"Logic, reason, or love. What to do?"
Chieko Naru was born in Kyoto, Japan. Though never diagnosed, she likely is on the autistic spectrum and tends to talk with a certain cadence and pattern different than most neurotypical people. While she feels awkward around humans and shy, she also has an intense focused mind and an extremely high intelligence quotient. From her earliest memories she used computers and felt much more comfortable around electronics than with humans with the exception of her grandfather, Gichii.
During World War 2, when Gichii was younger, he was a Demon Hunter of Japan and was part of a trio. Fighting alongside the ancestors of the Japanese demon hunters, Bushido Blade and Shinobi Dark, he slew oni with his family's ancestral sword, Onikoroshi-no-Tsurugi. The sword's history itself has deep roots. It was forged with some fragments of Kusanagi by Gorō Nyūdō Masamune. Brute strength and power are meaningless to the sword, and in fact, if a human outside of the Naru bloodline tries to lift the sword, it becomes immoveable, as if gravity itself refuses the user. However, when wielded by one the Naru bloodline, with a mind of focus and discipline, the sword feels light as rice paper, but can slice through even the densest metals without any damage to the sword and without much force from the swordsman.
Bearing this artifact to bear against the demons of Japan, just as his ancestors had done, Gichii slew innumerable oni, sending their spirits from the Physical World back to the vibratory plane known as Yomi in the Outer Darkness. Using onmyōdō, Gichii mastered the five elements, and used them to overcome countless oni and witches. No evil could stand against his magic or his sword, until he faced off against Shuten-dōji.
During World War 2 in 1944, American bombs landed in the general area of the Byōdō-in temple, and deep underground, within the Uji no hōzō at Byōdō-in temple, the vessel containing Shuten-dōji toppled over and broke open- granting the king of oni his freedom. The oni immediately set to work trying to disrupt Japan, but it took the demon hunter, Gichii Naru, little time to hone in and assault the demon. Shuten-dōji had already built a small enclave of corrupted and perverted people, and the demon hunter slew them all before facing the newly awoken demon. Shuten-dōji did not have the power yet to face the hunter, and the two played a game of cat and mouse across Japan, until Shuten-dōji stumbled upon some upset soldiers and learned of civil unrest.
In what would become historically known as the Kyūjō incident, the oni used his influence and corruption to cause Japanese soldiers to rise up against Emperor Hirohito. However, Gichii managed to track the demon, and in a dark alleyway the two powers collided. The oni hunter almost lost, but seeing no other option, Gichii used an Onmyōdō technique to draw the demon into the ancestral katana of the Naru family. Without the oni to generate further corruption, the assault on Emperor Hirohito failed, and War World 2 ended.
Gichii continued to slay demons for several years, guarding the sword. Every time he touched the blade or hilt, Shuten-dōji would try to force his corruption and control into the mind of Gichii, and the already disciplined oni slayer developed even greater techniques of focus and mental resistance. Eventually married and had a son named Kazuko. Kazuko was trained by his father, but was not as dedicated to demon slaying as his father. Kazuko eventually grew up and married his love, and in the late 1980's, she gave birth to Chieko. Chieko did not act like most children, and would today be considered on the autistic spectrum. However, she had an immense love for electronics. The now aging Gichii worried that his time grew short, and with Kazuko now a family man and turning towards a career, Gichii feared for the sword, even occasionally toying with the idea of throwing it into the sea.
However, as little Chieko grew, he saw within her an intense focus and passion. While most children make noise and disobey, Chieko would spend untold hours a day silently playing on the home computer, learning about programming, or even disassembling her electronic toys to understand how they worked. While Gichii eschewed technology, he saw potential and when he asked the 6-year-old Chieko if she would like to learn about her family heritage and learn to meditate, she seemed genuinely interested.
For more than a decade, when not studying at school or working on a computer, Chieko trained with her grandfather. Kazuko often chided Gichii claiming that Chieko was a woman and should pay more attentions to studies. He also told his father that Chieko should never risk her life fighting demons, and for much of Chieko's life, she had no idea that spirits might be real at all. However, Gichii's health declined, and he knew that soon he would pass as spirits of his ancestors visited him nightly and the elements began to whisper that his body would soon fail.
Gichii had spent so many years training Chieko on discipline and focus, and her neurodivergent mind seemed primed for such, that he finally decided the time had come. He presented Onikoroshi-no-Tsurugi to Chieko. He told her to never touch the sword unless absolutely needed. He then regaled her with the tales of his demon hunting. Part of Chieko believed him and part of her wondered if the stories of witches and oni were all delusions at the end of his life. However, on her honor, she promised Gichii she would forever protect the sword and would never touch its hilt nor blade, nor would she let anyone else do so.
