japanese monk of the 13th century who was viciously critical of what he believed to be dangerously dated or heretical teachings, and unusually militant for his era. After an attempt to execute him was legendarily foiled by an astrological phenomena, he was instead exiled to an island where he composed his treatises on the topic of the Lotus Sutra over the course of three years. Nichiren's exile was ultimately rescinded when the Mongolian invasion of Japan caused many to believe that his doomsday prophecies had come to pass, and after his passing his five lifelong students carried on his teachings in the first Nichiren schools.
The next major turn for Nichiren would come with World War II. Prior to the second world war, Ishiwara Kanji, a major military strategist and politician of the day and adherent to a particularly militant Nichiren sect, had pushed forward his belief that the cataclysmic final battle between two world powers envisioned in Nichiren's prophecies--an unprecedented world-altering battle that would usher in a new era of unity and eternal peace in its wake--would come to pass in his lifetime, between what he saw as the pre-eminent powers of the day: Japan, the rising empire and civilizer of Asia, and America, the rapidly growing juggernaut of the Western power bloc. This line of thinking became articulated as the Total War theory, and it enjoyed quite a bit of popularity among the officers of Taisho-era Japan.
Ironically, it was the followers of the Total War philosophy that were most opposed to the events that actually lead to Japan's attack on America: Ishiwara, in particular, preached that Japan had neither the raw resources, military technology, nor the industrial base necessary to win a protracted war, and further felt that entanglements in China and the looming spectre of the Soviet Republic put Japan in an untenable position for winning such a war, instead believing that several decades of relative isolationism and military build-up would be the wisest course. (He was proven right, for the most part. Hawkish military officers spurring on occupation of China in the wake of the Manchurian Incident ultimately forced Japan into war with the United States, and even by the end of the first year of fighting they were proven to be both hopelessly outmatched in production capabilities and divided due to their never-ending war in China.) Even so, the Total War philosophy did not sit well with the "new" Japan in the wake of the war, which had forsworn the right to wage war in pursuit of its ends; it and the more radical Nichiren sects that spawned it were heavily censured and largely disbanded with the dissolution of Japan's armed forces.
The more apocalyptic variants of Nichiren saw a revival after the Awakening due to renewed interest in "mystical" religions of the past and growing ultra-nationalist sentiments in the resurgent Japanese Empire and conquering zaibatsu. During the 40's and 50's, in particular, the articulation of certain "Awakened" elements--the Princes of Tir Tairngire and certain draconic interviews--which suggested that the world was on course through an endless cycle of "worlds" brought new cache to doomsday cults and Armageddon theorists. Nichiren Shi, as many of the adherents came to call it, became a strange undercurrent running through the Japanese military, zaibatsu, and government apparatus.
The new-old sect had all the makings of a conspiracy, but for a lack of direction; the followers of Nichiren Shi included amongst their numbers many men in positions of influence and wealth, but with the world already grinding its way toward the Apocalypse quite nicely on its own, there seemed little reason to hatch grandiose schemes or take direct action. A few unusual magical groups and "old boys" networks did emerge from the halls of the faith, but in the grand scheme of things they proved to be less sinister than idle, especially amidst an era that saw the rise of such groups as the Universal Brotherhood, Sons of the Dragon, and New Islamic Jihad. The members were simply too diffuse across the scope of Japanese society to have real impact, considering their lack of a unified purpose.
Nichiren Shi saw its "second death" in the 60's, as the Japanacorps began to backslide from prominence, Renraku saw itself nearly torn asunder along with Fuchi from the Deus incident, and General Saito's "little coup" in California created an internal rift within the faith over whether or not the end times had begun. The apparent return of the young emperor to semi-divine status further rekindled interest in Shinto while diminishing the significance of the more mystical branches of Buddhism within Japan. At the end, however, it was the simple reality of the Crash that was Nichiren Shi's undoing; the members were too spread geographically and among the rungs of society's ladder to maintain cohesion without the network. Though individual practitioners and a few temples remain, the go-nowhere conspiracy at the heart of the faith is essentially defunct.
Yukina was born to one of the many lineages of relatives to the Imperial Line who, in ancient Japan, formed the network of courtiers surrounding the throne prior to the establishment of the military hegemony of the shogunate's bafuku. The families were maintained throughout the shogunate's reign, albeit as petty functionaries with purely ceremonial duties and no real power, and even established as nobility under the system of Peerage in the initial Meiji Constitution. The 1945 post-war rescript of the Japanese constitution, along with the Emperor's so-called "Rescript of Mortality" denying his divine status, essentially removed any semblance of these archaic distinctions up until the Awakening.
The renewed interest in mystical traditions, along with the Emperor's "return" to a position of formal sovereignty, brought the Imperial Line back into the spotlight; however, it also created a much clearer criteria on which to judge the "validity" of claims of relation: the displayed ability to practice Shinto-style shamanistic magic. Because it was only necessary to prove this aptitude's in at least one member of a person's immediate family to qualify for relation, a great number of families (by hook or by crook) found a way to meet the requirement. Yukina's family was not one of them; they remained Yamato in name only, having no Awakened members whatsoever in their living line.
This fact was apparently lost on a Fuchi executive who was friends with her father. Yukina's albinism gave her traits which recalled the traditional Japanese ideal of the "pure" lineage: skin more pale than yellow, pitch-black hair (dyed out of self-consciousness over its natural white color, of course), and a generally very slight and delicate build. The executive, a follower of the Nichiren Shi faith, believed her to be a forgotten heir to the Imperial Line. He arranged for her transfer to his care--a process neither particularly difficult nor sinister, since her parents were lower-middle class sararimen working for Fuchi who were daunted by the difficulty of raising an elven child in Japan--and had her cloistered in the secluded Nichiren temple at Tharonja for safeguarding. There was never a specific plan for the "use" of having a "pocket heir," just a general sense of the potential need for such a thing in the coming cataclysm, and as a result she was raised largely undisturbed in the manner of a militant monk.
Nichiren Shi eventually dissolved in the turmoil of the 2060's, and Yukina became lost in the shuffle. An adult, she was released from the care of the temple to the Shiawase Corporation, who claimed legal responsibility of her through the ponderous machinations that had bought them pieces of Fuchi's fallen empire. The corporation, however, had little idea who she was or what was to be done with her; for a brief stint they tried to put her martial skills to use as a "corporate asset," but found that her formal martial arts training had only limited applications in the field of corporate espionage since she had never been brought up to speed on modern technology, infiltration techniques, and espionage tactics. The fact her identity had been erased by the Nichiren conspirators hoping to hide her from prying eyes gave her some utility as an assassin and "muscle" (in the loosest definition of the term), but she was too conspicuous for heavy fielding.
Last month, the department she was a part of was dissolved after a botched job brought down heat from a rival corporation and forced Shiawase to offer up a sacrificial lamb. Yukina has no idea what happened, only that the calls from her former "benefactor" have stopped and her steady retainer paycheck has dried up, leaving her with only a few months of paid rent and limited employment prospects.
Raised as an ascetic monk and rarely allowed to venture from the monastery, Yukina has developed a very orderly (and in many ways, rigid) mind. She is obsessively tidy and well-organized, and in particular has a dangerously obsessive-compulsive need for symmetry in situations where it is possible; the entire layout of her apartment is in perfect internal symmetry, even where it is highly impractical, down to the placement of items in cabinets and placement of pictures on the walls. Likewise, her choice to use dual semi-automatic pistols is not so much a matter of practicality as it is of aesthetics; in situations where she has been disarmed of one pistol or otherwise unable to use it, she must actually pass a Willpower test to overcome her compulsion and use only one, otherwise opting for unarmed combat. Similarly, she will usually opt for a more visibly symmetrical option whenever possible; for example, if having to choose between two getaway cars she would choose a stock Dodge Scoot over a sports car with armor and a passenger-side pintle mount, if only because the weapon mount would ruin the vehicle's external symmetry. (Unless, of course, there was one on the driver's side as well.) Additionally, she can easily become irate or even enraged when dealing with those whose sense of style is extremely asymmetrical (she understands, of course, that a person is naturally asymmetrical--but a go-ganger with one obvious cyberarm and his head shaved on only one side, for example, is just repugnant to her) or who takes actions which disturb the "harmony" and symmetry of her environment.
Aside from this particular quirk, Yukina is a very mild person with a calm and collected demeanor. An outside observer would likely describe her either as very "Zen" or "a real downer," as compulsive temper-tantrums aside she rarely shows outward displays of emotion. Her expression is generally dour and her tone, like most Japanese who speak English as a second language, tends to lack inflection and syllabic stress, giving the impression of a monotonous deadpan; her limited experience with--and mild dislike of--the English language can also cause her to speak slowly, be choosy with words, and generally taciturn. This, combined with her habit of wearing a heavy black cloak to protect her sensitive skin from the sun during the daylight hours, is the source of her street name, "Reaper."