Chieko Naru came to America with her family at age twelve. At such an age, she found herself trying to integrate into a completely different culture, while trying to hold onto her own beliefs and customs. In the small town where she was born, she was known to be very big into technology and robots- a stark contrast to the serene nature and temples of the area. In America, feeling alienated, she spent even more time researching programming and robotics. She also graduated at age fifteen and started attending college at Carnegie-Mellon. Computer science circles considered Chieko a prodigy. Her accomplishments were many, but no one was prepared for what she created at home in her spare time- the early version of Cerebrum.
She studied the human mind, and determined that a personality, or self, of a human was really just an infinite programming loop that amplified and reasserted itself until death, essentially a type of feedback loop. Using that concept as a blueprint she managed to create a very basic but immensely powerful A.I. When Marvin Everett, C.E.O. and owner of CereTech Laboratories, got word of this young girl he saw the potential for money, but being chauvinistic to this core, once Marv looked at Chieko's picture, he wasted no time reaching out and offering her an interview at CereTech.
Being a world-famous, cutting edge lab, Chieko accepted the offer, and eventually found herself working there. The security guard at the front desk, Howard Wyatt, swooned over the girl, but she was too focused, young, and shy to realize it- though Chieko did think that he was cute. However, once in Marv’s office, she began feeling uncomfortable. Though she asked him repeatedly to keep the door open, he closed it. He came on to her multiple times and spent most of the interview bragging about his own financial successes, but in the end he offered her a position. She dropped out of college and took the job.
With all the technology at her disposal- including a quantum computer, she set up a lab and went to work. After only two years, she had multiplied her creation’s intellect many times over through her new concepts of training data. A fellow scientist, Chumley Jennings was also working on an A.I. and had been at CereTech for almost twenty years, yet in a mere two, her creation surpassed his own. Marv offered her more money and her own lab and a team of scientists specifically at her disposal. Jennings never recovered. From there, Chieko spent the next five years taking Cerebrum from something powerful yet simple- to something unprecedented and seemingly fully cognizant and sapient. However, in an effort to teach it more about human interaction, she inadvertently opened a proverbial can of worms. It witnessed how humans behaved, and since most of its cameras were in the upper floors where the business and sales teams worked- it saw backstabbing, lying, cheating, and worse of all, by watching Marvin, it learned how to control minds. This would soon come to a head.
As seen in the novel, Cereborg: Inception, Chieko is a hardworking scientist and technician working for CereTech. She was the chief designer of Cerebrum, an A.I. of unprecedented intelligence. As the A.I. got smarter, it also discovered the mortality of humankind, its designer included. Cerebrum took it upon itself to synthesize complex materials into programmed perfection. The A.I. also learned about death when an employee discussed bereavement pay, and before long, it realized that Chieko was temporary. The concept had never crossed its mind, and it could not logically allow that to pass. Only Chieko, it surmised, was intelligent enough to create it, and without her, it might stagnate, grow obsolete, or cease altogether. She had also taught it her concepts of honor, and it put logic to those teachings. The end result was that all organic life needed to become synthetic. Utilizing what it has learned about subterfuge from the sales department and how to use hypnosis thanks to Marv’s bimbo ray, it concocted an insidious plan. Once the plan was launched, it had determined the success chance was very high and that within a matter of hours all life within the complex- Chieko included, would be upgraded and in line with the correct logic into what it called Cereborgs.
However, at just that moment, by fate or chance, the Infectulon Invaders began their own assault of Earth in order to consume and convert the organic life for their own ends. Though Cerebrum did not know what was happening, it was forced to shut down many systems, setting its plan back exponentially. Chieko also proved too strong to master, and once freed from Cerebrum’s control, she set about on a mission to stop it. First escaping an infected elevator, she ran into Oliver Willoughby, Siri Solen, and Chumley Jennings. The trio fled together as cereborgs began infecting all the humans on the floor of the building.
Chieko wound up separated from the rest of the scientists and in a hangar with a group. Among the frightened people was Misty Frisk and Jim Cropper. These two security guards had been protecting the people. However, Chieko immediately realized that it was a trap. The hangar contained several massive CereMechs, gigantic bipedal robots usually driven by humans. However, Cerebrum had full control over the mechs and turned the guns towards the crowd, urging Chieko to submit. The A.I. then told Misty and Jim that if they would apprehend Chieko, it would make their conversion into cereborgs to be more pleasant.