Yukina, while not truly tech-illiterate, is somewhat technology-deficient. Aside from the advanced sidearms and corrective cyber-replacement eyes Shiawase equipped her with, she has a limited understanding of most of the advanced technology used in shadowrunning. She does have a commlink, installed with a persona-soft control unit in one of her twin pistols--Asura--but generally runs it through skinlink, meaning her "internal network"--her cybereyes and their image link/cameras, primarily--is very often neglected or completely inactive. Amusingly, it can take her quite a while to notice she's been hacked in minor, mostly cosmetic ways; she often goes a week or more RFID tagged as "Chibi-Shinigami" or a similar semi-derogatory nickname before someone calls her attention to the fact.
Yukina's understanding of corporate politics and the general machinations behind shadowrunning is also stunted. Fortunately, having been raised by a sect of militant monks who believe that a devastating global conflict will one day lead to world peace and enlightenment, she's not particularly opposed to violence (or even over-the-top, cinematic ultra-violence) as a solution to life's problems or a way of making money, and doesn't tend to consider too deeply the moral ramifications and socio-political outcomes of her actions. This makes her naturally well-suited to life as a shadowrunner, if perhaps not necessarily a long life as one.
Yukina is relatively slight in build for an elf, at 1.75 meters in height and 55 kg in weight, with a very slim build. Though what muscle mass she has is trained and toned to near-perfection, she is by no means an intimidating figure. Like most albinos, she lacks any pigment in her skin, making it extremely pale white. Her eyes, by nature, are a pinkish hue (due to the coloration caused by the blood in her eyes), but like most modern albinos she has opted for corrective cyber-replacement surgery to deal with chronic vision problems; her cybereyes are normally a bright, almost yellow amber color, but during the day or in bright areas she will often run with solid-black protective covers down. (This is purely a force of habit caused by having grown up with severe light sensitivity, as her new cybernetic eyes are fully flare-compensated and no more discomforted by bright lights than any other.) Her hair is naturally bone-white, but she dyes it jet black; unfortunately, because she crops her bangs so short they tend to grow out very quickly, revealing their natural color even while the rest of her hair remains black. Normally, she will sweep them straight back to try and maintain symmetry, but her short bob cut lends itself to easily becoming ruffled when she's physically active--it's generally not a good idea to call attention to it when her bangs fall off to one side and form asymmetrical "lines" in her hair.
Yukina isn't particularly fashion-conscious. As a monk she dressed almost solely in traditional garb, so when she took up employment with Shiawase she acquiesced easily to their request for her to dress in a "professional, corporate manner." The fact that trim, tailored black three-piece suits aren't necessarily appropriate to all situations seems to be lost on her, though at least she is not especially resistant to a change in attire if asked. Yukina finds direct sunlight extremely uncomfortable, and will generally wear a fully concealing black cloak during daylight hours with the hood drawn if outside. This tends to make her stand out in a crowd, and despite being quite new to the Seattle scene her distinctive style has made her recognizable to almost everyone.
Yukina has a limited degree of cybernetic and biotech enhancement, an investment made by her Shiawase handler to try and make her more viable as a corporate asset. Aside from that, her only particular equipment of note are her pistols.
An artisan is only as good as her tools, as the saying goes, so Yukina has invested in the best. Asura and Deva, the names to which her dual heavily-modified Colt Government 2066's answer, have integrated silencing, MAD-foiling non-ferrous composition, and dedicated personalities capable of responding (and replying) to voice commands. Asura is the "master" system of the two, containing Yukina's commlink and associated operating systems, while Deva is primarily a "dumb" program (in more ways than one) slaved to the functionality of her "sister." Asura performs the secretarial functions of a modern, automated PDA, maintains ammo counts (with verbal warnings when running low), and does an admirable if futile job of trying to keep Yukina's personal network from being vandalized by hackers; Deva annoys Yukina by calling her by whatever nickname she's been tagged with most recently and constantly asking to switch to EX-Explosive ammo.
Yukina is a world-class shooter and one of the foremost practitioners of the unusual Firefight style. Less a markswoman than a trick shooter, she rarely (if ever) adopts a proper firing stance or practices good marksmanship fundamentals, instead utilizing a very organic and often spectacular style of fighting in which her weapons of choice act as extensions of her arms; she's as likely to pistol-whip an opponent or slide behind them to shoot them in the back point-blank as she is to actually take aim in the conventional sense. This lends itself well to her dual-pistol style of fighting, as using two weapons at once is extremely difficult and generally unwise when practicing "proper" marksmanship, anyway.
Aside from her highly focused martial training, Yukina has very limited experience in other fields. Her rigorously-trained manual dexterity and quick reflexes make her naturally good at many of the tasks common to shadowrunning, but she's far from experienced or professional at them.