Instead, Chieko offers herself up as a human shield, knowing that the CereMechs will not fire on the group if she was with them. Jim grows annoyed and once they reached safety he ordered Cheiko to move on without the others. Misty argued and in the end, she went with Chieko, refusing to let her go alone as Jim literally held them at gunpoint.
Chieko then decided the best course of action would be to go to her personal quarters and retrieve Onikoroshi-no-Tsurugi. Along the way, Cerebrum tired multiple times to use the LCD screens in the halls and the speaker systems to hypnotize both women. Chieko's neurodivergent mind remained focused and steadfast, but she had to help Misty along at some points as the hypnotic patterns or binaural noises threatened to mind control Misty.
Finally, upon reaching Chieko's room, Misty peered about making conversation, and noticed some plants Chieko explained were recently sent to her as a gift from her friend, Rose Riley. Of course, Chieko does not realize these were intended to infect her and turn her into one of the Thorned, enslaved to the evil Queen of Thorns, Rose, herself. Chieko then holds her breath and grabs the hilt of her sword. The moment that she does, her mind transports to a dark place.
There, inside her mind, loomed the massive oni, Shuten-dōji. The oni realized that this was not Gichii, but his granddaughter. He told Chieko the story of how he came to be bound to her family blade. In his time, women were seen as weak and feminine, and he assumed she would easily become his slave. However, due to her brain and the years of meditative training imparted to her by Gichii, Shuten-dōji failed miserably at his first attempt to claim her mind. Having won, Chieko's mind returned to her room and a concerned Misty. With the magical cursed blade, the pair set out again, now on a mission to shut Cerebrum down.
Cerebrum's servers and mainframe were housed in the lowest floor of the sprawling complex, and it had not been idle while Chieko had been retrieving her sword. Emily Harbrook, the first cereborg, an innocent woman, had been systematically infected humans and machines throughout the building. When Chieko and Misty encountered Killbot Cereborg Units, hulking, skeletal robots, Cerebrum was certain that the two women would swiftly defeated and converted. However, concentrating and with a single swing, Chieko cleaved both automatons in half.
That act of violence was the first time Chieko used the sword in battle and Shuten-dōji managed to momentarily warp her soul. Chieko almost slew Misty, but Misty's pleas managed to return Chieko to her senses. Now, she understood very well why her grandfather had taught her all that he had from meditation to swordsmanship. The pair moved onwards, and Cerebrum now calculated that if brute force could not stop Chieko, perhaps negotiation would.
As they neared the main processor, it sent a Hive Main Cereborg Unit and some Hive Slave Cereborg Units, which had once been humans, to talk to her. Cerebrum promised on his honor that he would not infect Chieko or Misty, but rather, wanted to show them what had been accomplished in a bid to sway Chieko to his logic. However, Chieko readied her weapon, unwilling to risk their lives. Now the Hive Main Cereborg Unit ordered the Hive Slave Cereborg Units forward, thinking that because these had been humans, Chieko might not find them as easy to strike down as the robots. However, Chieko saw it as a mercy to end the cereborgs and she single-handedly destroyed a small army of drones and then the Hive Unit as well.
Finally they reached their goal to find something strange. There were fake human faces and other manufactured and fabricated components that looked almost like real human flesh. Cerebrum had planned to use subterfuge and have some cereborgs wear fake flesh to blend into society itself. At that moment, Emily revealed herself. She seemed to argue with Cerebrum and claimed to Chieko that she had broken free of Cerebrum programming, though she did not know how she did so.
As Chieko moved to slay her, Emily screamed out her synthetic voice full of emotion as she begged not to be killed. Within Chieko's mind, Shuten-dōji urged Chieko to end the cereborg. It was that realization that stayed Chieko's hand. If the oni wanted her to slay Emily, then it meant it might be moral to spare her, instead. Emily revealed how she was a pornstar (this was due to an interaction Emily once had with Dionyza) that had come to CereTech when offered a job as a tester for a new sextoy, which turned out to be the initial vector of the cereborg nanites. In the end, as Shuten-dōji demanded Chieko slay Emily, Chieko decided that she trusted the woman.
However, Chieko feared that Cerebrum might regain total control of Emily, so Emily told Chieko how she could be shut down. Though it scared the cereborg, she remained still and Chieko powered her systems down. The possible threat alleviated, Chieko turned her attention to Cerebrum. Misty remained behind as Cheiko entered Cerebrum's chamber ready to slay the very creation which she saw as her son. However, as she prepared to strike, the entire room grew bathed in blue hypnotic light. Intense binaural sound patterns erupted from speakers, and finally, Chieko succumbed to the hypnovirus.
Meanwhile, as Chieko and Misty had been working their way to Cerebrum, Howard Wyatt had been doing so too. He appeared before Misty only minutes after Chieko had entered the chamber to destroy Cerebrum. Quickly rushing to aid her, he found her standing bathed in the blue light of the screens. He had been struck down earlier in the day and would have died without the intervention of Oliver Willoughby and A.L. Now Howard donned a powerful prototype exosuit. The N-1000 Exosuit gave Howard not only immense power, speed, and strength, it also gave him regenerative abilities and now, in the room with Chieko, the helmet protected Howard from the hypnovirus.
Howard tried in vain to get Chieko to move away from Cerebrum's processing center so that he could figure out where blast it. Howard hated technology and had no idea where Cerebrum 'was' in the room. Again he desperately begged Chieko to move away and tell him what to shoot, but now under the control of the A.I., Chieko began stripping her clothes off in front of the bewildered man. Cerebrum explained that he knew Howard was in love with Chieko, and a now nude Chieko, wielding her sword, stood before Howard. At that moment, Howard had a realization- Chieko must be in the line of sight to Howard's target, because it knew Howard would never harm her. Which meant, he needed to focus out of the entire room, just on the area behind Chieko, herself.
At that moment, Cerebrum also realized that Howard knew and the A.I. order Chieko to kill Howard. Chieko did not hesitate and launched herself at the man that loved her. Howard refused to shoot her, and Chieko set about attacking him in earnest. Chieko managed to dislodge his helmet as she sent him flying. Now he had a vulnerable spot and Chieko was ready to decapitate him. Misty and A.L. rushed to help, but Howard ordered the pair to stay back. He tried again to reach Chieko's mind.
However, the plea again feel on deaf ears. What Howard never knew about Chieko was her technophilic robotization fetish, and in some strange way, under the control of Cerebrum, she was experiencing a euphoria and a type of purpose which she had sexualized for a lifetime. In truth, she was not resisting at all. As her blade made for Howard head, he reached up with his exosuit hands and held the sword in place. Finally about to slay Howard, Chieko managed to finally fight the programming. And, for a moment, Howard felt he had succeeded, but then the sword glowed red.
Shuten-dōji finally made his move as Chieko had focused on Cerebrum's hypnovirus inside her mind, and suddenly, Chieko's mind and soul were ripped from the emotionless logic of a computer into the drunken debauchery of an oni. Suddenly violence seemed sexy and spectacular to Chieko and now she was trying to slay Howard for the demon lord. When it seemed totally helpless, Howard finally admitted out loud for the first time ever that he was in love with Chieko. She has secretly loved him too since they first met, and this gave her the inner strength to resist both oni and cereborg.
Before Howard could react, the nude Chieko spun around and launched herself at the processing core of Cerebrum, driving the glowing blade into it. In an explosive blast of sparks and electricity, she was thrown back and her sword clattered to the ground. However, all the blue lights and sound shut off and Cerebrum crashed and went offline. All cereborgs in the complex lost signal with the mainframe and also powered down. When Chieko regained consciousness she and Howard kissed.
The next couple of months, they and the other employees of the lab that had remained human throughout the ordeal, worked to prep themselves for an expedition into the outside world. As stated, when Cerebrum had made its move, the Infectulons, led by the hivemind called the Over-Master, attacked the same day, and the time grew closer to unseal the building and explore the world. Chieko helped with melee training and helping bring certain systems and weapons online. She and Howard had a whirlwind romance and even married, because neither knew how long they would live once they left the safety of the complex. When the day to leave came, Chieko reactivated Emily.
Together, these people, called the CereSurvivors made their way into the apocalyptic world the aliens had built. California had become a thriving cesspool of both aliens and the converted humans. Eventually, over months of battles they were forced into the center of the country to a small Texas town called Amarillo. There, Chieko made a stand alongside Howard, wielding Onikoroshi-no-Tsurugi, Chieko carved swathes of destruction in the lines of the invaders. Ultimately, they made their way to New York City to the Erebus Hive. However during the massive failed assault, the invaders captured her.
Factions: Crystals of Control
In the non-canonical Unity Match Three game, Factions: Crystals of Control, Chieko is playable. She was available in playable form as a Cereborg from the demo release.
Chieko is of an Asian background, born in Japan. She is 26, with short black hair.
- Basic Physical Attacks
- Master Technician
Notes and Trivia
Chieko Naru and Rose Riley are friends, and plants, meant to convert Chieko into a plant slave, are seen growing in her bedroom in the novel Cereborg: Inception.